Drawing inspiration from the area around his home in rural Jackson County, Missouri, landscape painter Keith Kavanaugh began his creative pursuits as a musician, completing a degree in Jazz Performance at Boston's Berklee College of Music. It was at the prestigious Museum of Fine Arts that he realized a connection between the spontaneity of improvisation and the act of painting.
Returning to Kansas City in 1987 to play music, he began studying visual art at Park College in Parkville, Missouri in 1988, with additional course work at the Kansas City Art Institute. Finishing an Art degree in 1990, Kavanaugh began working as an illustrator, graphic designer and art director in the magazine publishing business, eventually striking out on his own and forming BauWau Design. While he never put down the brush during those years, he returned seriously to painting in 2001.
A longtime interest in the natural world led Kavanaugh to the genre of landscape painting and to the unique medium of encaustic, or pigmented beeswax. Greek for ''to heat,'' encaustic is an ancient medium dating back to the fifth century B.C. The word describes the necessity of working with the pigmented wax in its heated, or liquid state. As a material which itself comes from nature, beeswax is a fitting medium for landscape painting. Its translucent and three-dimensional qualities allow for some beautiful techniques that set it apart from traditional media.