Expression of emotion is one of the strongest forces that
motivates an artist to create. Kelly Pedersen had a
natural inclination to draw at an early age; her father is
an abstract artist and her mother, a musician. It almost
seems as if creating art was her destiny. The richness of
color and exquitite detail of her work clearly show the
talent, passion and dedication of this artist.
Pedersen’s story begins in Brewster, NY, where she was
the oldest of three daughters. She was a very sensitive
and shy child, but fondly remembers growing up in the
country, “…where I would spend my free time playing
outside with my sisters and pets. We would swim, and
ice skate, on the pond at the back of the property, with
our faithful dogs and many friends.” Each summer her
family travelled to Oklahoma to visit relatives, and often
used that location as a jumping-off point to visit National
Parks out West. Pedersen’s parents instilled in her a love
of travel and seeing new sights. Her favorite memories
are of when they vacationed at the ocean. To this day,
she and her family visit the Outer Banks, NC or the Gulf
of Mexico in FL every year.
As a child of artists, Pedersen was exposed to different
genres of art and music while growing up. Her parents
encouraged all of their daughters to pursue artistic and
musical pursuits. By the time Pedersen reached high
school, she realized her love of visual arts was most
important, and would be a permanent part of her life.
Accordingly, she attended Syracuse University and
graduated with a BFA in Illustration. Pedersen recalls
that, “I was in heaven taking classes in Drawing, Painting,
Graphic Design and even a course in Fashion Design! The
breadth and depth of the classes I took continue to
influence my work today.”
Pedersen married her college sweetheart soon after
graduating. They started a family, and she was soley
focused on her children for many years. There were
times, she says, “… when I shared some children-book
illustrations I had drawn, but I found it difficult to
complete most of them, due to the time and energy
requisite of raising three kids.” As they grew older,
Pedersen took time to earn her Master’s Degree in
Education. She had a short career at a private school
which allowed her to be on the same schedule as her
children. Pedersen and her husband helped to financially
support their three children through college, and after
that, she felt eager to follow her passion for art again.
The first workshops and classes Pedersen attended were
at the Zoll Fine Art Studio in Baltimore, MD. She has
always been impressed by artists such as Raphael and
Michelangelo and feels that they have now “greatly
influenced [her] paintings.” Her first classes of ‘Old
Masters Style in Oil Painting’ (OMS) confirmed her
resolve to follow in their paths. Pedersen considers her
teacher, Carol Lee Thompson, as her mentor because of
her success as an artist painting people, animals and
landscapes. Thompson also helped Pedersen develop her
own unique style in all of these areas.
In addition to the OMS, Pedersen highly respects some
Impressionist painters like Monet, Renoir and Cassatt.
When painting landscapes she tries to “capture some of
the colors and techniques from them. I find that the
more I learn, the more I don’t know. I believe discovering
my gifts in painting will be an ongoing process, and,
perhaps, never completely mastered.”
Through artist workshops and personal exploration,
Pedersen has come to deeply appreciate the natural
beauty of people and animals. Pedersen has this to say
about her subjects: “Each child, adult or animal has
something unique and significant about them, and when
I am able to emotionally connect with them, that is what
I hope to capture in each portrait. I feel I have been
successful if someone who knows the subject tells me I
have truly depicted their personality and it feels as if they
are about to ‘pop’ out of the painting. I am meticulous
about the detail in my oil paintings, but it is more
important to me to capture the essence of the subject.”
Pedersen has recently published a children’s book that
she wrote and illustrated. “Finding Love on Summer Hill
Farm,” was a chance for Pedersen to add her own
whimsical touch to the animal characters in the story.
Based on her actual family pets, she infuses them with
human qualities such as wisdom, understanding and
unconditional love. Pedersen has always admired the
author/illustrator Beatrix Potter for her animal
characters such as “Peter Rabbit.” She similarly dresses
her sheltie dogs in human apparel for her book. Pedersen
says that, “Creating my book was such a joy because it
afforded me the opportunity to focus on everything that
is most dear to me – my family, my pets, drawing and
Pedersen feels she has much left to accomplish, and she
tries to find time to paint most days of the week. This
proves difficult, at times, because her priority will always
be her family. Her three children and five grandchildren
live close by, and her parents need her help at times, as
well. Pedersen wants to develop her artistic talents as
fully as she can, and will strive to do so during the
remainder of her life. She believes that everyone should
develop what is special about them. For Pedersen, it
seems it was her destiny to become the accomplished
artist that she is today.
• Kelly Pedersen grew up in rural NY and received her B.F.A. from Syracuse University.
• She received her Master in Education from Loyola College and taught special education for many years.
• After raising three children and many pets she is now pursuing her second career in illustrating and painting.
• Kelly has been inspired by her own horses, dogs and cats, and the impact they have had on her family's lives.
• In her illustrations, she hopes people feel a sense of delight and playfulness as her animals take on human qualities. It is her desire to inspire the special relationship that pets often have with their families.
• Her "children and pet" portraits will capture the personality of people's beloved children and pets. Drawing and painting helps her express the world around her in a unique perspective.
• She has taken classes by local artists and has an Art Studio at Marketview Arts Building in York, PA.
• She is having her first children's book published, and the release date is August 2016.
• Kelly is a member of the York Art Association and the Pennsylvania Arts Experience: PAArtsExperience.com.
• She has shown her art work at the York Art Association and the Pennsylvania Arts Experience.
• Kelly currently lives in Stewartstown on a small farm with her husband, horses, dogs, and cats.
• She enjoys having her married children and one granddaughter living close by.
• Kelly can be contacted at home or in her art studio in Marketview Arts Building.