4 - 4
About Keith Sanders:
“I paint because I must. It is an undeniable obsession.”
As a child of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl, Keith spent countless hours on the storied Route 66, traveling between his grandfather’s farm in Oklahoma to a tent village in Palm Springs in Southern California. The terracotta soil, ochre dust, cerulean sky, and rainbow hues of the sunlit roadway are among the impressions evoked by this series.
With his artistic talent recognized and supported at an early age by his parents, and an influential mentorship by his high school art teacher, watercolorist Andrew Lester, Keith never had any doubts that he would pursue a career as an artist. Keith began his passion for watercolors in high school, and after graduation he continued his art training at the Art Center in Los Angeles for as long as his scholarship allowed. His parents decided to return to Oklahoma at the cusp of the Korean War, and Keith opted to return with them to get drafted from his home state.
Army medic training brought him to San Antonio as a new draftee, where he met his first wife. After a year and a half stationed in the Territory of Hawaii, Keith settled in San Antonio with his wife and son in 1956 and continued his art studies at San Antonio College and Trinity University. While studying art, Keith found inspiration in the works of several artists, including Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, and John Marin, as well as the blossoming art scene in San Antonio.
Over the next 26 years Keith moved inland from the Pacific coast to the Sierra Foothills near Grass Valley, continued climbing eastward to Boulder and Evergreen, Colorado, and then settled in Taos, New Mexico. Continuously experimenting and evolving in his style, Keith absorbed and interpreted landscapes in the luminously layered and sensuous planes of his watercolors.
“I became a grandfather and great grandfather and had a heart attack on my 70th birthday at [a mall] parking lot in Taos. After I recovered from that, I decided maybe it was time to get closer to my boys and grandkids, so we started looking for a place in the San Antonio area that was in the arts community. We liked Austin, so we settled here [in Wimberley].”
His enthusiasm and love for creative experimentation and sharing painting techniques has made Keith a popular instructor for seminars and demonstrations, from children in Wimberley’s “Arts from the Heart” program to seasoned veteran painters.
Keith Sanders’s work:
“I think that every painting an artist does, no matter the subject, is a self-portrait… It’s coming out of you and your subconscious; even if it’s as realistic as a photograph, there’s something of you in there. So I call all of them self-portraits.”
The evocative, abstract artwork of Keith Sanders maps his subconscious journey through a colorful and traveled life, from his start as an Okie born “with a pencil” in his hand, to the acclaimed master artist in his current Wimberley studio. The multilayer hues of his watercolors and textural acrylic paintings present a tour de force of technique and artistry, from landscapes of simple elegance to portraits of effusive whimsy. Inspired by lifetime events that flow from his subconscious onto paper and canvas, Keith’s “self-portraits” are often thematic, with multiple paintings based on related childhood memories.
Success tracked Keith in his artistic career, as measured by an impressive dossier of national exhibitions and best of show awards, and more recently as a 2007 and 2009 finalist for the Hunting PLC Art Prize, the largest art prize in the United States. Cheerfully unassuming, however, Keith keeps a black and white photo of the tent cabin that his family lived in while in Palm Springs in his studio—a reminder of his humble roots and of the transient nature of fortune.
For further information on Keith Sanders, visit: www.keithdevonsanders.com