Kelly E. James – participating artist

As a participating artist in the 72nd annual Greenwich Village Art Fair (virtual this year) I welcome you to my website. I consider myself an emerging artist in the Rockford area (or a re-emerging artist at the very least). Let me encourage you to explore the site, especially the menu above with information and gallery tabs. There you will see my 2020 gallery of current work, as well as the topical galleries of work done before January. Enjoy the art fair and your virtual visit to my booth here on the web.

VIRTUAL 72ND GREENWICH VILLAGE ART FAIR: put on by the Rockford Art Museum and Midland States Bank the weekend of September 19th and 20th, with activities, tours, insights and the opportunity to shop with the artists who have been included in this years show.

Why an emerging artist?

Sometimes we, as the public who observe artists working and showing in galleries and fairs we attend, make assumptions that their life has been devoted to making art full time for, quite frankly, the visual age we see in front of us. The additional assumption is then, that the older an artist is the more experienced, accomplished, polished and well known they are. Reality is, however, that many artists work off and on in other careers and their art has had to take the back seat to the immediacy of life challenges and commitments.

Criteria for some might dictate solely seeing emerging artists as dependent on career stage or even age, although truthfully it cannot, or should not since an emerging artist might be 13 or 73 and still be taking that first step into the public eye.

In my case I have been making art my whole life and started towards a career in the arts in my early 20’s but couldn’t pursue it as a vocation. Over the years I have integrated my art into my historical lectures and interpretation roles but am virtually unknown to my region as a contemporary woman artist. As I approach retirement in the next couple of years I fully intend to live the fully integrated life and run my art business. With that in mind, I now consider myself as re-emerging.

The captured moment.

This morning has been so relaxing. It has been enjoyable sitting at my easel painting and thinking about friends on the North Shore of Lake Superior. It’s delightful to me that while painting I can transport myself in my mind to particular moments in time. For those of you, my friends, who were in the encampment at the Grand Portage National Monument in August of 2019, you will recall the evening when the storm blew up quickly resulting in a lovely double rainbow. It’s been rare for me to be able to see both ends of a rainbow in my life, and most assuredly I had never seen the rainbow reflect off water like that, almost creating a circle. Circles are everywhere in our lives from repetitian within our visual spheres to our relationships with people, and are most certainly demonstrated in our paths of life.

Thank you for circling back to see how this painting turned out today, and thank you for walking the circles of my life with me.

Feel free to send me a comment about the work, or that day, or our walk together.

Laying out a painting and enjoying the memories.

undefined Laying out a new painting is truly an exercise of craft – the pleasure of color and canvas and paint. When I work I look at the photographs I took and revisit the time, revisit the place, and think about all of the emotions involved in that moment. I can hear the sounds and smell the smells or feel the excitement of the people around me. These things and more help me add the right extra elements to a painting to make it work.

For those who were present at this time and place last summer you might recognize what I have begun to lay out. I’ll post the finished work so comment then and let me know if I captured the moment as you remember it.

Open House, web style

Welcome to the new look and feel for this website. Moving to a new home can be daunting and even doing it in web space can make a person feel off kilter. [Thanks to the friend who brought the truck and helped me take all this stuff to the new place.] Like any new home there is the first stage of painting the new walls for the fresh start, hooking up the technology, and the never-ending quandaries of what box ‘that thing’ was packed away in, and in which drawer the silverware should now go? The bright side is a move also gives a person a chance to rethink everything. What should each particular room (or gallery) be, or what changes do I want to make as long as it’s a new start anyway?

Some of that work is done enough for company to stop in for my open house but remember, I will probably be monkeying around with things for a while before I settle down. Here’s to new beginnings. Come on in.

Take a deep breath and walk down the new path.

Christmas time. The holiday season. Breaks from work to eat, love, rest, and in my case, also paint. It is a time when we are in the process of finishing all of our tasks and projects, and scrambling to wrap up year-end commitments. With that, we all look to the New Year with some degree of excitement, nervousness, but most of all, hope. 2020 has all of the potential of a new year, a new decade, and a new path.

We may not always have control over what appears to be destiny, for that control I believe remains in God’s hands. We do, however, have a great deal of control over the things that happen to us through the choices we make, and the thoughts we form from our own observations and what we believe of the opinions of others. We must use our wisdom and our soul to choose, for it is why God gave us choice. 

As part of this next step of my walk in faith I am making some changes with the New Year. I won’t call them new years resolutions because in fact, they aren’t a promise because of the calendar but a promise because I need to make the changes.

One of the things that is changing is the look of my website. It will be just a freshening and a rebuild of my interaction with you. It also can serve as a reminder that many other changes are beginning their birth behind the scenes. I thank you all who have followed or are now following my walk in faith toward being a full time artist. 

This painting is inspired by a photograph taken by a friend on the beach at Kenosha, Wisconsin of the Christmas Morning Sunrise. My thanks to her for the permission. I enjoyed painting and contemplating through these last two days.

I would also like to extend the thanks to include those people in my life that surround me with love each day. Each action, no matter how small, matters greatly. Those who reach out with the spontaneous hug, the conversation in the street when I need it, the lifting text on a Christmas afternoon, the visit to my office to say “well done”, the help with the website, and the tender guardianship of my heart…  I thank you, truly.

Blessings to you all In the coming year. I will not be back here until the new look is launched.

Sentimental memories

As an artist, there are times that I choose my subject matter because it’s a dramatic scene, like a sunset or sunrise. Other times I choose my subject because it’s a particular face or lighting that strikes me as unique or stirring. Sometimes I just capture a singular image or an item that helps me remember fondly a visit or a moment in time that warms my heart and makes me smile.

This afternoon I’m wrapping up my weekend with a little time at the easel and remembering a lovely visit from a couple of years ago. It was a relaxing and enjoyable August evening. I hope you enjoy today’s painting, memories of that evening that I will entitle, Porky, in honor of this lovely little free range chicken and the dear folks who cared for her.

Color on black Friday

Today is considered black Friday in shopping circles in the United States. Personally, there’s nothing I really need, or at least want bad enough to go fight the crowds for a black Friday sale. The things that I do want but don’t happen to have, can’t be found in a big box store anyway.

That being said however, I decided to spend the day in the company of my sweetheart and work at my easel. I didn’t have a particular person in mind but wanted to practice on the human face. This experiment is with direct but slightly back light on a female face.

I like some of Vermeer’s chiaroscuro  lighting because of the drama but I didn’t want to be quite that severe so I just played with the puzzling of how light and dark behave in this instance. It’s been fun and good to keep stretching my knowledge through practice.

So today, I give you a little bit of color on black Friday.

Inertia wins the day

Today has certainly not followed the way I planned it but sometimes you just have to make a judgment call and roll with it. I was having a lot of fun this morning painting those horses that you saw in the post at mid-day, so I decided to sit down at the drawing board and keep going.

2 years ago I was at the Farm Museum on Washington Island for an event over the 4th of July, and I painted a plein-aire of a little calf that they had in a pen there. It was a sweet little thing and I enjoyed painting him. I called the piece, New Friend. Last year, when we set up camp again on Washington Island at the Farm Museum, I noticed they had two adult cows and sure enough one of them was my friend. Now of course the cow is an adult but I recognized the spot pattern and his affection for daisys. Since today’s theme seemed to be around painting animals that I like, I went ahead and painted that calf now grown. I guess I’ll have to name this painting Old Friend, in honor of the 1st painting. I’ve enjoyed painting all day. I hope you had a fun day as well.

Remembering the Little Bighorn hills.

I’ve been thinking about our wonderful trip out West last June and decided to revisit a few of our stops and scenes through the course of this Winter in the studio. That’s what I take those pictures for, after all.

This morning I was thinking about how we would encounter the wonderful wild horses at many of the places we stopped. I’ve always loved horses anyway and find myself taking pictures of them whenever I see them in the fields. In this case, they would often walk by where we were parked and I would just stand fascinated … because it’s their turf, not mine. This morning’s study is a small canvas, 11 x 14. It’s a quick study of a couple of the horses from the Little Bighorn battlefield area. This mare was a little bit nervous about me being anywhere near her colt and other mares began to move to the forefront to protect her.

Quickly done, it is good practice and fond memories.  Not sure if it’s done, but I’m done for now. Enjoy.