For Kristy Blackwell, figurative work creates a space in which both the artist and the viewer may experience self exploration. The surface upon which she paints is the meeting place between the artist, the subject, and the viewer through a shared human experience. Inspiration can come from anywhere including in the work of masters old and new such as John Singer Sargent, Andrew Wyeth, Jenny Saville, and Benjamin Bjorklund.

Trained in fine art at the University of Guelph and, thereafter, in computer animation at the University of Toronto, Kristy has had an accomplished career as a digital matte painter and compositor on over 50 feature films. But Kristy’s first love is fine art and her experience creating photo-real digital images has inspired her to experiment with various traditional techniques and materials to both create and deconstruct reality on canvas or other supports.

Kristy was raised in small town Manitoba and Ontario and has spent the last seventeen years living and working in Toronto with her husband and two daughters.

Kristy’s work was recently awarded the Best of Painting prize at the 55th Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition.


“I strive to provide an easy entry into my work with the accessible familiarity of the realistically rendered human form while portraying what I find to be the unnerving tension created between a woman’s strength and vulnerability. I think it can be found in the simplest moment – a glance, a turn of the head, a hand clasping a familiar object.

I try not to overthink a pose or composition because it can quickly lose its authenticity or vitality. I want to capture fleeting moments so I am learning to trust my instincts. Where to add detail, where to leave it out. Where to add a shock of colour or destroy a part of the image. Each piece is ultimately carefully executed but where my work has its greatest success, it comes from trusting that flash of a thought.”