Steve Kennedy has lived and painted on Cape Cod since 1981. He knew he wanted to be an artist from an early age. Kennedy grew up in a somewhat rural setting in central Connecticut and went to the locally well-known Paier College of Art, graduating with high honors in 1981. That fall he moved to Cape Cod – “to see what winter was like” – and never left. He began painting plein air year’ round and within two years was established in the gallery scene.
The waterfront made a huge impression on Kennedy early in life. A relative’s summer home overlooked Portland Harbor, where he witnessed ships and boats coming and going constantly. Closer still were two abandoned shipyards near the property that begging exploring. Back home, his parents had acquired a Freddy Peterson painting of draggers in the fog at a Maritimes port, he stared at this evocative piece for hours. These two situations did more than anything else to influence his interest in painting the maritime world, especially working boats.
His paintings are direct, honest, and colorful; sometimes loose, sometimes tighter. Studio works tend to be more evocative and contemplated. He prefers time-worn and sometimes mundane subjects and things others the world passes by without noticing. One of his goals in painting is to make these things known. New England and the Maritimes (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, CA) are perfect places for him to find inspiration. The rugged coast, colorful boats, and small windswept harbors populate multiple canvases. Many of Kennedy’s works are smaller, completed in one sitting. Larger plein air and studio paintings are completed only after multiple painting sessions. Influences include Edward Hopper, Winslow Homer, Paul Cezanne, and American photographer David Plowden. But mostly he says, “I want to paint like Steve Kennedy.”
His work is collected locally, nationally, and internationally, and Kennedy has won prizes at many art shows: The Salmagundi Club (NYC), International Marine Art Exhibition (Mystic Seaport Museum, CT) North Shore Arts Association (Gloucester, MA), Creative Arts Center (Chatham, MA), New Haven Paint and Clay Club (New Haven, CT) and elsewhere. He’s had multiple one-man shows; his work is in the permanent collection of the Cape Cod Museum of Art (Dennis, MA), Cahoon Museum of American Art (Cotuit, MA), Truro Historical Museum, (North Truro, MA), Wequassett Inn & Resort, (Chatham, MA), New Haven Paint and Clay Club, Wellfleet Historical Society and Museum, (Wellfleet, MA) and multiple businesses and private collections.
Kennedy also pursues a career writing for a commercial fisheries trade publication and keeps busy shooting ships and tugs. He’s been documenting the commercial fisheries scene for many years, and has been involved in local auto racing since 1970, His book, “Modified Stock Car Racing of the ‘60s and ‘70s” covers much of what he witnessed growing up.