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Portrait Painter Everett “Ray” Kinstler is a Connecticut Treasure.

To say that this interview was thrilling and fun at the same time would be an understatement.

Everett Raymond “Ray” Kinstler of Easton, Connecticut is one of the most sought after portraitists in the U.S.

Countless dignitaries have sat for him including seven U.S. Presidents, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and George H. and George W. Bush. He’s painted First Ladies, Ford and Johnson. Movie stars have lined up too, John Wayne, James Cagny and Katharine Hepburn and stage actors and singers and the list goes on and on and on.

By the way, Kinstler did a portrait of crooner Tony Bennett, Bennett was the best man at this wedding.

“Ray” Kinstler grew up in Manhattan and at age 15 left school to start making money. He began his art career by drawing cartoons, that was fifty years ago and he still gets requests for them to this day.

I interviewed Ray for a documentary on which I am working for the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Ray gave the center one of the portraits he did of Hepburn which hangs in the venue’s museum to the iconic Connecticut actress.

Kinstler is articulate about his life’s work and has a million stories to tell to which I could have listened to for hours. He lives with his wife on a beautiful piece of property where their yellow labs roam all over the place and follow his golf cart as he goes back and forth from the main house to his art studio.

Currently he is working on a portrait of President George W. Bush and a series of Old Hollywood paintings of which we got a glimpse.

As a member of The Players Club in New York City, he told me about getting Hepburn to sit for a painting to raise money for the library at the club, you will hear about that in the video below. Let’s just say that was an “interesting” relationship.

Kinstler says he seldom “lunches” because daylight is his mistress and he goes after that when he paints.

He is an artist to be treasured, it’s no wonder he received the highest award possible from the Smithsonian, National Portrait Gallery, the Copley Medal.

Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Ann Nyberg

One Comment

  1. tim isaacson
    Posted February 22, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    I was wondering if you could help me. I would like to send a photo of a painting I have that Mr. Kinstler did for a paperback book. It is for the cover to: Inspector Maigret & The Dead Girl,by George Simenon – Avon was the publisher. Its Avon # 757 from 1955. It is stunning! I met Mr.Kinstler back in the 90’s at a “Pulp” convention in Ohio. What a great guy! I think he would enjoy seeing his painting again! In the book that was published about him in 2005 there is a prelim for the painting. Hope you can help. Thanks for your time and consideration. Sincerely,Tim Isaacson.