Interview With

Kristen Reichert

Hi Kristen and welcome to TWTP. I would like to thank you for doing this interview, can you please tell us a little about your background and how you got started in the industry?

I’ve had a deep love for art and creation from a very young age. I painted and drew throughout my years growing up, and ultimately decided to study art in college. I attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where I began oil painting during my junior year. When I discovered oil paint, I had this feeling that I had finally found what I was meant to do. Oil painting just seemed to come so naturally to me and I couldn’t get enough of it. After I graduated in 2012, I went through a rough time trying to figure out how I could continue making art while also making a living for myself. I took some years away from painting to pursue graphic design and illustration work. However, I missed painting terribly and decided in 2016 to begin painting full-time. Now, I’m happily painting every day and have the great pleasure of being able to exhibit with wonderful galleries.

Your pieces have a unique and vibrant style, can you tell us a little bit about your process?

I always begin the process of a piece by deciding on a color scheme. From there I’ll usually make a small oil study on canvas to test out the idea I have in my head and make sure it translates to paint in the way that I imagine. Then, once I’m onto the main painting, I start by laying down the background. Lately, I’ve been using an airbrush to render gradients across the canvas. Next, I paint the figure, which is always done using oil paint. I work in thin layers and usually build up about 4-5 layers of paint over the whole figure which helps to add a luminance to my work. Painting the figure with all of its subtle details is by far the most time-consuming part of my work. The entire process of a painting usually takes about 6 weeks.

Color is clearly a huge impact on your work, how do you decide on your color choices when working on a piece?

Once I have a reference photo that I know I’d like to paint, I let the image sit with me for a little while and I mock up different color variations in my mind. When a certain color scheme sticks and I become set on it, I bring the image into photoshop and try to mock it up digitally as best as I can. From there, I make a small oil study on canvas to test the colors in paint. In general, it’s always my goal to pick colors that play off one another in an interesting way and create a certain captivation. I find colors to be so intriguing and complex and I try to capture those complex relationships in my paintings.

What does a typical day look like for Kristen?

I stick to a pretty rigid schedule every day because I find that it’s conducive to maintaining a productive studio practice. I wake up at about 7:30 AM everyday and try to get into my studio by 10 AM at the latest. I work with very minimal breaks until 6 PM. While painting, I really love listening to podcasts, documentaries, and music to keep my mind occupied and entertained. Sometimes I’ll go back to my studio and work a ‘night shift’ for a few more hours but I rarely work after 9 PM. So, most days I average 8-9 hours of painting and I rarely take a day off.

How does living in San Diego, CA impact your work?

I started painting when I was studying art in college in Santa Barbara. I’m originally from Kansas City, Missouri, so the spectacularly beautiful environment I had the luxury of living and painting in wasn’t lost on me. I believe that my first paintings emulated the fantasticality of California’s environment and culture. My paintings became a reflection of the vibrance I was surrounded by in my day to day.

Does digital come to play in your work at all?

Yes, I’ve recently started to play with my reference images in photoshop. I find it helps me to gain a better idea of how certain colors will play off of one another before beginning a painting.

What are you working on next that we can look forward to?

I’m very excited about the current series of paintings I’m working on! I’m starting to approach color in a new way, playing with transparent glazes and clean gradients. I also have some great exhibitions coming up this year, which I’ll be sharing details about as the year goes on.

Thanks for joining us, do you have any final words for our readers?

I’d just like to thank everyone for taking the time to read about my work and process!

To check out more of Kristen work head over to her website at