In 2009, Rebecca Kinkead moved from a little apartment in Boston to the wide open space of Vermont. Her now husband and partner, Jamey, convinced her to make the move and take six months to focus on painting. This is when her medium changed. This is when many things changed.
“I was happy,” says Kinkead. “I had worked in acrylics for seven years. I didn’t have the open space or ventilation for oil. Once I moved to Vermont, this was no longer a problem.” It did take almost six years to get to know this new medium, but she will never go back. “Oil is just delicious to work with.”
Kinkead’s process is a bit different from classic oil painting. With the addition of chalk powder and linseed oil, she creates a concoction that she can seriously get her hands into.
“The old masters would put chalk in their paint. It stabilizes the paint and gives it more luster, more body. When you have it in your medium it tightens everything,” says Kinkead. “I use a soft wax paste called Dorland’s Wax Medium. I mix it with linseed oil and chalk powder. Its consistency is like soft frosting and mayonnaise. Then I mix in the color.”
This medium is flexible when dry, and gives her work its texture. However, it has only an 18-24 hour window to continue to be contributed to and manipulated. This may seem like a long time, but the use of the word “only” tells us that Rebecca feels differently. The sculptor in Kinkead emerges during this window.
Donna Speirs, a sales consultant at Maine Art, says, “There is so much joy and movement and energy in Rebecca Kinkead’s work. I have the overwhelming need to touch it.” This feeling is the end result of the process that Kinkead is famous for.
“When I begin a painting, I often start with my fingers in the wax/paint mixture,” says Kinkead. She feels the form with her fingers. “The more familiar the form, like my dogs, the easier it flows. Working with my fingers allows me to find the form faster, easier, and more naturally.”
“I like to paint by feel. I am better able to search for the form on a larger canvas. I can really move the paint around and figure things out in a way that is much more difficult for me on a smaller canvas,” she says. “I want my work to have a physicality to it. It just feels better to me on a scale that is closer to life-size.”
With her change in medium came changes in her tools as well. “I constantly shop for tools. The kitchen store, the hardware store, the art store,” says Kinkead. “Floor squeegees, putty knives for plastering, palette knives, rubber wedges and more big window squeegees – its all fair game.”
Rebecca Kinkead’s work deserves to be seen in person. The texture and scale is difficult to capture in digital form.
We welcome you to come in and see for yourself. Her show runs through August 11 at Maine Art Shows in Kennebunk. We are open from 11am to 5pm every day.
If you cant make it in, please peek at the complete show online at Rebecca Kinkead – Maine Art Shows.
Interested in more background on Rebecca and her work with Maine Art? Read Artist Insights – Rebecca Kinkead and Maine Art
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