We had the chance to talk with Kristine Kainer earlier this month about her show “Palate” and how she became the artist she is today. “Palate” has graced the walls of the SEAD Gallery for a month now, but it’ll only be here until September 10. Make sure to come see this delightful show before it heads back to Austin!
When and why did you take up painting?
I taught myself to paint after moving to an old farmhouse in Texas. I love to draw and being in a quiet, rural setting allowed me to pursue my little hobby. However, I also get bored easily and need to find challenges. After ten years of teaching mathematics and being required to “teach to the test,” I wanted to express my creative side. Painting was a way to develop my drawing skills—in color.
Why do you paint primarily with oils?
I began painting with watercolors, because they were inexpensive and an easel wasn’t necessary. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the lack of control. I switched to acrylics, because they were also relatively inexpensive, but they dried too quickly and I thought they had a “plastic” appearance. Oils, however, have a deep, rich, luxurious aura. I love their buttery softness out of the tube and the ease with which they can be manipulated on canvas.
Do you have any art influences? Who are they, and why/how have they influenced you?
Teaching myself to paint involved reading art books and magazines as well as studying others’ works. Around that time, fellow Virginian Duane Keiser started a movement called, “A Painting a Day.” He’d paint 6×6 paintings, then auction them on eBay. Other artists took note and began auctioning their own daily paintings. Mike Naples and Carol Marine are two of note. I admired and attempted to emulate their different styles. (By the way, Mike and I have been Facebook friends for over six years—in fact, he recently needed fig leaves/stems for a commission and I overnighted cuttings from my fig tree to his home in Illinois.)
What kind of environment do you like to paint in?
My studio is 10 feet x 10 feet. I have everything I need at my fingertips. However, it is located upstairs and gets rather hot (it is on the south side of my house). Occasionally, I’ll take a pochade downstairs and set up a work space on the kitchen table. I can look outside, watch cooking shows on TV, and be near the fridge.
What is it about food that you enjoy painting?
Food has such variety: sizes, shapes, colors, textures, culinary uses. There is no end to what can be painted.
Your painting “Beached” is a departure from the food theme. Do you see yourself moving beyond food painting in the future?
I’ve painted lots of non-food pieces: aermotor windmills, baseballs, puppies, seascapes, even a partridge in a pear tree. Every painting is a learning experience that I enjoy. Eventually, I’d like to paint more seascapes, but need access to the ocean. I’d better start saving….
What would you like your viewer to take away from your pieces?
I hope that the viewer will look at food with a little more reverence. We sail through our daily lives and often cannot remember what we ate for dinner the previous night. I hope that the next meal or snack will hold a little more interest. Savor the moment.
Can you comment on your current show in the SEAD Gallery?
“Palate” represents my affinity for food. Even though food is an essential element for survival, “Palate” attempts to remind us that food is also a cultural and social element that can enhance our lives. Eat, drink, and be merry!