“I didn’t used to consider myself a landscape artist,” says Alexandra Kent, a painter and illustrator whose Jamestown studio is a converted garden shed surrounded by Rhode Island Red chickens. Kent always preferred painting people and animals back when she studied Illustration at the Art Institute of Boston. “Then I moved to my grandmother’s house in Jamestown. It’s just so beautiful here, and I started painting people and animals at the beaches and on the farms.” Eventually, her focus evolved and now she’s known for her beautiful ocean and rural farm landscapes. “However,” Kent says with a laugh, “I’ll paint anything.”
“Some artists prefer to be alone, and to work alone,” Kent says, “but not me. I love to talk and I love being around people.” She says that one fun aspect about painting is that it can be tweaked to suit the client’s wishes. “If you want daffodils in the foreground, you can have daffodils in the foreground,” she says. “I once did a mural for the owner of Roch’s in Narragansett. He wanted me to paint the view from Casey Farm looking to the ocean… with watermelons in growing in the foreground.”
“Jamestown has a lot of beautiful farms,” Kent says. She often travels to Windmist Farm to paint, daughters in tow. “In the spring they have baby goats. They let my daughters and me come play with the goats. They also have chickens there, which we obviously enjoy.” If there was ever a woman who loved chickens, Alexandra Kent she is. Kent loves being outdoors in her garden, watching her daughters and their friends play with their well-mannered feathered friends. “Our chickens are so nice,” Kent says, “You could lean down, pick one up and cuddle it.”
Figuring that since the Rhode Island Red is the state bird, “If anyone should love chickens as much as I do, it’s Rhode Islanders,” Kent expanded beyond the canvas and began creating chicken illustrations, which she’s printed on reusable tote bags and peel-and-stick bookplates. The grocery bags are heavy duty, washable and high-quality; they’re sold at locations throughout the state including Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, Picture This in Wakefield, Dave’s Floral Design in East Greenwich, and Allie’s Tack and Feed in North Kingstown, amongst others.
Kent sells her bags, bookplates and paintings directly, as well. “I decided to bite the bullet and pay for an ad in a national magazine called Backyard Poultry. It’s been fun,” she says, “I’ve gotten calls from people all over the country. I don’t take credit cards, just checks.” Kent pauses and laughs. “Luckily, you can trust chicken people.”
Alexandra Kent’s studio is located at her home in Jamestown. Her paintings are available for sale at Jamestown Designs in Jamestown or online, along with her totes and bookplates.