Kelly Birkenruth’s captivating paintings are in the style of contemporary realism while staying firmly grounded in the tradition of the Old Masters. She is able to pull the viewer into her paintings by interweaving emotion with a humanistic quality through her supreme handling of light. Through her portraits and still lifes she is able to evoke sensitivity and empathy, which in turn allows her to create images which transcend mere representation to capture the true essence of her subject. Kelly’s arresting compositions, draftsmanship, use of color and observation of detail allow her to create paintings with a timeless quality.
After earning her degree from Pennsylvania State University, Kelly moved to southern California where she began a career as a fashion model. Her agency soon sent her abroad to Paris, Singapore and Tokyo, where she spent the next several years modeling. When she wasn’t walking the runway, she spent endless hours in the great museums of the world, closely observing and studying the works of the Old Masters. “My time abroad, particularly in Paris, opened my eyes to the vast beauty and power of a great painting. After that I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to the pursuit of Fine Art,” said Birkenruth. After returning to the States, Kelly studied at Otis College of Art in Los Angeles, CA. She then spent the next two years studying and painting under renowned classical portraitist Lance Richlin. Soon after beginning her career as a professional artist, she moved to the east coast and continued her studies with Portrait artist Laurel Stern Boeck. Wanting to take her work to a new level, Kelly had always admired the excellence of the work produced by the artists of the renowned Florence Academy of Art. Then Kelly was fortunate to meet Jesus Emmanuel Villarreal, an artist and instructor who trained at the Florence Academy and recently moved to Connecticut. She began private study with Jesus in his beautiful north light studio, where she tirelessly applied the principles of the Florence Academy to her own paintings. She was recently awarded Best in Show for a portrait at the West Hartford Art League’s CT+6 Juried Exhibition. She was also awarded Honorable Mention at the Portrait Society of America’s 2012 Juried Exhibition, and was a Finalist in the Art Renewal Center’s International Salon. Her oil Limes and Laughs, has been selected as a finalist in the Still Life/Interior category of The Artist’s Magazine 33rd Annual Art Competition. Her paintings are in public and private collections throughout the U.S.