Artist of the Month: Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

by Andrea Hupke de Palacio / Oct 01, 2015 /
Andrea Hupke de Palacio's picture

Are you a dreamer, ready to lift off? If you are, I imagine you will immediately feel Keli-Ann's paintings and be taken away by them. 

If you are not a dreamer, more the type with both feet on the ground, I think her paintings will uncover an emotion in you like the one you felt when you were a child looking at a wonderful new picture book.  

Wedding Corner. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Wedding Corner

I feel a hug, wind, and water. I see colorful skewed houses which seem to dance and celebrate with the people who live in them. The breeze of the northern shores makes the clothes on the line dance under a crispy blue sky and an unknown man with white hair and a white beard looks as if you knew him...

Bill Coultas. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Bill Coultas

Come along as we talk with our artist of the month, Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara, who hails from Newfoundland.

Artist of the Month: Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Romeo and Juliet. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Romeo and Juliet

How long have you been an artist?

It may be cliché, but I have been an artist since the day I was born *insert old lady voice* back in 1970. I popped out with the talent to draw as well as a sharp eye for colour and design. I did my Fine Arts degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland 1990-94, and then did interior decorating and design after that. I worked in the art, design, and fabric business all over Canada. It wasn't until I met my husband, Brent (or Besh, as I call him) and he (eventually) convinced me to try my art as my full-time profession in 2006.

Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara & Besh on a hiking adventure. Blue Hill Pond Trail, Conception Harbour, NL

Me & Besh on a hiking adventure. Blue Hill Pond Trail, Conception Harbour, NL

With all the business skills I had learned over the years, I knew I had to set up a structure for myself that would at least point me in the direction of success so I (insanely) set up my first public art studio in the front window of the beautiful French restaurant in Collingwood, Ontario.

2006 "Beyond the City" Magazine article about Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

2006 "Beyond the City" Magazine article

Thankfully this was a very successful marketing effort and allowed me to grow my client base quickly. From this, I was termed the "social artist" because I painted and chatted with hundreds of people each week. I have been a public artist ever since although my method of being public has changed over the years.

Point of View. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Point of View

Pier Pressure. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Pier Pressure

Is art your full-time career?

Yes. Although I think when people ask me that question, they envision me in my studio listening to classical music, painting daily, into the night, waking and falling asleep dreaming about my creation at that moment. So romantic, I know. But the truth is, I run a successful business based on my art which means administration, book keeping, marketing, inventory...and sometimes I get to work on my actual art! Not so romantic, but I had to get my business set up and running properly in order for me to actually relax and truly create from the heart. It's been A LOT of work but I'm getting there. I can see the sun through the clouds now.

The collection of handpainted giclee prints of my painting "The Warrior" - Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

The collection of handpainted giclee prints of my painting "The Warrior"

Do you have favorite places you like to create?

Despite being a social artist, my absolute favourite place to create is in my studio in my home in Holyrood, Newfoundland. We live on a quiet little pond and the view from my studio is heaven.

 View from just above my studio - Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

View from just above my studio

I love having my art and design things all in one room. That being said, I like to share my inspiration, process, and finished pieces on social media. That is like the icing on the cake for me - a way to still be social but be able to concentrate on my work. I love having a chat about a painting or a project as I go along. One of my favourite things to do is to post "Name that Painting" if I can't decide on a title myself. It's good to have a few thousand friends to bounce ideas off of when necessary ;)

Newfoundland to Me. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Newfoundland to Me

Light is Out. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Light is Out

What does a typical day look like? Is there a typical day?

I don't think I lead a typical artist's life. I have a pretty structured week which includes walking/hiking/running almost every morning. Money Monday and Monday Marketing, creative time slots for drawing/painting and writing (which, ironically, I have the hardest time sticking to), as well as administrative blocks of time, my very own Me-Day, an errand/visit family and friends day, and let's hi-five the fun and frivolous Happy friggin' Friday!

Weekends are free. I sometimes work on the weekend, but we have a lot of visitors and an active social life. On Sunday though, I create our schedules for the week so that we actually get things done efficiently. In between and on top of all that, I am spreading the love on social media.

Turns out, if you don't schedule art, art doesn't happen. Who knew? I am in the midst of integrating into our schedule one week per month of creativity. Would be so nice to have 5 solid days of creativity to really get lost in a project (you know, more like that romantic artist vision we discussed earlier). I haven't quite figured out how to make that happen just yet. Somehow I have to push the admin to the next week. Once I make it a habit, it'll be easy. The art of business vs. the business of art.

My first set of greeting cards for stores - Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

My first set of greeting cards for the stores

Into the Shadows. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Into the Shadows

Double Double. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Double Double

Where/how are you inspired?

Painting on the front deck of The Pantry in Holyrood, NL - Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Painting on the front deck of The Pantry in Holyrood, NL

I am inspired by unique angles/perspectives, intense shadows, old things, rust, peeling paint, zingy interesting colours, compelling compositions, a good story, history, culture, and humour. Pretty much everything that is Newfoundland.

I free-hand draw and paint from photographs, so I am mostly inspired by either my photographs of things I have fallen in love with or by my hubby, Besh's photographs. Sometimes I will tell him what I'm in the mood to paint and he goes out, hunts it down, and brings it back to me with his spin on it. Or I just look through our pics of an adventure we just finished and I get a certain feeling as soon as an image hooks me and it automatically gets filed in my mental paint log until I can get it out onto canvas/plywood/paper.

My painting "Last Row" from my Cut-Out Series - Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

My painting "Last Row" from my Cut-Out Series

Blowing in the wind.  Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Blowing in the wind

If you were not an artist/blogger, what would you do?

Interior design overlapping art. A large canvas print of my painting "Up, Up & Away". - Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Interior design overlapping art. A large canvas print of my painting "Up, Up & Away".

I would probably be an interior designer/decorator. Since the beginning of time, I have been in love with colour, texture, fabric, pattern, and design. After my Fine Arts degree, I did an interior decorating program and from there worked with high end fabric and interior design companies in Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa. In 2000, with my business partner, we opened an interior design firm in Halifax. I quite enjoyed it. We incorporated a lot of handpainted features into our interior designs – guess who the artist was? Yes. Me!

Up, up and away. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Up, Up & Away

Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Being silly.

Besh & Granny. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Besh & Granny

Is there something about your art that people don't know but would find interesting?

Something that is an important-to-me part of my business is that my artwork raises money for many organizations and their causes. When I first started out full-time (and because I was in public), I was asked for donations all the time. So we donated...thousands of dollars worth of paintings and prints for years. I quickly realized that it's hard to get ahead when you are giving things away for free all the time. So once I became established enough and the volume of requests for art donations was rapidly increasing, I invented and introduced the 50/50 deal for donations and it has been tickity-boo ever since.

What that means is I offer a print for their fundraiser and whatever the total they receive for the print, they get half and I get half (my half being capped at the full retail value of the print). There is no risk for the organization.

Example: Say the print I am giving them is $400. If they get $500 for it at their event, they get $250 and I get $250. If they get $1000 in their fundraising effort, I get $400 (retail value cap) and they get $600. Just like that!

So far this year, we have helped a variety of organizations raise over $6500. That makes me happy! The bonus is that my costs, at least, are covered (and that makes me happy too). And the organization is happy. And the people or animals who receive the end reward are happy. Win-win-win...

Batterys included. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Batterys included

As above so below. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

As above so below

How can readers find and purchase your art?

My website has all my available original paintings as well as art prints in various formats. They can be shipped right to your door. That being said, if you are 'wandering' around Newfoundland, you can drop into any of the wonderful stores who support and sell my art. Click here for retail locations: http://www.kapb.ca/pages/retail-stores  

I am proud to say, my prints and greeting cards are made and packaged right here in St. John's, Newfoundland, which means delivery takes a little bit longer...but I like to think it's worth the wait ;)

The gallery off my studio. Canvas prints of my paintings. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

The gallery off my studio. Canvas prints of my paintings.

I also write about my inspiration, process and finished pieces on my "Piece of Pye – A Slice of Life" lifestyle blog. Besides being a draw-er/painter, I am a writer, a hiker, a cook, a romantic, a photographer...and the list goes on, as it does with most creative sorts.

In my studio. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

In my studio

I'm dishing up fresh ideas in my Piece of Pye newsletter. Subscribe to have a Slice of Life delivered right to your inbox.

Anchor Management. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Anchor Management

As I mentioned, I am a social media fan, so you can keep up to date with what's on the go with me, my art, Newfoundland, and random/beautiful/funny things I observe:

Facebook/Pinterest kapbART

Twitter-Instagram @keliannartist

YouTube KeliAnnPyeBeshara

I love a good chat, so jump on and let's hang out...

Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

 

Above Water. Newfoundland Artist Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

Above Water

 

 

Andrea Hupke de Palacio is the Arts Co-Editor for Wandering Educators. Born in 1957 in Giessen, Germany, Andrea began studying drawing and painting at an early age, encouraged by her family. She studied arts at one of the private Paris art schools, the Ecole Supérieur d’Art Françoise Conte and graduated as a textile Designer in 2005.  
 
For a short period, she discovered the Fashion and Interior Design World, with its précision, style and finesse which helped her to develop her love for the détail. Today she uses these skills to develop her painting. For her sketches and drawings, as well as her paintings she uses different media(s) on various materials, with liberty and intuition. Watercolor, Pencil, Gouache, Ink, Egg-Tempera, Acrylic on Paper, Canvas, or textiles.

Andrea’s paintings can be found in private collections througout Europe and she regularly organizes exhibitions and participate in art markets in Germany and France. She is also the co-founder of Atelier 325, together with Kim Rodeffer Funk, a Washington, DC-based artist.

 

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Keli-Ann Pye-Beshara

 

 

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