BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
BOUNTIFUL — In life as with her art, Kelie Babcock aims to “leap fearlessly.”
It’s a phrase she titled one of the first paintings she created that “really pleased” her, and it’s something she tries to incorporate into her own life.
“Life does take courage,” said Babcock. “As people we can hold ourselves back a lot by our fears and self doubts, so this expression is a way of saying to just take a leap and try things that are new Р try things that you wnat to do.
“In everything in my life that I’ve applied that to, I’ve had happy results,” she said.
Courage is something the 30-year-old artist lives every day. Born with Escobar syndrome, she has had to deal with a set of characteristics that have caused her joints to contract and resulted in scoliosis.
At 18, she began using a wheelchair for daily living and a ventilator to help her lungs make the exchange between oxygen and carbon dioxide. She is, in her words, “a very tiny person.”
But that tiny persona doesn’t contain her large personality.
Babcock was the Sterling Scholar in Visual Arts from Morgan High.
She attended Weber State University, where she earned a degree in social work with a minor in art.
“I thought that if I did art as a career, I might not continue to enjoy it as much as if it was a hobby,” she said.
She lives independently and works full time in her field.
“I am very independent,” she said. “My mom would say, stubborn, but I’m independent and determined. I have a happy life. I have figured out a way to do all the things I need to do and most that I want to do.”
It was a year and a half ago that the young woman was looking for a creative outlet.
“I let go of the preconceived ideas I had about art and started doing things for myself that made me happy,” she said.
The paintings that resulted are colorful and incorporate nature in unique and inspirational ways.
“I love bold colors,” said Babcock. “I use color to try to express a lot of what I’m trying to share. I also love nature and things that grow, so I do a lot with flowers and trees.
Babcock first showed her work at a farmers’ market in Ogden, where she said it was very positively received.
“It was a boost of confidence that maybe more than just my family liked my work С your family kind of has to like it,” she joked.
Now, she said, she is unable to stop.
“If I go very long without painting I really feel the absence of it,” she said.
She hopes someday to incorporate her interest in visual arts and her interest in social work in a way that will give people with disabilities the opportunity to be creative.
Babcock will be the featured guest artist at Lamplight Art Gallery through August. She will be at the gallery, at 170 S. Main in Bountiful, for a “Meet the Artist” event on Saturday, Aug. 3, from noon to 4 p.m.
More information is available at 801-298-0290.