Artist Laura Kuchynka received her degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising in 1980, but says she always regretted not studying art instead. So in her 40s, she went back to UMKC to fulfill her passion as a printmaker. Then she fell in love with two very specific (and old-school) mediums—alcohol inks on yupo paper and oil paint with cold wax. (Yeah, we had to look them up too.)
The result is a psychedelic kaleidoscope of melding colors. How did she discover it? She took a couple of workshops, honed her craft, and began implementing striking color schemes. “I haven’t met anybody else who does what I do,” she says.
We caught up with the artist to find out what inspires her rainbow palette and arsenal of bold color choices.
Tell me more about your medium?
“At UMKC, I was introduced to printmaking—which is the process of creating art on a plate or block and applying ink then printing on paper. I have continued with this process through a group I belong to called Hand Print Press.
Although I have several mediums, my inspiration comes from two subjects—nature and the female form.”
Alcohol inks and cold wax are not very common artistic processes for painting—or are they? Enlighten me.
“With alcohol inks on yupo paper the process involves laying the inks on paper and moving them around in various ways to create the design. I am drawn to this medium because of my love of color. The inks are vivid, and I can really let go and let the abstract take over.
I also work in oil paints with cold-wax medium. From my background with fabrics, I love texture. When I work in oils and cold wax I can layer, scrape, remove, and so much more until I have the texture just right. This medium is forgiving. I can put the art aside if I am not happy, then later—even days or weeks—I can go back and rework the piece until I am happy or set it aside again.”
How do you create such wildly vivid colors?
Fortunately, the alcohol inks are already formulated—but the process of laying down the colors side by side or blending creates the intensity. With my other art and mediums, I mix my colors until I have achieved contrast and cohesiveness.
I am drawn to color. My college professor always said, ‘You can count on Laura for color.’ Most people shy away from it.”
I’m guessing quarantine has inspired you to create more. True or false?
“Like everyone, the quarantine has affected me in positive and negative ways. Early on in the quarantine I fell back on very basic work. I needed to find simplicity in these strange times. The hardest part about the quarantine has been the limits—as being out and socializing brings inspiration and ideas and new concepts when I am stuck.”
Where can folks find your work?
“My website Lmkuchynka.artspan.com offers more details including sizes and pricing.”
Finally, do you have a fave piece, and more importantly, what is it?
“I have been producing art for 40 years, so having a favorite piece of art changes with time. The print above has a lot of meaning for me as a woman. The female form is important to my work. My heart still holds a special fondness for prints. It can be a laborious process, but when it comes together—it is worth it.”