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the Artist

My journey started in 1995 with watercolor. To me, that was the most beautiful medium, and frankly, resembled life. No matter how you see things in your mind's eye, life has a tendency of doing what it wants regardless of how I expect or want it to. Colors run together and happy accidents happen all the time. If you try and control it, most likely you will make a mess. And such is life. "Go with the flow" I always say and let your colors run!

In 2011, just after giving birth to my daughter, I was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia and my prospects of surviving was grim, less that 25%. I felt scared, hopeless, but thankfully very determined. I just had a baby for crying out loud! So my sweet mother went and made copies of all my art and hung it over every inch of the hospital room and said to me, "Don't forget who you are." She brought me my paints and my love affair with watercolor continued, teaching me to go with the flow and live in the moment. I produced one of my most favorite pieces during that time called "Garden of Hope" and dedicated it to my Mom. We are nothing without the love of a mother, and so I fought hard to be there for my own newly born daughter. And I kicked its ASS!

Since then, my art has gone in different directions. A few years ago I started making Japanese Ink paintings called Sumi-e. These are not traditional but more East meets West representations with glamorous portraits of women. I have created a way to make them smaller and mount them on panels so the art is more accessible. Now I am dabbling in Pan Pastels, pastel pencils and other soluble media. To me, there are no rules and you can mix and match until you achieve your bliss. 

In fact, I love art so much that I have begun creating commemorative pet portraits in pastel. My watercolor works have also been in over 150 stores across the US and I was a featured artist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Today my "heartwork" is sold online and in person at Portland Saturday Market and various art fairs. I am happy to create. 

As Pablo Picasso once said, " To paint you must close your eyes and sing". 

Be well and please contact me for any reason.


Kelly Shannon Chester

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