“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
— Thomas Merton




Joe Kabriel lives in a canyon community in the Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California. The landscapes of rock formations, chaparral, canyon roads, and the Pacific Coast shoreline are the inspirations for a new group of drawings and paintings. This new work begins as a series of small drawings in a sketchbook. Some drawings are then converted into small encaustic wax paintings, while others are redrawn into a larger format using a variety of different mediums.

In addition to his artistic endeavors, Joe has been teaching and offering art instruction since 1990 and has developed a loyal following due to his ability to teach technique and design fundamentals while encouraging individual style and expression. He is currently teaching at El Camino College and the University of Maryland.

Joe received an M.F.A. and B.A. in Art from Catholic University. He has also studied at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC, Maryland College of Art and Design, Maryland Institute College of Art, and American University in Rome.

Artist Statement:

Throughout my life I have enjoyed a deep connection with, and appreciation of, the natural world and the incredible landscapes it has to offer.  Being outdoors, and flooded with nature’s sensations, holds for me a profound sense of wonder, adventure, and freedom. As a young child I spent much time outside, playing Hide-and-seek and Kick-the-can with the neighborhood kids. Little did I know that the greatest liberation was yet to come– a two wheeled traveling machine that could take me far and wide and deep into the wilds of nature. Owning a bike was the ultimate emancipation. My world seemed to expand exponentially. In a flash I could ride from one end of town to the other, watching as the landscape whizzed by and reveling in the feeling of wind against my skin. I could ride out into the countryside to find a pond to swim in, or a mountain to climb, or a vista to explore. I remember my father, an architect, would bike with me out to the “old highway,” so we could sketch abandoned buildings. It was such a thrill to see the world around me materialize onto paper. 

In college, while living on the East Coast, I enjoyed escaping from the city to work on a small family farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Many hours were spent clearing acres of brush and cedar trees so we could reseed the fields. It was during this time that the inspiration for my first landscape drawings/paintings transpired– inspiration derived from the setting sun illuminating the hills, valleys, and rivers. 

Several years ago I made the challenging decision to move across the country to the West Coast. Part of this decision was made for practical reasons. However, and perhaps more significantly, part of this decision was made by intuition. I was at a point where the road forked– it was a decision to either maintain the status quo, or take a leap of faith and travel to unknown ventures in the West. 

I am very fortunate that I took the leap of faith, as it was the road to the West that led me to the place I now call home. It’s a place of varied contrasts– where the ocean teams with life and is forever in motion; where the dry desert sun and wind never seem to cease; where trees and flowers and rocks and sand come together in a display of nature that can take your breath away and make your eyes well with joy. These incredible contrasts offer a chance to discover and explore the beauty of nature in all of its endless transformations. For me, it offers the chance to rediscover the wonder of nature seen through a child’s eyes, and presents the opportunity to further ponder the meaning of life with fresh hope. Exploring the outdoors has always been a place to simultaneously both lose and find myself. My work reflects these contrasts, and explores the personal conversation between both the inner and the outer landscapes of the world around us.