Katharine Butler Gallery
1943 Morrill Street
Sarasota, FL 34236

Artist receptions and

Third Friday Towles Court Artwalks

are 3rd Friday of each month from 6-10 pm.





Martha Kelly Art



Artist Statement


          I have always enjoyed going out into the world with my easel and interacting with the scenes I find.  Plein air painting is the basis of all my work, even though I’ve done more studio oils over the last few years.  The first step of any painting is a pastel study on-site which captures the light and the fleeting details of a particular time of day in a specific season.   I enjoy the challenge that the continual changes in nature offer, and the immediacy of working in pastel lends itself to spontaneity and experimentation.  Spending years doing purely on-site work taught me much about how a tree looks, how the light changes through the day, how different skies belong to different seasons.  Going regularly back into the world keeps my memory clear, challenges me in ways that combat complacency, and, as an excellent byproduct, pleases my dog who generally accompanies me.

          I live in Memphis, and I enjoy painting landscape of my region.  I find a compelling beauty in our surrounding area: in the open fields, spreading skies, dominating oaks, and magnificent rivers.  I also enjoy traveling with my easel.  I learn more about a place by painting it, I get to talk to locals who see me and are curious about my work, and I relive good trips by painting from my studies after I return home. 

          The landscapes I paint are especially relevant today with the endless sprawling of suburbia.  Many people who grew up around Memphis have said longingly to me that my work reminds them of their families’ farms, many of which are now hermetically sealed by asphalt and buried under the latest ring road or shopping center.  The landscapes I paint, both home and away, are a celebration of green spaces that are too rapidly being devoured by development in the name of "progress".   All of my paintings contain an implicit call not only to appreciate the landscape around us but to preserve it as well.



          Martha Kelly grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, and graduated with a B.A.  She now makes her home in Memphis along with her woodworking husband Elmore Holmes.  She has been a professional painter for ten years and is currently represented by Katharine Butler Gallery in Sarasota, Perry Nicole Fine Art in Memphis, Hanson Gallery in Knoxville, and Seven Sisters Gallery in Black Mountain, NC.  She has also had shows at Memphis area locations including Christian Brothers University, Dyersburg State Community College, Theater Memphis, the Grove Grill, and Cecilia Lin Gallery and has participated in group shows at David Lusk gallery of Memphis and NorDys Gallery of Birmingham, Alabama.

          All of Martha's paintings begin with a pastel study on site, and she enjoys the challenge of the constantly changing kaleidoscope of nature.  While she paints many landscapes in her home region around Memphis, she also enjoys painting other places she travels to and spends time. 

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Soybean Shadow

Oil on Canvas




Three Sycamores

Oil on Canvas



Morning Shadows

Oil on Canvas




Oil on Canvas





Oil on Canvas




Oil on Canvas




Morning Light

Oil on Canvas




Pelican Island

Oil on Canvas





Oil on Canvas





Oil on Canvas




Sand and Sky

Oil on Canvas