Artist captures life in paintings
The paint on the walls of Kendall Kessler’s Radford home doesn’t come from hardware stores.
It is not a safe white or beige or blue. The walls of every room burst with a rainbow of textured colors corralled by slender frames of metal and wood. The walls leave no doubt as to the passion of this artist.
Of her 26 years living in Radford, Kessler spent 19 of them as an art professor at the nearby Radford University, teaching art appreciation and foundation, oil painting and watercolors. She retired this year to spend her efforts on her own artwork created in a studio just steps from her bedroom.She is a longtime member of the Blacksburg Regional Art Association.
Kessler’s oil pieces on Masonite are mostly large and done in brightly detailed impasto style. Her pastels are smooth and blended on paper.
”I prefer to work from my photographs and sketches,” Kessler said.
“I seek to celebrate life in my artwork. There are so many simple and spectacular images all around us.”
Kessler often visits outdoor sites with her husband, Clyde, a natural and poet, who has introduced her to destinations such as Fancy Gap and Rocky Knob. She photographs these place and later interprets them in oils or pastels.
While Kendall Kessler seeks photos of scenes to paint, Clyde Kessler photographs caterpillars and moths. In 1998, he discovered an endangered Mitchell Satyr butterfly in Southwest Virginia.
While the caterpillar photos must be detailed and realistic, the photos Kendall Kessler takes are just a jumping-off point for her.
“I base my landscapes on my photos and add my own expression,” she said. “I consider my work a mix of impressionism and expressionism.”
Among her home gallery of landscapes can be found several portraits, one of which is of her husband cradling their then-infant son, Alan.
“One day when Alan was about 2, he stopped in front of the painting, stared at it, and broke out into a big smile, then went on his way,” she said. “Later, I discovered he had gone back to the painting with a crayon and left his own marks on it.”
Kessler is currently reducing the number of exhibits in which she participates in favor of marketing her work online. Those efforts recently paid off in a very public way.
A print of her work has appeared on “The Mindy Project,” a new show on FOX network. Another request was made for one of her landscape pieces to appear on “The Desperate Housewives,” but couldn’t be made as the photo of the painting wasn’t high-enough quality for today’s technology.
This coming spring, Kessler will be seen on My19 TV on “The Hour of Joy” with Joy Sutton in Roanoke. The show will be taped with several of her paintings in view on Jan. 26, and the tentative airdate is April 3.
While Kessler considers her art style to be unique to her, she has been influenced by the work of Paul Cezanne, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pierre Bonnard and Jan Vermeer. She has exhibited extensively in the United States, winning numerous awards in both oil and pastels in local, national and international level shows.
Kessler has artwork in private collections in 19 states, Washington, D.C., Canada, Germany and Australia. She currently has six art videos on YouTube and accompanies the video with her own piano playing.
She is happy to accept commissions and her studio is open to the public by appointment by calling 540-257-3437.
Kessler’s work can be seen at:
– Submitted by Gerri Young
No Comments »
No comments yet.