Qcc Artist Directory

Mary Jo Kelly

Capturing the essence of New Mexico


About the Art

Mary Jo paints outdoors weekly, in sunshine or snow. This is her passion. She breaks up the solitude by joining plein-air “Paint Out”s across the west. She won the Emerging Artist award at the Wild Rivers Plein Air Paint-Out in 2019, for her painting “Sunrise over the Rio Grande”, and was accepted among 40 artists in the Frank Bette Plein Air Competition in Alameda, CA in 2021. She painted alongside her artist sister in Estes Park, Colorado in 2022. Recently, Mary Jo entered the Millicent Rogers Museum Miniature Show (Taos) and sold her mini painting “Dark Skies over Historic Taos”.

When she paints, she looks for scenes that call to her with rich colors and interesting compositions. Capturing the essence of New Mexico with its unique culture and amazing wilderness/mountainous areas, is what she strives for. Her main subject is landscape, though she also paints animals, wildlife and Taos architecture, using a bold, impressionistic style. Her work can be seen at the Taos Artist Collective (Taos, NM) where she enjoys working several times per month. A Member of Plein Air Painters of New Mexico.


Mary Jo studied art at the University of Toledo, Ohio under the direction of Dianna Attie and Peter Eloian. Additionally, she took Photography courses at Bowling Green State University, OH, and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Art. After graduation she moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and dreamed of meeting Georgia O’Keeffe. Instead she met Tom Noble, a great Taos watercolor painter. An infatuation with the Taos valley landscape and water-based work solidified.

Moving to Eagle Nest, New Mexico and living in the ghost town of Elizabeth Town, near she raised a family while seasonally working as a ski instructor. When her children were older, Mary Jo returned to college, earning a Master’s Degree in Education at NM Highlands University. She worked for 10 years as a Special Education Teacher in Questa, NM. She is now a full-time landscape painter, and quickly becoming a favorite along the annual Questa Art Tour.


Mary Jo Kelly
PO Box 126,
Cerro NM 87519

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