Terzian Galleries to host reception for Vermont painter Rebeca Kinkead
February 10, 2012
Rebecca Kinkead was in the process of getting her masters degree in education when the artisan bug bit her.
Kinkead, who already had degrees in political science and French, was attending Minnesota State University when she took an academic ceramics class.
"It was probably the only time in my life where I ever felt like I had an epiphany and I can’t even explain it, but I knew that’s what I wanted to do," Kinkead said during a telephone interview with The Park Record from her studio in Vermont. "Art was something that just clicked with me. I wanted to be an artist. So, I ended up staying in Minnesota and got a second bachelors degree in ceramics. I was a late bloomer and didn’t go to art school until I was 28."
Unfortunately, Kinkead’s ceramic career ended when she became allergic to the clay dust. So, she started painting.
"I painted abstractly for about seven years, and then I moved into painting the human figure four or five years ago," she said. "I’ve been painting for 13 years now, and I feel like I’m just hitting my stride right now."
The Terzian Galleries, which has been showing Kinkead’s works, will host a reception on Saturday, Feb. 11, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. The event is free.
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When Kinkead first started painting, she knew what she wanted to paint, but just didn’t know how to go about the process.
"I knew I wanted to paint something that was true and honest about who I was, but I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to put on the canvas and I think that was the biggest challenge for me finding my voice as an artist," she said. "It’s taken me about 10 years to get to a point where I feel that I’m doing that."
Her paintings at the Terzian Galleries feature images of children.
"While I don’t have children of my own, I supported myself for 10 years working as a nanny in Boston so I could have time to paint," she said. "A lot of the paintings come from those inspirations and from my collective memories as a child."
The memories began to emerge when Kinkead moved to Vermont three years ago and met her husband.
"I was so happy, and children seemed to convey that emotion better than adult figures," she said. "Children, to me, represent something free and uninhibited in their body language, and that was part of what I wanted to convey.
"We’ve all had those moments when someone pushes you on a swing and you go a little too high and your stomach is up in your throat," she said. "It’s that moment of joy and triumph and you never forget that feeling and that was part of what I wanted to talk about in the paintings."
To capture the kinetics of that emotion, Kinkead began mixing up her medium.
"I use paint, wax, linseed oil, chalk and a little bit of paint thinner and have been working with someone to help develop my own medium for this style of painting," she said. "I wanted to work with something that had a bit more body to it and that would have texture and dry fairly quickly."
The style struck a chord with Karen Terzian, who asked Kinkead to start showing her work a year ago.
"I feel my work is a great match for the galleries," Kinkead said. "And all the people at the gallery are wonderful to work with."
One of the biggest thrills Kinkead has experienced since she has been with the Terzian Galleries occurred during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
"It was having Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King buy paintings of mine," Kinkead said. "That was incredibly validating to me as an artist."
That event is one of many that have helped Kinkead face the challenges accompanying her career.
"When I first started painting, I felt I was all over the map, and I would change what I was doing from day to the next," she said. "Now I feel like I’ve honed in a style that feels right to me.
"Although I feel the steps I take now are smaller, I never want to feel like I have it all figured out, because I want to continue improving as a painter and I want to keep pushing myself with the pieces," she said. "There is so much to learn about color and technique I’m trying to develop. I’m just digging my toes into that right now, but I feel there are ways of pushing that further. A lot of that is just making more time to experiment."
Although Kinkead has had the opportunity to try her hand at painting throughout the world, most notably in Ireland in 2004 when she was awarded the Ballinglen Arts Foundation, she finds nothing like painting at home.
"Recognitions like the fellowship are validations for me, those green flags that keep me going," she said. "Going to Ireland was a wonderful experience, but it was hard for me to be in some place that was so different and start painting and feel connected to it.
"I do my best work at home and in a place that I know intimately," she said. "That works better for me."
The Terzian Galleries, 309 Main St., will host a reception for painter Rebecca Kinkead on Saturday, Feb. 11, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. The event is free to the public. For more information, visit http://www.terziangalleries.com/