Meet-the-Artist reception for Keeler set for Friday

MARION — Taking inspiration from nature, the Osceola League for Arts and Humanities artist of the month captures vivid images of the wildlife, birds, insects and plant life that thrive in northern Michigan.

The featured artist for August is Joshua Keeler, a recent graduate of Marion High School, whose paintings are currently on display in the league studio in Evart.

Area residents are invited to meet Keeler at a special event, a Meet-the-Artist reception at the studio on Friday evening, Aug. 24 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Visitors will be surprised to see that the young artist works in a remarkably wide range of media. Among his striking paintings are creations in pencil, oil, watercolors, chalk pastels, color pencils, charcoal and mixed media.

Other projects Keeler has participated in include a mural in the children’s section of the Marion Public Library and a mural in the high school library.

He won first place in the 2008 Traverse City Cherry Festival youth art contest and second place in 2009 for his painting “Patriot Eagle” in the Marion Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6015 patriotic art contest.

“My favorite right now,” said Keeler, “is working in pencil. I’m very detail-oriented and tend to work slowly. I like the precision and detail I can achieve in pencil.”

Keeler will continue art training when he enrolls at Mid Michigan Community College in the fall. He hopes to enhance present skills and stretch his talents and abilities with new experiences. His long-term goal is to have a career in an art-related field.

“I’ve been drawing and painting mostly animals and nature subjects,” he said. “I need to begin to learn how to draw people and portraits. It’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.”

Art has been a part of Keeler’s life since he was a young boy, taking art lessons as he grew up and later enrolling in art classes at the high school.

Keeler’s father, Jason, is the science teacher at Marion High School and his mother, Stephani, homeshooled Joshua until the seventh grade when he entered the Marion school system. Joshua’s sister Anissa is 15 and his brother Isaiah is 13.

“Painting is a good way for Josh to express himself,” said his dad. “He’s not afraid to try new things and he’s tried a lot of media. He’s very good with pencil drawing and his teachers have done a good job of encouraging him to broaden out. I’m his biggest critic and his biggest supporter and will continue to encourage him to develop and achieve his goals and enjoy what he does along the way.”

Be sure and stop by the studio to see Keeler’s intriguing paintings. To meet him in person, don’t miss the reception Friday evening.

The studio is both a gallery and a gift shop displaying the creations of many area artists including paintings, stained glass, photography, mosaics, pottery, knitting, ceramics, woodworking, sewing, crocheting, jewelry, quilts, dolls, notecards and much more.

Classes and workshops are also available in drawing, painting and a variety of crafts and other art forms.

The Osceola League for Arts and Humanities is at 207 N. Main St., Evart. Summer open hours for the studio and gift shop are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 12 noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For further information about the league and class schedules, call (231) 734-9900 or go to www.olahartstudioevart.com.