Kate Huntington, Three Friends on a Beach, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches.


Piece of Work: Kate Huntington

“My paintings certainly won’t change the world, but if they could have this kind of effect on a soul, I’d consider myself a success.”

My paintings certainly won’t change the world, but if they could have this kind of effect on a soul, I’d consider myself a success.

For the past fifteen years, artist Kate Huntington has been making trips to Martha’s Vineyard in search of the perfect scene for her next painting. In the early years, Louisa Gould (who represents Huntington at her Vineyard Haven art gallery) would chauffeur her around, but these days she just grabs a bus pass for the VTA and hops around to various spots looking for inspiration.

With her trusty digital camera in hand, Huntington will capture landscapes, seascapes, and people throughout the day before heading back to her hometown of Providence. It was there during her high school years that she learned to draw and paint under the guidance of a couple of “eccentric local artists” before attending the Rhode Island School of Design in the 1970s. She has since had a studio in the downtown area where she provides portrait and life drawing classes and where she sets to work selecting the scenes from her Island photographs to use as her next reference.

Her piece at left, titled Three Friends 
on a Beach, actually comes from two different photographs. “The two little girls with the buckets were from one photo and to balance things off I added the figure on 
the right from a photo taken years ago,” she said.

But Huntington admits that she didn’t start the painting with the intention of using a second photo as an additional reference. After drawing and painting the original image onto canvas she stretched herself, Huntington said that the piece just wasn’t coming together for her. “The painting was going smoothly, but I wasn’t in love with it until I realized that it needed the additional figure on the right to create balance,” she said.

“I’m very inspired by the figure and especially grouping figures together communicating with one another,” Huntington said. “In this case, the skin tones of the girls, the neon beach buckets, and colorful attire contrasted against the neutral light sand just popped.”

To view more of Huntington’s work, visit the 
Louisa Gould Gallery in Vineyard Haven and online