Betsy Porter

Betsy Porter
Art and Iconography

Paintings By Patricia Kelly

San Francisco artist PATRICIA K. KELLY is a passionate artist and a longtime friend.

We met in 2000, in the course of a local workshop for the Prosopon School of Iconology. Patricia is highly experienced in painting with egg tempera and gold leaf on gessoed panel. She has proved herself an insightful critic of my work, and a knowledgeable resource for information on pigments, materials, and technique. She says, "When I look into nature something looks back at me. That something is the subject of my work."

Patricia has painted many icons - shown on the Artist Friends page - but her primary artistic output consists of evocative abstract paintings such as those shown below. See her website and the gallery at for more examples.

Like many artists who work in egg tempera, Patricia undertakes the demanding task of applying multiple layers of natural gesso to her boards, most of which are larger than those used for portable icons.

Patricia has gradually developed her strong artistic style, marked by an intense graphic quality as well as by attention to the subtleties of color and texture. Egg tempera is an ideal medium for the fine detail which graces her works.

Paintings by Patricia Kelly have appeared in many exhibitions, including two solo shows and a group icon show at Saint Gregory of Nyssa Church.

"Blue Ray" 2007

16 x 20 inches; egg tempera and gold leaf on gessoed panel

"Deep and Deeper" 2008

8 x 10 inches; egg tempera on gessoed panel

"Dynamo" 2007

30 x 34 inches; egg tempera and gold leaf on gessoed panel

"Free Fall" 2007

16 x 20 inches; egg tempera and gold leaf on gessoed panel

"Incarnadine" 2008

12 x 12 inches; egg tempera on gessoed panel

"Voyager" 2007

30 x 34 inches; egg tempera on gessoed panel

Contact Patricia K. Kelly

Art works were photographed by Don Felton of Almac Camera, San Francisco, CA


Patricia K. Kelly is a British-born visual artist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. While at the San Francisco Art Institute, where she graduated with an MFA in painting, formative influences were Irene Pijoan, Kathy Acker, and Julius Hatofsky. Prior to the Art Institute, she studied art and music at Dartington College, UK; painting with Silvio Loffredo at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence; and drawing/printmaking at the Scuola dei Nudi, Rome, Italy.

In August 2005 Kelly was artist in residence at the Fine Arts Museums, Legion of Honor, San Francisco; and from 2003-5 affiliate artist in residence at Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA. Kelly was a finalist for the Italian 2006 Dedalo International painting prize, and in 2007 was a resident artist at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Ireland.

As a member of the Society of Tempera Painters, she is an active proponent in the contemporary revival of egg tempera. For Kelly, egg tempera's materiality and affinity with pattern and symbol makes it an ideal medium to explore new narratives in her landscapes of the imagination.

Her paintings were included in "Egg Tempera; An Enduring Tradition", a survey show which toured US museums and galleries for two years. Kelly has also exhibited at CSU Chico, Sansom Projects, The Lab, Adobe Books, Triple Base, San Francisco Art Institute, Simon Liu Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Her work is in the di Rosa Art and Nature Collection, Napa, CA, and in collections in Europe, Korea, and Tibet.

Kelly is a member of Synecdoche, a Bay Area collective of writers and visual artists who are currently collaborating on a project investigating relationships between words and images.

Surprise, egg tempera and gold leaf on gesso panel, 6 x 8 inches, 2011

Landfall, egg tempera, shell gold, and gold leaf on gesso panel, 8 x 6 inches, 2009

Secret Flower, egg tempera and gold leaf on gesso panel, 6 x 8 inches, 2011

Studio Wall, works on paper in egg tempera and gold leaf, 2011

For Patricia's instructions on preparing your own board and applying true gesso, see the Studio Tips page.

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