When experiencing a Kim Gibbs painting, the viewer is often drawn first to its color, then to its texture. There’s an element of discovery—of unpeeling each layer and element until the piece’s original inspiration stands bare before the viewer.
Gibbs began her journey as an artist when she was just five years old. Her family owned a craft store in Tampa, where her aunt taught painting classes. Gibbs took one of her aunt’s classes and experienced an awe that has permeated her artistic pursuits ever since.
Later in life, art took on additional importance for Gibbs. Her father fell ill and, to help cope, she attended a watercolor class alongside a friend. Here, she acutely felt art’s power to console and heal. This grew to a mastery of art’s ability to confront, change, and inspire, as her artistic repertoire similarly expanded. Gibbs learned to create using pastels, then acrylics, then oil. With each new medium, she taught herself the basics before engaging world-class instructors to further expand her knowledge and hone her skills.
Despite this decades-long love affair with art, Gibbs says, “I’m still fascinated and learning every day.”
Large Scale Hovering
Gibbs finds inspiration for her work everywhere—in sensory and concepts and everything in between. It’s little wonder, perhaps, that her pieces are impressionistic, representing something in between reality and imagined experience. “As an impressionistic oil painter,” says Kim Gibbs, “I allow my imagination to spill onto my canvases.”
Gibbs’ process begins with setting her intention, which will then shape every piece in each series. From there, she either jumps directly into putting paint to paper, or she first sketches out her ideas, experimenting with composition, color, shape, line, and texture. Miraculously, she doesn’t paint from photos, instead drawing from memory to picture her subject.
She prefers to paint on a large scale, laying pieces on the floor so that she can “hover over them while throwing, pouring, scraping, and slashing color across the surface.” In doing so, she adds texture to the piece, layering oil paint over oil paint.
Perhaps the most critical component to Gibbs’ process is consistency. For the past 15 years, she has painted every day, averaging 40 hours per week. As a result, she has not only sharpened her skills, but also developed confidence that enables her to approach each piece without hesitation or second guessing. In fact, she maintains that pursuing this level of discipline is the most important piece of advice she could give a budding artist: “I would advise a young creative to practice, practice, practice! And most importantly, just show up. Make a commitment to yourself,” says Gibbs.
Kim Gibbs Around Town
For eleven years, Kim Gibbs has been a resident artist at the Dilworth Artisan Station, located in Charlotte’s South End neighborhood. Her studio is open to visitors daily from 11am-6pm.
Although Gibbs is based in Charlotte, her work can also be found throughout the Southeast, including at Southeastern Galleries and Reinert in Charleston, Stellers in Jacksonville, Camellia in Bluffton, and Frameworks Gallery in East Cobb.