Memories of Katy Kindig

Katy Kindig was not with us at the Alameda Artworks for nearly long enough, but from the first, her cordial spirit, humor and ease of engagement melted so seamlessly into the fabric of our unique collection of artists that it seemed she had always been one of us.

As an artist, Katy was an inspiration.  She was a gifted painter, but also a teacher, conducting outside classes and inviting artists who did not have their own work space to share the quiet creativity that permeated her studio. Remarkably, even though she was busy with her family, teaching and volunteering, every week Katy seemed to have magically produced yet another new, landscape, pet portrait, or set of the (6" x 6") paintings created over the course of 50 days for the 50/50 exhibits in which she so successfully participated.

Katy’s imagery was truly a delight. She captured the colors and flow of the local California landscape with the consistency and detail of one who sees well beyond the obvious. Perhaps even more enjoyable was her insight into the personalities and postures of the dogs and cats whose portraits she captured with her own particular sense of style and fun. It was always a treat to check in with Katy and soak up her most recent painterly explorations. And it is equally sad to pass that door now, knowing that no new visual surprises are in store.

Everyone who has been sharing recollections of Katy has particularly remarked on the irresistible combination of impishness and irony that was her delightful sense of humor. It was a rare conversation with Katy that did not include a refreshing dose of shared laughter at one of her pithy observations. Katy’s open studio door was like a little beacon drawing one to pop in for a quick chat, share a mutual concern, discuss an upcoming exhibit or hear about her latest adventures at Año Nuevo State Park where she was a devoted volunteer.  No matter how long or short the conversation, stopping into Katy’s studio, always injected a little shot of fun and energy the perked up the rest of the day.

As the years of AAW exhibits and open studios unfolded, Katy became more and more involved in supporting the planning and production of these events. Eventually, when some of the old guard moved on to other locations, Katy took on the task of organizing and managing the details required to pull everything together. Her leadership style was as unique as everything else she did because it seemed to the outside observer to be effortless. I am sure this was not how it felt to her, but in true Katy style, her calm reminders, action updates and calls for assistance were always offered with the same grace, humor and common sense that typified all the other interactions that has made knowing her such a joy.

In recent years, Katy’s particular brand of friendship was demonstrated even more vividly during what proved to be the terminal illness of another of our cherished colleagues, David Lippenberger. Katy was among the first of us to head straight to the hospital when we heard that David had been admitted. That night about a dozen of us arrived at Good Samaritan, and sat in a circle around David’s hospital bed, doing all we could to give David and each other encouragement and comfort.

As David’s condition worsened, we all did our best to be present and to support him, and through those difficult months, Katy was front and center, devoting hours to driving David to medical appointments, helping him with household tasks, and seeing that he was well settled into the facilities where he continued to receive care.

During that difficult time, Katy was a conduit for information and updates to the rest of us and a source of wise suggestions about what we might do to help. And as our hopes for David’s recovery faded, Katy always offered an empathic ear into which we could pour our feelings about all that David was experiencing and all that we were experiencing as we realized that we would be losing him. For all of us, Katy became an increasingly vital presence, someone who could not have been a better, or more constant friend.

And this made it even more painful when we learned that Katy herself was facing a critical illness. The unfairness of it was almost impossible to comprehend. It seemed that no gesture or message of support we could offer could adequately reflect the heart felt caring Katy had so unselfishly offered to David which we all wished and hoped to communicate to her.

So how can we honor Katy? Possibly the best way is by sharing all the memories of how Katy contributed her wonderful humor, insight and warmth to the day to day life of the Alameda Artworks; how her creativity encouraged others who took inspiration from her industrious productivity; of how we could count on her for a chuckle, for a chat, for help with an exhibit or a doctor’s visit and always for a friendly greeting and a smile. Katy is, quite simply, one of those special people who was truly a treasure to know and who will forever be sorely missed.

Offered by the Alameda Artworks artists and compiled by Pat Johnson.