artist Keary Kautzer painting En Plein Air

Where do you find inspiration for painting?
Keary Kautzer: I find inspiration to do a painting from just about everywhere. It could be some flowers in my backyard. Most days I will only travel a quarter mile to paint along the river at Maywood Park. Once I’m on location, no matter where it is, I get excited knowing I’m going to do a painting. I begin by taking a short hike looking for something that grabs my attention. I prefer painting on sunny days and I look for a scene that has strong contrasting light, such as sunlight along the river or the glow of tall grass in a field.
I also enjoy painting people doing their daily work routines. I want to capture a moment in time and tell a story as to what the day was like or what the people were doing in the scene. In essence I’m recording history, something in particular that happened on that day.
As a plein air artist I just need to get outside and enjoy life. Painting makes me happy and is great for my health and wellbeing.

How did you get started and then develop your career?
Keary Kautzer: One morning while I was walking to my elementary school, a buddy and I decided to do some chalk art on the sidewalk at a random location. We drew a nude woman with large breasts on the sidewalk which happened to be in front of the principal’s house. The principle was upset and made us scrub the sidewalk clean. I learned that there is an appropriate time and place for art.

My elementary school had an art teacher who only came to our school once a week to teach art class. Of all the lessons I had all week, my favorite class was that art class. I developed a love for opportunities to create art.

My desire to learn more about art has never stopped. I read every book I can find regarding art. I was fortunate to have James Michael, a National Watercolor Society artist, live in my hometown of Sheboygan. l studied and painted with James Michael for ten years. I was like a sponge watching his every brush stroke.

Then I began exhibiting my art and participating in plein air events. I now teach watercolor painting classes and have oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings on exhibit at Plum Bottom Galleries in Door County, Wisconsin and on my website. I have a blog on my website and I post my recent paintings on my Facebook page.
I bring my painting gear with me everywhere I go because I want to do a painting every day. I never know where I will find inspiration to paint.

To see more of Keary’s work, visit:

contemporary oil painting of a camp fire
Keary Kautzer, “Camp Fire,” oil, 8 x 16 in., plein air, available through the artist
watercolor painting of a riverbend
Keary Kautzer, “Riverbend,” 11 x 15 in., watercolor, plein air, available through the artist


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