Keith Batcheller – Visual Story Teller
Award-winning artist Keith Batcheller worked for 30 years as an illustrator with the top tier clients such as Disney, Sea World, Mattel, and the NFL. However, when the recession arrived in 2008, he, along with most everyone else, accessed his future and redefined his creative endeavors from illustration to fine arts.
With his arsenal of skills and experience, Keith transitioned into painting wildlife art and discovered a new passion and freedom from his work that he never experienced before. He explains, “As an illustrator, I work for the client. But in fine arts, painting wildlife and landscapes is so freeing and rewarding.”
Keith likes to paint all sorts of mammals but they must be “handsome and elegant” so that he does not grow bored while painting them for long, arduous hours. Keith seeks to understand the animal, first by studying how it might pose; then he begins to create an active ‘visual story.’ Keith explains, “The beauty and character of the animal is important to the overall picture but I begin to wonder how the animal feels in different situations because I must be able to tell a story in the painting.” Sometimes this story is as simple as painting the animal’s inquisitive stare.
It appears that Keith has always been drawing. He grew up in Covina and while in elementary school, Keith began to draw the cartoon characters from The Flintstones. He was so successful at it that he was able to charge his friends .25 cents for each drawing they commissioned. By the time Keith was in junior high school, he had won $25 in an art contest for his watercolors. As a teenager at Covina High, Keith never stopped painting and merged it with his love of sports by painting baseball heroes. He entered Mount Sac to develop a portfolio strong enough to win him acceptance into the Art Center College of Design. All the while Keith worked and honed his skills with his first commercial art job as a portrait artist at Disneyland. Working there allowed him to pay for his tuition to the Art Center!
As a graduate student with honors from Art Center, Keith was fortunate to study and forge friendships with the best and most acclaimed illustrators of this generation. These masters include: Bob Peak, Mark English, Bernie Fuchs, and Bob Heindel. While he continues to work with major clients in advertising, publishing and the movie industry, he also gives back to his students while teaching painting and illustration at Mount Sac.
In Keith’s busy life as an artist, he remains dedicated to his passion of wildlife, landscapes and western arts. His fine art work is featured in major galleries and shows throughout the United States such as: The Cattleman’s Western Art Show, Paso Robles, CA; Cheyenne Museum Show, WY; Bosque Art Classic and Center, Clifton; MT; Oyster Club Show, Tucson, AZ; Seaside Gallery/Slo Poke Western Show, Pismo Beach, CA.
Keith Batcheller believes that an artist never stops learning or challenging oneself. Most important, Keith knows how lucky he is to do what he does and “feels so very, very blessed.”