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Wichita Falls Living Magazine

A Different Perspective

written by cindy kahler thomas
photos by teresa barrett photography



Kim gets up every morning and paints. “I make sure I make time to paint, it is my air, how I relax, a simple way to step away from the world for a while, be in your own head and be quiet. Sometimes you just need the quiet,” she shared. Kim is an artist who has found her niche in Wichita Falls. Since she started showing her art locally in 2009, she has won over 55 awards including, four ‘Best of Shows’, and one art show catalog cover. She has several pieces of public art in Wichita Falls as well as being included in numerous publications with her beautiful and captivating work. 

 

She paints both animal and human portraits, botanicals, and abstracts in a realistic, bright & bold style. Her favorite artist is Johannes Vermeer, and she has modeled many of her paintings to reflect his style of creating art. One of his most famous paintings is “The Girl With The Pearl Earring.” Kim has used this vision of beauty in her artwork also. She has a painting titled “In Vermeer’s Studio” in which she used several images from his paintings and added her own “made up” images to create her very own original “Vermeer.” The Dutch master’s influence is both obvious and enchanting.

Her introduction to the art community here in Wichita Falls started at “The Mystery Art Fest,” in 2009. It is an annual fundraiser for the Kemp Center for the Arts. “I saw an advertisement in the newspaper, calling for artists, and I thought it was such a unique idea and a great concept,” Kim said. Artists donate up to two pieces of original artwork that are 8X10 inches. They are auctioned off at a gala event with the proceeds benefiting the educational opportunities at the Kemp Center. The “Mystery” is that the artwork is signed on the back so the buyers don’t know who created them until after they are purchased. The art is judged, and awards are given.


 

“I entered the show, and one of my paintings took ‘Best of Show.’ This was my introduction to the Kemp and to Carol Sales, Nancy Scott, Carlana Finch and the rest of the ladies that worked there in 2009. I have tried to participate in Mystery Art every year since then. I have won many awards while helping to raise money for their programs. I am quite indebted and thankful to the Kemp Center, and Mystery Art. This is how I started my career as an artist in Wichita Falls,” she said nostalgically.

Kim also took part in the “Mane Event” in 2009, in which life-sized fiberglass horses were painted by local artists. They were auctioned off and placed inside and outside of businesses all around town. Kim painted two horses, one of them being purchased to reside on the grounds of The Kemp Center. Kim’s horse at the Kemp is named “Claude” after Claude Monet. “I painted the Japanese footbridge on it. The water lilies are beautiful, I love Monet's style of painting. So, this is Claude,” she said with a smile. “I like to paint things that are beautiful, I leave the painting of ugly things to other artists. I have no desire to paint anything controversial, or political or shocking. I just really want to paint things that give me joy. Each individual artist has the right to paint whatever makes them happy, and I enjoy painting beautiful paintings.”        


 

Another amazing project she has done was the mural at the Wichita Falls Regional Airport. It depicts the original Air Force training base at Call Field during WWI. It includes planes, pilots, buildings, vehicles and, a sky with a squadron of planes. The mural encompasses two walls approximately 75 feet long and 21 feet tall. It took 5 months to paint, using only paintbrushes- the largest brush was just 4 inches wide. No paint was sprayed or rolled. The mural received global recognition as a historical aviation exhibit. It took eight months of research done by Kim and John Zimmerman, to make the mural historically accurate, and also symbolic. “During the Call Fields operation from 1917-1919, it was very early in the history of aviation. There were quite a few deaths due to accidents, while the men were learning to fly the Curtiss JN-4 Jenny. There were 44 men that died at Call Field so I decided to put the 44 men on the wall in tribute. The Mural is part of the ‘Jenny to Jet Exhibit’ that includes one of the last ‘5’ Curtiss JN-4 Jenny's in the world that still flies. The display also includes a full-sized T-38 jet, from Sheppard Air Force Base,” she shared.


 

“I am the current president of the Wichita Falls Art Association. I joined the art association after my first Mystery Art Fest. I would go to the monthly meetings to get to know other artists and become informed of what was happening with the local art community,” Kim shared. “This year has been very difficult because of COVID-19. The Art Association had so many plans-a specialty art show and projects for children at the farmers market- projects that sadly we could not do. The local artists in our membership are still working in their studios and bringing their art to sell in our WFAA Gallery at Eight Street and Ohio, on the first floor of the Holt Hotel. We are open and the artwork is changed out monthly. If you are an artist, I encourage you to join the Wichita Falls Art Association, you should be included and involved. Art is a way to express what is tattooed on your soul, or what is happening in your life. It is a way to immerse yourself in another world, even if it’s just for a little while.”

“I have a studio ‘The Artistry, Fine Art Studio'’ at 7th Street and Ohio in The LaSalle Crossing building. Look for the turquoise doors if you come to visit. We are a working studio. There are six ladies renting space to paint and create art. In October, we hosted a studio show at the Kemp at the Forum, called ‘The Artistry Presents...Dry Paint and Changing Perspectives.’ After all, art is different for everyone, a different perspective,” she said with a smile. †


 



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