At Misselwood, a Window to Italy

During the COVID-19 quarantine, Stephanie Kubish created large-scale paintings that now live in the estate’s wine room.

Steph Kubish paintings Photo by Terry Slater
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Stephanie Kubish ’22 is always in search of a challenge. Early on, the studio art graduate fell in love with creating hyper-realistic portraits using pastels, but when Misselwood needed new impressionistic-style paintings to spruce up their space, Kubish accepted with enthusiasm.

“I have to keep challenging myself and finding new ways to express myself and what I like through art,” the Connecticut native said. “[Misselwood] had a very clear idea of what they wanted, and I had never painted in that style before. I was very proud of it in the end.”

The Misselwood project began at the end of 2019. Carol Pelletier, Chair of Fine Arts and Professor of Art, called Kubish into her office to discuss the opportunity. “I wanted to get my name out there a little bit more, and [Pelletier] knew I was looking for a commission,” Kubish said. “At that time, the paintings in Misselwood were very beautiful, but they wanted something to fit the vibe more.”

Misselwood wanted three new pieces—two to frame a doorway and one larger painting to adorn a prominent wall. 

Steph Kubish paintings

“It was nice because I had some freedom,” Kubish noted, explaining that the venue was firm on a painting style but open to subject suggestions. 

“I was like, I could make two smaller still-life paintings of wine to frame the door. And then for the large wall, I thought, ‘Let’s make a vineyard, let’s kind of open this wall up, make it a window into another place’…Give the vibe that, yes, you are on the beach in New England right now, but you are also in a vineyard in Italy.”

Misselwood loved the ideas, and Kubish got to work. The final paintings, however, wouldn’t see the light of the wine room for two more years. A series of events—chiefly the COVID-19 pandemic—caused several hiccups in the painting process.

“We got sent home, and all my stuff was at Endicott,” said Kubish. Then, after reuniting with her supplies, her computer kicked the bucket and Kubish lost several images of Misselwood’s space—images she was relying on to help realize her vision. 

“[Misselwood] said, ‘Is there any way you could just paint from memory?’ And I got some reference photos from the internet, I pulled them all together, and I made something,” she said. “The paintings were finished by the end of winter 2021.”

Steph KubishThe trio of oil paintings was officially unveiled during Endicott’s 2022 Reunion Weekend.

“All of the stress, all the back and forth, it was worth it in the end,” admitted Kubish. “I was just so proud to see it all together in the wine room. It looked even better than I could have ever imagined.”

Now, Kubish has her sights set on a new challenge: grad school. She’ll be completing a one-year, post-baccalaureate certificate program at the University of Hartford, where her focus will be ceramics. At the same time, she’s actively honing her jewelry-making skills and posting new products on her Etsy shop.

“Art was the one thing I kept falling back on. It was like my outlet in the day. It was the best part of every day,” she said. “My Instagram stays open to commissions at all times because I love taking something that someone wants and realizing it into art. That’s just something I’ve always loved doing.”

Pictured above: Wine Still Life II, 18" x 24", oil on canvas and Wine Still Life I, 18" x 24", oil on canvas.

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