Kathleen Elsey | American Artist


Kathleen Elsey — American Artist Artist

Kathleen Elsey, Santa Barbara artist, paints landscape, beach scenes, still lifeand interior scenes. She offers paintingKathleen Elsey  workshops and classes in New Mexico and California. She closed the doors of Kathleen Elsey Design, Inc., her San Francisco marketing corporation, in 1998 to pursue her dream of painting.

"It was a smooth transition since I have a fine arts degree from way back and had been painting with a passion since 1994. My love of painting and fine arts overcame my love of the challenging fast pace of design, marketing & branding some of the finest fortune 500 companies in Silicon Valley."

Kathleen Elsey, Santa Barbara artist and Fauve Expressionist painter finds inspiration in her fellow New Fauves and the famous French fauve painters of the early 20th century. She has studied with many of the Taos masters including Ray Vinella, Barbara Zaring and Alyce Frank.

Artist Group Memberships

New Fauves, Founding Member
Plein Air Painters of New Mexico, Signature Member
American Impressionist Society Past Signature Member
National Association of Women Artists, Past Signature Member 

Artist Statement

My interest in painting is with direct paint application in an expressive manner while using pure color combinations and meaty brushstrokes. The energetic emotion of moving paint around on the canvas, searching for shapes and colors, keeps me from seeing details. My colors are intensified and spontaneous in my hopes for a painting full of spirit. I search relentlessly for colors. If I don’t see the colors, I make up the colors. I try to hit the values in the range they should be, but with color, I think anything goes.

While I am searching for colors, I am thinking about composition. I like to experiment with planes and their relationships to each other. With big brushes I make swift rough strokes using blocks of color beside each other until an image emerges, especially when painting a large canvas in the studio with a multitude of figures like inAt the Beach, Brighton”.  One artist reviewer recently described my paintings as mighty and memorable with a bold touch of post-Fauvist meets punk. In 1998, a San Francisco artist reviewer said my Fauvist paintings exhibited a dramatic brush with life. Since then, I have been teaching painting workshops known as “Brush with Life” across the country.

I chase light and shadows. I freeze colors and shapes and make those marks on my canvas. Recently my compositions have taken on a complexity forcing me to simplify as I sort through the shapes I see and try to organize them through paint.

Kathleen Elsey, American Artist Kathleen Elsey Painting Workshops Kathleen Elsey painting on the cliffs above the Rio Grande the day before the Kathleen Elsey Painting Workshop was to begin in Taos, New Mexico. More about Kathleen Elsey painting workshops here.  "I made several paintings while in Taos, and this one is my favorite. An avid hiker and photographer came by and offered to take my picture while plein air painting. This was before digital cameras, and he even remembered to snail mail me a print of this dramatic portrait of me painting the Rio." Kathleen Elsey painting workshops are offered in Santa Barbara, California, Sonoma California, New Mexico and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.  

Biography | EducationKathleen Elsey

Fine Arts Degree Bowling Green University, Honors Program
1980 UC Davis, CA Fine Arts Travel/Study, London, Paris, Basel
1998 – Today      "I will always be a student."


Solo Painting Exhibitions

2122 Featured Artist Kathyrne Designs, Montecito, California
2019 Kathryne Design & Gallery, Montecito California Featured Artist
2016 Nineteen Years Retrospective, Santa Barbara Studio Gallery
2015 Brush with Life, Alain Pinel, Mill Valley, Ca.
2014 Solo Painting Exhibition Thos. Moser San Francisco
2012 “Brush with Life” Solo Painting Exhibition Thos. Moser, San Francisco, Ca.
2012  Santa Barbara Open Studio Exhibition "Fourteen Years"
2011 - 2012 Solo Painting Exhibition Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards, Healdsburg, Ca.
2011 “Brush with Life”Solo Painting Exhibition Thos. Moser Gallery, San Francisco, Ca.
2009 “Inside Out” Studio & Plein Air Paintings Architectural Foundation, Santa Barbara, Ca.
2009 “Living Color” Solo Painting Exhibition, Divine Inspiration Gallery, Santa Barbara, Ca.
2007 “Studio Artist Painting Visions” Solo Exhibition, University Club, Santa Barbara, California
2006 “The Fauve” Bartholomew Park , Sonoma, Ca
2005 “Lavender & Country Scenes”  October, Matanzas Creek Winery, Santa Rosa, California
2003 “New Plein Air Paintings” Sun Valley Gallery, Sun Valley, ID
2002 “New Plein Air Paintings” The Marine Gallery, Kirkland, WA
2002 “Spring Color” Kathleen Elsey New Paintings at The Edmund's Gallery, Sonoma, Ca.
2001 Bank of the Redwoods, Santa Rosa, California
2000 October City Hall, Sebastopol, California
2000 California Collectors’ Gallery, Kentfield, California
2000 Solo Painting Exhibition, Wm. Lester Gallery, Pte. Reyes, Ca.
1999 R. W. Nielsen Gallery, Kathleen Elsey Paintings, Solo Exhibition, Sunnyvale, Ca.

Group Exhibitions

2021 Wilder Nightengale Gallery Taos, New Mexico –Plein Air Painters New Mexico annual juried exhibition
2020 Taos Museum Juried exhibition, Taos, New Mexico
2019 Plein Air Painters of New Mexico Annual Exhibition, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2018 - 2019 Taos Museum, Fechin House Invitational November 2018 thru April 2019
2018 Plein Air Painters New Mexico Juried Exhibition
2017 Sorrel Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico juried Plein Air Painters of New Mexico Award Winner "Louisa McElwain Memorial" Award!
2017 Distinctive Art Gallery, Santa Barbara “Let There be Color“

2016 Sullivan Goss American Gallery, Holiday Exhibition
2016 Four Fauves in California - Four person exhibition, Santa Barbara, Ca
2016 Sorrel Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico juried Plein Air Painters Best of Signature Painters!
2016 Santa Barbara Natural History Museum Art Walk juried exhibition

2016 Kamp Gallery, Chicago, Spring Salon Sale
2015 Santa Fe Collectors' Gallery Plein Air Painters of New Mexico
Double Award Winner!!
2015 One Hundred Grand, Sullivan Goss American Gallery, Santa Barbara, Ca.
2015 Portico Gallery, Santa Barbara Holiday Small Works Exhibition
2014 Plein Air Painters New Mexico annual juried exhibition
Award Winner!
2013 October  Award of Excellence, Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos

2013 May 16 - June 22  Westmont Museum Annual Juried Exhibition, Montecito, Ca.
2013 July National Association of Women Artists’ Annual Exhibition, NYC, NY
2013 August International Society of Acrylic Painters Annual Exhibition, Paso Robles, Ca.
2013 Casa Magazine Twenty Year Celebration Invitational, June -July, Santa Barbara, California

2012 June - August “At the Water’s Edge” Kamp Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
2012 “Off the Wall” Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, C California
2012 April - May “Mediterranean Masters,” Kamp Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
2011 Santa Barbara Studio Artists, Plein Air Painting, Open Studio August
2011 Maritime Museum “The Salty Edge” Two-Woman Exhibition, Santa Barbara, CA
2010 Santa Barbara Studio Artists, Plein Air Painting, Open Studio August
2010 “The Spirit of Place“ Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos, New Mexico
2009 National Association of Women Artists’ Annual Exhibition, Salmagundi Club, New York, NY
2009 Bakersfield Museum September 08 through March 09, Bakersfield, CA
2008 Albuquerque Museum “Miniatures & More” Albuquerque, New Mexico
2008 Fielding Institution, Santa Barbara, California
2007 American Impressionist Society Juried Exhibition, Chicago, IL
2007 “Figuratively Speaking” Harris & Fredda Meisel Gallery, Santa Barbara, Ca.
2006 Sedona Plein Air Invitational, Sedona, AZ
2006 Carmel Plein Air Invitational, Carmel, California
2006 William Lester Gallery, Pte. Reyes Station, California
2005 Carmel Plein Air Invitational, Carmel, California
2005 Marin/Scapes Invitational Benefit Exhibition, Larkspur, California
2004 Carmel Plein Air Invitational, Carmel, CA
2004 Marin/Scapes Invitational Benefit Exhibition, Larkspur, CA
2004 “En Couleur” Nancy Dodds Gallery, Carmel, California
2004 “En Couleur” Wm. Lester Gallery, Pte. Reyes Station, California
2003 Two-person show, California Collectors’ Gallery, Kentfield, California
2003 En Couleur, William Lester Gallery, Pte Reyes Station, CA
2002 MarinScapes, Plein Air paintings of Marin County and San Francisco, Larkspur, CA
2002 En Couleur, William Lester Gallery, Pte. Reyes Station, CA
2001 National Juried Exhibition of Painting, Bristol Art Museum, Bristol, RI
2001 National Association of Women Artists Juried Exhibition, Heritage Hall Museum, Talladega, AL
2001 American Impressionist Society National Juried Exhibition, William Lester Gallery, Pte. Reyes, CA
2001 Two-person Exhibition “New Color” California Collectors’ Gallery, Kentfield, CA
2001 May, En Couleur Group Exhibition, William Lester Gallery, Pte. Reyes Station, CA
2001 Days of Wine & Lavender Invitational, Matanzas Creek Winery, Santa Rosa, CA
2001 November, California Collectors’ Gallery, Kentfield, CA
2000 Marin Open Space Invitational, William Lester Gallery, Pte. Reyes, CA
2000 Carmel Art Festival Juried Plein Air Exhibition, Carmel, CA
2000 “Arts on Fire” Juried Exhibition, Sanchez Art Center, Pacifica, CA
2000 “Monday Morning Painters” Juried Exhibition, Gallery One, Petaluma, CA
1999 Sausalito Art Festival, Painter Artist Sausalito, California
1998 Mill Valley Paint Off, Mill Valley, CA
1998 Studio Artist and Plein Air Open Studio Mill Valley, California
1998 Don Pedro Painting Exhibition, Sayulita, Mexico
“Open Fine Arts” Marin Society of Artists, Ross, CA
1998-1999 “Energy-The Gift of Nature” Energy Process Resource Institute, Palo Alto, CA

Awards | Commissions | Honors

2017 Plein Air Painters New Mexico exhibition "Louisa McElwain Memorial Award"
2016 Plein Air Painters New Mexico exhibition, "Best of Signature Painters"
2015 Plein Air Painters New Mexico exhibition "People's Choice" & "Award of Excellence" use of medium
2013 Plein Air Painters New Mexico exhibition "Award of Excellence" use of medium
2011 Maritime Museum Lecture Series, Guest Lecturer, Santa Barbara, CA
2011 April Featured Artist, National Association of Women Artists
2007 Winner of the Golden Award, International Society of Acrylic Painters’ Juried Exhibition
2006 Special Award, SCAPE Spring Exhibition, Santa Barbara, CA
2005 Best Oil or Acrylic Painting, Carmel International Plein Air Festival, Carmel, CA
2005 Second Place, Southern California Artists Painting the Environment, Santa Barbara, CA
2005 International Society Acrylic Painters, Honorable Mention
2005 Featured Artist Sawtooth Botanical Gardens Sun Valley, Idaho
2004 Carmel Plein Air Invitational, Honorable Mention, Carmel, CA
2003 American Impressionist Society National Exhibition, Honorable Mention, Vero Beach, Florida
2003 National Association of Women Artists Juried Exhibition, Jeffrey Childs Willis Award, NYC
1999 “Open Fine Arts”, Honorable Mention, Marin Society of Artists, Ross, California
1998 EPRI, Palo Alto, CA “Energy the Gift of Nature” Commission
1988 Print Magazine graphic design Award of Merit
1967-1971 Scholarship (Kathy Burley) Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH
1960-2011 Kathy Burley, Student art selected to be part of permanent historical murals “The History of the United States“ Preston School, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

Painting Workshops | Painting Classes | Art EmploymentKathleen Elsey painting workshop Award winnng painting Santa Barbara Artist

2007 - today   Selected as juror of emerging artists as well as professional painters for the Santa Barbara Art Association, Goleta Valley Art Association and Santa Barbara Falkner Library Exhibitions
2007 - 2018   Private studio artist painting lessons, tutor and mentoring
2003 Juror Pittsburg Arts Collaborative, Winter Fine Arts Festival, Pittsburg, CA
2001 - 2014   Kathleen Elsey Painting Workshops in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara, California Chautauqua, New York and Taos, 
1994-1995 Volunteer art teacher, Cesar Chavez Elementary School, San Francisco, CA           
1984-1999 Owner, Creative Director Kathleen Elsey Design, Inc., a design and communications agency, San Francisco, CA
1985-1999 Association of International Graphic Artists, New York
1981 Women in Design, Kathy Gard, Board of Directors, San Francisco, CA
1982 UC Santa Cruz Lecture Series “The Artist’s Role in Technology”by Kathy Gard, Cupertino, California
1979-1982 Women in Design, San Francisco, CA, Board of Directors,
1982 Women In Design Workshop (Kathy Gard) “Marketing & Communications for the Artist”
1974-1982 Art Director & Graphic Design Manager, Marketing Communications, Hewlett Packard, Cupertino, CA
1972 - 1974 Art Director, Product Promotions, American Greetings, Cleveland, OH


2016 Casa/Voice Magazine Featured Artist with "Nineteen Years"
2015 Montecito Magazine Fall "Table with Red Wine"
2012 Montecito Magazine, Fall “The Courtyard“ Kathleen Elsey featured in Art, Wine & Food
2012 Montecito Magazine, July 27  “Painting on the Porch with Kathleen Elsey“at Kathryne Design
2012 Featured Artist “The Acrylic Artist’s Guide to Exceptional Colour” by Quarto Publishing, London
2012  Montecito Journal “Painting on the Porch” Kathleen Elsey at Kathryne Designs July
2009 CASA Magazine, Kathleen Elsey “Inside/Outside Paintings”
2008 The Independent, November Kathleen Elsey in “Terra Firma” New Paintings
2008 Santa Barbara News Press, February 28
2007 Santa Barbara News Press, January
2007 Southwest Art, February “Taos Morada“ by Kathleen Elsey
2006 Southwest Art, March
2006 American Art Collector, April, “Flowers in the Landscape”
2005 Southwest Art, May, June
2005 Plein Air Magazine, September
2004 Monterey Herald, May, “Complement of Color”
2004 SOUTHWEST ART May, June
2003 SOUTHWEST ART, July, “Best of the West” En Couleur
2003 Kirkland Courier, “Destination Kirkland, Washington”
2002 Eastside Seattle Journal, “Kathleen Elsey, California Impressionist Landscapes”
2002 Southwest Art Magazine, En Couleur
2002 Sonoma Index Tribune, “Elsey Presents Seminar, Exhibit”
2001 Mill Valley Herald, “Artist Moves North and Blooms-Kathleen Elsey hits her stride”
2000 Marin Independent Journal, Matanzas Winery Celebrates Plein Air Painting
2000 San Francisco Chronicle, “Sonoma County Artist-Brush with Life” Kathleen Elsey May
1999 Mill Valley Herald, “Kathleen Elsey — Artists Open Intimate Spaces”
1999 MarinScapes “Kathleen Elsey painting Spring Day, Spirit Rock Event of the Week”


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