I was born and live in St. Paul Minnesota, but I try to get out to Montana, its neighboring states and throughout Northern Minnesota for inspiration and the pure enjoyment of experiencing nature at its finest. I owe this love of nature to my parents and the encouragement to explore art from my grandmother, who was an accomplished artist in her own right. Painting, drawing and photography have always been a way for me to put my experiences and my love of nature on paper and canvas.
After graduating from the University of St. Thomas with a B.F.A. I started working as a graphic designer and have continued working as a graphic designer along with painting wildlife and landscapes in the Rocky Mountain West and Northern Minnesota. I enjoy many aspects of the outdoors: hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and photography. My art subjects vary, just as wildlife itself does: the majesty of mountains and elk … the vast colors of simple river rocks … slanting light on a river log … hummingbirds hovering over columbine … ducks on the wing and swans in the morning mist.
I was introduced to acrylics while working at Brown and Bigelow. Many of the artists would paint at their desks at lunchtime. Acrylics were the perfect medium because they dried quickly – so we could get a lot accomplished in a short time. Many years later, acrylics are still my preferred painting medium. I paint on a primed white stretched canvas. After a quick rough-in with pencil, I then block in areas of tone with a wash of ultramarine blue. I gradually build up layers of paint, leaving the dark areas of the painting with less paint and building up the highlights with a heavier application. As with my photography and scratchboard art, my acrylic paintings focus largely on nature, from dramatic mountain landscapes to peaceful lakes and streams and a wide variety of Western and Midwestern wildlife.
A fellow artist at Brown and Bigelow introduced me to scratchboard as a drawing technique. I had seen some amazing black and white illustrations in a book I was reading and asked how they were done. He gave me some boards and tools and I was hooked. It is a simple yet elegant way of achieving very dramatic results. They reproduce nicely due to the crisp black and white image. My inspiration has always been the scratchboard art of Francis Lee Jacques, who along with his wife produced many wonderful books on the wildlife and scenery of North America. Starting with a white clay coated Masonite® panel, I sketch out the rough image with a pencil. Over this drawing, I add areas of solid areas with a brush. I can leave these areas black or use various crosshatching techniques with a pointed scraper tool to introduce texture and shading. Painting the lines with a brush can give a more linear quality. I can achieve results that are very detailed or very simple. It is more forgiving than pen and ink on paper. I can scrape off an area and reapply the ink. Many times I start a scratchboard piece as a nice break from the colored world of painting.
Whenever possible I take my camera with me wherever I go. In spring migrating birds and wildflowers are my main subjects. In fall and winter I enjoy photographing Trumpeter Swans, migrating wildlife, scenery and large mammals. My collection of photos is a result of trips in my neighborhood, fishing, hunting, vacationing and hiking. I utilize many of the photos and my experiences in the outdoors as inspiration for my wildlife paintings, black and white wildlife illustrations and scratchboard art.
View more artwork at Kelly’s Collectibles eBay Store.