Two or three times a year, Scott Kelley leaves his home in Peaks Island, Maine, to travel through the scrub and marshland of South Florida, looking for things that, he says, “most people don’t pay attention to.”
Kelley prepares sketches and photos of birds, plants and whatever else captures his attention, before returning to his studio in Maine to turn his observations into masterful paintings and drawings.
“Winter,” Kelley says, “is my most productive time.”
Master of Watercolor
The richness of Kelley’s works comes from his use of watercolors made in Europe, which he uses like oils, applying as many as 30 to 40 layers of paint to create luxurious colors and details.
His ink drawings get their richness from his ability to control every line, every shade and detail.
Kelley began working in watercolors when he was a child and continued to work in this most difficult medium while attending the Cooper Union School of Art, the Slade School of Fine Art in London and then as a fellow at the Glassell School of Art in Houston. His mastery of watercolor is apparent in all of his work.
The Lily Pads
Scott Kelley’s fascination with birds is apparent. He has studied them, learned about them and paints them. He has also done the same with rocks, ropes, whalers’ families and lily pads.
Kelley says that the title, The Riddle of the Lily Pads, is an old environmentalist riddle. “Start with two lily pads in a pond, and they each produce a lily pad a day. The pond is overwhelmed by lily pads on the 30th day. On what day was the pond half full?
“The same logic applies to all species: overpopulation always happens at the very end of the life cycle, when it’s too late to do anything about it.
“Besides,” he says, “it’s a great title!”
I Am Birch
Scott Kelley’s book I Am Birch is scheduled for release on April 27th. Kelly created a series of paintings based on the legendary stories of the Native American Wabanaki tribe of New England.
He turned the drawings into the story of a wise birch tree stump, which remains calm and rooted, during a time of chaos in the forest.
The characters in the story depict animals, like the bear and rabbit, used in Wakanabi legends, dressed as tribal elders.