Writing Archive

Simply Thankful.

We all have so much to be thankful for. I know that each one of us could list things that we are thankful for and find worthy of celebrating. For some it may include the people in our lives; for others it may be prized possessions, or food, or a home, or warmth, or employment, … More Simply Thankful.

Walking Serendipitously.

Retirement – what a wonderful new adventure. After years, or perhaps even decades of living a very prescribed life with all of its security and predictability, I have launched into a new adventure that feels more dependent on the fluidity of a moment. It sounds exciting, but I have decades of habits in place and … More Walking Serendipitously.

Life is not still.

Remaining sufficiently disciplined to be consistently creative while being employed in a different field is a delicate balance that many of us understand. Owning and running a small fine arts business on the side is certainly challenging as well. Doing this while working full time in higher education as a faculty librarian and administrator (the … More Life is not still.

Balance of motivations.

I know that sometimes I have to concentrate on painting strategically for the business, and that’s perfectly acceptable. Balance, however, dictates that I also need to paint for the fun of it. Case in point, I am getting ready for a historical trade fair in March. As a result, I am painting a few historical … More Balance of motivations.

Prioritizing time to relax.

Having time off work between Christmas and New Year is an incredible blessing to me. To be able to regain the natural response in my painting, I need to have several days to adjust and calm my inter vibrations. My academic work, although fulfilling, does not draw from the same source as my artwork does. … More Prioritizing time to relax.

Slow the rapid flight of time.

I am embarrased to realize how much time has passed since I last wrote here, and even more so to realize how little I have painted in the last 3 months. I get busy with the obligations of employment and time races on with a creschendoing inertia that takes intentional steps for intervention to slow … More Slow the rapid flight of time.

No matter how simple the dwelling, it is the heart of a home that blesses those who live there. At Hogmanay it is a special blessing for the new year to have a first footing. This is when a dark-haired male arrives bearing special, symbolic gifts. Thinking about these traditions I found myself painting my dream cabin and envisioning the moment I would open my door to a first footing, and the blessings he would bring.

November 27th announcement!

For this last Saturday of November I am pleased to highlight several of my themed greeting cards. The first photo is a selection of landscape scenes that I have painted and made available for writing notes to friends and family. Be it a lover of winter or fall at the river’s edge, or even the … More November 27th announcement!

Fall is a busy time of year.

I could tell that September was trying to set a new pace for fall but in my naivete I somehow thought it would settle into one that was a bit more realistic. Not so. October found me trying to triage tasks and events with hopes of getting everything done before weather changed. My task lists … More Fall is a busy time of year.

Moving forward

The last couple of months have gone by so incredibly fast. In mid August my website hit a couple of snags and this catalyst began a journey of introspection and change that I couldn’t have forecast, and don’t regret. What a domino effect it began. I went to Willow Folk Festival and began a sequence … More Moving forward

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 … More Greenwich Village Art Fair

Choosing your response to change.

Change is inevitable. Good or bad, it will occur. We rarely have the ability to deter the change but we may have the power to lessen the negative impact to some degree by our reaction to it. How it affects us longterm is most assuredly affected by choices we make. We can either be agile … More Choosing your response to change.

Are you OK? Yes, I believe I am.

That’s a question that I would never again answer flippantly. If I have learned nothing else from the past year and a half it would be that no one can predict what will happen next, and speaking thoughtfully and truthfully has value beyond measure. It has been incredibly hard, even debilitating and life changing for … More Are you OK? Yes, I believe I am.

The Captured Memory.

I can get wound up on Fridays because I know it’s the weekend and I can play in my yard and I can play at my easel and do various other fun things. I get excited. Yesterday, I also had a pretty unusual Friday at work with projects, visitors, conversations and work challenges that left … More The Captured Memory.

Honoring those who we lose.

Mankind, by our very nature, has a tendency for various rituals and belief systems based on honoring those who have gone before. Over millennia, these have been based on our theology or cultural norms and personally, having been raised in a Christian based belief system that designates heaven as the hoped-for goal, I grew up … More Honoring those who we lose.

What are the art rules, actually?

I have always had a tendency to follow the rules. I don’t say that with any embarrassment or boastfulness, it just happens to be my tendency. I believe that in order to be a fruitful member of society we all need to follow some rules. When I was little I knew that I was supposed … More What are the art rules, actually?

Long range planning.

We often use the term, “long range planning” as a way to establish a series of actions – a plan so to speak – that allows us to organize a sequence of events over time to achieve a goal. Strategic plans and project planning and project management are all part of that action terminology. I’m … More Long range planning.


No one, especially not an artist, can ever say that they have become who they are without the influence of everything and everyone around them. It is a continual evolution, and I have to say there are times when it’s more and less evident in my life, but it is always rewarding! You have walked … More Influences

Easing into Saturday morning.

This is just one of those lovely, early Spring mornings when I woke up without the alarm, had a great breakfast with someone I love, and got to spend some time at the easel while thinking about the drive last weekend. This time of the year the snow is melting off and you can see … More Easing into Saturday morning.

Growing Pains – the next step.

The conversation that I mentioned having had in the last post, challenged my comfort zone. That is a good thing. When I am challenged I do not view it as an attack but rather as a welcomed catalyst for change. My friend, an accomplished plein-aire painter himself, suggested that I choose one subject (such as … More Growing Pains – the next step.

Growing pains and fire hydrants.

Regardless what it is, it is always interesting to me when I reach another of life’s directional markers. I am always surprised. Even though subliminally I knew another tectonic shift was coming because I was paying attention and I knew it was about time, I am surprised. I don’t necessarily like change. Change equates to … More Growing pains and fire hydrants.

True Beauty is Ageless.

It’s sad what our society has deemed beautiful. It it has become synonymous with youth, or body type, or any number of other societal designations. I looked at our wedding pictures and even put one up in my social media page because it’s fun to see us on our wedding day. As I looked at … More True Beauty is Ageless.

Finding Happiness.

Sometimes that’s a really hard thing to do. It takes tremendous effort, actually, and it feels very selfish. It is also very important. We see a country in turmoil. We see a plague ravaging the world and reinventing itself to expand the threat. We see people turning against each other to assign blame in a … More Finding Happiness.

Dreams and Play.

From the time we begin to engage in our world as a small child, and then start school, we find those who will admonish us if we spend too much time daydreaming. We’re told to be practical, pay attention, focus, make a plan, and develop stick-to-it-tive-ness. These are all quite admirable of course and necessary … More Dreams and Play.

Fun memories.

Following in the same venue of taking concerted steps towards slowing down, resetting, and choosing to move ahead on a more optimistic path, I’ve decided to simply play again. I guess if an artist decides to methodically paint with a common theme or statement, those works can be considered a series. I don’t know that … More Fun memories.

Take Your Time.

So as I think about what I need to do to sort things out I immediately remember something my dad used to tell me over and over when I would get overwhelmed. If I had a lot of tasks at hand looking like insurmountable challenges, he would quietly say, “… just stop. Take your time. … More Take Your Time.

Troubling Times.

Nothing is easy right now. Trying to look objectively at each of the instances affecting my life recently, from the small daily challenges to the national level events, everything feels harder to sort out and deal with than usual. Twenty twenty was admittedly a really hard year and the year at hand looks to be … More Troubling Times.


Here it is the first weekend of a New Year and because we still don’t have the opportunity to run out and play easily, we are home. The quiet time actually lends itself very well to thinking. I agree, thinking is something that we profess to do continually but I’m referring to that deep consideration … More Thankful.

The new year ahead.

Today is New Year’s Day and our thoughts turn to new beginnings, and making changes to our lives. No, I’m not going to start talking about diet and workout routines, and my own promises are things I will probably keep to myself. Quite honestly, I think that all of our personal lists going into 2021 … More The new year ahead.

What might the new year bring?

In less than a week we will begin a new year. We are always hopeful that somehow this invisible line in the sand caused by the flip of a calendar will somehow cause a miraculous shift to the better. The excitement and hope that we all experience causes us to make a plan, make a … More What might the new year bring?

Christmas greetings from the studio.

As this most unusual year comes to a close, let me take this moment to thank all of you who have followed and supported me as I share my art. May you all have a blessed Christmas and may the next year be one of peace and hope.


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.

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!


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