Featured Artist: Jo Ridge Kelley!

Heavenly Peace by Jo Ridge Kelley | 18″ x 18″ | Oil on Linen

Jo Ridge Kelley – fabulous style. Her love of the mountains is so apparent in her paintings. From looking at her website it looks like most of her paintings are much larger than this. I thought I had featured Jo many years ago, but when I double checked to see when the last year I featured her… I hadn’t. Good grief!

A delightful painting with gorgeous clouds full of light and the mountains in the distance. For those of you who are traveling to NC to view fall colors (whenever that may be, only Mother Nature knows for sure) – if you’re in the Waynesville, NC area – look for Jo’s gallery “Jo Ridge Kelley Fine Art” located on Main Street. I have yet to see one of Jo’s paintings in person, but hope to on our next trip that way!

Heavenly Peace is a beautiful painting – and a great memento for time spent in the mountains. Her clouds are so uplifting, aren’t they? My husband and I collect art wherever we go. Instead of buying things, we buy art. It gets hung on your wall and is a great reminder of time well spent.


WEBSITE | Instagram

About the Artist (via Jo’s website, click HERE to read in its entirety):

Jo Ridge Kelley is a plein air and studio oil painter and lives and works in Waynesville and Asheville, North Carolina.  Her studio-gallery,  is open to the public by chance and appointment Monday-Saturday, 136 North Main St., downtown Waynesville, NC.  

Her work is continually influenced by her traditional background and the “plein air” experience, setting up her easel and capturing the immediate mood or drama of the moment.  Many of the classical masters, as well as contemporary master plein air painters,  have had a strong impact on her work.   Jo’s curiosity, sincere appreciation of the natural world and desire to experiment with strong composition and design, have led her on an exciting journey with huge canvases and large brushes. 

“I feel it is essential for the artist to experiment and try new techniques.  This is how we grow, and let’s hope we never stop growing!  I enjoy going back and forth between mediums, especially when creating small studies.  The exciting colors and textures that many times happen accidentally during this exploration process, are invaluable to the creation of larger works.  The looseness and spontaneity of watercolor and gouache provide tremendous inspiration for my oil paintings.  I am not interested in describing every detail, I want the viewer to feel like they are walking right into the scene, participating in the moment, feeling and experiencing all that their imagination will allow.”  

Jo Ridge Kelley was born in High Point, North Carolina, and raised on a dairy farm in the Quaker tradition.  Surrounded by colorful hills and meadows, creeks and ponds, there was a bountiful natural world just outside the screen door. Jo escaped the household chores whenever she could to head across the pasture to sit by the creek and observe nature firsthand, many times sketching in her sketchbook.  As a teenager, she studied painting with an excellent local landscape oil painter. She began painting on a regular basis and sold her first paintings.  Jo attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she earned a degree in fine arts and art education.  She taught drawing and painting at the high school level for several years and continues to teach painting workshops in oils – en plein air (out in the open air).  Her work has been featured in several regional and national publications, including American Art Collector magazine.

The original paintings by Jo Ridge Kelley are held in private and corporate collections throughout the country and across the globe.  She enjoys creating large commissioned paintings of our mountain landscape, waterfalls, lily ponds and coastal scenes.  She recently completed a huge canvas in oils of Whitewater Falls (72″ x 40″), for a new home on Balsam Mountain Preserve.  A large horizontal painting of Cold Mountain (18″ x 72″), just off the easel, will also grace the walls of this elegant rustic home.  “This is what I love to do and feel very passionate about” says Jo. “Bring the beauty and energy of nature inside, where you can feel the essence of the place, beside the water or sitting on a mountain top drinking in the inspiration.  I want to share the joy of my experience being out there!  My paintings tend to make people happy and give them peace…and that is a good thing.  For me, it just doesn’t get any better than that.”  

Jo lives in Waynesville with her artist husband, Ed Kelley, and their two amazing studio dogs.


👩‍💻 Until next time…


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