Artist, therapist, and creativity coach, Kate Longmaid lives in Shelburne with her husband Stephen Baad. She was born and raised in Bryn Mawr, a suburb outside of Philadelphia; although she was conceived far from home, in Bangkok, where her father worked as an urban planner. Because of that influence, she grew up with Thai furniture, Thai cuisine, and early introductions to Buddhism. Most recently, her oil paintings have been similarly inspired, as she loves to incorporate Buddha figures into her still life paintings.
In her junior year of high school, Longmaid studied in Peru. She explored ancient sites, such as Machu Picchu and the coastal villages, while attending a private all girl’s Catholic school. Ultimately, at the age of 16, “What I learned was outside of the classroom,” she said.
After graduation, Longmaid attended college at the University of Michigan. “I chose it because it was a contemporary art school with strong academic opportunity,” she explained. She joined the honors program and majored in psychology in art. This allowed her to take classes such as art history and Buddhism while still maintaining a strong psychology focus. In her sophomore year of college, she met her future husband there, Stephen Baad, a senior.
Later the couple moved to Brooklyn, where Baad was accepted to Columbia. They married in 1985, after he completed an M.S. degree program in social work. During their time in New York, Longmaid co-taught third, fourth, and fifth graders at a private elementary school. They wed in Maine, as they’d previously enjoyed spending time together there with her grandmother. The newlyweds ventured to Burlington for their honeymoon, but stationed themselves in Yarmouth, Me. for the next two years. Afterward, they moved to Virginia so that Longmaid could complete a doctorate in clinical psychology. Here, the couple had their first child, Olivia, who now teaches science to first graders in South Korea. Olivia and her brother Alex both have followed in their parents’ footsteps and attended the University of Michigan.
Vermont became their home when Baad attended medical school at UVM. “We loved Burlington,” Longmaid expressed. Meanwhile, she transitioned to private practice and eventually also came back to practicing her art. She started using gouache paint because it dried quickly. Longmaid mentioned, “I painted on the kitchen table and only at night. I was having persistent dreams about finding a specific place to paint. It was like my subconscious telling me that I couldn’t neglect that part of myself.”
Ultimately, they moved the family to Shelburne because of the great schools. The choice proved serendipitous, as Longmaid received entry to her first juried art show at Shelburne Farms. Then, she was selected by Vermont Studio Center for a one month residency.
For the past five years, she has taken classes at the Burlington City Arts (BCA) in downtown Burlington, painting portraits in oil paint. “I’ve always been attracted to the figure,” Longmaid said. Her portraiture was featured in “Women to Watch 2010” in the weekly newspaper, “Seven Days.” After this, her art was chosen to tour around galleries in Vermont, from the Westbranch gallery to the McCarthy Arts Center. Finally, her paintings hung in the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC.
Still, success in the art world did not halt her progression in other realms of her life. She got her certification as a creativity coach in 2011 and integrated the new skill into her therapeutic practice. She even taught a class on fostering a creative life. “I’m feeling a lot of gratitude. I want to continue to learn and contribute to others,” Longmaid said.
More recently, Longmaid has begun a foray into painting still life. “It’s still portraiture at some level because you’re working with issues of humanity—where everyone is longing to be seen for who they truly are,” she explained. “I’m always trying to keep my art alive. I can’t imagine doing anything else. Creativity parallels therapy so well because each session is like a blank canvas…You never know where you’re going to end up.”
Favorite Shelburne haunt: “As a visual artist, Shelburne Farms feeds the soul.”
Favorite books: “The Artist’s Way,” “The Creative Habit,” and “Outliers”: “‘Outliers’ inspires me to just keep painting.”
Bucket List: To get an MFA and travel more – “A trip to Southeast Asia was on my bucket list for a while and Stephen and I had the opportunity to finally do it recently. Laos was especially magical.”