Kay Kaplan

San Diego, CA Website | Instagram | View All Works

Kay Kaplan is always painting, completing her last inspiration then reaching inward for more enlightenment, understanding and rushes of creativity all inspired by beautiful San Diego and California’s surrounding deserts. She loves holding on to the flow and focus that she has come to, in a place of calm, exhilaration and excitement while portraying all the wonder and beauty that Southern California has to offer.
Kaplan’s passion for painting came in part from having a happy childhood in the deserts of Arizona where she drew lots of ocotillos, prickly pears and cactus scenes. When she moved to San Diego as a young adult, she was taken by the beautiful Southern California surroundings and famous coastlines. In the last few years have she has been inspired by San Diego’s urban sprawl and has been re-introduced to the deserts surrounding Joshua Tree, CA. A combination of memories of her childhood and seeing through trained eyes has and inspired her new work. Kaplan’s art education, including private classes, workshops, extensive boot camps through the Athenaeum School of Arts in La Jolla, CA has given her a strong knowledge of oil paints. Kaplan’s process starts with tinting the white canvas. Then, with a brush, she begins the painting, adding the darkest darks to the lightest lights, adjusting the shapes while considering the composition. Kaplan use eight different tubes of paint to create all the colors she wants. Her blacks often have 3-4 colors, as not one of her colors on the canvas is straight from the tube. She adds linseed oil to give the paint a rich, buttery, soft consistency. Kaplan use two large pallets that allow her to mix large amounts of paint which is important when painting Alla Prima or “wet onto wet.” Her work has evolved in the past 12 years and may include a touch of abstract and realism to her impressionistic style. Painting brings Kaplan joy and focus in an almost meditative state. Her hope is that the joy and gratitude she feels to have painting in her life, shines through with each artwork she creates. Kaplan is amazed and inspired by San Diego and the Southern California deserts, and paints daily from her home studio based in San Diego.


I pull inspiration from the beautiful San Diego urban areas to our vibrant coastline and was recently re-introduced to our Southern California surrounding deserts. My work has evolved in the past 12 years and may include a touch of realism and abstract to my impressionistic style. Painting brings joy and focus in an almost meditative state. 
My hope is that the enthusiasm and gratitude I feel to have painting in my life, shines through with each artwork I create. My husband was the catalyst and inspiration to the whole idea of painting for me. In 2004 he met a husband-and-wife artist couple while on a surf trip, and a couple years later I began drawing classes with each of them through the Atheneum School for the Arts. I soon discovered Impressionist Alla Prima classes and completely fell in love with oil painting. Since then, I have had years of classes, intensive workshops and travel for plein air workshops.I paint almost daily in my home studio and enjoy painting with friends through classes and travel. – Kay Kaplan

Works by Kay Kaplan

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