New Art “Arriving at Calico Depot”

Locomotive No. 340, the “Green River,” arrives at the Calico Depot after completing a trip around the heart of Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. Originally No. 400, this 1881 Baldwin-built C-19 Class Consolidation originally worked on the Denver & Rio Grande Western Narrow Gauge Railroad in Colorado and New Mexico. It was one of two locomotives purchased by Walter Knott for operational use on what would become the Ghost Town & Calico Railroad, which opened in 1952. 70 years since its opening, this railroad remains one of the park’s signature attractions.

Ken Muramoto © Watercolor/Acrylic, 11×14 inches, September 2022

My Great Western “Steam Up” Experience

From July 1-4, the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City, Nevada, hosted the Great Western Steam Up to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad’s completion. My family and I were fortunate enough to visit this once-in-a-lifetime event with many visiting locomotives on the property. My brother and I had the rare opportunity to ride on Coach 4 pulled by the “Inyo,” and I cosplayed as Secret Service Agent James T. West from the classic TV series, “The Wild, Wild West” (1965-69), in addition to meeting new friends in person for the first time!

Remembering Craig Miller

I just learned that my friend Craig Miller had passed away in September of this year according to the Golden State Toy Train Operators’ newsletter. I have known Craig since 2014 when I met him at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History‘s toy train exhibit. He shared with my brother and I a passion for model trains and an ever-enthusiastic outlook on life that was truly inspiring and one that helped him persevere in the face of his declining health in his later years. He was such a generous and giving soul who not only helped build my O-gauge collection but was a dear friend whom I shall truly miss.

New Art: “28 at Bell Mooney Rd.”

Sierra Railway No. 28 crosses Bell Mooney Rd. with an excursion train in tow on her way back to Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California. This 2-8-0 Consolidation was built by Baldwin in 1922 and was used during the construction of the Don Pedro and O’Shaughnessy Dams before being reassigned to handle freight traffic between Oakdale and Jamestown. Throughout her lifetime, No. 28 has pulled freight and railfan excursion trains, along with occasional movie and television appearances. After being taken out of service in 2009, the locomotive returned to operation in June of 2019, following a six-year rebuild from 2013 to 2019.

Ken Muramoto © Colored pencils/Acrylic, 9 x 12 inches,

September 2021

Ken’s Art Exhibit “American Trains” at the Hotel Paradox, Santa Cruz. Dec. 11 – Jan. 6

Thirty-two of Ken Muramoto’s original American train arts will be displayed at the Hotel Paradox, Santa Cruz during this holiday season. This exhibit include a recently completed canvas piece entitled “From Sea to Shining Sea“. Ken was the featured artist for the 2015 and 2016 Orchard Supply Hardware® Train Calendars and the youngest artist for the train calendars’ 41 year history. He is a member of the American Society of Railway Artists. Currently Ken participates in the Claraty Arts Project in Santa Cruz, CA, who organized this exhibition.

New Art: “From Sea to Shining Sea”

Traveling across the United States, the 1947-1949 American Freedom Train runs past several of this country’s historic cities, landmarks, and breathtaking landscapes. It has been updated to feature emblems and insignias representing the important issues from the unprecedented year of 2020.

Ken Muramoto ©. Acrylic on Canvas. 24 x 48 inches. October 2020

New Art: “Switchback to Bald Knob”

High up in the mountains of West Virginia, there is a logging railroad that carried spruce and hemlock for the West Virginia Spruce Lumber Co. The Cass Scenic Railroad operates historic geared locomotives up the steep grades of the Back Allegheny Mountain to the summit of Bald Knob. Here, Shay No. 5 awaits clearance at a switchback. The No. 5 is the world’s oldest operating Shay and is West Virginia’s official state locomotive.

Ken Muramoto ©. Watercolor/Acrylic. 11 x 14 inches. November 2020

New Art “Uniting the Nation for 150 Years”

On May 10, 1869, the “Golden Spike” was driven into place at Promontory Summit, Utah as part of the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad. 150 years later, the Golden Spike National Historical Park celebrated the sesquicentennial anniversary of that historic event complete with two operating replicas of the Central Pacific Railroad’s “Jupiter” and the Union Pacific Railroad’s No. 119. The replicas were constructed by inventor and steam enthusiast Chadwell O’Connor in the 1970s, yet they don’t look a day over 100.

Ken Muramoto ©. Colored Pencils/Acrylic. 11 x 17 inches. September 2019

Two New Train Arts for 2019!

“Passing Gold Hill”

Under a bright blue Nevada sky, an excursion train of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad passes by the Gold Hill Depot on its return trip to Virginia City. Pulling the train is engine No. 29, a 1916 Baldwin-built Consolidation that formerly operated as Longview, Portland and Northern Railway No. 680. It was purchased by Robert C. Gray, who reopened the V&T in 1976 after the line’s abandonment in 1939.

Ken Muramoto ©. Colored Pencils/Acrylic. 9 x 12 inches. April 2019.

“The Ghost Train of Old Ely”

Nevada Northern Railway ten-wheeler No. 40 exits a tunnel with a pair of vintage passenger cars in tow. This 1910 steam locomotive was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works and was used to haul passengers on the Nevada Northern from 1910 to 1941. No. 40 is the official “State Locomotive of Nevada” and continues to haul excursion trains as well as the historic “Steptoe Valley Flyer”.

Ken Muramoto ©. Colored Pencils/Acrylic. 9 x 12 inches. April 2019.

2016 Al Smith Day

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Ken and his family were invited to Al Smith Day at the Swanton Pacific Railroad in Davenport, CA on April 24, 2016. This annual event was organized by the “Cal Poly” Swanton Pacific Historical Railroad Society to honor Albert B. Smith, the former president of Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH) and the founder of the railroad. Five hundred people got together to enjoy train rides, BBQ, and more. Ken exhibited his original arts, sold his art cards and prints, and autographed more than 100 OSH train calendars! Special thanks to Ed and Mary Ann Carnegie and Mary and Lloyd Yoshida for their kind support. Ken is planning to have another exhibit at Swanton’s next event, “Cal Poly Day” on Sunday, October 9, 2016.

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Ken’s Art Exhibit at SCCRTC, downtown Santa Cruz

Ken Muramoto’s art exhibition at the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (SCCRTC)’s Office downtown Santa Cruz will begin on September 8. The exhibit showcases 21 pieces of his work including his new original train arts for the 2016 OSH Train Calendar as well as watercolor pieces of local landscapes. The SCCRTC office (1523 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95060) is located on the second floor of the Chefworks across the street from the Bookshop Santa Cruz. It opens weekdays only (8-5) until October 30. Please visit and enjoy his work!

Crusin' by the Three Graces. Watercolor. © 2015 Ken Muramoto

Crusin’ by the Three Graces. Watercolor. © 2015 Ken Muramoto

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Great First Show: Ken’s MAH Exhibition

Ken’s first solo show at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH) “One Track Mind” was a big success. Ken received many positive comments and encouragements. We thank those who visited the show. Here’s some comments from the guest book.

“Stunning work. Kudos from one artist to another. You have truly captured “the song of the rails””

“Such skill!! Congratulations on a fabulous exhibit”

“Your work is beautiful and full of perfect moments. Thank you for sharing your talents”

“Wondrous, Sublime!”

“Wonderful work. We love the trees in “Steam at Bear Mountain” and the billowing steamy snow in “Winter Cascade Express””

“Very impressive to see the same details with watercolor and pencil”

“Gorgeous trains! Self-portrait is my favorite”

“I love the realistic yet drawn art. The train drawings are amazing”

“Wonderful work! I can’t wait to see future projects!”

Special thanks to Marla Novo, Curator of the Collections, and Justin Collins, Exhibitions Manager, both of MAH, for creating such a wonderful space for Ken’s arts.

 With Justin and Marla of MAH