Artistic Excellence 2013 | 3rd Place: Daniel Keys


Daniel Keys, Heirlooms, oil, 30 x 40.

Daniel Keys, Heirlooms, oil, 30 x 40.

What inspired your winning entry? I’m intrigued by the idea of making complex compositions be both appealing and harmonious. Making simple yet powerful statements with just a few objects is easy and more frequently done. So the challenge with this piece was to paint a large collection of things but in a way that appears cohesive rather than dissonant.

Where did you study art? I’m self-taught.

How would you describe your style? I dislike confining my work to any labels, but if I had to describe the way I paint in words, I would say I paint direct, meaning wet-into-wet, and no glazing or formal layering—alla prima with impressionistic color and brushwork.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you? I’ve never watched any of my own DVDs because I dislike the sound of my own voice.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? To base my success not on what I can accumulate but rather on what I can give.

What are your pet peeves? Littering, double negatives, and people who talk during a movie or at the theater.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be? A musician, writer, or some other kind of artist.
What is one thing you will never paint? A concept or idea locked away in someone else’s imagination.

What’s the most meaningful recognition you’ve received for your artwork? Awards and accolades are wonderful, but the most meaningful compliments come from your peers and mentors. If those whose lives and works I admire most are moved enough by something I do to give me recognition for it, I feel it is the best kind of praise for my efforts.

What artists, living or deceased, have influenced your work? Richard Schmid because he paints from the heart, uses beautiful color, and doesn’t follow any rules. We’re both a bit rebellious like that, and so we get along very well together.

What are your goals for the future? Besides continuing to improve my painting skills, I hope to start traveling overseas soon. There are many places I’d like to go, to see and paint. I also hope to write a book and film a portrait-painting instructional DVD.

What galleries represent your work? Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art, San Antonio, TX; West Wind Fine Art, Wellesley, MA; Gallery 1261, Denver, CO; Montana Gallery, Red Lodge, MT.


This story was featured in the December 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art December 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!