Artist Spotlight: Keith Sluder

The Black Lagoon
California artist Keith Sluder began his artist training in an intense illustration education in the early 60's through Boeing, Inc., who screened young artists to enter their program for advertising and marketing.  Through the company's training, he was able to study everything from isometric drawing to airbrush photo retouching, and since everything was done by hand, Keith perfected realism.  When Boeing's contract ran out, General Dynamics in San Diego brought in the artists as their illustrators.  Keith's realism training continued as he learned the skills to create realistic images, like glass, rubber, and metal.  

With a love of realism and the skills to match in his pocket, Keith developed his own portfolio and opened a gallery in La Mesa in 1977.  Working with Bernard Fiello, an agent, he quickly gained international recognition and opened another successful gallery in Orange County.  After building up a reputable collector base, Keith moved out on his own, to test his marketing skills and experiment with more media.  He gained an audience in Hollywood, with a show at Westbrook Gallery and has continued relationships with collectors from that show since.
The Power of the Surf

During the successful gallery sales, Keith began experimenting with other media besides the oils and watercolors he had worked in.  He wanted to take his realism further and get more translucency in his work by painting with egg tempera.  He added acrylics, matte acrylic, ink, casein and gouache to his repertoire.  Along with the oils and water media, Keith also enjoys pastels and graphite.  Now, with a Design degree from ITT, he is applying not only the technical practice he learned at Boeing, but also the Principles and Elements of Design to create better work.

Keith came to his current style, Magic Realism, after studying work by some of his own favorite artists, Andrew Wyeth, Rudy Devina and Robert Vickery.  They were all incredible technical artists but they also brought deep emotion into their work.  Keith was drawn to experimenting even more with his materials and realism.  He wanted to show a touch of fantasy with his realism, to make the work stand out as a painting rather than a photograph.  Keith shares that he wanted to reach the emotional part of the painting and have the subject relate to an experience for the viewer.  He would spend hours experimenting with the right view and right materials to achieve that goal.
Timeless Beauty
White Magic

In all of Keith's experimentation, he works with different lines of quality materials, including Black Gold brushes for his work, primarily, the 206 series rounds and the small flats for details.  Since Keith works mostly in water media, he likes that the brushes hold up well, keep their edge or point and the flat wash is great for skies.  Currently, he is also working with the wave brush to instruct his students in painting fur and hair, as well as grass or distant trees.  

Besides giving lecturers and demonstrations regularly, Keith also teaches around the country at several large expos and conventions each year.  This coming year, he will be at the Society of Decorative Painters Conference in May and at the Annual Artist Expo in Houston in July.  To find out more about Keith's work and workshops, check out his site, chock- full of info at:

Keep Painting, 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.