Like many Hamptons locals, Painter Kathy Buist has an unimaginable appreciation for the nature that surrounds her everyday. While many only experience one season of the Hamptons each year, Buist enjoys the beauty of her surroundings year-round.
Her work has been shown in museums and galleries nationwide including the local Parrish Art Museum, the National Women’s Museum Archives in Washington, D.C., Andrews Museum in Andrews, North Carolina, and the Long Island Museum. Buist also received the highly acclaimed honor of “Today’s Masters” by Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine. The Hamptons community is fortunate to have such a talented artist in our midst.
We spoke with Buist to learn more about her creative process and what she loves the most about the Hamptons as an artist.
Take us back to the early days as a creative. When did you identify that painting and being an artist would be your career?
KB: As far back as I can remember, I have been drawn to visually creative work; even as a child, I dreamed of being an artist. Painting was always the path that I wanted to take and I have been devoted to it since I was very young, since my mother first gave me a box of paints.
For those who are not familiar with your work, how would you describe it?
KB: When people ask me what kind of work I do, I often say that I paint abstract landscapes. In fact, most of my landscapes are ethereal and earthly; I aim to transmit my love for the spirit of the earth, the vastness of its seas and the smell of its trees. I am fascinated by the way the earth breathes and rejuvenates itself. I strongly believe in the healing power of nature and that is a vital part of all my work.
There is no doubt for me that the beauty of the land is peaceful and powerful; it has a deep impact on our lives. I feel it also captures what is within the human mind and soul. When I paint, I embark on an exploration of a psychological and physical place that I find in nature. In natural spaces, I find a profound connection with myself. When I am working, my breathing changes and everything else around me dissipates. Then, the only thing that matters is the work itself in which I become absorbed and lost. That is why I would say that painting for me is a form of meditation.
How has your style as a creative evolved over time?
KB: That is an interesting question because getting to where I am today creatively has been a long process of discovery. When I was younger, I tried everything from landscapes to abstract painting, going back and forth. My training at the New York Art Academy, where I received a master’s degree, emphasized figurative art and I really enjoyed that at the time. But as time passed, I realized, however, that my real calling was for what I call elusive landscapes, earthly spaces that provoke contemplation and introspection. Yes, my paintings reveal the beauty of the world but they also question what is within ourselves, our evolving consciousness.
What is your favorite part about calling the Hamptons your home both professionally and personally?
KB: I love all the natural sites in the Hamptons. Many years ago, I used to paint in the Sag Harbor area, Barcelona Point. It was a very secluded area that afforded me the privacy and peacefulness that I needed for painting. Living and working here in the Hamptons now is such a fulfilling experience because I discover new sites every day. I feel so inspired by the sea, the trees, the air, and my vegetable garden; being the daughter of a Michigan farmer, having a vegetable garden for me is a familiar and fulfilling experience that compliments my life as a painter. In sum, I find the Hamptons a great source of inspiration.
How does the local area influence your work as a painter?
KB: So many artists before me have said that it’s the light in this area that inspires — yes, it’s really the light: in the Hamptons, the velvety colors, the fog rolling in from the sea, and all of the natural beauty are magical. My home and studio are in the Northwest woods, and I love the color of the deep greens that remind me so often of Cezanne’s painting of Mont Sainte Victoire or of George Inness’s work. In all his work Cezanne was a master at capturing spiritual hazes of streaming light.
Your work has been shown in many prestigious galleries. Do you have any other exciting exhibitions coming up?
KB: I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have shown my work in such wonderful venues. In particular, there is the Galerie d’Orsay on Newbury Street, Boston, with its extraordinary and extremely knowledgeable Co-directors Martha S. Folsom and Kristine Feeks Hammond. They are planning a special exhibit of my work in June 2022. I am so excited about the ideas and work I have in mind for that show. I’m also hoping for a few other opportunities that are being negotiated right now.
As an artist, what is something you would like to achieve in the next five years?
KB: My primary goal is to focus on and further develop paintings inspired by the east-end area of the Hamptons. This has been such a critical part of my journey as an artist. In addition, I am planning several trips abroad to areas that I have visited before and that have inspired me, like Tuscany and Provence. Revisiting these places will allow me to explore some ideas and concepts that I have started experimenting with. I want to continue showing my work and find opportunities to collaborate both here and abroad. Showing my work in new galleries and museums is also something that I would like to achieve in the next five years.
On an off day, what is your favorite pastime in the Hamptons community?
KB: I love walking along the beaches or around my neighborhood; meeting people and discovering new sites, new paths and taking hikes. It all fills my soul. Relaxing on my deck and watching the light after painting all day is one of my favorite things to do. Also, dining at local restaurants and getting together with friends is always exciting too. Visiting the Parrish Museum, Guild Hall, South Hampton Art Center and the many local galleries allows me to appreciate the work of other artists; it’s another one of my favorite pastimes.
To learn more about Kathy Buist, visit https://kathybuist.com.