More Rock Castle Gorge on The Beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway and It is all in the Light…

My Art Work

dirtroadrockcastlecopyrightDirt Road Near Rock Castle Gorge

Pastel on paper  17″x23″  Original – $782.00

Prints on paper or canvas available at

I have so many paintings from Rock Castle Gorge that I think I will be blogging about this gorgeous Blue Ridge Parkway attraction for a while.  Hikers especially love the trails at this site and my husband has actually walked as much as eight miles off the trail up and down the mountain to get photographs of butterflies.

His photographer, Bruce Grimes, has to carry heavy equipment to get good photographs and he often has to lie down on his stomach to get the shot.  I have always admired photographers!  Good photography is quite an art and a job!

roadrockykcopyrightRoad to Rocky Knob oil on canvas  8″x10″

Original painting has been sold

Prints on paper or canvas available at

The actual trail is a loop that is  just short of 11 miles long.

I am especially fond of this oil painting of a road that leads to Rocky Knob.  It is quite an expressive work!

There are so many interesting trails around this area and the wildflowers in season are stunning!

When I was in school I had a teacher that was fond of country and mountain scenes and he remarked to me one time that He especially liked the kind of yellow/white grass seen along the dirt road in the painting at the top.

Most artists have a main medium and a secondary medium.  My main medium is oil paint but my secondary medium is pastels.

I am especially proud of my American Artist Award for “Near Smithfield Plantation”from famed pastelist Daniel Greene.

Life with the Bird and Word Man

  • People often don’t like their photograph and with good reason!  The lens is curved and the resulting parallax can make for a picture that looks how a person looks in a curved piece of metal.  No one wants that!
  • I pride myself that I can work around the parallax but I have been having a hard time lately with my digital camera.  I think the old 35mm cameras had less perspective distortion.

Anyway, I finally got a decent picture of my husband for the publication The Writing Disorder which will feature his poems this Spring.  The tenebristic light made all the difference!

clyde2014Clyde Kessler

Rocky Knob on The Blue Ridge Parkway and I Just don’t Understand it…

My Artwork

rockyknobcopyrightRocky Knob in Fall    30″x40 oil

Original Painting has been sold

Prints on paper or canvas available at

My husband’s favorite perch is Rocky Knob which overlooks Rock Castle Gorge on The Blue Ridge Parkway.  It is called Rocky Knob because the field is full of rocks. When my son was young he and a friend would run down the field to one of the larger rocks to play on.  I think my husband is more content on this perch than anywhere else on the parkway.

I will always have a picture in my mind of him sitting in his chair holding his binoculars or walking the trails with friends and relatives.

The painting at the top is one view of Rock Castle Gorge from Rocky Knob.  I have done many paintings of the different views of Rock Castle Gorge.

rockcastlecopyrightRock Castle Gorge

30″x40″ Oil painting $2425.00

Prints on paper or canvas available at

The black bear has made quite a comeback in the Blue Ridge Mountains which is great but hikers need to be aware of them and tread carefully.

On one visit to Rocky Knob my husband and son were coming back up the field at Rocky Knob and a bear was coming after them.  My husband wasn’t aware of the bear but my son called out BEAR.

My husband turned around and reached up high in the air with a stick he was carrying and yelled at the charging bear.  The bear took off and I am very grateful that my son was paying close attention to what was going on and that my husband knew what to do.

Life with The Bird and Word Man

Over the years I have taken many pictures of my husband that I have based paintings on and others he has used for promotion purposes for Poetry magazines.

I just don’t understand why the pictures I take of him now aren’t as great as the ones I took when we were first married!  Must be the digital camera!  LOL

Rock Castle Gorge on The Beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway and More Poems Published by Clyde Kessler

My Art

I am pleased that more and more of my prints are being bought by the public!  My main medium is oil paint but I am extremely versatile and even have a photography folder that I am very proud of.

Yesterday two small prints from my I Love the Beach folder went to a great patron in Veneta, Oregon.

rowhomessandcopyrightpgMorning Light at Isle of Palms      Prints on paper or canvas and greeting cards available at

feetinsandcopyrightMy Feet in the Sand at Isle of Palms     Prints on paper or canvas and greeting cards available at

                                                                                    Also, a print of Ridgeland Winter Beauty on a t-shirt went to a great patron in  Thousand Oaks California.

Much of my work can be bought on just about anything on Zazzle!  Here is the address.  http://www.zazzle/newriverartist

ridgelandcopyrightjpgRidgeland Winter Beauty 8″x10″    original painting price – $170.00

Prints on paper or canvas and greeting cards available at

 Life with the Bird and Word Man

Yesterday my husband, Clyde Kessler, found out he published  “Fiddling in a January Thaw” in Contemporary Haibun Online.  It will be published sometime in March.      This is the ninth poem he has published in this magazine.  Yeah Word Man!

Nothing funny out of his mouth today.  Maybe tomorrow!                                 .

Rock Castle Gorge

ABreakintheCloudscopyrightA Break in the Clouds is my second best-selling print on my website

The original painting is owned by a great Virginia patron who has four of my large paintings

If I had to pick a favorite locale on the great Blue Ridge Parkway it would be Rock Castle Gorge.  I have done many paintings of this area and my husband has spent so much of his time there that I told him he should have a mail box on Rocky Knob.

Many years ago the chestnut was the basis of the economy in Rock Castle Gorge but a chestnut blight in 1914 ravaged the trees in the United States and by 1919 the American chestnut trees died out in the Rock Castle Community.

At one time there were 30 families but by 1930 there were only 10.

The Blue Ridge Parkway was created through President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Those living in the Rock Castle community had to sell their homes. Young men from the community found a steady paycheck working for the Civilian Conservation Corps(CCC) helping to construct the parkway.

Some of my husband’s ancestors lived in Rock Castle Gorge before the establishment of the parkway.

Every fall he leads Hawk Migration studies and has spent countless hours studying birds and butterflies there.

I gained this information about Rock Castle Gorge from my husband, Clyde Kessler, and from Hike Back in Time at Rock Castle by Eliza Winston.

Another Fancy Gap Painting on The Beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway and Chickens during The Revolutionary War

My Artwork

Yesterday I mentioned two sales of prints and posted one of them which is Color Swirl.  Here is the other one that went to a great patron in  Downington, Pennsylvania.                             .

 coneflowerscopyrightedCone flowers 24″x30″   $1470.00

I have done a number of Cone flower paintings and am pleased with the captivating colors and textures that draw people in.  I don’t have a favorite color since I work with so many of them.

If someone says they like blue I start to think about all the different kinds of blue and all the ranges of tones of blue so it is a complicated choice for me.

I would say I am partial to cool colors but there is nothing in this world like cadmium red light so I just have to say I like them all and I incorporate all of them in my paintings even when one seems to be the main color.  Of course, in this painting, magenta reigns supreme!

This week I have one of my favorite florals, Natural Rhythm, on special at Fine Art America.  In these specials I offer large canvas prints of favorite paintings at 40% off the regular price. The price below the picture is the price of the original painting.

natrythmcopyrightNatural Rhythm 30″x40″  $2425.00

 Fancy Gap

Here is the third painting I did from locales near Fancy Gap on The Blue Ridge Parkway.

sunsetnearfancygcopyrightedSunset Near Fancy Gap 30″x40″ $2425.00

When I took the shot I based Wildflowers Near Fancy Gap I turned to the other side of the road to see a beautiful sunset.  I quickly took the shot before I burned my retina and am very pleased with the painting.  As always I modified it to suit my own style and the colors and textures are vibrant and exciting.

Life with The Bird and Word Man

As always my naturalist/poet husband, Clyde Kessler,  plays with words so he can make me laugh.  Sometimes he comes up with something so hilarious that I practically need oxygen.  We haven’t had to call 911 yet.

If you don’t like word play you may not see the humor in this one but I like it.  What do you call a chicken during the Revolutionary War?


More Fancy Gap on The Blue RIdge Parkway and Food Discrimination…

My Artwork

I am pleased to sell two small prints on my website of my flower paintings.  I am especially proud of my florals!  The colors and textures sing!


Color Swirl

Prints available on paper or canvas in a wide range of sizes on my website

Original painting (12″x16″)with solid wood molded frame is $660.00  The painting does not have black borders.  I am still getting the hang of adding images here.

Fancy Gap

My naturalist husband, Clyde Kessler, has always been a great help to me for my mountain sources for paintings.  Fancy Gap on The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of my favorite settings for my unique visual interpretations.  I am always astounded by the colorful atmosphere of this gorgeous mountain region.

farmNearFancy Gapcopyrighted

Farm Near Fancy Gap

Prints available on my website

Original painting (30″x40″) $2425.00

I have done so many paintings from The Blue Ridge Parkway that sometimes I forget how many I have done from one locale.  In my last post on Fancy Gap I mentioned I had done two paintings based on Fancy Gap but actually I have three.  I plan to do more but right now I am captivated by my own brand of Expressionism I call Kendall Expressions.

In these paintings I am mostly working on wild and domestic animals to emphasize their energy with my energetic brushwork and strong color contrast.  I am working on my second Tiger painting right now and hope to add it to my folder this week.  I wish someone could add a lot of hours to the day!

Life with The Bird and Word Man

My husband, Clyde Kessler, is a well-known naturalist in The New RIver Valley and also publishes his poetry.  He has been publishing a lot lately and was just notified today of five more accepted by  The Writing Disorder.  They will appear in the Spring online issue.

He is also very funny – at least to me.  His humor is mostly word play which I love.

For some reason I have never liked pork.  Even as a child I could only stand to eat bacon if it was cooked to death.  My husband loves all pork and he says when it comes to food, I am pigoted!

Yeah, well he hates all kinds of seafood so I say he is seafood challenged!

More on Beautiful Fancy Gap

The Fancy Gap Turnpike was used as a stagecoach route from the South to the Great Lakes.

Horse-drawn coaches would stop halfway up the mountain to let the horses rest.

This area was known as Double Branches, where two streams cascaded across the road.

In the late 19th century the railroad came as far north as Mount Airy, NC. Farmers would drive their herds of cattle and sheep down Fancy Gap Turnpike to the railroad for shipment.

When the automobile came along, Virginia and North Carolina worked together to build a graveled road from Mount Airy to Fancy Gap and was finished in 1922.

At Double Branches a tavern and motel were built. During this time travel up the mountain was so difficult that motorists spent time at the tavern/motel cooling themselves and their cars.

Even after the road was improved in 1928, it was still an extremely arduous route and there have been many songs written about it’s perils.

I found this information on a great essay by Ron Hall entitled Heaven is a little closer, Fancy Gap, Virginia.

Pleased to Sell a Metal Print of Mid-Spring on The New River and The Sixth Drip…

My Artwork

I am so pleased to sell a large metal print of Mid-Spring on The New River to a great patron in Mississippi!  This is one of my favorite oil pastel paintings.  I am especially pleased with all the nuances of green that emphasize this special time of the year in the New River Valley.  It isn’t summer yet so a lot of the greens are not as bright as they will be.

This pastel was done from a photograph I took of the New River from Bisset Park in Radford, VA.  I have walked the trails at the park countless times with my family and on my own.  I love to watch the rapids and my naturalist husband, Clyde, is always on the look out for bird and butterfly populations.  I especially like to watch the many different colors of light filtering through the leaves and reflecting off of the water.

The New River is actually one of the world’s oldest rivers and there are many fascinating stories about it.  It is a very dangerous river and legend has it the Native Americans call it the river of death.  Many years ago when I was teaching at Radford University, two boys swam across it near the Dedmon Center and drowned.  It looks so peaceful but the rapids and strong currents are not to be tangled with.

midspringbig (1)

Life with the Bird and Word Man

On a much lighter note, as usual, I decided to tease my husband.  Due to the very cold weather we had to let  our faucets drip very slowly at night so the pipes wouldn’t freeze.  I almost always have to get up at night to go the bathroom and my husband often wakes up at that time.  I told him the faucets were leaking and he would have to get busy and fix them.  All five of them were dripping.

His reply was, don’t you mean six?

Okay, I don’t mean you, just the faucets.

I don’t really think of my husband as a Drip.  Just like to goad him.

Some Facts about the beautiful New River

The New River is between 10 and 360 Million years old. It is one of the world’s oldest rivers and is the oldest river in The US.

It flows from south to north.  Only a few rivers in the world have this unique feature, including the Nile.

Mary Draper Ingles was an American pioneer and early settler of western Virginia. She was abducted by Indians and later escaped, making a harrowing trek over hundreds of miles of rough terrain to return home. She followed the Ohio and New Rivers. She was born in 1732 and died in 1815.

The Long Way Home Drama ran from 1971-1999 here in Radford, VA.  There is talk to bring back this wonderful outdoor historical play!

The first commercial rafting trip took place in 1968.  The Dragan brothers started it when they founded Wildwater Unlimited.

The New River was designated a national river in 1978 and an American Heritage River in 1998.

Fabulous Fancy Gap on The Blue Ridge Parkway

My Artwork

One of my favorite Blue Ridge Parkway sites, Fancy Gap, has been the inspiration for three of my paintings so far.  Wildflowers Near Fancy Gap was sold to a great patron in Chicago.  Farm Near Fancy Gap and Sunset near Fancy Gap are still available. It is quite an effort to ship a 30″x40″ oil painting on masonite which is a lot heavier than canvas but I have been doing that for around thirty years.

I have never had an accident or return – just compliments.  This patron wanted to frame it herself so I left off the light-weight metal frame I put my large paintings in.  Most patrons want to have the work professionally framed to suit their tastes.

I didn’t have a problem with the packaging but for some reason I must have put in the wrong information on UPS and was given a quote that was much higher than It usually is.  I contacted the patron and she said it was all right but when UPS came the price was much lower. We were having a hard time with adjusting the price on Paypal so I decided to just include a check for the difference.

Things work out!

wildffg (1)

Wildflowers at Fancy Gap by Kendall Kessler


A Little History on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is the most visited unit of America’s National Park System.  It attracts around twenty million visitors each year.

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs for 469 miles. It mostly is part of the Blue Ridge which is a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains.

It is the longest, narrowest National Park in the world.

The road was begun during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt and was originally called The Appalachian Scenic Highway.

In 1936 it was formally recognized as The Blue Ridge Parkway.

A Little About Fancy Gap

Early roads in the mountains often followed established paths such as creeks, deer paths, and Indian trails.  The curves were hard on wagons so locals began building their own roads. In the mountains these home engineered roads often crossed at the lowest spots called gaps or up the gentlest slope which is called a spur.

There is a legend about how Fancy Gap got it’s name.  Ira Blair Coltrane(1815-1894), a self-made engineer helped his grandfather drive loaded wagons up the steep incline. The story is that he saw a better route up the mountains across the valley and remarked that it would make a Fancy Road.

In 1849 the Fancy Gap Turnpike was begun and finished in the 1850’s.  Coltrane, as a contractor, built the road from Fancy Gap to the foot of the mountain, making the dream of his youth a reality.

I found this information on a great essay by Ron Hall entitled Heaven is a little closer, Fancy Gap, Virginia.  Ron has a lot more interesting facts about Fancy Gap!

The Peaks of Otter on The Blue Ridge Parkway

Peaks of Otter History

My family has enjoyed this beautiful Bedford setting and it is one of many Blue Ridge Parkway sites my husband researches for birds and butterflies. I thought is would be interesting to include some historical facts about this beautiful place that has been an inspiration for a number of my paintings.

No one really knows how the Peaks got their name. There are no otters in the area. The most likely explanation is that two brothers, Charles and Robert Ewing named the peaks after otters from their native land.

There are many natural settings and rivers named for otters in Scotland and England. Charles Ewing and family members are buried at the foot of Sharp Top.

Europeans have known The Peaks for about two and a half centuries. Flat Top is the higher of the two and is 4,001 feed above sea level. Sharp Top is 3,875. Sharp Top appears higher but it is an optical illusion.

Sharp Top draws more visitors and Virginia’s contribution to The Washington Monument was taken from the top of Sharp Top.

I learned about The Peaks of Otter from a great essay called The Peak of Otter Story by Thomas A Markham. There is a lot more to read there if you are interested!


                                                                                                                                              Cloud Swirl over the Peaks of Otter by Kendall Kessler  Original 18″x24″ Oil painting $864.00

Prints on Paper or Canvas Available at   KENDALL KESSLER ART

Life with Bird and Word Man

Since I am attempting to blog every week day I doubt that I will come up with an example of my husband’s crazy humor everyday but I do want to include something about him in my blog. He has devoted his life to the protection of his beautiful mountain home and has kept extensive wildlife records since his youth.

His discovery of the endangered Mitchel Satyr in 1998 is considered to be one of the most important wildlife finds in the second half of the twentieth century in Virginia.

My Art Work

Although the bulk of my artwork is about the Blue Ridge Mountains and the New River Valley, I am quite versatile and have been exploring my expressive side for some time now. I am having a great time working with my unique brand of Expressionism which I call Kendall Expressions. I am letting my colors and textures fly in these paintings and am excited about putting up my latest one of a domestic cat.


Cat Swirl by Kendall Kessler


More on The Beautiful Peaks of Otter on the Blue Ridge Parkway and It Flies!

distantpoocopyrightDistant View of The Peaks of Otter    12″x 16″ original oil painting    Professionally framed         $484.00

Print on paper or Canvas available at        KENDALL KESSLER ART

My Artwork

As usual I have had a rough start with WordPress due to the fact that I am somewhat computer challenged.  Oftentimes they don’t make sense to me and I get confused over how different sites are set up.  I started with a post on The Peaks of Otter and thought I had published two but now I see the second one is still a draft so here I go again.

Also, if anyone reading this can tell me how to take my posts out of Peaks of Otter category which is listed on all of them in my posts section, please do!  I’m not sure how that happened but I don’t want The Peaks of Otter to be the category selection for all my posts.



deerpoosopyrightDeer at The Peaks of Otter     Original Oil Painting     30’x 40″      $2425.00

Prints on Paper or Canvas available at    KENDALL KESSLER ART

farmpondcopyrightFarm Pond   Original Oil Painting has been sold

Prints on Paper or Canvas available at    KENDALL KESSLER ART

Life with the Word and Bird Man – Clyde Kessler

My husband works on a computer all day long and is much better at understanding them than I am .  We have a wireless mouse at home which drives us crazy!  We regret switching from the attached mouse.  Ours is one rotten little rodent!

Lately it was moving so slow that it took forever to get things done on my website and other sites.  My husband opened it and spent a long time cleaning it.   I thanked him and told him my mouse has wings now!  He said, with a frown, that is a bat.  Oh well.  I will take a bat over that slow rodent any day!

The Mindy Project is Back on The Air!

I am so pleased The Mindy Project is back on TV with a new episode this Tuesday at 9:30pm on FoxTV!

Be sure to look for my best-selling print, “Reaching Out”, which was chosen out of over 3 million works of art on Fine Art America to be on the show!  It is in Mindy’s office and there have been many shots of it last season and this season!

reachingoutcopyrightReaching Out     Original charcoal drawing      24″x18″ on white paper in white mat          $894.00

Prints on paper or canvas available at     KENDALL KESSLER ART