Organic Abstractions

Organic Abstractions

Irma Ward and Kim Collins

May 9 - 30, 2014

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri where the value of a strong work ethic was emphasized in my parents' grocery store. This is where I learned to trim a side of beef, take inventory, and provide customer service as a check-out clerk; not much to do with art, yet I learned many valuable lessons that I use today. I moved to Texas in a job transfer with American Airlines, and completed my degree in business administration at the University of Texas at Arlington.

I've always had a love for the arts and have dabbled in painting and crafts while growing up and during my career at the airline. In January 2000, I made a new-millennium resolution to take this interest to a higher level and I embarked on a journey that forever changed my life. After several years of self-teaching, I enrolled in painting and drawing classes at a local college. I was hooked from there on. Finally I had found the job that I really loved; so much so that I retired early from the airline to paint and study more. In the process, I found that I enjoyed sharing my love for painting with friends, family, and co-workers. I studied hard and earned certification as a Fine Art Instructor from Liliedahl School of Traditional Oil Painting. I now teach and paint full time in my North Texas studio.

One never knows all there is to know about painting, so I continue learning by taking workshops from artists I admire. Some of the notable artists that I've had the privilege to study under include: Joe Anna Arnett, David Leffel, Sherry McGraw, Elizabeth Pruitt Robbins, George Strickland, Kay Polk, Judy Carducci, James Tennison, Bob Rohm, Ann Templeton, Tony Saladino, and others. I've learned a lot from these talented individuals. Perhaps you can see their influence in my work.

Part of my job as an artist is to participate in community activities, so I participate in several local art associations: Texas Artists Coalition, Trinity Arts Guild, and Grapevine Art Project, to name a few. For several years I served on the Executive Board of the Trinity Arts Guild in various capacities and I am currently Vice President for Professional Artists in North Texas (PAINT). The national organizations, of which I am also a member, include: Oil Painters of America, Outdoor Painters Society, and the Portrait Society of America. In addition to supporting art associations, I have donated several of my paintings to various charitable groups over the years.

Since moving into my new studio in 2013, I have a lot more room for studio work and, with that, I have started working on a collection of abstract paintings. I often toggle between the representational work and the abstraction. I find that freedom of expression with the abstract work helps me get closer to the style of painting I want for the representation paintings; one helps the other.

Next to my family, art is my life. Creating a beautiful painting for you to enjoy or helping someone learn to paint is what I'm all about.

If painting or collecting paintings is your passion, then I want to know you. Tell me know which paintings you like most; what subjects, colors, etc. are special to you, or ask me a question about my art or my classes. I'd love to hear from you. -- Irma Ward

My work has evolved over the years from realistic watercolors to abstract designs in acrylic. The likely catalyst for this change was a bout with cancer which influenced many “re-thinking what’s important” moments. I realized I had been working with processes which were rigid, traditional and a bit tedious for me, but I was afraid to break out of the box. After the cancer scare, I allowed myself the freedom to have fun, try new things, get out of my comfort zone and play with design, color and materials. I have never looked back.

I usually start a piece with no pre-conceived idea of what it will ultimately become, however a relationship develops as the work progresses. Sometimes the relationship is easy and harmonious; sometimes it is full of conflict which must be resolved…just like life.

I am fascinated by organic forms, the spaces between, and the process of painting itself.

My ultimate intention is that the viewer responds positively to the work and that the process and journey remain authentic. – Kim Collins

Kim Collins was born in Biloxi, Mississippi but grew up in several different states, England and Germany. Her home is in Northeast Texas where she has lived since 1977. She chose to focus on family rather than pursue a formal art education, so she is primarily a self-taught artist. In 2013, she decided to let art be her full-time occupation rather than an occasional endeavor, and has a studio in the Riverside Arts District of Fort Worth, TX.

Kim was represented by Beaux-Arts Gallery in Grapevine, Mud, Wind & Fire Co-op and Gallery in Grapevine, TX, Westwerks Gallery in Granbury, TX, Stratford Green Gallery in Lewisville, TX, Artist’s Showplace in Richardson, TX, Main & Vine in Keller, TX and Giddens Gallery in Grapevine, TX.