Women’s history celebrated from the calculator to canvas

Eileen Kelly honors female artists in library exhibition throughout month of March


March is Women’s History Month and, Eileen Kelly is using the celebration to honor women, and the female artists that came before her. Kelly will be displaying her paintings in the show entitled “It Takes Time To See,” inspired by female artists she admires, at the North Bellmore Public Library for the month.

A math teacher by training, Kelly holds degrees in both mathematics and computer science, and worked as a high school teacher for over 20 years. Kelly always used art as an outlet and as a passion, but never a formal study.

“I’ve always been very involved with inspiring people, inspiring the future, through knowledge, because I always tell everyone knowledge is power,” Kelly said. “So, I’m empowering you, whether it’s through math or with art.”

When the coronavirus pandemic began, Kelly left the classroom and found herself retired — putting all her focus into her art, even serving as a board member for the Art League of Nassau County.

Her work has been featured in galleries across Long Island and in private collections around the world.

Kelly founded her business, The Healing Arts at Artistic Aftermath, focusing on art therapy, life coaching, and reiki sessions — a type of energy healing using gentle touch to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Currently, Kelly teaches workshops for adults at East End Arts in Riverhead and joined the teaching staff as a part-time professor at Hofstra University, teaching math once again and giving her the ability to continue to teach and inspire others in both realms

“I’m really happy to have my hands in both worlds now, because I love them both” she said.

Kelly said her work is inspired by “color, patterns, shapes, sequences, and symmetries.” Taking inspiration from the harmony of the natural world, her work embodies an expressionist process, portraying an emotional response while communicating an inner awareness.

Her artistic influences include the artwork of the post-impressionist movement by artists like Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, and Pablo Picasso.

As a board member of the Art League of Nassau County, she was offered to do a solo show for the month of March and the pieces fell together perfectly, giving Kelly the opportunity to pay homage to the women visual artists that serve as her inspiration. Along with many of her other works, she created two specific larger paintings for the occasion.

The first of the two artworks is a self-portrait entitled “Flowers & Feathers,” created in homage to Frida Kahlo. As someone who prefers to inspire and champion others, Kelly stepped out of her comfort zone for this work, and she lets the painting do the talking.

“You see that everything else is really what comes to the forefront in that portrait,” Kelly explained. “I kind of brought myself to the center, but certainly not the center of the painting.”

The second piece, “It Takes Time To See,” was made specifically for this show, was inspired by artist Georgia O’Keeffe, and the show displaying her paintings at the MoMA last year entitled “To See Takes Time”.

“She would stop and look at the very minute details of these natural occurrences, and see shape, and symmetry, and the movement,” Kelly said. “And that’s what she was portraying. It’s a very abstract, close up, floral.”

On March 16 at 2 p.m. in the Meeting Room of the North Bellmore Public Library, there will be a Meet the Artist opportunity for Kelly’s show. For more information, visit NorthBellmoreLibrary.org.