Kenn Backhaus- head shot cropped - 20150220_124338Kenn, born in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin and spent much of his childhood on the family farm near Burnett, Wisconsin. His fondness for nature became the catalyst for his art. Kenn’s parents encouraged his artistic education and following High School, he attended Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a commercial designer and illustrator Kenn received many awards at both local and national levels, which included acceptance in the 30th Annual Society of Illustrators Show in New York City. Although Kenn took pride in his commercial successes, his heart always belonged to the fine art of outdoor painting.

With his developing interest in the historic traditions of plein air painting, Kenn decided in 1984, to devote more time to his passion for painting and the love of the outdoors. His works have been juried into many shows across the country and his paintings have been honored with numerous Best of Show awards and distinctions. He regularly serves as an acceptance juror and awards judge for many shows around the country. He enjoys giving back and has served as an instructor for over ten years.

Kenn was part of a PBS series entitled, “Plein Air, Painting the American Landscape”. Kenn is now one of the host artists of a new high definition 13-part series, Passport & Palette™ represents the next generation of art education on public television.

Kenn is a member of the California Art Club, a Master Signature Member of both the Oil Painters of America and the American Impressionist Society, a Signature member of the Plein-Air Painters of America. He also served as President of the Plein-Air Painters of America.

Kenn was one of the Master Artists at the first Plein Air Convention hosted by the Plein Air Magazine in Las Vegas, NV in April of 2012. Kenn was also invited as one of the Master Artists at the Weekend With the Masters Workshop and Conference in September of 2012, held at the luxurious Rancho Bernardo Inn, near San Diego, California.


  • Plein-Air Painters of America – Signature Member, Past President 2000-2001
  • Oil Painters of America – Master Signature Member
  • American Impressionist Society – Master
  • California Art Club – Out of State Member


  • Debra Huse Studio Gallery, Balboa Island, CA
  • Helena Fox Fine Art, Charleston, SC
  • Travis Gallery, New Hope, PA
  • Troika Gallery, Easton, MD
  • The Highlands Art Gallery, Lambertville, NJ
  • Palm Avenue Fine Art, Sarasota, FL
  • Illume Gallery of Fine Art, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Walls Fine Art Gallery, White Sulphur Springs, WV
  • Oh Be Joyful Gallery, Telluride, CO
  • Anderson Fine Art Gallery, St. Simons Island, GA


  • 2012 March Plein Air Magazine Article
  • 2011 Fall Plein Air Magazine Cover and Article
  • 2009 Passport and Palette, Released May-APT Television Series, DVD Series
  • 2007 Plein Air, Painting the American Landscape, PBS Television Series, DVD Series
  • 2006 American Artist, “Workshop For Oil & Acrylic Painters”, Summer Issue.
  • 2004 December, Plein Air Magazine
  • 2004 July, Southwest Art Magazine
  • 2004 June, American Artist Magazine
  • 2004 From Sea to Shining Sea, A Reflection of America, Book
  • 2003 Enchanted Isle, A History of Plein Air Painting in Santa Catalina Island, Book
  • 2002 Spring, Persimmon Hill Magazine

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