Kim Ward has had many accolades in her career as an artist, and her work is exquisite, yet she is “basically self taught and has never taken art lessons.”
“Like many artists, I had a very difficult childhood so art and reading were my escape methods,” she explained, “I was from a real poor family, so all I had was pencil and paper.” Once she graduated high school, she also graduated from pencil to paint. “I enjoy the tactile nature of oil paint,” Kim said with a Smile. “I like the luminosity of oil paint and the creamy texture. I like to push the paint around. It is almost like bending it or twisting it. I have to allow the piece to develop itself, and then I start to find tune things. It is a process,” she mused, “I have an idea in my mind. I might be influenced by a different artist, or technique. I am fascinated by shadows and reflections and texture. I am interested in the process of layering colors. It is almost a game; how did they mix those colors to get that effect?”
She isn’t limited to just oil paint. “I enjoy acrylic paint because it is so fast,” she said, “There are so many different mediums that you can work into the paint. Things to make it thick or thin, like sand and polymers. You can thin acrylic paint out so you can use it like watercolor. And by layering you create a lot of depth in a painting. That is how you create reflections, like a stainless steel bowl of water.” “Every day I to try and bend it to my will,” Kim said, “I am in a Zen state when I am creating art.” Some of her influences are Andrew Wythe and Vermeer and Monet, but she is also inspired by local artists. “It is like a little mind game—like tickling the brain to see what is behind their art. Every artist has validation, and there is something about their art that I find fascinating. All of our local artists have something that they can contribute, and that is why not everyone likes vanilla,” Kim said. One of her murals is on display at the Wichita Falls Municipal Airport. The mural is about the famous Jenny airplanes, and the pilots who flew them. It is historically accurate and it all happened in the Call Field Airport almost 100 years ago.
“Everyone should join the Kemp Center for the Arts and the Wichita Falls Art Association. We need to reach out and pull in all the artists and be part of a community,” she stressed, “We are all up in our heads so much, and we need to talk to each other and bounce ideas off of each other.” Kim paints in the 7th Street Studio and her art can be viewed there and at the Wichita Falls Art Association. She participates in shows all over the region and her art is in many private collections.
-Cindy Kahler Thomas