Kelly Anona Kerrigan – Documenting a life on canvas
I feel most alive and most connected to the world when I am creating. In college, I fell in love with painting. I received a very traditional art education as an undergrad, learning the foundations of painting, drawing, and sculpture. Our studio time was spent exploring still life setups and the human figure. In graduate school, I branched out and explored other ways to use materials while trying to find my own vision. Through my exploration, I discovered that my work always come back to portraiture.
There is something about painting a portrait that feels like a special connection that I am making with my subject. I want to invest the time to really see a person in a way that we don’t get to do on a day to day basis. I use portraiture to explore identity and personality, and how much we can really know each other. I feel a rush of adrenaline when a painting starts to form on the canvas, representing my personal relationship with and interpretation of the subject.
When my niece, Anona, was about 10 months old, I painted her portrait. At the time, I wasn’t thinking past that initial portrait. I just wanted to capture her as I knew her that day. Anona is now 7 years old, and I have painted her portrait every year since she was born. That first portrait started an ongoing project that, for me, is about more than painting.
Anona 2012, oil on canvas and Anona with her early portraits.
Anona and I live on opposite sides of the country, so I don’t see her very often. The distance and time between visits make it seem like she is growing up so very fast. It is amazing to see how much she changes and exciting to watch her grow into her own unique individual. Each year, I try to capture her in a way that feels true to my interpretation of her, and shows her personality. In a sense, the portraits become a representation not only of Anona, but of my relationship with her.
A theme that runs through my work is one of identity and what shapes our sense of who we are and how we present ourselves in this world. By painting Anona each year, I am watching her grow up and become who she is, while creating a lasting document of milestones throughout her life. All of the portraits of Anona live with her on the west coast. While compiling these pictures of the paintings today, I realized that this is the first time that I’ve looked at them all together. I love seeing them as a group and noticing how she changes from year to year. I’m pretty sure she enjoys seeing herself on canvas, as well. I am determined to add to this group every year, for as long as she will let me!
Anono with her 2016 portrait and Anono 2016, oil on canvas
Kelly Anona Kerrigan is an artist living and working in Boston’s Fort Point Artists’ Community. She received a BFA in painting from Boston University and an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University. In addition to painting, she also enjoys designing and making clothing and costumes. Some of her favorite things in life are running, nail polish, and the Red Sox. See more of her work at www.kellyanonakerrigan.com
Amazing work! Always do what you love
Very sweet portraits !
Hey I’m just starting out on here, can anyone read some of my posts and give me some constructive criticism?
Sketches are really nice👌👌👌👌
Wow…So much better than plain old photos….beautiful and personal.
These are beautiful! Not only do they capture the spirit of this little girl as she grows up, but they also document the growth of the artist.
I so love this concept! Watching the changes from year to year. Super cool. Cant wait to see more! Cheers
Beautiful work! I love the idea of capturing a subject year to year- it takes the school portrait concept to a whole new level.
Unequal poetry’s Posting
Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
LIKE HEIGHT MARKS ON A DOOR FRAME! 🙂
These are awesome.
What a beautiful process and idea, capturing the growth and changes in Anona’s expression too. She doesn’t yet appreciate the beauty of your gifts… Your portraits are beautiful!
Wow – your work is incredible! Those depictions of Anono are breath-taking 🙂
I love this idea. What a sweet and creative way to capture moments in your niece’s childhood!
Your paintings are truly amazing please check out my blog it’s full of my artwork that I have accumulated over two years
Love your blog! I have nominated you for the Mystery Blogger Award. Details here: https://theoilyguru.org/2017/04/02/mystery-blogger-award/
Thank you!! xo
If I could have one…so nice
Really nice thoughts and art.
It is like watching a journey.
WOW! It’s cool
Lovely work! 🙂
What a beautiful gift to your niece. It seems like they should all be in a book for her, about growing up. How exciting not to know where they will lead to, what she will become. I love the silly one of her in the glasses, too. Does she pick the pose for the portrait? I’ve just started doing some watercolor portraits. Love your work and thank you for sharing.
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