I have an early Christmas present for you! I've had the great pleasure of getting to know renowned wildlife artist Kim Diment over the last few years. She answers the ALC's usual 10 profile questions below and has generously also provided 2 short videos about her technique. Be sure to check out Kim's links and workshop info at the end of the post.
ALC: How did you come to be an artist?
KD: My path to becoming a professional artist might have been winding, but my goal was to have a profession that had something to do with art and animals. I love both and I knew that in some way or another. I would bring the two together. I think it wasn't as much of a goal as it was part of my identity. I loved making things when I was a child. My parents were both hands on creative people and I was always inspired and encouraged by them. I also had several very influential teachers that were instrumental. When I went to college at Michigan State University I still haven't been able to choose between a profession with strictly animals or strictly art, so I juggled both through a double major in Fine Art and Zoology. At first, I toyed with the idea of being a scientific illustrator. After taking a workshop in the field at the University of Michigan I decided this might be too structured for the type of art I would like to do. It was my father's suggestion to become a teacher. I had taught summer art classes in the past at our Community Education facility and liked it. As it turned out, it was a good suggestion. I thoroughly enjoyed my next venture which was teaching art to junior high and high school students for the next 13 1/2 years. I moved to Grayling Michigan in 2002. It was here that I decided to become a professional artist. This was something I had always dreamed of doing. In retrospect, it took me a while to get used to the unstructured life of an artist versus my past occupation as a teacher. I also found adapting to the solitude of a professional artist a little challenging after being a very socially active teacher. After short time I switched gears and found a new social circle of artist friends. I worked hard at increasing my body of artwork. I also became very active in the Society of Animal Artists, entered as many wildlife art competitions as I could and became active in our community by co-founding and co-owning The Main Branch Gallery with partner, Ken Wright.
ALC: What’s your favorite digital tool?
KD: I like my iPad, however I try to limit myself with it as it can distract me from my artwork, people, animals and the world around me that I love most.
ALC: What’s your favorite non-digital tool–the one you absolutely can’t live without.
KD: My favorite digital tool is probably my computer with my Photoshop program. I try to always use my own referencing which are sketches, photographs, plein air or actual personal experiences . I find I can manipulate my reference and come up with ideas most quickly with Photoshop.
ALC: If you could take any workshop in the next year,with whom would you like to study and what would you look to learn from him/her?
KD: If I could take a workshop in the next year I would like to take a duo workshop taught by Patricia Pepin and Brian Jarvi. I love both of these artist's work. With Patricia, I would hope to learn how to master oils like she does by creating realistic depth with lost edges, color and atmosphere. With Brian I would like to learn his signature style of painting which is unlike any artist I know. I also would like to learn his treatment of substrates before he paints because they always have interesting textures. If I were able to learn under an artist no longer with us, I would have a hard time picking from Turner, John Singer Sargent, Bouguereau, Da Vinci, Howard Pyle or Gustav Klimt.
It isn't pretty is it? I tend to work in organized chaos. And any poor soul who has been around me knows, I tend to spill into other areas of the house like a mold or fungus.
|An example of "Artist's Spillage"|
KD: My primary goals for next year is to of course getting many paintings done, work on several sculpting ideas, start a new series of painting entitled the silver series and rework my website.
ALC: What do you consider to be your strongest attribute as an artist/designer?
KD: I think my strongest attribute as an artist and designer is my use of lighting, my quest to try new techniques and different approaches.
ALC: What painting or design project would be your “dreamjob”-what you would consider to be the ultimate sign of success for you personally?
KD: A dream job for me personally would be creating a series of artwork that would engage humans from all over the planet with the reality of what is happening to our wild areas and the animals that live in these wild areas. If I could be successful with this, I would feel like maybe I made a difference in this world. It would also be incredible to obtain Master status in the Society of Animal Artists.
ALC: What one piece of advice would you give to someone following in your footsteps?
KD: Create artwork that it is some way or another is extremely personal to you. Constantly challenge yourself and find artists that you admire that can give you constructive criticism along the way.
ALC: If you had to pick one personal favorite piece that you have created, which one would it be?
KD: I would say every five years I have a different favorite piece. This is a very tough question for me because I constantly change my mind. I am including several of the reasons why they were my favorite at the time.
|Otter Confusion by Kim Diment. A happy fun painting for me with an above/below look at the grace of otters.|
|Dine & Dash by Kim Diment. Capturing movement and expression made this a favorite for me.|
|Bird In Hand by Kim Diment: an attempt at creating a secret place with atmosphere and mystery|
|Moonrise, Sunset by Kim Diment. The lighting, my experience with this owl and the background all make me very happy with this painting|
|Saddle Bill Study by Kim Diment. Lighting, mystery and some added abstraction were elements that make this a favorite.|
video 1; Charcoal Drawing as an underpainting (1)
video 2: Charcoal Drawing as an underpainting (2)