Joe Ray Kelley Art Blog
Local artist coordinating national exhibit Entertainment - Entertainment Written by Michael Westblade Thursday, 04 December 2008 00:00 For the first time in its 18-year history, the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society__™s Signature Artist Invitational will be in the Kansas City area.
And it__™s all thanks to Joe Ray Kelley, a Parkville artist who also happens to be chairman of the Signature Artist Group, an elite branch of the society that only allows members in after they have had paintings win awards in national shows for three consecutive years. Kelley spent the last year coordinating the event, which runs until Saturday, Feb. 7, at ARTichokes, an art gallery at 10557 Mission Road in Leawood, Kan.Anna Faltermeier/Sun News " Joe Kelley of Kansas City North poses with his most recent painting, ___Outback Girl.___ Kelley™s work will be on display at the National Oil and Acrylic Painters__™ Society__™s ___Best of America___ exhibit in Leawood.
Twice retired from the Air Force and meteorology, Kelley is an unlikely candidate for the title of signature artist, but after he retired in 2001, he was looking for something to occupy his time and found the canvas. As it turned out, he was pretty good at it.
Kelley said 40 years of drawing weather maps and a childhood love of art primed him for a fast acclimation to oil and acrylic painting.
The draw for him, Kelley said, is getting to create.
"I like taking a blank canvas and making something come to life almost," he said. "You__™re just trying to come up with a masterpiece. Painting isn__™t something I have to rely on for my total living expenses, but I enjoy it and want to continue as long as I can."
Kelley__™s favorite subject matter is architecture and, in particular, that of LaBoca, a neighborhood in Buenos Aries, Argentina. He said he loves the bright and vivid colors of the area, and he was commissioned to do nine paintings of the neighborhood for Piropos restaurant in Parkville, which features Argentinian dishes.
Kelley was also featured in an international gallery in Florence, Italy, in 2003.
In addition to coordinating the event, Kelley will also have two paintings on display for the Signature Artist Invitational.
According to Jackie Warren, art director at the ARTichokes gallery, there will be 80 paintings on display for the invitational, and admission to the gallery is free. The invitational will feature artists from 31 states, she said, and 12 of them are from the region, and four are from the Kansas City area, including Kelley.
The paintings on display, Warren said, are all professional quality pieces and they are traditional in style.
"It__™s a pretty traditional show," she said. "There are only one or two abstract pieces in the show, so there__™s not a lot of abstract. It__™s pretty cool; this show has never been here in 18 years, and this is the first time it will be in the Kansas City area."