Featured Artist – Barbara Kimmel-Palmer

It’s all about the light – that luscious light of daybreak. It’s the light that overtakes the kitchen of Artist Barbara Kimmell-Palmer’s Prescott, Arizona home between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and noon. The artist chooses to paint in this somewhat unlikely place for that very reason: it’s just all about the light.

In (two spaces) her 30-plus year art career, this accomplished and versatile artist has created award-winning works in oils, acrylics, watercolor, mixed media, and – most recently – collage. She employs traditional light-to-dark watercolor technique and dark-to-light oil technique, but that’s where tradition leaves off and adventure begins. According to Barbara, working in collage is a process of discovery. In her initial experiments with collage, she began with texture and then added color. This approach met with only limited success. She then reversed her approach by applying her color first (in the form of abstract painting), seeking out her emerging subject, and then embellishing her work with a rich tapestry of layered textures that further define her subject. Virtually any material is fair game: burlap, nylon netting, surgical gauze, textured papers, glue, and gold and copper leaf to name but a few. Barbara’s creativity extends to her choice of tools as well, which can include dry, caked paint brushes with which to apply textures and adhesives, and a “Mr. Clean” Eraser sponge dragged through wet paint to achieve transparent ripples on a (remove) the surface of a koi pond.

“Samurai”, one of Barbara’s current favorites, is an excellent example of Barbara’s technique. To create this work, she applied an abstract painting from which her subject began to emerge and take shape. She then moved on to the process of selecting and applying layers of Asian-inspired specialty papers and areas of relief built-up with layers of glue. Next, came layered accents of gold and copper leaf. Finally, she selectively applied additional layers of paint right over the collage layers to add translucence and enhance visual depth.

Her work shows well in both private and commercial environments. In fact, she once convinced a cardiologist to hang her work on the blank walls of his medical practice – with the caveat that they be available for sale to his patients. The practitioner was so taken with one of Barbara’s abstracts that he purchased the piece himself to hang in his own home.
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