Getting to Know David and Carol Kelly


The making of a photographic image requires more than the click of a shutter.In the days of film photography many hours were spent in the chemical darkroom to make the negative more than just a ‘picture’. The current digital darkroom allows far more control and artistic development for the original digital file to come to life as art


What’s your background?

After graduating with a Bachelor of Music Education degree I began a 45 year career in retail and wholesale music sales. I have sold everything from piccolos to pianos.

Carol was a farm girl raising and showing steers in state livestock shows. Winning the Reserve Champion steer at the Houston Live Stock Show funded much of her college tuition and expenses where she graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.

My wife, Carol and I work as a team. We both create the images but I do the digital darkroom work.

Does your artwork come from that background?

My introduction to art was in high school where I was the “artist in residence” for the school newspaper and the photographer for the yearbook. I had a desire to study art in college but a better scholarship was offered in music so I followed that path and picked up the camera again about 15 years later as a hobby.

Bluebonnet Pond – Carol Kelly

After following me around for a few years and waiting for me to capture that special shot Carol expressed a desire to join me in this artist endeavor. I gave her a point and shoot camera for her birthday and she has not slowed down since winning many nature photography awards.

What are you trying to say with your work?

Both of us hope to inspire the viewer with a special memory or experience they have had – maybe a place they have visited or a special life experience. With our nature photography we hope to remind the viewer that the beauty of creation reflects the beauty of our creator.

White Lined Sphinx Moth Carol Kelly
White Lined Sphinx Moth Carol Kelly

What made you choose the medium you work with?

I have tried photography, oils, water colors and wood carving and enjoy them all but the love of photography gripped me from the very start. I loved the smell of the chemical darkroom and watching the image emerge on the sheet of paper in the tray. I now enjoy the digital darkroom just as much but for different reasons.

Do you work in a studio? 

We no longer have a studio with backgrounds and lights but one might call the computer desk our current studio since much of the process involves the digital darkroom.

Cattle Drive at Dawn David Kelly
Cattle Drive at Dawn David Kelly

What is the one thing in your studio you just could not be without?

Without doubt the one thing besides my camera that I would miss is my Wacom tablet.

Who are your biggest influences?

For me the black and white work of Ansel Adams was the most influential in getting started in the art of photography.

What is your favourite piece of work by yourself?

For me, David, that’s easy – the next one. For Carol it is the nature images of the development of a butterfly from egg to final emergence from the chrysalis.

Fall Classic David Kelly
Fall Classic David Kelly

How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?
Some images are almost complete in camera and require very little time but others that might adapt to a more artist approach might require up to 5 or 6 hours to complete to our satisfaction.

Texas Cowboy Carol Kelly
Texas Cowboy Carol Kelly

How do you know something is ‘finished’? Is it easy to walk away?

This is perhaps the most difficult decision for me. I do all of the post capture processing and I always have a hard time knowing when to quit. This is one area that our teamwork pays off. (After all we have been married 55 years now.) I have a problem seeing the tree for the forest and Carol has a problem seeing the forest for the tree. She often reminds me that there is some detail that needs to be attended to and I will return to what I thought was a “finished” work to do a bit more tweaking.

What project are you working on now?

I do not have any particular project that I am working on at the present time but Carol is currently working at painting on rocks.

Musician's Hands David Kelly
Musician’s Hands David Kelly

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

Never take yourself too seriously and have fun at what you do.

What was the first piece of art you sold?

When I was about 11 years old my uncle painted oils and traveled to state fairs to sell his work. He allowed me to experiment with oil painting and he took a couple of my paintings with him and I was surprised when they actually sold.

Do you find it hard to navigate the artworld?

The toughest part for me is finding what will sell – what will appeal to prospective buyers – lots of try and try again.

Painted Lady Butterfly Carol Kelly
Painted Lady Butterfly Carol Kelly

What are you personally doing to advance your work career?

We no longer do the shows and arts and craft fairs – too much hard work for us “senior citizens”. We now depend on FFA to do the heavy lifting.

How do you price your work and why do you price it that way?

I don’t spend a lot of time and effort in pricing. I do research the competitive prices in the venue we plan to sell in and price my work to sell and get a reasonable return on my time and effort.

Do you use social networking in your day to day life?

I don’t do the social media thing because I don’t quite understand.

Shy Tulip David Kelly
Shy Tulip David Kelly

Is there anything that really annoys you about the artworld?

Opinionated and arrogant art snobs.

What advice would you give new artists?

Produce art that pleases you – you will never be able to please everyone.

Siblings David Kelly
Siblings David Kelly

Have you got hobbies?

Even though I no longer derive an income from it I still enjoy music.

Where are you based?

Cedar Hill, Texas – just south of Dallas.

Spring Is Busting Out Carol Kelly
Spring Is Busting Out Carol Kelly

Chosen Music

Handel’s Messiah
Amazing Grace
How Great Thou Art

CONTACT Dave and Carol direct by filling out the form
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Abbie (222)

Site owner and painter of awesome oils and watercolours. Manager + on large art site

Married to Robin another artist and sculptor. We live with two Shepweiler's, two demented budgies and 3 fish

Wannabe author and hardcase treehugger. All opinions are my own.

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