News Archive


There has always been a romance affiliated to the act of correspondence. We are intrigued by the images in paintings of a woman sitting at a writing desk, pen in hand, writing a family member or sweetheart. There is evident body language and a transparency of emotion in her face that yearns for reveal. This … More Correspondence.

A Grateful Heart.

On this day, the first of a long holiday weekend designated for giving thanks, I find myself spending time at my easel thinking, painting and praying. My thoughts are all over the place, and prompting emotions that range from a gentle low sigh to fleeting angry criticisms. I am exhausted, anxious, and drained and wish … More A Grateful Heart.

First footing is when a dark-haired male arrives bearing special, symbolic gifts such as a coin, a lump of coal, a piece of dark bread, and drink (most probably whisky). These items are said to represent financial prosperity, warmth, food and good cheer. Salt is often included in the roster and no doubt is for fine luck and flavor as well as to contribute to the host’s food preparation. Thinking about these traditions I found myself painting the moment my door would open to a first footing, a dark haired guest bearing good fortune at that sweet midnight moment, and the way the warm and welcoming interior would spill out into the cold.

Thinking ahead to Hogmanay.

The fall had come up on us with all of the color and beauty and blustering nature that we have come to enjoy and respect here in the Midwest. In these northern parts there have been cold nights and even the first snows and we realize how fast this year has passed. What a year, … More Thinking ahead to Hogmanay.

Mile markers and celebrations.

It is already the 31st of October, Halloween, Samhain, and the threshold of the Winter season. My goodness how this year has flown. Now adding to the day, we find meteorologists telling us about changes in weather, clocks that need to be changed, and we look to observe the 2nd full moon of the month … More Mile markers and celebrations.

A glimpse of His palette.

What an incredible time of the year fall is. Everybody I know right now is sharing pictures of fall colors, tracking where they’re the prettiest, and going for rides to see what they can see. Facebook is awash with shots of fall foliage in brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows from all over the country. This … More A glimpse of His palette.

What is it about a fire?

Just to be clear, this post is not referring to the accidental or arson fire that can devastate people or property, but only on the personal or utility fire. There is definitely something mesmerizing about a fire. We watch the colorfully dancing flames, the glowing coals, and the golden shadow-light. We breath in the wafting … More What is it about a fire?

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 … More Kelly E. James – participating artist

So much more to see.

Continuing in my theme of exploring the beauty that is around us in the Midwest, I decided to look at the photos I had taken on my recent drive and saw another one that struck me. There is just something beautiful about the wonderful farms nestled among the rolling hills in southern Wisconsin and northern … More So much more to see.

Late summer in the Midwest

There is something really beautiful in all of the landscapes from every part of this country. It is easy to be awestruck by glorious mountain ranges, huge canyons, or amazing seascapes. We take pictures of saturated sunrise or sunsets over our favorite spots be it hillside, lake or ocean. We marvel at the color and … More Late summer in the Midwest

Carry on!

Painters must first just continue being painters. There is a great deal of discussion every day about varying perspectives and beliefs of the changes or modifications to our behavior necessary to carry on with our lives. I’m not here to debate any of those stands but only to share my thoughts on myself as an … More Carry on!

Need for Good Conversation.

I do miss people. Oh I know, I’m seeing people at work and in the stores but one of the things that is missing the most in this time in my life is how much I miss the variety of good conversation. I had no idea how much sitting with someone and talking about things … More Need for Good Conversation.

The Power of a Kind Word.

Interesting day today. As I’ve continued to think about some of what I talked about yesterday with regards to allowing myself some grace, I was made very aware of another important component to help correct my unfruitful patterns – the kind word from someone else. I mentioned yesterday that the facilitator, in essence, gave me … More The Power of a Kind Word.

Take time for what’s important.

I was in my summer school online class this morning and the teacher said, “I want you all to put in the chat box what you’re feeling, or if you have a particular focus at the moment.” Many of my fellow classmates said things about a work project, or plans for the weekend. A few … More Take time for what’s important.

Pain has a thousand faces.

I had to go to a doctor recently. The why of it doesn’t matter so much as some of the questions that I was asked while I was there. I don’t recall ever having a health care professional ask me questions about my emotional well being as much as they did that day. I was … More Pain has a thousand faces.

Listening actually needs quiet.

Sometimes we make the most noise when we are crying for quiet. In fact, we make so much noise seeking quiet that we can’t hear it… or should I say, recognize it. These are such usual times that we’re living in right now. I know how I feel and it is hard. I am confused, … More Listening actually needs quiet.

Traveling from home

Saturday mornings are a great time to just take a minute, relax, and think about places I’ve gone. I pour a cup of coffee and kick back in the recliner on the back porch. The light is soft and crystaline and bounces off the dew on the ferns, making a galaxy of stars on the … More Traveling from home

Hope must prevail.

I paint for enjoyment…. for personal pleasure and love of color and light. I also paint to find my peace. I paint to remain calm. I paint to find my way through my racing thoughts and to articulate the emotions that flow through me like an undisciplined mountain stream. And I paint to pray. I … More Hope must prevail.

Simple, or not.

We sometimes like to speculate that we understand the complexities of life. We may even brag that we have a handle on what all is going on around us. We try to make everything binary, black or white, an either or scenario. There’s a confidence in that thinking that tries to make things as simple … More Simple, or not.

Missing our historical friends.

Ordinarily, this time of the year reenactors get together in great celebretory encampments all over the United States to talk history, smell good wood smoke, buy fine wares from historical craftsmen, and catch up on what everyone has been up to. History lovers have such a wide variety of special interests to bring to the … More Missing our historical friends.

Workflows and other new regimes.

“Make peace with imperfection”. This is one of the phrases I took away from an online teaching group discussion I attended today. While certainly a true phrase for trying to deliver content in an online teaching environment, especially if the transition has been rapid and without warning like this Spring has been, it hit me … More Workflows and other new regimes.

Peepers, and other Spring sounds.

Yes, it is Spring. Ordinarily I would be camping periodically and enjoying the sound of the Spring peepers, bird song, and other wonderful springtime sounds. I miss them. I understand that these are such unusual times that we are living through and camping is not on the agenda. I know that this quarantine too shall … More Peepers, and other Spring sounds.

Remembering vacation travels

So like many others here in the United States, we are staying at home. I am in a fortunate position to be working from home, but there is also a portion of the time that I have here in the house that is clocked out. At that point, I am Kelly the artist instead. When … More Remembering vacation travels

Thought, prayer and choice.

Each day we are confronted with waves of contradicting information and its hard to know what to believe, or do. Science tells us to stay cautious and vigilant to preserve our health and the health of our co-workers and loved ones. Our national and regional administrators tell us both that “all will be well and … More Thought, prayer and choice.

Difficult times.

We could have never imagined the scenario that we are currently living through. The world is under siege from an unseen virus and from a rigor of our own self realizations that we are actually flawed and fragile creatures that survive only because we are part of a larger whole and overseen by a higher … More Difficult times.

On the road to a show.

Loading the pallete and getting ready to hit the road to a working show. I love events like this. I am on my way to a historical trade fair this weekend in Oshkosh, Wisconsin where I will put my art up on display, showing friends and patrons many new works that have been done in … More On the road to a show.

Happily Superstitious.

When I was growing up we would go on long car rides and my mom would always say, “Oh look, there’s a white horse! Quick kids, make a wish.” I have since heard that making a wish on a white horse tends to be an Irish tradition. I don’t know how much truth there is … More Happily Superstitious.

Stretching your comfort zone.

We all have our favorite subjects to paint or favorite pallete we tend to use and drifting into those comfortable places when we sit down to paint is perfectly ok. After all, we paint because we love what we do and time is often at a premium. It is easy to just launch and not … More Stretching your comfort zone.


My next step is to take my art business and grow my audience. I have decided to broaden the exposure to my work through social media. Welcome.

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 … More The captured moment.

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 … More Open House, web style

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 … More Sentimental memories

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 … More Inertia wins the day

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 … More Remembering the Little Bighorn hills.

Process that traces reflection

The series of small images on the right are shots I took through the process of painting this last weekend.  The canvas is relatively large for me at 24 by 30″ but I’ve been finding that painting a little larger allows me the freedom to use the larger brush and to be more gestural as … More Process that traces reflection

Painting while I think

I’ve spent some time the last several days thinking about a conversation I had with a colleague last Wednesday. We talked about art and time spent with other artists talking about their work, and it got me to thinking again about what constitutes good or bad work, the learning process, and whether we should be … More Painting while I think

Opportunities continue to arise.

Today I am so pleased to hear that the book I illustrated for author Michelle Minor Smith has come off the press. She is a horsewoman with a passion for God’s creatures and her story is about a racehorse who was no longer earning his keep – considered past his prime.  I am proud to … More Opportunities continue to arise.

Growing and learning in public view

This year has been a continuously challenging, learning experience for me as an artist as I have pushed out of my studio more and more and find myself doing my learning in the public view. It boils down to this being somewhat daunting – to reveal that I am actually an emerging artist at this … More Growing and learning in public view

Continuing to evolve.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how we, as artists, accumulate information and use it in what we create. We continually think about comments we hear and think about images that we see and internalize what we admire or dislike about them. We live and work and rejoice and cry and absorb bits of … More Continuing to evolve.

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 … More Enjoyable weekend with Tall Ships.


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