Billy Keen: Visions of Santa

Keen's paintings of Santa span three decades and will adorn the walls of Rockport Center for the Arts' Garden Gallery this Holiday Season along with our annual members' exhibition, Currents.

Exhibition Dates: December 5, 2007- January 6, 2008

About the Santa Paintings:

What began as an explanation about an art method has become a rich Christmas tradition. In 1974 native Texas artist Billy L. Keen was showing a coworker how the Old Master painters used a method called "underpainting" to achieve flesh tones. He decided to use Santa as subject of the demonstration because it was the Christmas Season.

Keen hung the painting in the room of his one-year old son. The following year he painted a new Santa for his second son. By the third year, it seemed like a "neat thing to do." After that it became an annual tradition.

As the collection has grown over the years, it's become more and more a part of the artist's celebration of Christmas. It's his way of sharing the joy of the season with family, friends and the greater community. A closer look at each portrait provides a glimpse in to the window of the artist's soul during the time it was painted. This holiday serendipity has turned into an important part of the body of work by Billy L. Keen.

About Billy Keen:

Works by Billy Keen are found in a number of private collections along with the U.S. Air Force Art Collection. His commisioned portraits include portraits of Congresswoman Barbara Jordan for a middle school, the Reverend John Wesley DeVilbiss, commemorating United Methodism's Bicentennial, a program cover for the San Antonio Fiesta Commission,and the Air Force Logo on a NASA Space Shuttle.

In 2000, the San Antonio Art League and Museum presented Mr. Keen with the Maverick Award for excellence in art using sculpture. He is also a recipient of The Sponsors Award, given at the Art League's 2002 Annual Artist's Exhibition.