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. In his free-time he created a portfolio in the hopes of being able to professionally pursue his love for art. 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. After working for a few different groups, he eventually opened his own successful commercial appraisal office which he worked at successfully until retiring. Discouraged but not defeated, he explored to experiment with oil painting after daily works.

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, Yorba Linda, Placentia, Walnut, Fullerton and Laguna Beach. His plein air oil painting titled Marine Lift was recently selected into the 15th Annual Best of Plein Air Juried Art Show in Laguna Beach and will be exhibited at Forest & Ocean Gallery in Laguna Beach in March and April 2019. His oil painting titled “Backwater Reflection” was awarded the second place in the Hillcrest Festival of Arts in 2019. Also, his artwork was selected into the renowned juried art exhibition, Made-in-California (Brea) in 2017, and Yorba Linda Art Show in 2018, to name a few.

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. Presently the atelier/ gallery is open by appointment only so as not to disrupt ongoing instruction.