Kelli in black shirt.jpg

     Kelli Lien is a native of northwestern Minnesota, having grown up near Mahnomen.  She spent the majority of her young adult years living and working in Fargo/Moorhead and in Minneapolis.  She met her husband in Fargo.  His education, and subsequent career, led them to moving to Minneapolis, and then to Rapid City, SD.  They remained there for 23 years and raised their family; two sons.  They relocated back to northwestern Minnesota in 2015.

     Kelli has always been an artist.  She loved to draw as a child.  Her love for painting began as a pre-adolescent.  She loved art in high school and when she attended college.  She learned to do batik, calligraphy, and began to experiment with collage.  She always had a natural talent for anything artistic and the desire to create.  

     Her serious focus on art began in the mid 90's.  A well known Rapid City watercolor artist advised her to begin by learning how to draw.  While she studied and practiced drawing, she volunteered routinely at her son's elementary school and taught the students a version of what she was doing.  She continued volunteering and teaching while she was learning how to paint in watercolor, and how to do fine arts collage.  

     Kelli has taken classes from South Dakota artists Joyce Johnson, Patricia Johnson,

Sandra Newman, Bob Miller, Howard Olson, Alexis Wilson, and Richard DuBois.  

     She became an award winning watercolor artist in 2008.  Her awards include the Silver Medal by the Northern Plains Watercolor Society in 2012 and the Bronze in 2014.  She is a signature member of the Red River Watercolor Society.  She is published by the National Collage Society.  Kelli also taught workshops and gave lessons to large and small groups, for adults and children, while she lived in Rapid City.  The Region 2 Arts Council, in Minnesota, awarded her the Artist Fellowship Award for 2017-2018.  Recent awards include a First Place Award in Transparent Watercolor at the Artists of Minnesota spring show in 2019.  

     In 2020, the global pandemic opened the arena for a wide variety of online art classes.  She joined the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts and is currently working toward a Core Certificate.  In addition, she is taking classes from the San Francisco Center for the Book.  Many of the instructors are national leaders in the book arts community.  

     Kelli became a Certified Zentangle® Teacher in 2021.  

Selected Shows & Awards

2019  First Place, Transparent Watercolor - Intermediate 
          Artists of Minnesota Spring Show - May 2019, Pier B Resort, Duluth, MN
2019  Fellowship Exhibit - Solo Show 
           February & March 2019, The Wild Hare, Bemidji, MN

2019 Group Show - Lake Superior Watercolor Society
Duluth Pottery, Duluth, MN

2018   25th Annual Juried Watermedia Exhibition
           Red River Watercolor Society

2017    Artist Fellowship Award, 2017-2018
            Region 2 Arts Council, Bemidji, MN

2017    25th Annual Juried Art Exhibition
            MacRostie Art Center, Grand Rapids, MN 
2014    Bronze Medal, Member's 18th Annual Exhibition
            Northern Plains Watercolor Society, Rapid City, SD
2014    Golden Award, 21st Annual Juried Watermedia Exhibition
            Red River Watercolor Society

2012    Silver Medal, Member's 17th Annual Exhibition
            Northern Plains Watercolor Society, Rapid City, SD

2011    18th Annual Juried Watermedia Exhibition
            Red River Watercolor Society

2008   Recognition Award, 15th Annual Juried Watermedia Exhibition
            Red River Watercolor Society

2008   Merit Award, Member's 13th Annual Exhibition
            Northern Plains Watercolor Society, Rapid City, SD

2008   Honorable Mention, Member's 13th Annual Exhibition
            Northern Plains Watercolor Society, Rapid City, SD

Recent Education

2021  Certified Zentangle® Teacher (CZT)

2021     Progressing toward Core Certificate - Minnesota Center for the Book Arts

              All categories have been completed with studio work remaining in 

              Letterpress and Papermaking once they reopen in the fall 2021.

                                                  Signature Membership

2014     Red River Watercolor Society
Other Memberships Include

2021   Artists of Minnesota
2021   Duluth Art Institute
2021   Minnesota Center for the Book Arts



2019  National Collage Society - Annual Calendar

2018  National Collage Society - Annual Calendar