Here’s Kelly in her own words:
I had a scholarship to study drawing for a year at the Florence Academy of Art; I spent all of my time in the studio copying 19th century lithographs and drawing 3-5 hours a day from the model. After my scholarship year was up I decided to stay but not to continue at the academy. Instead I took my easel outside and began my adventure in exploring Italy through paint. I got hooked, I can’t stop, it seems that there is always something else to explore, a better way to understand the light and history and people and food of a place. This was 8 years ago now, which is hard to believe, but here I am, still on my painting adventure, as I like to call it.
...the Macchiaioli because they are the experts on Italian light, Boldini for his bold, fearless brushwork, Francesco LaJacono, a Sicilian landscape painter and a favorite for his bold use of color and the lyricism of his work. I love the mental approach of Cezanné and the quiet perplexity of Morandi. I also travel to the U.S. and paint at least once a year in some paintouts and competitions in order to meet other painters, be pushed to do my best and learn from artists better than myself. Then there is the contradictory element to all of this, which is not spending too much time looking at other painter’s work in order to develop something of my own. I am in search of something that is not only about a personal palette and color choice, but a personal voice. In Rome there aren’t many plein air painters, so I don’t have many contemporaries to compare myself with.
A strong sense of color has always dominated my work, and I relate and think in blocks of color when painting. Since being in Rome my work has evolved mainly in three areas:
1) Color palette/choices
2) Narration or using paintings to attempt to tell the story of a place
3) Dialogue and interaction playing a major role in my work
Rome has a quality of light that is intense and extremely warm in nature - either golden or pink/red. I adore it and search to bring it out in my plein air work.
In October I will exhibit 35 paintings and their accompanying stories, all from the last year and a half since I moved to Rome in late 2010. The city was so overwhelming at first that I began by inventing a project called When In Rome to explore the different neighborhoods by painting them. While I’m painting on the street people stop to see what I’m doing so I take those opportunities to talk to them and to ask them about the place, its history and their personal story of the place. It’s been a great way to get to know the city, its history and inhabitants. It’s also of the utmost importance to me personally to document Rome how it is today.
Kelly’s website, including details of the sketching workshops is at http://kellymedford.com
Her Adventures in Painting daily blog, with pictures and purchase information is at http://kellymedford.blogspot.com/
Read about the happy experience of one student who took a sketching workshop at http://alifeinrome.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/experiencing-rome-through-the-eyes-of-an-artist-me-on-a-sketching-tour/
images courtesy of kellymedford.com