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Last chance to purchase one of Kitty Mitchell artworks before they burn

One of the art pieces island artist Kitty Mitchell is auctioning off prior to it being burned Tuesday from 7 to 9 at the Lifeguard Beach.

One of the art pieces island artist Kitty Mitchell is auctioning off prior to it being burned Tuesday from 7 to 9 at the Lifeguard Beach.

Kitty Martin Mitchell wants to shed her old artwork to make room for the new.

To do that, she will burn the old work she no longer wants–or that hasn’t sold–at a “Burning Woman” event from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9 at the Lifeguard Beach.

Prior to Tuesday’s burn, Mitchell has been offering her old art for sale online. The event can be accessed through the Magic Bean Coffee Bazaar Facebook page. Online bids up will be accepted until 7 p.m.

Concurrently, a reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. today (Sunday, Aug. 7) at the Magic Bean, 35 School Road where all the paintings can be viewed and winning bidders can pick up their work. Winners who are not present and will be contacted to make arrangements for pickup or delivery.

“Burning Woman” borrows from the annual “Burning Man” event every Labor Day weekend near Reno, Nevada.

And at Tuesday’s burn, Mitchell, as at the Burning Man event, will have a larger-than-life structure that will burn as well, she explained.

The armature will be festooned with paper that will burn.

“Kind of like a phoenix–the paper will burn and then the armature can be used again,” she said.

Mitchell, who is the art teacher at Ocracoke School, has been painting for decades, and she wants to clear out the old work while she continues to create new pieces.

While she has about 50 old pieces she’s ready to release, she’s not burning all of them.

“With these, I don’t think there’s any more they can teach me,” she said about the works being discarded.

Her paintings channel her subconscious, she said, and what comes out on canvas needs to be contemplated and mined—often for years–for what they may reveal.

“When I paint, I get into a zone,” she said. “I just react to the paint and then have to analyze (the piece) later.”

Cleaning out her old work in this manner is a lesson in detaching and letting go.

“I have a problem with detaching,” she said, since all of her paintings contain memories.  “I may lose some of those (memories), but I gotta make room for the new.”

Mitchell will donate half of her art sales proceeds to Elizabeth Hanrahan’s wildlife rehabilitation work.

Islander Hanrahan, a certified wildlife rehabilitator, aids all kinds of wildlife on the island—all on a volunteer basis, paying for much of the work herself or with donations.

Mitchell’s “Burning Woman” art and event can be accessed on the Facebook page here.

Later this month, Mitchell will show her new works from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24, in Down Creek Gallery’s continuing “Expose Yourself to Art” series of artists’ receptions open to all.

The Ocracoke School art teacher, Mitchell believes that teaching has allowed her to stay in touch with the creative playfulness of children, which inspires her work as she plays with paint and images.

April Trueblood and Kim France will perform.

"Quae Omnia," which means "all are connected," is among the new works by Kitty Mitchell that will be on view in Down Creek Gallery Aug. 24.

“Quae Omnia,” which means “all are connected,” is among the new works by Kitty Mitchell that will be on view in Down Creek Gallery Aug. 24.