Connecting With Each Other, In Person and Electronically

30 Mar 2009

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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ramccord wrote
on 30 Mar 2009 8:28 AM

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.

Maxine James wrote
on 31 Mar 2009 10:05 AM

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.  

SKF2 wrote
on 31 Mar 2009 9:12 PM

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!

on 1 Apr 2009 7:28 AM

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!

Julia_Ayres wrote
on 1 Apr 2009 10:18 AM

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

sdoherty wrote
on 2 Apr 2009 5:23 AM

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

johanne7 wrote
on 2 Apr 2009 3:30 PM

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.