Barbara Wolkinger owns a successful custom painting business with customers all over southern Maine and New Hampshire. She’s also an artist who came by that talent later in her life. Recently she had some down time from her busy schedule and we had an opportunity to talk about her business in her attractive apartment on the Hill.
“Gold leafing is such a unique skill,” said Wolkinger. And it is one that she offers to customers of her business; Cover-All. Originally from Austria, Wolkinger attended college in Graz, her hometown and learned the art of gold leafing. She did her apprenticeship in Austria – restoring baroque and gothic cathedrals. In a scrapbook which sits on a table in her studio, she has photographs of herself on scaffolding – literaly “hanging from the rafters. That was really scary work,” she acknowledged. But necessary to work on intricate details of these complex restorations. Wolkinger loves the work and is pleased to offer the service to her customers in southern Maine.
It was during the next phase of her life that she accidentally discovered her talent for creating art. She left Austria, by herself, and settled in Boston where she lived for ten years. During that time she restored work for the Pesbody Essex Museum as well as for the Boston Atheneum in her studio at home. She also worked on numerous other projects for art dealers, galleries, private collectors and interior designers. While doing restoration work for Motyka Art and Frames in Rhode Island, she was asked to touch up a work under restoration. She did and it turned out well. “I can do this too,” she said laughing. And she has ever since.
The personable Wolkinger shows her large oil paintings at the recently reopened Bakery on the Hill. Most often they resemble a burst of light – like the painting currently over the display case at the Congress Street bakery. Many of them are dominated by circles. She quotes Margaret J. Wheatley: “Circles create soothing space, where even reticent people can realize that their voice is welcome.”
Her “bread and butter,” is her Cover All business, Wolkinger says. She specializes in decorative painting – using stencils, sponging and gold leafing where needed as well as exterior and interior painting.
“I get into a funk sometimes in the winter when I don’t want to do anything. I have to be in a good space to paint. I often paint with earphones on listening to music. I listen to upbeat electronica or chill music. Color is what inspires me,” she said. That’s clear from the number of bright oil paintings hanging from the light colored walls of her studio on the Hill.
“I have to stay busy. I’m driven to be creative.”
Please see www.wolkinger.com for more information about Barbara Wolkinger.