Kellene Champlin Watercolor Paintings Kellene Champlin Watercolor Paintings

My Work in Watercolor

The content of my paintings is rooted in a very personal response to what and how I choose to see. I try to interpret glimpses of light and beauty and seek to capture slices of life. A continual challenge is to translate my impressions into a personally satisfying representation that utilizes the qualities of watercolor that I find so enticing: reflection, sparkle, clarity, light, and transparency. The diversity of Impressionist style and technique has always influenced my art making regardless of medium. The luminosity of John Constable’s landscapes moves me, but it is Impressionist painting that truly inspires me – shape and form as reflection of color and light, structural suggestion, and atmospheric qualities of elusive depth – especially in the landscapes of Cezanne, Pissarro, and Sisley. In contemporary watercolor I study Winslow Homer, Don Andrews, Nita Engle, Edgar Whitney and some of his “disciples.”


My education & career were thoroughly entwined. With a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from the State University of New York (SUNY) College at Buffalo I taught elementary art for ten years, two in Pittsford NY and eight in Atlanta GA, followed by twenty years as the art education administrator with the Fulton County Board of Education in Atlanta. In the 1970s while working on a Master of Visual Arts degree at Georgia State University in the evenings, I was creating two- and three-dimensionally with fabrics and fibers. Over 20 fabric constructions, soft sculptures and wall hangings reside in collections in eight states. During the 1980s I completed a PhD in curriculum & instruction, again in the evenings, which found me writing, publishing, and creating with ideas, but not with art materials. My experience was enriched with official positions in the National Art Education Association and on the Board of The Getty Center for Arts Education for some years.

With the turn of the millennium, I brought to a close a wonderful career. After 30 years in Atlanta GA, my husband and I moved back to the Rochester NY area; certainly not for snow, rather, for a large family. We designed and built our home overlooking the creek in Honeoye Falls, but have since downsized to a beautiful community in Victor NY. My major goal in retirement since 2001 was to regain and nurture the art-making part of me. For some years I worked in watercolor with regionally known painter Dick Kane at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery. I value my occasional studio workshops with Don Andrews, Frank Webb, Gloria Miller-Allen, and other painters as I continue the never ending process of cultivating my personal style.

My Inspiration

I find inspiration for my watercolors in the beautiful areas around Rochester NY where I live with my husband and best critic, Dan. New York State, especially the Western and Upstate regions are rich with views and vistas: two of the Great Lakes, Niagara Falls, dozens of vineyards around the Finger lakes, rolling hills of the Southern Tier, the Adirondacks, farms, barns, rivers and waterfalls, vintage buildings, and abundant New York State parks. Snow is often featured. Over the years, deer, fox, geese families, and other critters along Honeoye Creek provided inspiration as well as entertainment. Scenes and subjects from our travels provide themes.  I often incorporate figures to add life and activity. At times people are the main focus, as in my “bench series” that I work on periodically. It’s fascinating how attitude, posture, emotion, and outlook are revealed in a discreet study of people sitting on benches in various settings.