Blog

Announcing A New Workshop in California


La Jolla Blvd.

 

"California has been my home for nearly half of my life, and I have spent the majority of the time in San Diego.  California's southernmost city holds a special place in my heart, for it was here that I made a life-giving career change and became a full-time painter.  The abundant beauty of my 'adopted' home has been the inspiration for many watercolor scenes since I started painting in 2005.  Thanks to San Diego's mild climate, I have become an avid plein-air painter and quite often I can be found traipsing its nooks and crannies on a quest for a new setting to paint."

 

I said this in my latest book "PAINTING SAN DIEGO: 100 Plein-Air Watercolors of San Diego Landscapes" (published June 2014).  Even after the book project was completed, I still live up to my words and go out to paint whenever I have a chance at home.

 

"La Jolla Blvd.," another one of those quick outdoor sketches I so enjoy doing, is from a couple of weeks ago to depict warm summer light of Southern California.  For something like this, I usually spend less than an hour from the beginning to the finish.  I often get asked what would be a good way to learn how to paint quickly or loosely.  Speaking from my experience, I can say it is very helpful if you try often working outside and painting from nature.  I believe, through an intimate conversation with nature, you will develop an ability to capture the very essence of what you see and what inspires you.

 

I am happy to announce my new 3-day weekend workshop in Southern California (Westminster, CA, February 20-22, 2015).  This class will be conducted indoors but, in my demonstrations, I will show my thought process as if I am painting outdoors.  If you're interested in attending or have any questions on my workshop, please contact Catalyst

 

 

Painting on location, La Jolla Blvd., San Diego, California

 

 

La Jolla Blvd.

 

A larger digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 13 x 19 inches (33 x 48 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

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NEW BOOK: Painting San Diego, 100 Plein-Air Watercolors of San Diego Landscapes


New book now available

 

I am very pleased to announce that my new art book is now available online.

 

PAINTING SAN DIEGO: 100 Plein-Air Watercolors of San Diego Landscapes is a result of my recent 6-month-long outdoor painting journey through San Diego County, California, my adopted home of 20 years.  The book contains 100 images of never-before-seen watercolors of mine, all painted en plein air between November 2013 and May 2014, photos and descriptions of most locations, plenty of practical tips and several step-by-step demonstrations.  120 pages.

 

Foreword was written by Michael Campos of Campos Photography, a fine art photographer and a dear friend whom I have been working with since 2006.

 

To learn more or order, please visit this link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Workshop: Painting Light and Atmosphere of California Landscape


 

I love being with other artists.  I love sharing my creative passion.  I love painting California landscape.  In the workshop I just finished in Orange County, California, I got to do all these things for three days.

 

For a full house of 18 students, I did 2 demos each day in a room filled with enthusiasm.  Painting light and atmosphere of California landscape being the theme of the workshop, we did a harbor scene, a downtown street , an outdoor café, a mission and a desertscape.  Everyone worked so hard and we felt like we had just finished a whirlwind tour of California by the end of the course.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who attended my workshop!

 

 

 

Sunset Beach, California I (sold)

 

 

Alamitos Bay, California II (sold)

 

 

 

Sunset at Alamitos Bay, California I

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 17 x 23 inches (43 x 58 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

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Chasing the Light in Palm Desert, California Landscape Painting


Palm Desert, California I

 

I often find myself heading out to paint during the golden hour to capture soft, warm sunlight.  The quality of light is what I'm after and it is just fantastic especially for a lovely atmospheric painting.  But, if you have ever attempted doing this, you know how rapidly the golden-hour light changes it can make the whole landscape look totally diferent within a matter of minutes.  If only we could keep the beautiful light as long as we need to finish our painting!

 

To deal with that elusiveness, I try to remember the first impression and work with it throughout the end.  This visualization is important.  Our eyes may keep chasing the light but our mind's eye should see something that's fixed.  Otherwise, the end result of our painting will be utterly confusing.

 

I had an opportunity to paint recently in Palm Desert, California on a balmy afternoon.  Take a look at the photos below (sorry they are so small) and focus on the lighted area in the back.  It all happened within an hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palm Desert, California I

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 13 x 19 inches (33 x 48 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

 

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Plein-Air Demo at the Bernardo Winery, California Landscape Painting


Bernardo Winery, San Diego II

 

For plein-air painters, especially those who work in watercolor, the weather is the most crucial factor for a pleasant experience.  Too often, it is too hot, too cold, too windy, too dry, too wet, etc... well, we had none of those complaints on the day of the Saturday paint-out because the weather was perfect in every sense.

 

I was happy to be invited as a demonstrator for a plein-air painters' group from the San Diego Watercolor Society.  The location chosen for their January get-together was Bernardo Winery.  I really liked the rustic feel of the place and found it quite interesting that is actually located in the middle of a residential neighborhood.  For my demo, I painted a view of the vineyard with the mountain in the background.  Then everyone chose their subjects and spent the rest of the morning painting.   I couldn't resist making another painting of a different corner of the winery  - and why not paint the painters? - I included some of them in the piece (See "Saturday Pain-Out").

 

Click here to read about the paint-out on the blog of the San Diego Watercolor Society.

 

 

Saturday Paint-Out, Bernardo Winery

 

 

Saturday Paint-Out, Bernardo Winery

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 13 x 19 inches (33 x 48 cm)

Purchase: Sold

 

 

 

 

Bernardo Winery, San Diego, California II

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 17 x 23 inches (43 x 58 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

 

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Mission San Juan Capistrano I, California Landscape Painting


Mission San Juan Capistrano I

 

You don't have to be a fourth grader in California, but just walk around inside one of these missions: you can feel and learn, first-hand, a legacy from the past (the mission study is part of the 4th grade curriculum).  Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded in 1775 as the seventh of 21 missions in California.  It served as a religious outpost for Spanish padres to spread Christianity among native Americans in what is now southern Orange County.


Out of many structures in the town of San Juan Capistano that have the Spanish/Mexican flavor, the mission stands out and looks strikingly beautiful against the sunny sky.  Needless to say, this picturesque landmark attracts many visitors and painters alike.

 

I liked this viewpoint on a street adjacent to the mission.  I decided to include the huge tree hanging from the left-hand side in my painting and connected it with the long shadows extending to the base of the mission walls.  It looked as if the big gate was opening for me to look into what was behind it.  What I saw was a piece of California's history.

 

This month I will do a 2-day workshop at the Saddleback Art League in Mission Viejo (Sept 28 & 29), a community near San Juan Capistrano.  Contact the Saddleback Art League for registration as well as for info on my demo scheduled on Sept. 10.

 

 

Mission San Juan Capistrano, California I

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

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The Well-Traveled Road - Del Mar, California


Del Mar, California I

 

This is a road I take to get to my favorite beach near my home.  No, I don't get in the water there as it is too cold for me but to see the beautiful sunset from the cliff or just to walk or think, I like going there.  I have taken this road so many times I even feel I could drive with my eyes closed.  As you go downhill, you see the Pacific Ocean glisten just before the sunset.  It's so beautiful I was tempted to paint it numerous times before but I never actually did.  So for the first time I decided to do it.

 

Funny thing is, I thought it'd be easy to paint such a familiar route but it wasn't.  Call it the well-traveled road effect.  I suppose, as a driver, the road and the passing scenery became so routine for me that I stopped paying a lot of attention.  However, as a painter, I found many things that this road and the view from it presented to me that I did not see as a driver.  As I faced a blank sheet of paper, suddenly, this well-traveled route was a new, unfamiliar road for me.  You don't really know the subject until you actually paint it no matter how many times you've seen it.

 

This month I will have the pleasure of painting with participants of my 2-day workshop at the Saddleback Art League in Mission Viejo (Sept 28 & 29).  Contact the Saddleback Art League for registration as well as for info on my demo scheduled on Sept. 10.

 

 

Del Mar, California I

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 13 x 19 inches (33 x 48 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

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Demo and Workshop in Fallbrook, California


San Diego Sunset (Fallbrook)

 

We love sunsets.  I'm not just saying.  It's true, for vacation brochures, postcards sold at gift shops, wall calendars, commercial logos (and, yes, paintings, too), etc. that the ones with a sunset scene seem to be very popular.  Listen to what Mr. George Lucas says: "If the boy and girl walk off into the sunset hand-in-hand in the last scene, it adds 10 million to the box office."  So we love seeing a sunset, but not just for its beautiful light and colors but for the feelings evoked by it as well.  I have painted quite a number of watercolors at sunset, including this one in Fallbrook in northern San Diego county.

 

I am pleased to have been invited to do a demo for the Fallbrook Art Association (FAA) on September 9 and a workshop on September 15.  If you are in the area, come and join us (please contact the FAA for registration).

 

 

San Diego Sunset, California (Fallbrook) VI

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 13 x 19 inches (33 x 48 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

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Torrey Pines Beach, San Diego XII, California Landscape Painting


Torrey Pines Beach, San Diego XII

 

It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon and I enjoyed strolling along my favorite beach.  The natural setting around here is so beautiful and I never get tired of visiting here.  In fact every time I come here, it is hard to leave.  Off the coast, surfers were getting good waves that day and they were also having a great time.

 

With the sun almost set and the air quickly cooling down, fog rolled in from the ocean, enveloping the craggy cliffs of the Torrey Pines Reserve.  It was getting chilly, almost time for me to go home -- but the thought didn't seem to come to the minds of some die-hard surfers.  Like they might be waiting for just one more good surfing wave, I found myself looking for an excuse to linger on: I will stay maybe until I see another train.

 

 

Torrey Pines Beach, San Diego, California XII

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

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Autumn Light, Julian, San Diego I, California Landscape Painting


Autumn Light, Julian I

 

Julian is my favorite place to look for signs of changing seasons.  At an elevation of over 4,000 feet, this mountain village has a climate that is much cooler during autumn and winter months than the rest of San Diego.  A drive into the town on a meandering country road is in and of itself a pure delight as we can admire the beautiful rural setting of San Diego's East County.  Almost reaching the village center, I came to visit this vineyard that I had happened on a few years back.  Soft light was shining from the hills in the back and it was bouncing on the top of the vines.  A sight just too irresitible for me to pass up.

 

 

Autumn Light, Julian, San Diego, California I

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Donated

 

 

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Beverly Hills IV, California Landscape Painting


Beverly Hills, California IV

 

Sources say (link), Los Angeles gets 18 inches of rain per year (the US average is 37 inches); The number of days with any measurable precipitation is 26.  On average, there are 284 sunny days per year in LA.  No wonder almost always when I go and paint in Los Angeles, the sky is either sunny or hazy.

 

Once in my workshop, I painted a LA downtown scene on a rainy day for my class.  As a demo, the painting turned out the way I had planned.  But it was kind of odd to see a wet road in it as it never rained every time I had to go to downtown LA (yes, I used imagination to create that painting).

 

So, as predicted, it was another sunny day when I went to Beverly Hills to make some sketches which I used for this painting.

 

 

Beverly Hills, California IV

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

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Beverly Hills III, California Landscape Painting


Beverly Hills, California III

 

The sun just set.  Nearby streets were full of people doing holiday shopping or just enjoying strolling when I walked by a luxury hotel near Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.  The hotel has an outdoor cafe-bar and it started filling up with their well-dressed clients, perhaps for before-dinner cocktails.

 

What caught my eye first, however, was not their cocktails, but tall palm trees reflected on shiny tables at this sidewalk cafe.  For a second I was wondering what these people were ordering, but soon I forgot about it and started drawing in my mind - with these tables first and designing everything else centered around them.

 

 

Beverly Hills, California III

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

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Beverly Hills II, California Landscape Painting


Beverly Hills, California II

 

One of the popular themes taken up in the workshops I teach is how to capture light and atmosphere in watercolor.  In those classes, I keep telling my students to always think where the light source is in a painting.  Unless you are painting a scene that is pitch-black (then, why you bother to paint it?), there's always the light coming from somewhere - even on a very cloudy day.  Natural or artificial, finding the light is the first step and an important one in the process.   But sometimes the light is not in an ideal location.  Then, I'd say, feel free to move it to a better place in a painting so cast shadows will look nice, for example.  That's exactly what I did in this painting.

 

 

Beverly Hills, California II

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

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Beverly Hills I, California Landscape Painting


Beverly Hills, California I

 

Is it the excitement of knowing that celebrities live just around the corner or the influence of a certain image conjured up by popular movies and TV shows?  For whatever reason, Beverly Hills always looks prosperous with brand-name boutiques and restaurants as well as expensive foreign cars and international tourists toting shopping bags.

 

In fact it almost feels like visiting a movie studio when you walk on a tree-lined, posh street here.  A stretch limo stopped in front of me while I was waiting for the green light.  If there was a famous Hollywood actor behind the tinted window of the limo, and a tall blond with designer shades who just walked by was a sought-after model, maybe I was in a movie studio...

 

 

Beverly Hills, California I

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

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San Diego Watercolor Society Workshop Finished


Demo - Balboa Park, San Diego

 

I just finished my 4-day workshop at the San Diego Watercolor Society.  As with all the painters I met in my previous workshops, everyone who attended my class in San Diego was seriously hard-working and fun-loving people, and we painted furiously for 4 solid days, exhanged art tips, laughed, shared meals, etc.

 

I wouldl like to thank the SDWS for organizing and executing an extremely professional workshop and everyone who spent the last 4 days painting with me.  Hope to see you all again.

 

 

 

Demo (Balboa Park, San Diego)

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 20 x 14 inches (51 x 36 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

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FASO Featured Artists


San Pedro, California IV

 

Artists about to launch an art career sometimes ask me what steps they should take to be a professional.  Almost always my answer is, create a professional art website first - before a blog, facebook page, twitter, etc.  That's what I did.  I chose FineArtStudioOnline (FASO) as my website host and I know I will never regret it.  If you are serious about art as a profession, the entire team of FASO is there for you in many facets on the business side of art.

 

FASO Featured Artists is their latest feature and I am truly honored to have my work featured there recently.  In it, Brian Sherwin, an art critic and a contributing writer for FASO, describes the quality of my watercolor paintings "pleasantly haunting" and says "Keiko's paintings can be interpreted as being caught somewhere between the 'physical' and the 'spiritual'...  The inspiration for these paintings may be a scene from present day but there is an underlining feeling that they are calling back to the past at the same time."

 

To see the entire description about my work in FASO Featured Artists, click here.

 

 

San Pedro, California IV

 

Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 15.5 inches (29 x 39 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

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San Pedro Shipyard I, California Landscape Painting


San Pedro Shipyard I

 

Soaring high in the gray sky, the Vincent Thomas bridge looks impressive.  One of the longest suspension bridges in California, it connects San Pedro and the largely industrial Terminal Island, carrying significant truck traffic for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

 

Seen from the San Pedro side, Terminal Island doesn't look so inviting as the nearby Catalina Island.  While Catalina, known for its pristine landscapes, is a popular vacation spot in Southern California, Terminal Island is... not.  Here all we see seems to be colossal cargo vessels, heavy equipment, and lots and lots of containers being loaded and unloaded.  To me, however, this is just as exciting as a painting subject.

 

 

San Pedro Shipyard, California I

 

Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

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San Pedro II, California Landscape Painting


San Pedro, California II

 

I like visiting the waterfront area in San Pedro.  A seaside promenade walk while admiring beautiful boats and cruise ships is always nice, but, for me, to see a gigantic industrial zone of the Port of Los Angeles in the background adds a sense of excitement to an otherwise tranquil scene.

 

There's also a working harbor for fishing vessels that I love to paint.  Here's one of my attempts showing some of the hard-working fishing boats anchored for the night.  The sun had just set behind the hills in the back while the fog was rolling in.... it was a golden opportunity for a painting I couldn't pass up.

 

 

 

 

San Pedro, California II

 

Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 15.5 inches (29 x 39 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

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San Pedro III, California Landscape Painting


San Pedro, California III

 

A panoramic view from a hilltop that overlooks the Bay of San Pedro was marvelous.  I was there recently and made this quick sketch.  From there, one can grasp the sheer size of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach instantly.  Both ports are located within the bay and together handle cargo traffic that is perhaps the busiest in the U.S.

 

Reading some history of this seaside community, I learned that the bay was once called "Bahia de los Fumos (Bay of Smokes)."  I was intrigued to find out that the name was chosen by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese explorer and the first navigator from Europe to the California coast.  When Cabrillo reached San Pedro in 1542, he saw smoke on the hill rising from the fires set by the Indians as a hunting method.  He wouldn't believe how much the landscape around here has changed since that time.

 

 

San Pedro, California III

 

A larger image of this painting is available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

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Los Angeles Workshop Update


Demo at L.A. workshop

 

The first session of my workshop with the South Bay Watercolor Society (SBWS) just ended.  I was very pleased to see a workshop room at the NWS Gallery in San Pedro (Los Angeles) filled with so much enthusiasm in the last three days.

 

I would like to say thank-you to my students who willingly traded the Cinco de Mayo celebrations and fun at the beach for three days of painting with me.  Also my sincere thank-you goes to the workshop director of the SBWS for her tireless efforts to organize and run my workshop so smoothly.

 

The second session will take place, with a new group of students, at the same place, May 11-13.  If you're interested in joining me next weekend, please contact Mary Higuchi of SBWS (email: maryhiguchiarts@yahoo.com; phone: 310-530-3435) for the current status of availability.

 

San Pedro is 20 miles south of the Los Angeles International Airport.  $250 for SBWS members, $275 for non-members.

 

 

San Diego Downtown - Demo IV

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 20 x 14 inches (51 x 36 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

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Los Angeles Workshop This Weekend


Ramona Grassland I

 

South Bay Watercolor Society sponsors a 3-day watercolor workshop with me this weekend on "Capturing Light and Atmosphere in Watercolor."  It will be held in the NWS (National Watercolor Society) Building in San Pedro, California, 9 am to 4 pm, May 4-6.

 

A few spots have opened up.  If you're interested in joining us or have any questions, please contact me.  There will be plenty of one-on-one instruction and demonstrations.  I will have another weekend workshop, at the same place, May 11-13.  San Pedro is 20 miles south of the Los Angeles International Airport.  $250 for SBWS members, $275 for non-members.

 

These paintings of Ramona were done en plein air last weekend as a demo for my student.

 

 

Ramona Grassland I

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 15.5 inches (29 x 39 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

  Ramona, CA II

 

Ramona, California II

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 15.5 inches (29 x 39 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

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Have You Googled Your Name Lately?


Los Angeles I

 

A recent  conversation with my student revolved around names artists use.  He said he was thinking about adopting a more English-sounding name.  This talented young man recently came from Europe and he thinks his name is rather long and not easy for Americans to remember and pronounce.  I said having a unique name was to his advantage.  I'm not sure if he was completely convinced but I said it wouldn't be an issue and even going by initials might be just enough for him if he became well established.

 

He then asked whether I ever thought about changing my name in America.  I'm proud of the name my parents gave me so I said the thought never crossed my mind… but a problem for me is that my name is fairly common in Japan. 

 

I share the same name with other artists, a university professor, a pianist, a researcher in science, to name just a few.  Strangely enough, there's another watercolor artist (illustrator) who came from the same prefecture in Japan and now lives in Los Angeles.  Although, in Japanese, each of us may use different kanji characters to write our name, in English or Roman alphabet, it's all the same: Keiko Tanabe.

 

The internet has opened up a world of new opportunities, so much so that I am generally glad to see other Keiko Tanabe's doing good work in their chosen fields.  However, this also means we are competing for a place in the world wide web where most people search our name using Roman alphabet.  For a professional who relies heavily on the internet, this can be a problem.  What to do to establish a strong internet identity if your name is too common?  This can be even worse if you share a name with someone you'd rather not be associated with, or a criminal?

 

I admit I don't usually spend time thinking about things like SEO.  But it is a cold hard fact that we must do our best to improve our online visibility - first by monitoring what other people might be finding online associated with our name (read more on the topic for practical tips).  Have you googled your name lately?

 

 

Los Angeles I

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 21.5 x 14.25 inches (54.5 x 36 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

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Refugio State Beach I, California Landscape Painting


Refugio State Beach, California I

 

No matter what the results, painting outdoors is always a rewarding experience because we learn so much that may be too hard to learn in the studio.  After painting all day in a couple of different locations, I came to this beach.  The sun was about to set and the light was just irresistible.  I knew there wouldn't be enough time to finish a painting but I did as much as I could anyway (I completed it in my studio the next day).

 

Today I will do a demo in Lakeside, near San Diego, California, for a plein-air painters group from the San Diego Watercolor Society.  Today's weather forecast: Mostly cloudy skies.  Slight chance of a rain shower. High 61F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.

 

 

"With all the changing atmosphere and clouds, changing light and everything, you basically have to stick to your original idea.  It's very challenging at times."  - Clyde Aspevig

 

"I strive to capture the moment, that fleeting light or atmospheric effect, tackled with a sense of urgency and an awareness that the prevailing conditions are transient and will not be precisely repeated. "  - Trevor Chamberlain

 

 

painting at Refugio State Beach

 

 

Refugio State Beach, California I

 

Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 14.25 x 21.5 inches (36 x 54.5 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

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California Artist of the Year by Twin Cities TOSCA


Santa Barbara, California VII

 

Exploring TOSCA is a beautiful quarterly arts and culture magazine and the most comprehensive guide for art events in the Twin Cities region (Minneapolis-St Paul, Minnesota).

 

Last year they launched the American Artist Series where one artist was chosen by the editor-in-chief to represent each state.   In their current issue (winter), I am extremely honored that I am being featured with the title of "California Artist of the Year."

 

(click to open pdf file to see TOSCA winter issue)

 

Arts and culture thrive in this part of America's Heartland.  I didn't know this but many sources point out that the Twin Cities have more theatre companies per capita than any city outside of New York, for example.

 

Incidentally, I am going to St Paul later this year to teach a workshop at the Northstar Watercolor Society (October 15-19), so I am especially pleased with the feature in the magazine and looking forward to visiting there.   For more information on my workshops, please click here.

 

 

 

  

cover                                            ... and my feature in the 2012 winter issue

 

 

 

Santa Barbara, California VII

 

Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 14.25 x 21.5 inches (36 x 54.5 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

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More Paintings of Palm Springs, California Landscape


Palm Springs, California VI

 

In a land that was once called Agua Caliente ("hot water"), the sun first awakens sleeping mountains that surround the town of Palm Springs.  It is so amazing to see colors of the mountainside change virtually every second as the day breaks.  Then the nearby desert begins to show colors as if it was breathing again.  And streetlights in the glitzy downtown Palm Springs go off, one by one...  Here one can embrace the magnificent natural beauty and the sophisticated glamour and style that make the town a magnet for celebrities - life in Palm Springs is unlike any other.

 

 

Palm Springs, California VI

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

 

  Palm Springs, California V

 

Palm Springs, California V

 

A larger digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

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Carmel Valley Village I, California Landscape Painting


Carmel Valley Village, California I

 

Panoramic views of the river valley, misty mountains, enticing vineyards… meandering through idyllic scenery like these, I found driving into this small village to be a pure delight.  Carmel Valley Village can be reached from the mountains or from the coast.  Either way, watching what unfolded outside my car windows made me want to stop many times for quick sketches.

 

However, this village and the surrounding area is a popular travel destination, so traffic can be heavy and people drive pretty fast (You really have to keep your eyes on the road).  In this painting is a restaurant near the village center - a small glimpse of life on the little bit quieter side of the popular Monterey Peninsula.

 

 

Carmel Valley Village, California I

 

Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 15.5 x 11.5 inches (39 x 29 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

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Palm Springs III, California Landscape Painting


Palm Springs, California III

 

There's nothing like painting outdoors in the middle of natural surroundings - even if it means toting an entire plein air painting equipment in the wilderness, worrying about overexposure to the sun or difficulty of finding decent facilities.  So, when I was offered a day in the pristine desert with easy access to all the comforts of modern civilization, it sounded almost too good to be true.

 

I painted this and many more recently in Palm Springs, California, with a few other artists.  Daytime weather felt like warm spring; birds were singing and desert shrubs and cacti shimmered in the incredible light... What fun we had.

 

 

Palm Springs, California III

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 14.25 x 21.5 inches (36 x 54.5 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Private Collection

 

 

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Balboa Park Sunset II, California Landscape Painting


Balboa Park Sunset, San Diego II

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who took the time to attend my demo & lecture in Brea, California last Sunday.  Thanks to the kind invitation of the Watercolor West, I had the pleasure of demonstrating and speaking about my creative process to the room full of people at the Brea Gallery.  At the end of a four-hour session, I had three paintings, 15"x22" each, completed.  I was happy to be able to show three different types of work that I do - landscapes, interiors and waterscapes.

 

My landscape demo was based on this small study of the beautiful Balboa Park in San Diego.  For my second demo, I painted the inside of a traditional Chinese tea house based on Tea House, Shanghai, China I.  My last demo, at the request of a few people in the audience, was a waterscape, based on Barrio Logan, San Diego II.  It was just wonderful to have so many members of the Watercolor West as well as non-members in my seminar.  Thanks again for your participation!

 

 

Balboa Park Sunset, San Diego, California II

 

Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

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Malibu I, California Landscape Painting


Malibu, California I

 

Shopping, wrapping, decorating, sending out holiday cards, entertaining... Is your to-do list too long, and you're feeling a little stressed-out?  If you find yourself not really enjoying this special time of the year, then it's time to do something just for yourself.  If you are a watercolor painter or love the medium, I may have a suggestion.

 

Next Sunday I will be doing a painting demonstration and lecture in Los Angeles.  Please come and enjoy as I finish off the 2011 watercolor seminar series organized by the Watercolor West.

 

 

Sunday, December 18, 1-5pm

Brea Civic Cultural Center, Los Angeles, California

For more information and registration, visit Watercolor West website.

 

 

Malibu, California I

 

Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 14.25 x 21.5 inches (36 x 54.5 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

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National Watercolor Society 91st Annual Exhibition


Santa Monica Blvd. IV

 

I am extremely honored that my entry has been included in the National Watercolor Society 91st Annual Exhibition.

 

The show will run in the NWS Gallery (San Pedro, California) until December 3rd.

 

 

Santa Monica Blvd. IV

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 14.25 x 21.5 inches (36 x 54.5 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

 

 

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Workshop in San Diego - Next Weekend


Gloria's Ranch (demo)

 

My next workshop will be in San Diego, California on 17 and 18 September at the San Diego Watercolor Society.  We will talk about how to capture light and atmosphere in a painting and try a few different approaches.  Please check with the SDWS/workshops to see if there's any space left if you're interested in joining me.  After this at the SDWS, I will teach a week-long workshop in November, 2012.

 

I was invited to do a demonstration this past weekend by a plein-air painters' group of the San Diego Watercolor Society.  Among them were some of my students who will come to my workshop next weekend.  Blessed with very fine weather, we gathered at a ranch that had a gorgeous view of rolling hills and pastures all around.  This is my first painting I did just when the morning light was burning off the fog.

 

 

Gloria's Ranch, Escondido, California I

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 14.25 x 21.5 inches (36 x 54.5 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

 

 

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Monterey and Carmel Beach Paintings


Monterey, California I

 

"What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness."

 

-- John Steinbeck (From Travels with Charley: In Search of America)

 

 

In the U.S., when Labor Day comes around, we feel summer is coming to an end.  Or at least some of us seem to be mentally programmed to believe so.  At a day's end on this small beach near Cannery Row in Monterey, shadows thrown by the setting sun were getting longer every minute, looking as if they were playing with waves.  Who said summer never ends in California?  As days get shorter, we do feel a chilly edge in the salty wind and want to reach for a warm cup of coffee to walk with.

 

I am pleased to announce that Zantman Art Galleries, the oldest fine art gallery in Carmel-by-the-Sea, is now representing some of my original watercolors.  When you're in the vicinity, I'd like to invite you to visit there.

 

 

Monterey, California I

 

Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 14.25 x 21.5 inches (36 x 54.5 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

 

Carmel Beach, California I

 

Carmel Beach, California I

 

A larger image of this painting is available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 14.25 x 21.5 inches (36 x 54.5 cm)

Purchase: Through Gallery.  Please inquire.

 

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June 2011 Bold Brush Painting Competition


Oceanside Harbor, San Diego I

 

My watercolor painting "Oceanside Habor, San Diego I" has been awarded Outstanding Watercolor in the recent Bold Brush Painting Competition.  I would like to thank FineArtStudioOnline for this special recognition!

 

I am also happy to announce that this painting has been donated to the San Diego Watercolor Society for the Opportunity Drawing to be held at the opening reception of our 31st International Exhibition on October 7, 2011.  The funds raised will be used to help cover the expenses of the exhibit.

 

 

Oceanside Harbor, San Diego I


Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 14.25 x 21.5 inches (36 x 54.5 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Donated

 

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Recent Media Coverage


Oceanside Harbor, San Diego I

 

I was mentioned or featured in several art publications recently.  Professional Artist magazine just published an article on how artists supported Japanese disaster relief efforts by raising money from their art ("Artists Raise $30,000 Online for Japanese Tsunami Survivors" by Byron Kerman, July/August 2011 issue).  I was interviewed for the article and my artwork is also featured in it.

 

I was delighted that San Diego Talent Magazine did a feature article on me last month.  I was also pleased to see my name come up in one of the recent posts, entitled "Your favourite watercolour painters," in Katherine Tyrrell's popular Making a Mark blog.

 

I'd like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to those who chose to write about me or my work (My special thank-you to Byron and Katherine!).

 

 

Oceanside Harbor, San Diego, California I

 

Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 14.25 x 21.5 inches (36 x 54.5 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Donated

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Point Fermin, San Pedro, California Landscape Paintings


Point Fermin, San Pedro I

 

I am a landscape painter but I have always been attracted to the human elements and thus look for them in a scene that I have chosen to paint.  As a result, man-made structures and some figures are almost always incorporated in the design of my painting.  So it is rather rare for me to tackle a pure landscape with no human figures in it.

 

There were actually a few people walking on this beach which commands a good view of Point Fermin in the background.  I could have included these people in the paintings; on other days I might.  But this time something told me not to do that as I felt the ambient light and pristine state of the environment should be the focal point.

 

 

 

Point Fermin, San Pedro, California I

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

 

Point Fermin, San Pedro, California II

 

 

Point Fermin, San Pedro, California II

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

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Star of India, San Diego I, California Landscape Painting


Star of India, San Diego I

 

Greek philosopher Plato said, "Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."  If music is indeed the sound of life, the sounds of gentle lapping waves, flapping of the sails, roaring wind, stormy sea, faint squeaking of the deck, and maybe occasional whale spouting… they all must have been "music" to sailors who spent weeks or months on a vessel that went around the world in the late 19th century.

 

After 21 voyages around the world, this majestic sailing ship retired and is now docked in San Diego as a floating museum.  It has become a symbol at the city's waterfront, and everyone is proud of her.  Her name is Star of India but her original name was Euterpe, the muse of music in Greek mythology.

 

 

 

Star of India, San Diego I

 

Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

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Point Fermin Lighthouse I, California Landscape Painting


Point Fermin Lighthouse I

 

It was one of those perfect bright sunny days when I went to the Point Fermin Park, the southernmost point in Los Angeles.  This beautiful park with tree-shaded lawns sits on the steep cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  And I had a good time despite the sea breeze that was a bit too chilly for me and some overly friendly squirrels trying to chase me.

 

I came here for the spectacular ocean views and also to see the historic lighthouse up close.  Point Fermin Lighthouse was built in 1874 and had been guiding ships into the harbor until the light was extinguished in 1941.  Built in the Victorian architectural style, it adds more elegance and beauty to the surroundings.

 

 

Point Fermin Lighthouse, San Pedro I

 

A larger digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

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Santa Monica Blvd. IV, California Landscape Painting


Santa Monica Blvd. IV

 

Sunshine, traffic congestion, beaches and mountains, pollution.  Shopping malls, theme parks, palm-lined streets and vast urban sprawl.  Mansions for the super-rich and shelters for the homeless.  And did I mention traffic jams?

 

The freeways are just like a maze, and so is their culture.  Many ethnic communities are scattered throughout the city.  They speak different languages and eat different food.  If you know which community to go to, you can find almost anything from any part of the world.

 

Daily life in a city so diverse as Los Angeles can be as different as chalk and cheese for each one who lives there.  But no matter how exciting, stressful, fun or boring a day has been, it will come to an end.  And here it often does with the glorious sunset light.

 

California sunset / Going down in the west / All the colors in the sky / Kiss another day goodbye.  (Lyrics from "California Sunset" by Neil Young)

 

 

Santa Monica Blvd. IV

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 14.25 x 21.5 inches (36 x 54.5 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

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Torrey Pines Beach, San Diego XI, California Landscape Painting


Torrey Pines Beach, San Diego XI

 

My second workshop on Landscape and Perspective just finished at the San Diego Watercolor Society.

 

When you work with 12 very enthusiastic students, time just flies by.  In three days, I did 6 demos and everyone made 3-4 paintings of a San Diego streetscape, a local beach scene, a Parisian street, etc.  I'd like to say a thank-you for all the participants and the SDWS workshop team!

 

My next workshop at the same venue this September will be focusing on a slightly different topic: how to capture light and atmosphere in watercolor (registration is already open).

 

 

 

last day of the workshop

 

 

Torrey Pines Beach, San Diego XI

 

Click here for an enlarged view of this painting.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

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Torrey Pines Beach, San Diego, California Landscape Paintings


Torrey Pines Beach, San Diego X

 

When I get up in the morning, I don't question whether or not I'm going to paint that day because I know my answer.  I paint every day.  Each day is different as I may spend 6-8 hours painting one day and maybe just 20 minutes the next.

 

It is true, however, from time to time, there are days when I just can't feel inspired enough to get started.  Ideas are not flowing and the creative spirit is not there.  Even if I manage to force myself to paint, I struggle.

 

At a time like this, one thing I like to do is to take a break from the routine and walk in the nature so the creative mind will be freed again.  Torrey Pines State Beach is only a few minutes away and one of my favorite places in all of San Diego.  For me to feel inspired to paint again, a brief visit there always does the trick.

 

 

 

 

Torrey Pines Beach, San Diego X

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

 

 

Torrey Pines Beach, San Diego IX

 

Torrey Pines Beach, San Diego IX

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)
Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

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