Kelly’s endless fascination with distant vistas, endless fields, free-flowing streams and distant mountains started when she traveled across the western US with her family on road trips to visit family or a cabin in the San Juan Islands – and have become a consistent theme of Kelly’s work today. The pathways and waterways depicted in many of her paintings tell the story of her own life journey – with its joys and pain, healing and resolve.
Collectors all over the country see their own life journey in Kelly Sooter’s compelling contemporary landscapes. In fact, it’s not unusual for Kelly to get a call from a gallery owner telling her that someone cried while looking at a painting, purchased it, had their hotel hang it in their room before shipping it to their home across the country. They saw their own hopes and journey depicted in Kelly’s imagery.
Unable to find a classic art education in the Pacific Northwest – Kelly chose to study with four European Masters over a 20 year period. Each master ingrained centuries-old techniques – forming the foundation of her work. Her most recent study was with Nancy Bush – an internationally known landscape artist and expert in creating mood and atmosphere. However, Kelly says that nature itself is the best teacher.
Created primarily on oil-primed canvas, Kelly prefers using high-grade oil paint that is hand-ground pure pigment mixed with linseed oil and beeswax – the same recipe used by European artists for centuries.
Other professional artists, like Kelly see art is a solitary profession. She has put in thousands of brush miles and untold solo hours in the studio or in the wilderness painting to find her unique style and artistic voice. However, make no mistake – Kelly sees it as a life of adventure – including being chased by more dogs than she can count, running from an enormous spotted hog, working fast in active Montana grizzly country and making the mistake of doing photography in the Methow Valley during the height of deer hunting season…..
Kelly’s unique take on the Western landscape has her painting in the wilds of Wyoming, Utah, Eastern Idaho, Tennessee, Montana and Washington State. She’s received numerous awards – including a recent award by Manhattan Arts International, and a recent collection was part of an exhibit that won “Best Art in Ellensburg” – awarded by the Chamber of Commerce. She’s a member of American Women Artists, Oil Painters of America, the American Impressionist Society and the American Marine Artists Association among others.
Kelly now creates in two studios – one in the Puget Sound area and another on the edge of the Mojave Desert southern Utah where her studio has 180 degree views of red mesas and 10,000 foot mountains. It has had an enormous impact on her imagery and palette. Now she just needs to learn how to deal with a new set of wildlife!