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Drawing and Painting


Swallowtail (working title), roughly 10"x12", ink and gouache on watercolor paper, from my new series of drawings, pieces which are pulling me into some powerful places.

Last fall I had two pivotal experiences. I took a drawing workshop with Stuart Shils and I joined a mentoring group led by Anne Siems.

Stuart's teaching (Reframing the Ordinary) ignited a desire to work in black and white. He showed me how to pare down what I see into exciting compositions without the need of color (I know, life changing and so unexpected!) and encouraged risk taking via drawing exercises.

Anne's leadership sparked a volley of ideas based on using drawing as a gateway to break open new ideas. I had worked with Anne in the past and knew she would push me into some exciting territory, but I underestimated the exponential power of the group. I imagine our sessions are much like graduate school, with deep conversations about ideas, methods and materials, as we each search for the best way to make and talk about our art.

For the last 10 months or so I've been feeling a little itchy. I needed a shift in my work - not that I didn't love what I was making, but it was beginning to feel a little rehearsed. Or rather, I was afraid my paintings would get there, become formulaic, if I continued without a redirection of sorts.

I talked about this at great length with my students, openly sharing the ways in which I was trying to unearth a new level to my pieces (remember my Summer of Abstraction? this was part of that journey). And I shared my concerns with friends as well. Where was the key to unlocking something new? How does an artist evolve when they are looking inwards for growth?

And so I sought instruction from two artists who's work and minds I find gloriously exciting (well, three if you count Val Allen's abstraction workshop this summer).

I thought my paintings were what needed to change. But after drawing for the last 4 months and developing an exclusive technique for pulling prints from said drawings, I am questioning if that was too closed minded. I am often guilty of being literal. I didn't have to change my painting - I had to change my mind set around my painting. By shifting media to drawing and printmaking, I am building new routines, thought processes and habits.

This new work is a means for me to weave my personal symbology, culled from dreams, reflections and years of painting, into brand new narratives. They give me space to scream about injustices, linger with perfectly tender moments, and face terrifying realities. Sometimes each of those things simultaneously. They are great for my mental health!

I enjoy their company immensely and feel the presence of many more waiting at the studio door. I trust that they will tell me when it's time to let them out into the world, but for now the piles of drawings are my little secret.

And this morning for the first time in a long while, I was pulled to the easel to explore how the linework I've been drawing and printing might look were it done in paint. The result was an in process piece so intriguing she's got my head spinning.

Thank you so much for your interest in my artwork,
All my best, warmly, Kim


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