Kristen Aubut’s life is just the right mix of the French impressionist painter Monet and Little Bear, a show on the children’s network Nick Jr.
A 2010 CHASS graduate, Aubut is a stay-at-home mother in Raleigh looking after her 4-year-old son, Wilson. But late in 2011, she decided to use some of her time to paint and sell her work through a new business, Fresh Coat of Paint Designs.
Aubut, 27, now spends four hours of her day painting, networking and preparing for art shows, most of which are lined up in the homes of family and friends. “It’s still in the process,” she says. “It’s still at the hobby status. I’m not making a living of it now, but maybe one day.”
It’s definitely a grassroots effort. She promotes her work on Facebook and on her website and invites friends over to serve as focus groups for her art. She goes to other art shows to form some basis for the prices on her own work. And she fields criticism from her son, who’ll sometimes question if a painting is pretty enough to sell. “Sometimes he’s right,” Aubut says.
Aubut describes her work as folk art and something that could be seen at a craft show. She draws with colored pencils and paints with oil pastels. She admits that her paintings reflect some of the raw talent she developed at Sanderson High School in Raleigh, where she first discovered the reward of seeing a landscape and capturing it on canvas. Those landscapes now include memorable places on NC State’s campus, such as the Brickyard, the smokestacks or Holladay Hall. Those paintings capture the affinity she has for the university as well as help her find an audience for her work, her main goal.
“When I create something,” she says, “my goal is to have a person desire putting it in their home or office.”