ST. JOHNSBURY — Alice Kitchel knew from early childhood that she wanted to be an artist, filling her indoor time drawing, coloring, painting, to capture to spirit of what she saw outside.

Now her work will be on display beginning next month, March 12, in an exhibit to welcome the arrival of spring at the NEK Artisans Guild’s Back Room Gallery, titled Poems In Pattern, Light and Color. The gallery will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The exhibit runs through April 24.

Kitchel grew up on a farm in Northeast Kingdom, loving the fields, woods, brooks and ponds, the sight, feel and colors, in all weather, at all hours, and in all seasons. She set aside the childhood dream to be a ‘real’ artist, although she did major in art history in college.

Kitchel began working in tapestry and handloom weaving, and working for a drapery and upholstery company in New York City. Working with textiles sensitized her to the power of color and the eloquence of proportion and pattern. She then went on to become an art therapist and mental health counselor.

Memory of that childhood desire never left her, and now she has returned to her first love, taking up the brush to become that painter again, a hunter of beauty in the natural world of the Northeast Kingdom.

“My work reflects my thoughts and feeling about the natural world around me. I want to convey, with color, light and pattern, the beauty it offers,” she writes on her webpage. Alice is drawn to a scene which she finds not just beautiful, but which compels her to paint it, to capture the mystery “hidden” in the scene. “I want people to SEE the landscape, appreciate it, and endeavor to care for it,” she states.

Kitchel’s paintings have been shown across Vermont, from T. W. Wood Gallery in the state capital to Firehouse Gallery, and the Mayor’s Office in Burlington, Arts in the Round Barn in Waitsfield, at Catamount Arts and Northeast Kingdom Artisan’s Guild in St. Johnsbury. A full list of her group and one-person shows is listed on her webpage.

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