Painter Kevin Macpherson surrounded by some children he taught in China during a trip this spring.

Noted painter and instructor Kevin Macpherson has made several trips to China over the last four years, with the latest being this spring. It seems the United States could not ask for a better artist-ambassador, based on his journal entries, shared thanks to Peter Adams, the president of the California Art Club.

Macpherson and students paint a wall in China.

“Each day has been filled with new experiences, inspirational locations, unexpected wonders and exceptional people,” Macpherson wrote. “At an early age I embraced the art spirit. Since then my life has been blessed because of art. I have taught thousands of adult students; now I would like to share the gift with young underprivileged children as long as I can physically and financially continue my mission.”

Macpherson traveled through China alone after touring Southeast Asia with his wife, Wanda. It seems that the experience included painting a mural with children. Somewhere in China there is now a Macpherson mural collaboration.

Kids being kids — and Kevin Macpherson — in China.

“This spring I have had the joy of volunteering, teaching painting and drawing to underprivileged children of migrant workers,” he wrote. “My Mandarin is poor at best, but the universal languages of art and smiles go a long way. I hope I added color to their lives. I was especially impressed with so many who had natural talent. I hope maybe I have inspired some to pursue art in their future.”

His travels and volunteering required considerable resourcefulness on his part. Macpherson evidently found ways to connect with young students, via goods purchased in the heart of Shanghai. The artist experienced a wide range of Chinese life, from intensely busy urban areas to remote rural villages. Throughout it all, Macpherson was seemingly a man with a mission.

Macpherson paints a portrait in a chilly school in China as students look on.

“I spent most of the day buying art supplies along Fuzhou Lu in the center of Shanghai,” Macpherson wrote. “This street is all about art, book stores, and calligraphy supplies. I was looking for supplies for the children’s art projects. I had never taught children before so I was winging it and coming up with ideas on the cuff. I found a shop that had a pile of ping pong paddles; I thought painting the bare wooden paddles with a handle was a great idea. So I purchased 30 for the kids. I filled bags with paint and brushes, drawing paper, stickers and canvas, and a cheap easel. I also bought umbrellas for the kids to decorate. I also bought two of my “Fill Your Oil Paintings With Light and Color” books, Chinese translated version, in the Shanghai book store to share with the kids.”

For one project, Macpherson purchased ping-pong paddles that his students could paint.

Macpherson is back in the States, leading a painting workshop down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. But his last trip to China seemingly left a lasting mark on the painter.

“The kids are so sweet. They always greeted me, ‘Kevin Lao Shi’–Teacher Kevin,” he wrote. “They like to hold my hand, both boys and girls. It feels good to fill a niche and feel the love of little children.”


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