Thursday, January 20, 2022

DPW Spotlight Interview: Kim Zimmerman

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Kim's painting "Two Lemons" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

An Introduction from Kim Zimmerman:

I love getting lost in the actual making of art. It’s a journey of my own creation and yet the trip is made without always knowing where I’ll end up. I’ve been painting in oil for about 6 years and I’m still amazed at how much there is to discover.  

Two Lemons
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW homepage announcing Kim's interview.

What did you want to be growing up?  

I always wanted to become a veterinarian because of my love for animals but… math! Art has always been a large part of my life and I suppose I knew I would find a career somewhere in the field someday. I studied Illustration and graphic design in college. Some time later I fell into entertainment advertising after taking an extension class in movie poster design. Who even knew that was a job?! 

When did your artistic journey begin?  

My father was a painter and photographer so I grew up in an artistic environment where my creativity was nurtured. I studied fine art at UCSB and then moved on to Pratt Institute where I received my BFA in illustration. Even after college I continued to take classes and attend workshops. In 2015, armed with an oil painting field kit my husband bought for me, I signed up for a figure painting atelier and fell in love with oil painting. 

Artichoke in Bloom
(click to view)

Did you have long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?  

Yes! I’m attempting to make a habit of painting for a certain amount of time each day. But life always has a way of pushing me off track. I have found that classes and workshops help to keep me focused or pull me back in if I get too distracted. It helps to know and work with other artists who are going through the same struggles. It’s been harder with Covid. Most everything has gone online but there is still the opportunity to have meaningful discussions with each other about the work. I get a lot of valuable encouragement, inspiration and feedback from these groups. 

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal?  

Oil paint is my favorite medium. It’s very versatile in that you can work with it thick or thin. You can wipe it away, paint over it or blend it beautifully. I also enjoy working with charcoal when I’m doing life drawings. It has the same movement on the paper as paint. Sometimes I even use a brush and paint medium to push the charcoal around on the surface. My favorite genre would have to be figure painting and portraiture. I just love working with the human form. It amazes me that we all are given the same basic body parts and yet, we each look so different from one another.  

The only medium that doesn’t appeal to me is acrylic. I wish I could work with it for the sake of convenience but it’s a struggle to keep the paint from drying out and getting it to flow on the canvas the way oil does. 

(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?  

I never set out with a process or style in mind. I just wanted to be able to understand and control the paint. In the beginning, I didn’t want to think about color, so much of my work was done with a very limited palette. I’m starting to get a little more adventuresome with that. I would (and still do) look at a lot of artist’s work online and on Instagram. There are so many amazing people out there posting their work and making videos of their techniques. I love that they are so willing to share their knowledge. I still enjoy experimenting with various methods of painting and over time I find that some of the styles and techniques have stuck with me and some I’ve moved on from. When I look at my work I’m pleased with the way it has evolved. That said, I don’t think I’ll ever stop experimenting.  

Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why?  

Richard Diebenkorn. Euan Uglow. Paul C├ęzanne. John Singer Sargent. These are the names currently at the top of my list. I just love, love, love the colors that Deibenkorn brings to his work. I am drawn to the way Diebenkorn, Uglow and C├ęzanne break up their images. There’s such a wonderful angular feel to the way they work. I adore all those edges and blocks of color. Sargent’s portraits are amazing. His subjects are filled with so much detailed gracefulness and yet, when you get close up you find that all of that detail is created by only a few strokes of the brush.  

White Flower
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be?  

Don’t fuss so much over whether a piece is good. Just keep painting. If you are unhappy with what you're working on set it aside and move onto something new. At some point you might circle back to the offending art and be able to work on it with a new mindset. Or (as I often do) just create a new painting on top of it. You can’t see how far you’ve come unless you go somewhere. 

Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?  

No! If I can jump-start myself to where I’m sitting in front of my easel I’m in pretty good shape, but this is a constant struggle for me. And if anyone out there has any tips I’m always looking for them! 

(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward? 

When I get stuck, I try to look outside myself for motivation. I’m inspired by what other artists are creating. Trips to galleries and museums can fill me with new ideas. I also go on walks or hikes in nature to help clear my mind and reset my thinking. By the time I’m back in my studio, I can tackle things with a fresh perspective.

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?  

Short term is pretty basic. I need to tidy up my studio space. Not only is the clutter distracting, I keep losing things. I literally can’t find one of my paintings. I waste so much precious time searching for stuff. As for my long term goals, I’m working to create a series of themed pieces. I want to push myself into thinking conceptually and adding more storytelling to my work. 

The Morning Cup
(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?  

Being satisfied with the work I’m doing and feeling like I’m consistently making progress. I know that I’m always going to look at my work critically and see things I could have done better, but, thankfully, there’s usually enough good parts to keep me going. 

What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?  

Hmmm... I guess it would have to be the first time I sold one of my paintings. I’d been so focused on raising my skill level that I never thought too much about anyone wanting to buy my work. When that happened, it was a surprise and a thrill! Being self motivated is very hard. These kind of bumps help.

Peeking Out
(click to view)
Thanks, Kim!

© 2022 Maddie Marine

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