Kelly Pedersen Art
An Artist’s Destiny – Kelly Pedersen

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 painting.”

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:

• 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.