Greenwich Village Art Fair

This event is now days away and I am in the final stages of preparation. I have framed art, written tags, checked out the easy-up, loaded the pro panels, and created the sales gallery here in the website. Friday I go set up the housing and Saturday morning I hang the show. I think I am as ready as I can be?

What I may not be completely ready for is the fact that this is actually that moment when I must push aside my shyness, take a deep breath, and step forward as a professional artist in my home community. This is in-person and in current time period (sans costume) and …hard.

I had never revealed here on my website where in the Midwest I live and work, although I have been here in Rockford, Illinois since I moved here in 1974. It’s time to step out of the artistic shadows and begin my bloom. Like the petunia seeds that fell into the crack at the foot of my back door steps, it is time for me to ‘bloom where I am planted’ and see what my future holds.

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.

Enjoyable weekend with Tall Ships.

This last weekend with the tall ships was outstanding.

I painted and watched all of the tall ships come in under full sail right off the shore from where I was camped. Once docked, it was a quick morning walk to go over and walk alongside these magesties and take pictures.

I brought along my gallery walls and some works pertaining to water and had them set up inside our marquis. My show, entitled “For the love of water” was spot on and quite successful. I had the loveliest four days meeting new people and talking about art and life in a way that always makes me quite happy.

I also took the opportunity at this event to launch a few new additions of gichlee prints of works that I’ve done recently. I say that now because while I have stopped by my home briefly to unload my art show and large house, I am leaving in the morning to go up through Wisconsin, Duluth, and along North Shore Superior to Grand Portage, Minnesota for a much loved  annual event there. For those of you who are participants at that event I wanted to alert you that I will be bringing 3 new additions of requested images.

  1. The 1st print is Sunrise at Grand Portage which was a very lovely pastel sunrise from lake shore at a spot we all know and love.
  2. The 2nd print is of the great Hall that I painted on site in 2017.
  3. The 3rd is a sunrise that was actually over Lake Michigan but I have brought along because it still exibits that rich, raw color of a sunrise over the Great Lakes.

The additions are small and the images have been reduced from their original to make them more reasonable for today’s crowded wall space. I plan to bring them out after hours to participants only.

Art show on the shores of Lake Michigan

Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin friends and patrons… this is going to be worth a day trip! Mark your calendars for this next event coming up. If you’re free, I will have a gallery show set up on Simmons Island for the Pike River Rendezvous – the first weekend of August. 

The Tall Ships are coming to Kenosha, Wisconsin and the arrival begins with a parade of sails held on Thursday afternoon, August 1st. This is when all of the tall ships will move up-and-down the coastline before seeking their moorings sites in the inlet adjacent to our historical encampment area.

I will have the show mounted by the parade of sails and then, every day from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. through Sunday, I will be in our 16′ square marquis style tent displaying my work. There will be original paintings and some prints with a general theme of water, coastlines, ships and boats to coincide with the tall ships event. []

The encampment I am in has no charge and is in sight of where the ships will be docked. If you have wanted to see some of my work live and in person, this is a good opportunity. 

The weather looks like it will be wonderful. I hope to see you there! 

My summer agenda – come out and find me.

Hello all. I have had several people recently ask me where I’m going to be this summer, and if I’ll be doing demonstrations, lecturing, or selling art. Yes to all three. Summer is when I try and slip out of the library a little more often and become a historical time traveling artist.
I would love to see some of you when I am “out in the field”, so to speak. 

Let me try to provide a brief agenda for the summer …here:
July 3-6
    Starting this Wednesday, July 3rd and running through Saturday evening, the 6th I will be camped and in period costume at the farm museum site on Washington island, Wisconsin. This is a more informal setting where I will be found talking about life as a frontier woman artist and creating water color sketches, or oil sketches since I will have my plein aire kit with me as well.
July 11-14  From Thursday, July 11th through Sunday, July 14th, I will be camped and in period costume at the historical museum site in Lapointe, Wisconsin [Madeline island of the Apostle Islands]. Here I will be talking about the challenges of being a woman artist in the Northwest Territories, and demonstrating pigments, tools and craft.

August 1-4   Beginning Thursday, August 1st and running through Sunday August 4th, I will be camped and in period costume on the Simmons Island in Kenosha, Wisconsin for the Pike River rendezvous. At this event I will be setting up a 16′ square marquee tent gallery to house an art show. In honor of the arrival of the tall ships to Kenosha, the theme element of my show will focus on boats and various water settings. There will be original oil paintings on canvas, as well as gichlee prints available for sale.
August 7-11   From Wednesday, August 7th and continuing through Sunday, August 11th I will be camped and in period costume at the Grand Portage National Monument in Grand Portage, Minnesota. Here I will be enjoying a broad variety of activities from painting Plein-aire within the camp to enjoying the rich historical presentations of fellow historians in the Great Hall.

If you want a chance to meet me, or sit and chat about making art, or some topic in history, or the positive impact libraries have on education, come find me this summer. I would love it. 

Excited about the new adventure!

There are only a few weeks before I will be enjoying a new adventure, showing my artwork at a convention, Thru the Stones, in Davenport, Iowa. You have seen me painting Outlander inspired scenes (book series by Diana Gabaldon) for some of my studio work this year and this showing is the reason. It is coming up November 30th and I soon will be in the final rush to have everything “just so!”

I will have displayed a great variety of original works done in oil on canvas, and will make available some of my gichlee historical prints, as well. At this event will be a new, limited gichlee edition of a detail of “Safe Harbour”, matted in white (see the photo on the far right). 

I have also created a new series of small pen and ink iconic figures related to the book series (seen in the photo on the near right). Each image is gichlee printed in black and white and finished in a black matte, backed by a certificate of authenticity, and can be purchased individually or as a bundled group of all 5. 

The third photo shows a sample of the printed note cards with an image of one of my paintings, Morning Fog at Craig Na Dun, on the cover.  Blank inside, they give you the opportunity to join those of us historical romantics who still write personal notes and mail them to friends and family. 

All of these new works will be fun new additions to what I have traditionally offered and I plan to continue to have them available … even after the show on the 30th.

I am having so much fun.

Preparing for a show.

I’m taking a break from the painting process and preparing for a show. It’s only two days away and I sure wish I had a week more to get ready with framing and packing If you are free this weekend, come to St. Charles, Illinois and see all of the great history vendors, and take a quick browse of my new paintings.

NOTE: It came to my attention that the card was for last year.

Dates for this year are: Saturday and Sunday, January 20-21. THIS WEEKEND!


It's almost time for my next public showing.

It is almost time for the second public event on my calendar this year and I wanted to let you know, as promised. It is called the Echoes of the Past Trade Show. As you recall, my scheduled events tend to be mostly Historical Trade Fairs (indoors) in this first quarter of the year. 

My space at Oshkosh Trade Fair in 2016
My space at Oshkosh Trade Fair in 2016

This next event is one week from now in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. If you are free and in the area, I encourage you to come see another fine aggregate of artisans and craftsmen sharing their fine wares and sharing historical knowledge. 
I will have my art on display and plan to have all of the new works that I have been showcasing here on my website mingled with the pieces you might be more familiar with. 

Event Name: Echoes of the Past Trade Show
Feb. 25 & 26, 2017
Hours: Sat. 9-5, Sun. 9-3
Place: Sunnyview Expo Center, 500 E County Road Y, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901
The event is open to the public, admission $5.00 for adults, children under 10 free.
Food available on site.

Come out and join us for for some February fun. I will be delighted to see you!

Events on the calendar!

I am lining up events at various venues that I thought I would share with you. My scheduled events tend to be mostly Historical Trade Fairs (indoors) in this first quarter of the year.postcard The first event is in two weeks in Saint Charles, Illinois.
If you are free and in the area, I encourage you to come see a fine aggregate of artisans and craftsmen sharing both product and historical knowledge. I will have my art on display and because it is a first annual and in a new area for me, I plan to bring some older work and some newer pieces. Come out and join us for for some January fun.