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The Artist: Walter S. Lee

Art has been a passion for Walter Lee since he was a young boy growing up in South Korea. As a child he showed a natural affinity towards pencil sketching and water color. At a young age he would find work as a journalist in Korea. When moving to the United States, Walter applied to the University of Minnesota where he would earn his Master’s degree in Mass Communication and advertising. He moved to California to further pursue his passion and briefly attended at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and developed a portfolio for an illustrator in advertising agencies. He struggled to find work as an artists. Life had other plans for him. He eventually found himself in real estate appraisal, and went on to receive his training as an appraiser. He eventually opened his own commercial appraisal office which he worked at successfully until retiring.

Now with appraisal work past him, Walter has dedicated all his time to his original passion and talent. Although he has been painting throughout his life, it has been the past 20 years where Walter has really been able to better hone his skill and theory in creating an authentic and spontaneous artwork of “people in the landscape.” He has completed various workshops and classes taught by eminent oil painters. His mentors include Kim English, John Cosby, Peggy-Kroll Roberts, Jennifer McChristian, and Kevin Macpherson.

He has submitted his art for display to various exhibitions and has now publicly shown his art in the various cities of Brea, Orange, Yorba Linda, Placentia, Fullerton, La Habra Heights, Whittier, and Laguna Beach. His plein air oil paintings were selected into the 15th Annual Best of Plein Air Juried Art Show, the 13th Annual Less Is More Juried Art Show, “Paints Old Town Orange” Showcase, and Laguna Beach City Hall Juried Exhibition (LPAPA) and were exhibited at Forest & Ocean Gallery (Laguna Beach), Hilbert Museum of Chapman University and Lauguna Beach City Hall between March and September 2019. His oil painting titled “Backwater Reflection” was awarded the second place in the Hillcrest Festival of Arts in La Habra Heights in 2019. Also, his paintings were selected into the renowned juried art exhibition, Made-in-California (Brea) in 2017 and 2019, and won Best of Show at Yorba Linda Art Show in 2018, to name a few.

His artwork was also juried in and exhibited at the Laguna Art-A-Fair in Laguna Beach during July and August 2019. He is one of 60 featured artists of a juried exhibition of Autumn Impressions by California Art Club and Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton between August and October 2019.

He is an active member in Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA), California Art Club, and Placentia-Yorba Linda Art Association (PYLAA) where he was elected Vice President in 2018. He aspires to get his work out there so that others may appreciate them as much as he does creating them. 

Since 2017, he started his own atelier in the City of Brea. His goal was to teach impressionistic techniques of oil painting in a simplified and value-guided way. It is a humble space which allows him to both display his art and also teach students in stress-free, unpretentious environment.