Kelly Maw doesn't even try to keep herself from smiling when she looks around her working space, the walls hung with her big, bright floral paintings and yoga mats rolled up in the corner.

The Mat and the Easel she calls it. Yoga and painting."People need quality time to themselves, for their body and soul and spirit,"Kelly says. Her studio is a safe space for that back and forth, getting filled and refilled. Kelly offers people the tools to look after themselves.

The painting classes teach people the language and technique of painting. Classes are held in the kitchen - "what warmer place?" she says – on the table her brother lovingly built by hand.

Her classes are often intergenerational – women with their children or grandchildren, and yes, some men. "Everyone loves having some children in the group," Kelly says with a smile.

She started with one day workshops, and began weekly classes in January this year. "It's like going to the gym", she says, exercise for the body and spirit - "And, you walk away with a beautiful piece of art!"

Kelly grew up in Brooklin, Ontario and moved here with her children in 1997 as a single-income parent. She worked for the Public Utilities Commission which became part of the City of Owen Sound, and was very grateful to have a good job with benefits while she raised her family. She was excellent at her numbers work, but to stretch herself  she started to learn Canadian step dancing in the early 2000s and then taught it for 14 years. She also got her Education Assistant credentials along the way.

In 2008, Kelly started painting as an emotional outlet when her brother Dave got very ill. When he died she realized she had so much living to do. As the siblings had planned to do in their retirement, Kelly got her motorcycle She took painting lessons from Peter John Reid, joined the Owen Sound Artists' Coop and the Southampton Art Gallery. She studied with Devatree in London and Shannon Crow (MammaNurture) to develop her yoga practice.

Kelly says she did corporate for twenty years – been there, done that, experienced the burnout and took early retirement. She knows she is not alone, and that hers is not an isolated story.

Now that she has created this joyful environment, and spends her days and evenings painting and sharing with her students, "happy" just pops out in her "art attacks". 

"I have to stop every now and then to say "Look at me...I'm working!"


This weekend September 28-29-30 you can visit Kelly at her Art Map open house.

You can find out more about the Mat and the Easel here or contact Kelly at [email protected].




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