Welcome to KellyJamesArt.
This website is intended to serve as a virtual peek into my life as an artist. Here, you can see what is currently on the easel, purchase original artwork or gichlee prints, commission a piece of customized artwork, make arrangements for me to come lecture, find out where I am showing or scheduled to be working on-site, or contact me.
Brief biographical history
Let me introduce myself. My name is Kelly and I have always loved the arts. As a child I drew constantly and by the time I graduated from high school I realized it would be a lifelong passion, if not always my full-time vocation.
In the early 1970’s I got an Associates in Arts degree and became a commercial illustrator and graphic designer for over 20 years. At that point I returned to school to complete a Bachelors degree in the Fine Arts with a major in studio painting and a minor in art history.
I show in galleries; participate in competitions; set up at fine arts fairs; assume commissions; teach private lessons; lead workshops; do public speaking about the early arts in America; and portray an artist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries as historical interpreter. I work in many mediums and scale can range from the very large size (public murals) to the very small scale (miniature portraits, dollhouse miniatures and buttons). Most often I currently prefer to paint in oil or watercolor.
In addition to being a working artist, I am employed as a library director at a small liberal arts university in the Midwest. Life is good!
What was it like to be a woman trained in the fine arts, living and working during another time period in our country’s history? What obstacles did she face? Where did she get her supplies?
As a working artist in the 21st century, it was natural that I most often choose to portray myself, as I might have lived in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Through active interpretation, I show what it was like to engage in the life of a woman artist and what tools she would have used. Through lecture, I explain what social and economic conditions might have affected my work, painting as a cottage industry, where I may have received my training, and who my contemporaries were in context.
Although I predominantly portray a portrait painter in 1803, I am also comfortable representing other years or artistic movements ranging from 1787 to 1900. I would be happy to lecture on the life of a woman artist in another time, or demonstrate and teach the stylistic tendencies of work done in other eras. Feel free to contact me regarding speaking and/or demonstrating engagements.