Meet more Pioneer Festival craft vendors

Published 8:00 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

Winchester painter aims to emulate the greats

Seventeen-year-old Dominic Keim will be one of the youngest craft vendors at the Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival, but he is an artist seasoned beyond his years.

His work has been featured at the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea and will be displayed at the upcoming Minds of Many exhibit in Winchester.

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Keim has been involved in creative pursuits for so long that he can’t quite recall when he began.

“I think I’ve been painting and drawing my entire life. I actually can’t even remember. I started drawing as soon as I could hold something, and it went from there,” Keim said.

Keim took a handful of art classes during his early childhood and is currently taking courses at the Plymale Art Gallery in Lexington. He is largely self-taught.

“I’ve read a lot of books about painting,” he said.

Over the years, he has invested time in several different mediums, but Keim has a clear favorite.

“I’ve done acrylic painting before. I also do pen and ink and pencil,” Keim said. “My favorite at the moment is definitely oil painting.”

He considers oil painting the premiere painting medium and admires its ties to some of art’s great names.

“All the old masters and all the famous painters pretty much have used oil paint,” Keim said.

Oil paint is a medium that offers endless possibilities for an artist.

“It has a lot of unique properties that you do not get with other paints. You can do just about anything with them. There is no other medium that can really do that,” Keim said.

During his studies of the great masters, Keim developed a keen interest in the work of Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla.

Sorolla (1863-1923) became known for his portraits and landscapes that captured monumental historical and social themes. His work was characterized for capturing the sun-drenched land and waters of his native land.

“He is an Impressionistic painter, maybe not to the extreme of a Monet or something like that, but the way he painted light was incredible. I don’t know if anyone else was able to do that,” Keim said.

Keim counts Impressionism and Realism as his primary styles.

Impressionism is a school of painting characterized by small, visible brushstrokes and emphasizes the accurate depiction of natural light.

Realism is a school that encouraged detailed and unblemished depictions of nature or contemporary life.

Keim is also keen on a style of painting known as alla prima.

“This is kind of technical, but you just paint in kind of a loose manner all at once instead of layering the paints on top of each other,” Keim said about the style.

Just as he has a favorite medium, schools of painting and artist,  Keim has a favorite subject to feature in his work.

“I really like painting seascapes and ships. I love painting things to do with the sea and water,” Keim said. “I’m a sailor myself, so that comes easiest to me.”

The young artist further explained what draws him to ships and aquatic things.

“I love the way that sailboats look, especially traditional sailboats with the classic square rear that has tons of canvas and sails,” Keim said. “I really love the way that sail looks, the shape of it. And the way the boat itself goes into the water and creates spray…I love painting those aspects of it.”

Keim will have some of his paintings for sale at the festival and will also do some portraits.

“I’m excited about it. It is going to be fun,” Keim said.

For more information about Keim and his work visit his website,

Traditonal crafts, Space Age design

Missy Murray of Wurtland in Greenup County owns Spotted Dog Designs KY and is one of the many vendors who will sell crafts at the Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival.

Murray’s uniquely named business was named in her honor of what she called her “spoiled” German Shorthaired Pointed named Zeke.

Her wares include traditional products such as embroidery, Christmas ornaments, barrel heads and staves.

However, while her products may harken back to days past, Murray’s means of design are more suited for the Space Age.

“We do custom laser work – laser engraving,” Murray said.

Murray learned laser work during her day job as an educator.

“I’m a former STEM teacher, but I am not retired,” she said. “When I was in the STEM classroom, my students did a lot of the same things that I am doing now.”

As a joke, Murray told her husband that she would not retire until she “had the same toys at home” that she used in the classroom.

And while she just started her 29th year in education, Murray has taken steps to bring said tools into her home.

“This started with one laser, and now we are up to two industrial lasers and a commercial embroidery machine in the span of two years,” Murray said.

The quick progression of dream to reality has been a process that Murray called “really cool.”

Her creative process is just as cool.

“What I do is obviously there is an idea that develops into a design, and then it goes to the laser. Most of my ornaments are multi-layer, so it all has to be broken up,” Murray said.

So, the process is not a quick one.

“It is an intricate process,” Murray said. “If I’m making one ornament, depending on the complexity, it can take anywhere from two minutes to ten minutes or longer. And that is just the cutting.”

After that, Murray and her husband hand-paint and glue the various parts of each creation.

Despite the laborious process, Murray finds joy in what she does.

“I like to bill myself as a total crafty-maker,” Murray said. “So this is totally up my alley, having that creative outlet every day of my life.”

So where do Murray’s creative ideas come from?

“It could be an idea that comes to me in the middle of the night; it can be something that somebody says, ‘Hey, why don’t you make this? or ‘Have you thought about making this?’ The inspiration comes from everywhere,” Murray said.

Most of Murray’s creations have a Kentucky theme, and she likes to bring items that connect to where she will be selling.

“I usually try to do some kind of local flair, ornament or piece for each show that we do.”

Thus this year’s custom creation will try to capture the spirit of Winchester just like last year’s did.

“I think last year it had the state of Kentucky with a heart in the center that said ‘Winchester, Kentucky.’ It had several historical places in Winchester along the outer rim of it,” Murray said.

And Murray is excited to come back for her third Pioneer Festival.

“The people come out, they buy, and they are friendly,” Murray answered when asked why she enjoys selling in Winchester. “I mean, honestly, Winchester knows how to throw a street party…It is like a whole big community black party. I like that atmosphere.”

To see more of Murray’s creations, find @SpottedDogDesignsKY on Facebook and Instagram.