The Bellefonte Art Museum: Alice Kelsey

Posted on March 2, 2013 

One of the more than 60 artists listed in the Bellefonte Art Museum’s registry is Alice Kelsey. Here is her statement:

I have always lived in rural areas, and feel deeply connected to the forms and forces within the landscape.  Working primarily in oil and pastel, I strive to convey the atmosphere of a particular time and place, the depth of the moment which caught my eye. I’m especially inspired by the every-changing nuances of light and color in the landscape, as they transform with phases of the day and season.  I enjoy working on location with a backpacker French easel and minimalist supplies, as well as in the studio from memory and evoked images. 

The greatest draw for me, full of both mystery and strength, is in the integrative aspects of the creative process.  It is what compels me to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to sketch, and to always have more to discover. There is a sense of tenderness and wonder when physical, emotional and spiritual forces resonate, and color flows to the painting with purpose, yet beyond it.  In each painting there is a searching, of not quite knowing how it will end up, but following a current.  I’m after a sense of wholeness without losing the power of raw expression, and believe that there are ‘kinds of finish’, not just ‘degrees of finish’.  Some pieces are visual poems, others novels.

Most of my paintings include a recognizable subject, but I’m predominantly interested in the interplay of color and form, not just representation.  I want to describe the connections between things-- between forms in a scene, and between the viewer and the forms.  There is a dynamism in these relations, a current of life force, which pulls living things together or apart, near or far, solid or wispy, bright or dim. In landscapes, I want to fill a painting with the “smell” of the place, a sense of the wind or cold, the light-- what was stirring there on a particular day.

Art underlies all major endeavors in my life, having found aesthetic expression in athletics, flyfishing, and the practice of medicine in addition to its most direct outflow in painting.  For me, it is also a medium of spiritual formation, and a life-long, fulfilling searching.


Alice Kelsey is a full-time painter residing in central Pennsylvania.  Her artistic development extends back to childhood sketching sessions with her grandfather through outstanding art instruction in high school, and courses in painting and printmaking throughout college.  Alice Kelsey has exhibited her work and received awards at regional and national shows, and is a juried member of the Maryland Pastel Society. 

Alice grew up in Chester Springs and graduated from Westtown School.  She received a B.A. degree from Hamilton College in New York, focusing on biology and art, and an M.D. degree from Michigan State University.  She lives with her husband and three children in a rural area near State College.

The Bellefonte Art Museum celebrates the human spirit through the arts, recognizing the importance of art in our lives. In 2011, the museum experienced a large increase in attendance, private donations and membership and completed refurbishing the historic Linn House. The museum opened three new galleries: the Children’s Creativity Center, the Anna Wagner Keichline Gallery and the new Louise Bloom Sieg Gallery. The museum is opened Friday through Sunday from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Phone 814.355.4280


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