Connecting With Each Other, In Person and Electronically

I came across the paintings that Daniel J. Keys posted in the members’ gallery of the American Artist website, and I posted a message indicating I was impressed with the still lifes he shared with members of the online community. Daniel and I began exchanging electronic messages, and I became convinced that the young California painter had something valuable to share with other artists. I interviewed him over the phone and am now writing the text of an article to be published in the July/August issue of American Artist.

Daniel lives in a rural community and hasn’t been able to participate in workshops or art school classes, but he has taken full advantage of art magazines and books, websites, blogs, and online painting demonstrations to educate himself, to become acquainted with other artists, and to promote his plein air and studio paintings. He may not have heard how to accurately say the last names of artists like Richard Schmid or Morgan Weistling, but he knows their drawings and paintings, is familiar with every aspect of their careers, and has read everything written about their art. And now collectors, dealers, artists, and students are learning about a remarkable young artist named Daniel J. Keys.

The keys to Daniel’s success seem to be his sense of determination, his willingness to work hard, his ingenuity and integrity, and the support he receives from his parents. He doesn’t make excuses for lacking funds, living in a small rural community, or being essentially self-taught. Instead, he speaks confidently about himself, sets clear goals for his future, is anxious to share what he has learned, and expresses appreciation for the opportunities he has been given. If that isn’t a formula for success, I don’t know what is.

Daniel is planning to attend his very first workshop during the American Artist Weekend With the Masters at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center from September 9 to 13. “I haven’t been able to travel to attend painting workshops or artists’ conferences, but this seems like something I can’t afford to miss,” he says. “Almost every artist I’ve wanted to meet and observe painting will be together in one place at one time.”

M. Stephen Doherty

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M. Stephen Doherty

About M. Stephen Doherty

I've been interested in art since I was a child,  and I was fortunate to be able to take Saturday art classes at the Cincinnati Art Museum from the time I was 9 years old until I finished high school. I majored in art at Knox College and graduated summa *** laude, Phi Beta Kappa (proving artists can use both sides of their brain!).  I then earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from Cornell University; taught art in public schools, a community college, an adult education program, and a college; worked in the marketing department of a company that manufactured screen printing supplies; and was hired to be editor of American Artist in January, 1979.

Thomas S. Buecher introduced me to plein air painting and it immediately became a passion of mine because it got me outdoors and allowed me to continue learning when I traveled to judge art shows, attend conventions, give lectures, and interview artists. Over the years I've exhibited my paintings at Bryant Galleries in New Orleans, Trees Place Gallery on Cape Cod, and in a traveling exhibition titled From Sea to Shining Sea.

I've written 10 books on artists and art techniques and contibuted articles to magazines, websites, and exhibition catalogs. Now as I prepare for semi-retirement, I'm trying to hone my painting skills -- especially those related to painting portraits.

I've been very fortunate to have met thousands of talented artists who have enriched my life with their art, their friendship, and their advice. I am grateful to Jerry Hobbs and Susan Meyer who hired me in 1979, to the talented people who worked with me on the magazines, and to the artists and advertisers who supported American Artist, Watercolor, Workshop, and Drawing  magazines and the related websites.

I've also been blessed with a supportive, talented wife, Sara; a daughter, Clare, who works for an insurance agency; a son, Michael, who is a computer enginner in Austin; a son-in-law, Shawn, who can fix and carry anything; a granddaughter, Amanda, who has me wrapped around her finger; and my mother, Dotty, who has advised and encouraged me from the beginning.

7 thoughts on “Connecting With Each Other, In Person and Electronically

  1. I really enjoyed this story on Daniel and feel a connection to him. I grew up in a small town where art education was minimal at best and, I too grew my art education on my own through books, magazines and television. This was way back when before the internet. I went on to Community College to study Commercial Design and Illustration. But, I credit most of my development as an artist to those days as a kid when I would rather draw than be outside. Keep painting Daniel, your inspirations and education will come from all places, mainly from that creative soul inside you that refuses to be silenced.

  2. Having taken many classes for years, it is hard to imagine the ability and technique of this young gentleman. His “Recipes” shows god-given talent.

  3. An outstanding artist. A wonderful sense of color, technique and the ability to “see”. His work clearly shows a solid foundation in drawing. Am really looking forward to Doherty’s article on him this summer. Can’t wait to see more!

  4. I am looking forward to the article on such a wonderful artist! His work is superb and he is an inspiration to me. Looking forward to seeing many more outstanding works from this gifted young artist!

  5. I love this story. Artists no longer have to live in New York City to be an active part of the “Art Scene”. Isn’t this internet connectivity amazing that a New York Art Editor, several accomplished artists and this old lady living the in woods of Oklahoma can become aware of such a promising young California artist in such a short time span. P.S. The new format and workings of this site is tops…Julia

  6. Thanks everyone. And Julia, please don’t refer to yourself as an old lady because then I will have to admit to being an old man. Let’s just say art is ageless and talent can emerge when we are 23 or 73.

    Thanks, Steve

  7. From a “mature woman” who had to learn mostly from books and a few weekend workshops, I applaud the wonderful techniques he has gained from books and hard work alone. I am sure he will so much from the workshop and gain new friends to treasure. I wish all of us who have longed for a real art education could get it because it seems that while you can learn by yourself it’s much better and faster to have otheres around you to help and encourage each other. I really get a lot out of these blogs and the other opportunities in this website. It’s a wonderful stimulus and a font of information.