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Q&A with Brianna Keeper

On the water with Texas painter and boatwright Brianna Keeper.

Published onJun 19, 2022
Q&A with Brianna Keeper

8”x10”, 2021

8”x10”, 2021

Longtime readers of San Antonio Review will recognize Brianna Keeper’s artwork as having served as cover images for many of our early digital publications. Fewer will know her work as being featured in our first print issue. As one of my oldest friends, Brianna allowed San Antonio Review to share her work when few were aware we existed. It’s now our pleasure to finally introduce you to Brianna Keeper and share a small sample of her varied latest work.

A video of Brianna Keeper’s latest self-built boat. / Video courtesy the artist.

1. Let's start with the basics, tell us about yourself. 

8”x10”, 2021

I am a non-binary artist living on the banks of the Guadalupe River in the Texas Hill Country.

2. What media do you mainly work with? 

I work primarily on location with acrylic on canvas. Locations vary from urban to wilderness. My current challenges involve working on the water.

3. What got you started on your current path? You’ve long been known for your colorful land-/city-/psychic-scapes. Why the switch to boats?

8”x10”, 2021

Covid and grief brought me here. I needed to get out of my head. I started fishing. Fishing brought me to paddling. The plastic boats I was using were way too heavy. Kevlar boats were beyond my means and Covid made them unavailable. It seemed like a worthy activity as the world changed course.

8”x10”, 2021

Boats are unique. We name them. They have a life. They are born and they die. In the interim, they sustain us, carry our dreams and keep us safe.

4. How have things (artistically, life, whatever) changed for you over the past year? 

I spent 16 years as a caretaker, putting my creative life on hiatus. My responsibilities ended and I am slowly returning to being a maker. I was coming out as the world was shutting in.

8”x10”, 2021

5. Who to/Where do you look for inspiration? 


8”x10”, 2021

6. What are your major concerns with the world today? 


7. How does your artwork connect with your larger purpose? 

It is a by-product of my wanderlust. Earlier in life, manifestos seemed important. I am more interested in listening and experiencing at 65. It seems more important to expand the void than to fill it.

8. Advice for beginners (of any age)?

I will quote Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: “One step at a time.”

8”x10”, 2021

9. Work/shows we should look for?

Sunrise and sunsets.

10. Final comments? Additions? 

Paint is Strong.

Embrace your passion. Learn to cook and develop travel hygiene early.

“PAINT IS STRONG,” 40”x84”, 1995

Brianna Keeper is a painter living in Hunt, Texas. Check her out on Facebook.

Cathryn Shea:

Wow wow wow! Gorgeous colors and textures.