Ken Requard an Arizona artist, started drawing as a child. He began
painting with “paint by number”. He had an aunt, an
amateur painter, who became his mentor. As a youth,
he painted mainly landscapes in oil. He also loved
architecture. He studied mechanical and architectural
drawing in High School where he learned perspective. He had intended to become an
Architect but was side-tracked in college to science instead. From age 18 to 33, he
suppressed his artistic desires to pursue a career in Medicine as an M.D - Radiologist.
The “visual-thinking” skills needed by a Radiologist fit well with his art interests.
After marrying the love of his life and settling into a private practice career, he finally
found time to return to art.
He was intrigued with watercolor painting but had no prior experience with it. Fortunately, his community had
a local watercolor society that sponsored workshops with nationally known artists. He
was able to study with masters including Milford Zorne, Judi Betts, Frank Webb, Al
Brouliette, and others. He initially found watercolor to be very frustrating. His first
attempt at painting outdoors with watercolor with Milford Zorne was a complete
disaster! After about 50 failures, he had a breakthrough in a workshop with Judi Betts.
Her approach to design and style of application were a perfect fit for artist who wanted
more control over this challenging medium.
Ken would paint several nights per week and on weekends. He advanced his skills by
painting a series of 2-3 paintings at one time. In his second year of painting, he had his
first work accepted in the local watercolor society show and the following year won
“Best of Show”. Within five years, he achieved signature status with the Northwest
Watercolor Society and went on to have works accepted in the National Watercolor
Society, and other regional watercolor societies.
His initial interest was in landscapes, especially architectural subjects. He also created
florals including works with abstract elements and bicycle racers. His work was most notable for strong design and value pattern with interesting
color schemes. Almost all of his work featured a strong light/shadow pattern. One
reviewer commented that “the sun never sets in his world”.
Ken showed his work in outdoor art shows and regional galleries but his effort to make
a successful business from his art faltered due to lack of time to devote to it. After
years of watercolor painting, Ken desired to learn figure painting but felt that he could
not achieve that goal in the watercolor medium so he decided to learn pastel painting.
His breakthrough in learning pastel occurred at a workshop by Harley Brown. Ken
loved the optical color mixing aspects of layers of pastel. Many of his pastel works
incorporate Christian themes or symbolism.
In 2005, Ken had become frustrated with the framing difficulties for watercolor and pastel he decided to
transition to oil painting. Due to time constraints and other factors, the learning process
was slow. He benefited from workshops with Ray Roberts, Chauncey Homer, Michael
Dudash, and the teachings of Gabor Svagrik and Phil Starke via EaselInsight.com.
In 2016, he attended his first Plein Air Convention and Expo where his approach to oil
painting was transformed by seeing a demonstration ay Australian artist Leon Holmes
who painted extensively with a palette knife. It is ironic that Ken had painted with a
palette knife as a teenager but had not thought of going back to it. Ken found that
palette knife painting helped him to be more spontaneous in paint application. This led
him to develop a style of paint application that partially reflects his experience with
layers of paint in watercolor and the layered effects used in pastel. Ken found that by
using thin layers of oil paint, he could partially achieve some transparency. By allowing
the under-layers of paint to partly show through the subsequent layers, he could
achieve the optical color mixing of pastel. This technique gives his work a unique
vibrancy. Ken has also taken up outdoor or “Plein Air” painting which has also been challenging.
In 2017, he participated in his first Plein Air competition at the Escalante Canyons Art
Festival in Utah.