Some of the artwork by artist Beth Kaminstein on display at Kona Kai Resort & Gallery at MM 97.8 in Key Largo. CONTRIBUTED

Palms and other fauna situated along a pathway led visitors to the site of an opening art show at Kona Kai Gallery. Inside was a collection of new art titled “Almost Sexy”  by Islamorada abstract artist Beth Kaminstein.

Kaminstein’s father was an inventor who loved to paint. He was self-taught while serving in the Army. He would continue to paint his entire life. As a young girl, Kaminstein would always be drawing.  Her mother encouraged her creativity by having a local potter friend teach ceramics when Kaminstein was 16.

Kaminstein graduated from Bennington College in Vermont majoring in ceramics, drawing and dance. Even though many locals know her as a longtime staple in the Keys – she moved to Islamorada in 1989 – Kaminstein has lived in renowned art cities like Florence and New York City.  In the Upper Keys, she has accomplished many things for the benefit of our community. This includes helping create the municipality known as Islamorada with her late husband and Keys icon, Ron Levy. She helped create a playground in the park behind the Helen Wadley library in Islamorada. She built and ran Montessori Island charter school.

Kaminstein’s art career can be summarized with the following mantra: “Expect nothing, work hard, celebrate” — a saying by Kaminsein’s friend and fellow artist, Jules Olitski. In simple terms, figurative art chooses to represent something, so we are focusing outward on what we see in the subject and how it is depicted in the art. Abstract art is more about looking inward, the emotions and the feelings that you get when you look at the art.  

Kaminstein’s work takes ceramics, clay and drawing to a new level. She creates a new vision with her use of glazes as much as not using the glazes; her work has movement that only a dancer could create. Her abstract forms often give hints of nature and an appreciation of the natural world. It is rare to see abstract works that would fit so easily into a garden, another reason the gardens of Kona Kai are a perfect location to appreciate her new collection.

If you ever get the pleasure of meeting Kaminstein, you will find yourself face-to-face with a person with so much knowledge of the arts. She knows and understands the arts like a mother knows her children.  

“I love the early Renaissance painters such as Masaccio, Giotto and Fra Angelico; then comes Donatello and Bernini,” Kaminstein said. “After them, El Greco and Delacroix, Manet, Monet, Bonnard, Matisse, Miro and Picasso; also, Ryder, Dove, O’Keefe, Frankenthaler and Pollack.”

Kaminstein draws often and sometimes all of that drawing helps her visualize abstract ideas.  When crafting her art, she starts working directly with the clay rather than from a sketch of what she is going to make. Kaminstein creates in a studio at  home, and she can be found working and exploring new ideas and hopes they will get realized into something.Kaminstein’s newest works can be seen at Kona Kai Resort and Gallery in Key Largo, MM 97.8, oceanside, 97802 Overseas Highway.  Visit bethkaminstein.com to view her work.

William DePaula
William DePaula is an artist, designer and gemologist who believes in the power of art. From his early childhood onward, he has never stopped drawing, painting and creating. He envisions a world in which beauty is as important as function, where culture and history are respected, and where nature is at once powerful and vulnerable. Infusing an essence of life in all his paintings, DePaula understands beauty is accessible to all. DePaula's art has been featured in select art museums around the world.