A solo feature exhibition and sale of paintings by internationally recognized artist - Kelly Dodge, My Backyard and Beyond opened Friday, July 3rd in Buckhorn, Ontario. Attendees flocked to be the first to view the unveiling of Dodge's new work at the opening reception preview. All previous attendance records were broken with more than 200 attending the event. Dodge introduced new original pastel paintings inspired by expeditions to the Himalayas of Northern India, Kenya, Galapagos and her own backyard here at home in the Kawarthas. Dodge has had the opportunity to explore the Southern Hemisphere flora, fauna and skies in Kenya in 2005, while in the summer of 2007; she expanded her horizons as the accompanying artist on a month long Artists for Conservation Flag Expedition to the Indian Himalayas for the purposes of artistic field research. In 2008 she journeyed with her husband to Ecuador to explore the Galapagos Islands. "I have had the privilege of meeting first hand many animals who have later become the theme of my art. I am motivated by the impact my art has on the emotions of individuals when they become lost in a painting as I do so many times when meeting and studying animals in their natural environment. I am particular in my technique in order to capture the essence of the creatures I study and to share their story with others who may never be able to encounter first hand a wild creature in it's natural environment. This exhibit is a celebration of these privileged relationships, my relationship with God our creator, my friends and my fellow creatures." This exhibit is a unique visual journey beginning with a never before seen display of some of Dodge's childhood drawings starting in 1964 as a 2 1/2 year old through to sketches done as a 15 year old in 1977 of the backyard on the farm she grew up on. As you walk around the gallery rotunda the journey continues with groupings of paintings inspired by each of her exotic expeditions. The exhibit ends with paintings inspired here at home in her own backyard of rural Lakefield. As an added enhancement, guests have the opportunity to peruse hardcover books photographically detailing Dodge in each location. One of the books, written by Dodge and titled "Friends of Mine...An Artists Inspiration" is available for purchase. "Friends of Mine" is a limited edition of 100 hardcover books, hand-signed and sequentially numbered by the artist. Dodge was honoured recently at the 2009 County of Peterborough Awards of Recognition Civic Ceremonies as an award recipient for Leadership in Arts and Culture. The exhibit continues July 4 - 24th.