August 2020 Issue
About the Cover Artist
by Meredith Millen Deal
Growing up in Placerville, a small northern California town, as a child Kelly Simpson Hagen learned to paint on weekend visits with her paternal grandmother. And, she has been creating art ever since.
Moving to Portland, Oregon, after college graduation, Kelly started her first grade teaching career at the same time she started a self-described unhealthy romantic relationship. “It turned my world upside down, and after years of stress my body shut down, literally. At this time, I thought my teaching career and ability to paint were over. When I had a flare up, it affected my entire right side, rendering me unable to walk or move, so painting wasn’t an option, which made it that much more frustrating.”
Finally, 15 years ago, Kelly said she got the help she needed and moved on. “I needed a way to release all of my frustrations and anger, so I picked up my brush and have never stopped.
“Looking back, if I didn’t have a complete physical breakdown, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she added. “It made me that much stronger and resilient. I continued to paint my heart and soul, which is where the name of my shop, Kelly’s Art From the Soul, came from. Now I have a wonderful husband and our 7-year-old son, Lucas, along with continued good health, my teaching career and a blooming art career! Life is really, really good!” Kelly also works with rights for women and recent arrival families.
“The Power of Hope” is the title of this month’s featured cover artwork. Utilizing acrylics on canvas, it is from Kelly’s 2016 women’s collection. “I like to use a lot of rich, vibrant colors. Most people tell me my use of colors draw them to my work. I love painting women and trees. I paint women of all cultures as the warriors they are, whether in activism, motherhood, friendship, or being a source of strength for so many. And in painting trees, they remind me to stay grounded and to draw from my roots.”
Cultural art is Kelly’s forte. “I like to paint different cultures together, celebrating and enjoying life under the same sun. This is my dream for human-kind.” Kelly gives life to abstract shapes and figures, “I let them tell my story. People, travel, color and music all inspire me; it may be a powerful lyric in a song, a person’s life story, or something as simple as a beautiful Oregon day. I want my paintings to make people happy, empowered and at peace. I hope you enjoy my work and that it makes your soul sing!”
See Kelly’s entire collection of paintings at www.kellysartfromthesoul.com. Visit her Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/kellysartfromthesoul
Like Kelly’s Art from the Soul on Facebook to follow her newest creations: www.facebook.com/pages/Kellys-Art-From-the-Soul