Oil on wood
7” x 9.5”
I lived the first eighteen years of my life in Fort Fairfield, a rural town in northern Maine where I was born in 1951. My parents, George and Kathleen Bishop owned and operated four potato farms in Aroostook County. I had a small business of raising registered beagles at the age of 12, affiliated with my mother’s poodle business called Kayleen Kennels. I showed and groomed poodles for competition in Canada with the help of a professional dog handler. (Later, I owned a poodle grooming business in Saugerties, NY. 1974-1981)
During my teenage years, I handled and showed horses in the northern Maine show circuit. My family owned twenty Arabian horses and one Quarter horse. On weekdays, I could be found with my easel in the fields painting the horses in various pastures. At the age of 16, I received my first commission to paint a portrait of Walter Reed’s (brother to former Governor John Reed of Maine) prize-winning racehorse.
In 1968, I was selected as a runner-up in a contest for a national magazine New Ideas for Teens Pyramid Publications, 444 Madison Ave, N.Y.C. for an original dress design.
Two cousins, Don and Ruth Clark, were painters among my relatives in the early 20th century. They studied at the Massachusetts College of Art (circa 1920) and a distant cousin became a dress designer in California after leaving Presque Isle, Maine in the late 1950’s. She designed a unique concept called Gunne Sax in the mid-nineteen seventies. Her name is Jessica McClintock.
I moved to Saugerties, N. Y. in 1973 to study at the Art Students League of Woodstock. Mesmerized by the beauty of the Hudson Valley, I became a landscape painter; although, I studied figure painting at the school with Franklin Alexander.
Over the years, I have exhibited in many juried regional and national art shows. My pastel painting, “Death of a Master” won Academic Artists Association’s Gold Medal of Honor for pastels in Springfield, Ma. in national competition (1978). The “Aerial View of the Hudson Valley” won Judge’s Choice and Recognition Award at Twilight Park, Haines Falls N.Y. in Aug. 2001 (regional competition.) I have received numerous awards over the years.
In 1984 - 87, I taught credit-free painting classes at Ulster County Community College. I started my private teaching business in 1977 (founder of Kristy’s Kreative Kids) which later became the Kristy Bishop Studio for all ages. I organize an annual exhibition of all my students’ work in May of each year since 1991 at various locations: Saugerties Public Library, Frank Greco Senior Center, Saugerties Public Library & the Dutch Ale House which have attracted hundreds of art lovers each year.
Since 1996, I have written a column entitled “Kristy’s Kreative Kids” beginning in the Saugerties Post Star newspaper. I wrote for Ulster Publishing Company’s Saugerties Times 2000- 2012. My intention is to help prevent “closet artists” from existing. My students, ages seven - octogenarian, exhibit their artwork regularly.
My artwork is a painterly journal of my emotional and spiritual growth in recent years. The tranquil beauty of Seamon Park, Saugerties has become a haven for me. It takes me back to places in my mind from my childhood where the flower gardens of my mother were opulent. Fences and gates provided the security of boundaries. Strong scents and bright colors lure me as if they were flies on my father’s fishing hooks.
In recent years, I have developed a passion for flying which has influenced my artwork. Seeing our beautiful Hudson Valley from this perspective gives me a great awe of our world and our Creator.
~Kristy Bishop, 2016