John Kelley


  • 2010 Grand Prize - Energen Art Competition
  • Pastel Journal Top 100 (3rd place – still life category)
  • Best of Show, Alabama Pastel Society, Regional Show
  • Best of Show, Southeastern Pastel Society, Members Show
  • Best of Show, Winterhaven Artfest, FL
  • Best of Show, Alabama Pastel Society, Members Show
  • Best of Show, Eau Gallie Arts and Jazz Festival
  • Best of Show, Gainesville 18th Annual Downtown Art Festival
  • First Place, Painting, Mainsail, St. Petersburg FL
  • First Place, Painting, Artigras, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Display History:

  • New Britain Museum of Art (Spring 2011)
  • Berman Museum
  • Mobile Museum of Art
  • Huntsville Museum of Art
  • Montgomery Museum of Art


Culver Stockten College, Canton MO
Bryan College, Dayton TN


It is incredible enough that I have been blessed with an amazing family but I also have the pleasure of creating art for a living and doing most of my work only 100 feet from my home. My five children are regular disruptions to my workday here in Alabama and I would not have it any other way. Even my yellow lab Buzby gets in on the act when no one else is around to praise him.

A desire to create art runs in the family. My oldest daughter loves photography, my middle daughter spends days at a time adding to her sketch book and my youngest son creates various devices of war with his lego’s. Well, maybe lego’s are not art but certainly the love to create is embedded in our genetic code.

In the early 90’s I discovered the convenience of painting with pastels. They were quick to set up, quick to put away, and quick for getting from point A to point B in the painting process. Pastels are a fantastic place to start if you are just beginning to paint. Most of my paintings during these years were still life and I was fortunate enough to win ‘The Best of Show’ in the Southeastern Pastel Society Members Show with one of these paintings.

The use of pastels has had a direct impact on my oil paintings. I find myself constantly striving to gain the transparency of color and the softness of edges that are so apparent when using pastels. I have also come to realize at this "middle" stage of life that art is far more meaningful than simply presenting "pleasing pictures".

Art as Revelation

Art declares that there is more to life than meets the eye. It opens our minds to a simple truth: words fall short in describing the stories of sorrow, beauty, joy and brevity that we all experience.

When I was a teenager I took a day trip to the St. Louis Art Museum and tried to write a poem based on my observations of a large painting. I quickly found that the mosaic of brushwork brought to my mind three-dimensional ideas that could not be expressed with a pen. The power of the artist’s painted image grabbed my soul and my desire to “reveal” with paint was permanently sealed.