"People play an important role in my paintings."
Kelley was born one of ten children in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1939. He has lived much of his life in Colorado and is of Mexican American descent. He worked as a ranch hand and served in the US Navy. He began his art career in 1963 and later, coauthored Ramon Kelley Paints Portraits and Figures.
Although largely a self taught artist he was influenced by Fechin, Sargent and Boldini. He received a scholarship to and studied at the Colorado Institute of Art in Denver.
His work has been featured in more than twenty invitational shows including the highly respected National Academy of Western Art in Oklahoma City. He was elected to the Pastel Society of America's Hall of Fame. His works are in many museums including the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts and the US Military Academy Museum at West Point. His work has been featured in many magazines including Southwest Art and Art of the West.
The artist paints mostly Mexican subjects and Southwestern scenes. He goes on sketching trips around Taos, New Mexico. He is regarded as especially successful with portraits of young people and older people.