Kellie Rae Art Galleries

Click to view the gallery

Bird Paintings & Artwork - Bird Paintings Insects, Amphibians & Aquatic Plant Paintings & Artwork - Animal & Nature Paintings

Fish Paintings & Artwork - Fish Paintings Prayer Boxes

Signed limited edition prints are available!
Contact Kellie Rae at 612-718-1223 or
Frame Up Gallery in Grand Rapids, MN
at 218-327-1271 for more details.


A gallery visitor once asked Kellie Rae how long it took her to paint one of her portraits of birds. "All of my life" was her reply.

Born on her ancestral family farm among the rolling hills and praries of Northeastern Nebraska, Kellie Rae has always retained a love of, and respect for, the natural world. Whether it be the cultivated fields of golden corn and wheat, the natural grasslands that cover endless miles of land, or the streams that water the earth, this beautiful environment remains the essential foundation of her view of the world.

Her reverence and respect for nature imbue her life and art with the sincerity of prayer, as befits a woman whose Quaker forbearers moved West to establish one of Nebraska's first homesteaded farms.

A poet as well as a painter, Kellie Rae sees the world in terms of its beauty and its sanctity. Like the prose of the great Nebraska author Willa Cather, or the contemporary poems of Mary Oliver, Kellie Rae's visual images show us an understanding of the specialness of the most humble of natural forms. Her paintings are a sincere celebration of life imbued with careful observation, tenderness, and respect. The creatures she depicts are not anonymous. Each one expresses the uniqueness of the individual, the sense of personality that recognizes the special character of all of God's creations.

Kellie Rae's poetic vision of nature comes into the world through the masterful sureness of her craft. She studied art at the University of Nebraska and later added to her training at an art academy in Florence, Italy. Her sophisticated technique is based on the craft of the Renaissance masters whose work she studied and whose careful building up of the image yields a sense of depth that evokes the beating heart that lies beneath the feathers or scales in all their complexity of color and texture. The animals she creates exist in a space that adds a sense of mystery and timelessness to the vision.

These paintings could not have been created within the overbearing built environment of the city with its noise and frenetic activity. Her studio sits on a hill overlooking Prarie Lake in Northern Minnesota. Surrounded by woods and long vistas of water, her retreat is a place of sanctuary that allows her to enter the fullness of nature in all seasons. A student of natural history, Kellie Rae is a ceaseless student, ever eager to learn about the animals who fill her life and her art. She is a close observer of nature and fascinated with creatures great and small. Her work honors the world in which she lives and provides her with an essential expression of her love of life in its many forms. We are fortunate that Kellie Rae has devoted her life to bringing her vision to others as an affirmation of the world in which we live.

Bio By - Dr. Evan Maurer
(Minneapolis Instute of Art, Director Emeritus)

Kellie Rae Theiss - Minnesota Nature Artist Kellie Rae Theiss - Minnesota Nature Artist

Excerpt from a Pioneer Press review of Kellie Rae's Prayer Boxes by Thomas O'Sullivan:

Kellie Rae Theiss' nature-based artworks take viewers outside the gallery, outside the city, to closer encounters than the typical landscape painting. A Nebraska farm girl turned big-city gallerist, Theiss has long devoted her academic painting style to Midwestern nature. In her current exhibition, Theiss enters a new element, showing wall-hung and tabletop constructions that combine paintings and carvings with nests and branches inside wood boxes she has found or made. The box format allows Theiss to play painted illusions of space and substance against literal enclosed spaces, some housing actual branches and carved bird forms. "Lock and Key," a simple foot-wide box painted in warm sunshine hues, features five dragonflies. Three are painted, and two are actual specimens she has varnished for permanence, inviting the viewer to compare her painting with the subject painted. Faint pencil lines hint at her painstaking technique of sanding, drawing and painting that undergirds the apparently rustic boxes.

"This is a little bit about romanticizing what we've lost," Theiss observes. Her work draws on not just the natural world she researched songbirds at the Bell Museum, among other places, to hone her representations but also on the human, built environment as well. Century-old wood from a dismantled schoolhouse near Theiss' cabin supplied the weather-textured boards on which she paints birds and mounts nests. Old wood cheese boxes with ghostly lettering become reliquaries for carved bird forms and eggs, with painted skies decorating their interiors. The gifts of friends and family members, the wood "has a history, like most of us," she says. In her gentle transformations, Theiss has filled these cast-off materials with skill and feeling.