Scott Kelley


Scott Kelley is an American artist, whose focus is on the birds and landscapes surrounding his home in Maine.


Early Life and Education

Scott Kelley was born in Binghamton, New York in 1963. “Having grown up as an only child,” he says, “I just made up the world as I went along.” His family spent summers in Maine, which has been the inspiration for much of his work. Kelley attended Cooper Union School of Art, the Slade School of Fine Art in London and was a fellow at the Glassell School of Art in Houston.


Career and Family Life

In 1988, after completing an artist-in-residence program in Houston, Kelley moved to New York City. He painted in his apartment and worked for artist Julian Schnabel for seven years, “glueing plates back on paintings.” Kelley began drawing and painting from nature when he and his wife, Gail, moved to Long Island, around 1998.


He became fascinated with birds, and visited the L.C. Bates Museum in Hinckley, Maine, to study their collection, making notes about their color, taking their measurements. Kelley also became interested in the extinct and rare species of birds in the museum’s collection.


Combining his fascination of 1900-era postcards of Maine with his passion for birds, Kelley often uses the scenic vistas on the old cards as backgrounds for his bird paintings. He tints and treats the paper so that it has an antique look and feel. 


For several years, Kelley has painted pot warp, the rope used by lobster fishermen in Maine. He says that he became interested in painting the rope when he noticed their intense colors, which tended to fade with time, use and exposure to the sun. He has also done works that focus on the history of whaling in Maine, creating paintings of whales and portraits of the children of lost whalers.

Kelley moved to Peaks Island in 2004 and works from his home studio. Besides numerous solo exhibitions, Kelley’s work can be found in public and private collections, including the Portland Museum of Art and the Portland Public Library.


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