Keith Spears Jr., a native of Louisville, Kentucky, received his art education at the College of Applied Arts at the University of Cincinnati and the American Academy of Art in Chicago. It was in Chicago that Keith’s awareness and love for the watercolor medium arose. While studying for a career in advertising design, Keith was instructed in watercolor under the guidance of Irving Shapiro, AWS. Keith has since furthered his studies with noted watercolorists Don Stone, Edward Betts and Charles Reid.
While Keith’s painting interest centered on landscapes and rural still life paintings, he grew into themes of local interest, such as horse racing and notable locations around Louisville. He found a fondness for painting flowers during the middle seventies. At that time, many of his floral paintings depicted particular flowers in their realistic form or he has chosen to intermix a variety of less descriptive flower forms in a more hypothetical manner. Keith feels that the mere suggestion of flower forms handled with the fluid spontaneity of watercolor produces the excitement he is looking for. As he has traveled the world Spears has produced images of these locations, whether it be a patio scene in a French garden, the fields of Provence or the varied images found on Harbor Island of the Bahamas.
Keith is an artist member, and officer of the Kentucky Watercolor Society, where he exhibits regularly. He has been represented in numerous regional shows and has received many awards. His watercolors are in many private collections in the United States and Europe. His paintings are included in the following corporate collections: American Commercial Barge Line; Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; General Electric; Greenbaum, Doll & McDonald, PLLC; First National Bank of Louisville; Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.; McCann Erickson Inc., advertising; Jeffboat, Inc.; Loper Oil Company, Mobile, Ala.; Citizens Fidelity Bank & Trust Co., Louisville; Colonial American National Bank, Roanoke, Va.; Liberty National Bank of Louisville; and many more.
Spears is a native Louisvillian, who has been involved with watercolor for over thirty years. While many of his paintings focus on locations in and around Louisville, he is also recognized for his work of the Provence region of France. He has recently painted in Harbour Island, Bahamas and in Nice, France, as well as various locations in Italy. “I have always been attracted to the play of light and how it affects everyday scenes around us. I try to capture these effects and communicate my feelings to the viewer,” Spears states.