Richard Kelso is a landscape painter. He has produced an incalculable number of landscape paintings through the years. You might think that this would cause someone to become stagnate in his work, producing Bob Ross like symbols for trees that are comfortable and familiar, but I continue to be amazed at the experimentation and variety he shows. And the work is simply gorgeous. Anyone can appreciate the beauty of the scenes in his work, but if you are a painter you will marvel at the way he uses paint. Every stroke is deliberate, and every color of every stroke looks as though it were mixed uniquely for that one spot. His colors are never chalky or muddy but rich from the vibrant sunlit treetops to the deepest shadows. Kelso holds to a standard of quality that is both inspiring and daunting to me as a painter.
There actually are two paintings in the show that are not landscapes. Many times in his shows there will be a small selection of paintings of his studio or things in his studio. I always love these pieces but not only because of their masterful execution. If you ever visit Kelso's studio which is above Hal and Mal's you will recognize the light. There is a single window that he paints by, and from what I've seen he never uses artificial light. The cold indirect light that comes through the window casts soft warm shadows, and he absolutely nails the atmosphere that it creates.
My one disappointment in the show is that there are no drawings. Drawings are so sincere and personal feeling, and Kelso's Constable-esque pieces are like little treasures. Maybe I've been a good boy this year and Santa will bring me one.