After 25 years as a medical researcher, emerging artist Luke Kelly swapped science for a paintbrush and is now preparing to host his first solo exhibition in Blackheath.
The St Albans local is completely self-taught, working in acrylic to produce stunning images of Australian native birds as well as landscapes.
"I've been painting for three years now," Kelly explained. "I worked in cancer research for 25 years, but I always loved art and I always wanted to make time for it.
"We had space on the wall and tried to get a good local artist to do a picture for us, and she asked if we could wait 18 months. I said I would give it a go myself."
After an "incredible" response to his works on social media, Kelly joined the local gallery at Wisemans Ferry - Ferry Artists Gallery - receiving enormous support and encouragement from members.
He has been a part of group exhibitions over the last few years but is now looking forward to holding his first solo exhibition called In-Flight in March.
"It was a bit of a goal for me to make this year about working on my first exhibition," Kelly said. "The Blue Mountains Heritage Centre at Blackheath run by NSW National Parks and Wildlife have a really beautiful gallery space, so I got in touch last year and they have given me the whole of March.
"The show will have some parrots, kookaburras, pelicans, that's what I like. We get a lot of those birds at our property, it's birds that we see every day. There will be landscapes as well."
Kelly believes his scientific background helped develop his skills as an artist, the career pivot not as dramatic as it seems.
"A lot of it [art] is scientific," he explained. "Science is about being a good observer and being able to look at something how it is. My art is the same, not trying to think too much about what you think it is."
In-Flight opens at the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre, Govetts Leap Road, Blackheath, at 2pm on Sunday, March 1, and will run until March 31.
For more information on the exhibition, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or like his page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lukekellyartwork.