First place in Southwest Art magazine’s 2019 Artistic Excellence competition was earned by a Langley City artist.
Drew Keilback, a 66-year-old painter, submitted FoxTrot, an 18 x 36 oil work of a snowy river bank with a small red fox almost hidden in the distance.
“I have followed Southwest Art magazine for many years so I was always aware of their competitions but this was the first time I had entered any work,” Keilback said. “The process is usually the same for all art competitions – there’s an entry fee [and] you send a jpeg of your entry with the title of the work.”
The magazine has been in print for 40 years and this particular contest had more than a thousand entries; which is then sifted down to the top 13.
Keilback was born and raised on the Canadian prairies and began drawing and sketching from an early age. He received his Fine Art training in Phoenix, Arizona, where he became heavily influenced by landscapes.
After a stint on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and then as a video graphics artist at CBC Vancouver, Keilback moved to Vancouver and retired; he has since taken up painting full time.
“I bought my first oil paints when I was still in high school, but I have been drawing all my life,” Keilback recalled. “When I was just five years old, my kindergarten teacher informed my mother that ‘Drew likes to draw’, so I guess I was born with the ‘urge’ to create. My style is generally described as representational – some refer to the style as Western. I tend to start in an abstract manner and focus in as I go.”
The artist said he typically enters two or three competitions each year – both local and international; Keilback also takes part in the West Fine Art Show, a yearly gallery and art auction for charity.
“I first contacted the West Fine Art Society after noticing and admiring Brian Croft’s work,” Keilback said.
Croft was in fact the won that tipped the Langley Advance Times off about Keilback’s win.
“What a thrill that his accomplishment focuses on just a tiny but glorious piece of our local topography and that he tells such a simple but compelling story of our community to the whole world,” Croft said about Keilback and his work.
Keilback said he will be taking part in the upcoming West Fine Art Show, which runs March 6 to 8 at Peter Ewart Middle School
“Obviously, it’s nice to receive the cash award for winning, but the real reward is the recognition that one receives from his/her peers,” the artist explained. “The impact is the gratification of being recognized for all the years spent in the studio trying to hone your craft, so to speak.”
Keilback said he is currently leaning towards painting allegorical works to have that that contains Easter eggs and tells a story.
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