April Featured Artist Kelsey Van Raay

Kelsey Van Raay, of Kvanraay Art is Aprils featured artist. Kelsey's art is something that I personally really connect with, as she has a unique spin on the places that I personally love. Being a now chubbier (temporarily) dad version of a once ago "mountain guy", ex-ski bum, and climber, her work takes me back to a lot of those mountain vistas that are in our very own back yard. It's always really cool to see fresh new work from Kelsey, and I'm grateful to be able to share her work here. One of Kelsey's artworks in your collection is most certain to bring you back to those vistas we all love as well.

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hey, I’m Kelsey and I’m a Canadian artist living in beautiful Calgary, Alberta.

I’ve been creating art since I could hold a pencil, and grew up in an incredibly creative family. I fostered my talent through 5 years of post-secondary school studying Fine Art. Aside from school. I’ve always been a free spirit and love exploring this amazing world and becoming immersed in my natural surroundings. My art is an imperative part of who I am and I have a quote I like to use often:

“Home Is Where The Art Is”
The main medium I work in is acrylic paint on canvas. I create wildlife and landscape pieces and I love to push the limits on both realism and dream worlds within my work. My intention within my work is to spark a visual conversation about the raw beauty and energy of the natural world, so that we can all be reminded that we are deeply connected to nature. After all, this planet is home to all of us.


What mediums do you work with, and what is your favourite?

I work mainly in acrylic. I love how fluid acrylic allows me to be, and I also enjoy the quick drying time and ability to paint over areas easily.


What do you love most about creating art?

I love how creating art shifts my perspective on the world and allows me to take a moment to myself. Art is therapeutic and forces me to slow down. In a fast paced world, with endless things you "could" or "should" be doing, art is my temporary escape from all of life's pressures.


What does your process generally look like?

My art process varies dependant on if I'm creating a piece for a client or a personal piece. I will start with a concept in my mind, along with some image references and personal experiences as inspiration. If I am creating a custom piece for a client, I will gather as much information as possible about what that clients vision look like. Once I have a general idea of what I want to achieve, I start throwing paint on the canvas! My layers are messy, and usually not very uniform until I feel like its in the right place. From there, I get really into the details, lighting and colour tones. I let ideas take shape throughout the process, and try not to be too restrictive on the direction of my work.


What is the most challenging thing about being an artist and creating, and how do you over come that?

The most challenging thing about being an artist is that it can feel very isolating at times. You are forced to be within your own thoughts, and unless you are collaborating or at a live show, you are generally alone in your studio. As a natural extrovert, this has been a tough transition for me, but I have found a great community of supportive artists who I love chatting with!


What services or products do you offer?

I offer custom commission paintings both small and large scale, original painting releases, apparel and fine art prints produced from the very own Ka Canvas!

I'm also planning on diving in to the world of murals and I'm so excited to take my skills to another level.


What else would you like to share or tell everyone?

I'm always up for a new challenge and would love to chat with anyone looking for custom commission work. There's no idea too big or small. My favourite part of being an artist is creating custom commissions for my clients. I'm happy to chat with anyone who's interested in a special piece!


If you would like to check out, or purchase one of Kelsey's pieces, you can do so on her website. You can also follow her Instagram and Facebook page.

As an additional note, be sure to check out Kelsey's social media channels. Her social media is a great example for other artists to get inspired by, as she does Instagram and Facebook very well, showing her process, behind the scenes photos, photos of her with her work, and some lifestyle thrown in the mix.