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Fine Art Paintings by Jo Ridge Kelley

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Fine art Oil Paintings by Jo Ridge Kelley

"Crabtree Falls" by Jo Ridge Kelley

Fine Art Originals – Oil Paintings by Jo Ridge Kelley

Mountain Made art gallery welcomes Jo Ridge Kelley as its featured artist for the summer of 2016.  The gallery will be hosting a series of artist demonstrations given by Ms. Kelley from June until November 2016.

Fine Art Paintings - By Jo Ridge Kelley

Ms. Kelley is well-known in the state and art community for her expressive plein air and studio landscapes and abstractions from nature.

She has works in private and corporate collections all across the globe and has often been featured in American fine art magazines over the years.

Since childhood, growing up on a dairy farm in rural North Carolina, Ms. Kelley has felt a deep-rooted bond with nature’s perennial beauty and power.

Today, as a talented and accomplished artist, every stroke of her paintbrush or palette knife is flowing with this lifelong passion as evidenced by the bold and powerful color harmonies and soothing organic textures.


Ms. Kelley says, “For me, painting is a way of sharing my love of the land, and hopefully conveying to viewers what it feels like to breathe in the sights, sounds and smells of a glorious landscape. I find making art a very emotional experience.”

For Kelley, art is a means to express and share with viewers her innermost joy and gratitude for the myriad of forms and moods of the natural world, and those emanating from the ever-restless topography of the human imagination. Her paintings are a convergence point at which the artist’s painterly interpretation meets a visual world colored by divine mystery.

“When I begin a painting, I take inspiration from a beautiful light, color, form or texture and then continue working through observation. But the painting soon takes on life of its own,” she said.

“More often, I end up choosing exaggerated and unexpected color relationships and compositions that reflect my emotional response more so than what I’m seeing in front of me. I find it much more satisfying to be guided as much by my imagination and memory as my eyes.”

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Ms. Kelley’s intimate connection with nature was nurtured by the day-to-day milieu of the dairy farm where she grew up. She was born in High Point NC  and raised in the Quaker tradition. By living in the old home place of her grandparents, which she shared with her parents and four siblings.

Grabbing a sketchbook and sitting in a meadow or beside a creek, drawing trees, rocks and wildflowers, provided a respite from her daily chores. Art offered Ms. Kelley an exciting creative outlet and brought her welcome praise from family, teachers and friends.

She continued this artistic journey studying drawing and painting at the UNC-Charlotte and graduated with a Bachelor of Creative Arts. After college, she taught art at the high school level for several years. She now continues today to conduct annual private workshops.


After marrying photographer Ed Kelley, the two artists made their home in Waynesville NC. They opened their own studio/gallery, Ridge Runner Naturals, showcasing their wildlife screen prints, original paintings and fine art photography. The couple also shared their gallery space with their daughter. Their daughter is a talented jewelry designer.

Turning point

Ms. Kelley’s career reached a turning point in 2008. After spending a week-long mentorship in Canada with the En Plein Air Masters, working along side Kevin Macpherson, Kenn Backhaus and John Cosby, among others.

This invaluable experience working with these contemporary Masters, has had a significant impact on Ms. Kelley’s work. Her works are richer, more colorful grays, deep shadows and intense light. The paintings are  now expressed with a greater sense of confidence.Camera 110

Painting in a bolder manner also creates a greater impact. She enjoys experimenting with new color relationships and sometimes abstracted subject matter on ever-larger canvases.

Her paintings, which can lean toward abstracted images with an expressionistic palette, evoke a rare combination of alluring calm and formidable power-characteristics shared by the landscapes, which inspired them.

She has gained momentum in her career and has now created a demand for her work. Her dramatic, moody landscapes and her vibrant impressionistic series is a must see.

For the dates and times of Jo’s live events, click to check out our > Events. Visit the gallery, whenever you are in downtown Asheville.

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