In being "open to possibilities" still life painter Duane Keiser paints the everyday joys of life

5 July 2019

Based over in Richmond, Virginia, still-life artist Duane Keiser was actually first introduced to his now artistic medium while studying at high school in Brussels. His uncle had come to visit and set up a “simple still life on our patio and walked me through the process of painting with oil paint,” he recalls. “He knew I was using acrylics at the time and so he wanted me to try the ‘real deal’.”

Then just a teenager, Duane became attracted to the oil painting process and “the smell of the linseed oil”. But now more established, and with a dedicated following looking to his oil paintings for their avid depictions of the details of life, the artist appreciates “its endless workability and almost magical tactile qualities.” He tells It’s Nice That, “It’s wonderful stuff.”

Wonderful stuff is also the best way to describe Duane’s work. Simply describing his paintings in one word – “representational” – the artist tends “to paint the places and things I experience in my everyday life,” he says of his practice. These subjects have no limits either, featuring everything from a broken egg, a glass of whisky, a market stall stacked with books, or even an avocado freshly chopped in half. “I don’t necessarily go around looking for something to paint,” Duane comments on this process, “but rather go about my day open to possibilities.” The artist does this every single day too, originally creating a makeshift easel made from a cigar box and painting a postcard each and every 24 hours.

This process of everydayness creates joy in Duane’s work, stripping back the traditional practice of an overcomplicated fine art discussion. He doesn’t read too much into it either, adding: “When something strikes me, I try not to analyse why. I just start painting and see what happens.”

And so as a result, in their intricate lifelike quality, Duane’s paintings are just about “the pleasure of seeing; of being cognisant of the world around me and pushing to find an alchemy between the paint, my subject and the moment.”


Duane Keiser: Bee Scapping Honey


Duane Keiser: Bike Shadow


Duane Keiser: Broken Egg


Duane Keiser: Cat Screened Porch


Duane Keiser: Grape PBJ


Duane Keiser: Lemon Water


Duane Keiser: Sweet Onion

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About the Author

Lucy Bourton

Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.

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