Steve Kell from childhood followed in his mother’s artistic footsteps, filling many drawing pads early on with Porky Pig or Woody Woodpecker. Eventually, after watching her paint, he was awarded with his very own pallet and dollops of Grumbachers, and his ticket into a whole new world of creativity. This was after the hour she taught him piano, of course. Cut to years later. An army draft notice landed in his mailbox senior year at UCSB, and interrupted his plans for medical school. The Air Force seemed like a good idea, since fox holes seemed like a bad idea. So began a flying career, finishing up his commitment to the Air Force flying DC-3’s in Viet Nam, and subsequently flying for 25 years commercially, with PSA and USair. But that’s not the real story.
His creative bent never waned. During all those flying years, he moonlighted as a humorous greeting card writer and free-lance magazine cartoonist, selling to Cosmopolitan, Saturday Evening Post, and Good Housekeeping, for example. He was also the creator of the syndicated newspaper strip, “The Captain and Mandy,” which appeared in over 80 newspapers nationwide.
An early retirement option from USair allowed Steve to return full time to the easel. Plein air painting was becoming popular, and to deepen his knowledge of the basics, he studied with Leonardo Scarola, and eventually ventured outside with a variety of respected plein air artist instructors. Embracing the challenge and mystery of oil paint and light on a two-dimensional surface was life-changing. The adventure, the quest, the goal was to lay something on the canvas that embodies the spirit of the scene, as well as the beauty, and in that, was the ultimate satisfaction.
Although represented by several galleries in California, he likes participating in juried plein air events around the country, and shows offered by art organizations to which he belongs.
Steve has offered three-day plein air painting classes at San Clemente Art Supply and currently offers indoor classes at Westervelt's Gallery in Laguna Niguel.
Laguna Plein Air Painters Association
Southern California Plein Air Painters Association
Oil Painters of America
San Clemente Art Association
Dana Point Fine Arts Association
California Art Club
Dana Point Coastal Arts