“Ukraine Wheat and Sky” by Lloyd Kelly
When war, like the one in Ukraine, breaks out, writers and artists are never impotent. Writers have the power of the pen and artists have the power of the brush.
Through the centuries to this day, they have used their creative talents as war propagandists or protestors. But the Russian invasion of Ukraine has inspired works in protest worldwide.
In Louisville, Kentucky, renowned artist Lloyd Kelly has painted in solidarity with Ukraine.
“When I saw Ukrainian children being bombed by the Russians, I felt I had to do something that shows support for the Ukrainian people,” Kelly said.
His picture titled “Ukraine Wheat and Sky” is small, but not in its message.
From a distance, it depicts the flag of Ukraine. But moving closer, you can see what Kelly called “its tension and motion.”
“I underpainted it with complimentary colors — blue on orange and yellow on violet — to create a tension. And the diagonal lines [from the blue sky to the golden yellow wheat of the flag’s colors] show a motion, a fluidity, like the wind blowing the fabric of the flag,” he explained.
Kelly said he didn’t want the flag to be sentimental — a dreamy, wispy image. “I underpainted it because I wanted it to be substantial.” A painting of solidarity.
He has felt so strongly about the suffering in Ukraine that he couldn’t sell it. “Selling it just didn’t feel right. So I gifted it to people who support Ukraine in a very concrete way.”
Kelly’s painting captures on canvas what Ukrainian President Vol0dymyr Zelensky said so poignantly in a television interview with David Letterman, “This blue color is a color of life; a color of the sky, space, and freedom. The flag doesn’t have any images of planes or missiles in the sky, any traces of gunshots.
“These two colors are the country of where I was born, the country we are fighting for.”
Kelly exhibits at The Christina Gallery in Edgartown, Mass. His studio website address is www.lloydkelly.com.