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