Kelly Dodge

AFC Conservation Artist of the Month for December, 2008

Kelly Dodge donates original artwork, reproductions, money and time to various conservation and community organizations including  the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario 2001 -2005, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Midland OSPCA, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre, The Waterfowl Festival, Peterborough Field Naturalists, Howell Conference and Nature Centre, Friends of Algonquin Provincial Park, Lakefield Animal Welfare Society, and the Lindsay Public Gallery, art education component for children.
She has also supported a number of comunity organizations including: Buckhorn Community Centre, Rotary Club, Lions Club, WPBS (Watertown), Childhood Cancer Foundation, Candlelighters of Canada, The Eating Disorder Program at Sick Kids Hospital, Crossroads Christian Communications, Kawartha Lakes Chamber of Commerce, Minstrel Foundation
Kelly describes her philosophy as follows:
"We all must look for ways in which we can be good and responsible stewards of creation. Contributing to the preservation of the natural world can take many forms. For some of us doing our part can mean simply recycling and composting or writing a cheque. These are valuable contributions as conservation definitely starts at home but I believe that true conservation goes beyond the physical and begins on a much deeper level with a relationship. Websters Dictionary defines 'to relate' or 'relationship' as "the mutual exchange between people or groups who have dealings with one another". Synonyms for 'relate' are - "in touch with, linked, knit together, allied, kinship, affiliated, complementary, parallel, intertwined, dependent, interdependent, interwoven, reciprocal". These words are powerful words that I take to heart when thinking about the many blessings we are surrounded with in this world of beauty and discovery that is sadly so often abused and taken for granted.
Creation is about relationship. The beauty of the kingdom of nature can speak to our very souls if we let it. My art is continually challenged, exercised and improved as I contemplate creation. For me art is not about imitating nature, rather it is about going beyond accurately recording details in order to inspire others to see and behold creation. The natural world is waiting for us with rich reward and joy as we observe, understand and care for it. All we have to do is take that first step toward a deeper relationship. One easy yet rewarding way to relate to nature is by putting up a bird feeder. This is a great step towards sharing the world with our wild neighbours who are simply trying to survive. Tragically, because we are humans we tend to be greedy, short-sighted and selfish. Thankfully because of organizations such as Artists for Conservation, this is changing and there is hope. When we develop awareness and get to know something, when we develop kinship, then and only then do we begin to really care about what happens. This is where true change begins. This is the heart and soul of conservation!"
To see examples of how Kelly "relates" to nature....check out her 'Creative Process' page. The photographs found there are just a few of the many relationships from over the years that she has developed with the wildlife that inspires her art. Prior to her decision in 2001 to pursue a career in art, she had the privilege of working for over 20 years with hundreds of behaviourally challenged children. "Due to one tiny Carolina Wren that desperately needed my assistance in the winter of 1995/96 I began applying my skills at developing rapport and gaining trust with children to this particular bird. That first rapport with a wild bird has evolved into countless rewarding relationships with a wide variety of birds and animals. Over the years I've found that if one pays attention and looks closely enough that it is possible to recognize individuals. Nuances in detail such as flight style, feather markings, colour and temperament are some of the distinguishing features I look for. Through hand-feeding not only am I able to experience the bird physically but relationally as well. The true personality of the individual is revealed through the gift of trust. At the slightest suspicion of fear a bird alters its natural behaviour; it becomes hesitant and guarded. By gaining trust I am welcomed into their world. For me this is the first and most important step in my creative process as an artist. In order for my paintings to be believable I need to go beyond accurately recording details and convey the inward beauty of these precious feathered blessings."
Kelly regards her inspirations and artistic talent as gifts from God and considers it a great blessing to be surrounded by this natural world of beauty and discovery. Each of her paintings has something specific to say, communicating the essence of creation in simplicity and truth. Kelly demonstrates her versatility with a wide range of pleasingly unpredictable subject matter. In what has been a whirlwind career as a professional artist whose first show was in 2001, Kelly has achieved much recognition internationally. In 2003/2004 alone she was elected to full signature membership with the Society of Animal Artists, The Pastel Society of America and The Pastel Society of Canada. She also holds signature membership with Artists for Conservation, a community of world-class artists.
Primarily painting in pastel, Dodge is perhaps best known for her ongoing focus on birds often combined inspirationally with traditional Christian hymns. She has also garnered much popularity with a second series, pastel paintings portraying breathtaking views of the Northern Hemisphere constellations, two of which were chosen in 2007 and 2008 for the Ducks Unlimited Canada National Art Program. Dodge has had the opportunity to explore the Southern Hemisphere flora, fauna and skies in Kenya in 2005, while in the summer of 2007; Dodge expanded her horizons as the privileged accompanying artist on a month long Artists for Conservation Flag Expedition to the Indian Himalayas with artist David Rankin and team for the purposes of artistic field research.
Her exhibition schedule has included such shows as the Southeastern Wildlife Art Exhibition, Charleston,S.C., Art for the Animal Kingdom, Bennington, Vermont, Una Exposicion Para la Promocion y Conservacion, Peru, the Easton Waterfowl Festival, Easton, Md., the Buckhorn Fine Art Festival, and the Rainforest Foundation UK's Friends of the Rainforest, London, England and most recently the Art of Conservation 2008 exhibition at the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, NJ. Her paintings can be found in private collections in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

Previous Conservation Artists of the Month

(December, 2019)
(November, 2019)
(October, 2019)
(September, 2019)
(August, 2019)
(July, 2019)
(June, 2019)
(May, 2019)
(April, 2019)
(March, 2019)
(February, 2019)
(January, 2019)
(December, 2018)
(November, 2018)
(October, 2018)
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