Kym (Rehberg) Inabinet graduated from Western Michigan University with a double Major in Graphic Design and Art Education. While teaching, she studied at College of Creative Studies, and the Academy of Art University of San Francisco. She studied under influential American artists including Roland Roycraft,Rod Lawrence, and Carlene LaGrou.
The most important art lesson of her life, however, was presented to her by her father Roger Rehberg when she was only three.
“I remember watching dad cut open an apple to show me the star pattern hidden inside as I sat on the kitchen counter. While Dad reached out to show me the pattern, he told me that the world is full of great beauty, but if you don’t always look for it you may miss many beautiful things. I remembered being totally in awe of that sight and excited to seek more beauty. Dad’s words were ingrained in my being while Mother Nature continually presented me with added conviction of that truth through her evolving four seasons of beauty in the State whose motto claims, “When you seek a beautiful peninsula, look about you.”
Crayons, pencils and paper gave Kym expression until in Kindergarten when finger-paint was introduced. This inspired Kym to get up early Saturday mornings with a paper plate, which became her canvas. Sitting next to the open refrigerator she explored mustard suns, with mayonnaise mixed in for light. Adding ketchup provided her with glorious oranges, relish became lush leaves and trails of steak sauce became the trunks and branches. Strawberry and grape jelly, and mayonnaise flowers adorned the round paper plate paintings. Of course coming from a strict Catholic family, where wasting food was sinful, she would have to crumple up the paintings and clean up the evidence before Mom and Dad got up in the morning. Garbage was usually burned in a large metal trashcan outdoors in those days. Often Dad came in from burning the garbage questioning why it smelled like a barbeque cookout. Eventually, his mystery was solved, a confession was given and the next Easter, a highly appreciated set of watercolors, a brush and paper were found in Kym’s basket.
Although drawing and painting came easily to Kym, school did not. Learning disabilities challenged her, and she tried to hide it by daydreaming and drawing during class time. The hours of drawing practice in school resulted in stronger abilities in art than the rest of her classmates. In the seventh grade, two young boys pooled their resources and asked Kym to draw a picture of a naked woman for five dollars. Although tempting, she didn’t take them up on it. It was that experience that encouraged Kym to find a way to use her talents as a means of a career.
“In the summer between my junior and senior year I applied for a sign painter position and got it. “At that time unemployment was high in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and minimum wage was only $1.75 per hour. I started in at $2.00 an hour and was on top of the world. When summer ended, I found it hard to stay in school knowing the deadlines we had to meet at the shop and wanting to create the best designed and executed signs possible. I would often skip school in order to work. One day I was sitting in a high school counselor’s office where I was being given a reprimand for skipping school when a poster caught my eye that read, “Yes you can!” I noticed how beautiful the cursive letterform of the letter “y” was, and the message gave me such hope that I had to make a commitment and a change. That day I changed the spelling of my name from K-i-m to K-y-m to the chagrin of my parents but as a strong reminder that I would do everything possible to make something of myself through art.”
“At the end of senior year I married my high school sweetheart, Ed Inabinet. He sailed as a Merchant Marine on the Great Lakes Freighters to begin saving for our college while I continued working as a sign painter.” Their two children came along during those busy college days, but they supported each other’s dreams while enjoying life and family, working and going to college. Kym painted whenever she could and paintings overcrowded the closets and walls of their tiny college apartment requiring her to exhibit and sell her work through a local gallery, a restaurant, and a bank in Big Rapids. Ed became her business manager as he remains to this day.
Kym spent the next 20 plus years as a Vocational Art Teacher and later a high school Art Teacher. “Teaching enriched my learning tremendously and I felt a great deal of satisfaction in helping other right-brained divergent learners to “turn on” to art and find their niche in the world as I had.” Ed’s career also turned to education and the two spent 16 years teaching at Gaylord High School. This career allowed their summers free to enjoy the beauty of Michigan’s surroundings and Kym had the time to continue painting, using her talents in various community service and selling her art and painted furniture. It was then that she started “God’s Country Studio” the name of her present business.
Camping brought them back to the Upper Peninsula each summer where they eventually bought a summer home along the Ste. Mary’s River where the freighters Ed had once sailed, cruised by their living room window. The boats, became one of Kym’s favorite subjects, and still are. She displayed her work at the Alberta House and Austin’s Oak Gallery at the Soo (Sault Ste. Marie). Beautiful grandchildren inspired Kym to do more portraits and she loves to add children to her landscapes and maritime scenes.
Kym’s work has been exhibited in several Michigan galleries with 2 one woman showings. Her work is found in many homes of art collectors throughout the United States and even bought by a State Representative (Scott Shackleton) where it was displayed in his Lansing office where he said, 'It reminded him to work relentlessly to protect our Michigan shoreline and natural resources.' Recently retired, and 56 years young, Kym and Ed are now living at their riverfront home and travel around the state and country to find the obvious and hidden beauty of the world to enjoy and paint.
Kym Inabinet joined Fine Art America on February 27th, 2010.