Inspired by the vast natural landscapes of the American Midwest, artist Kim Dayton creates abstracts that convey a sense of place. Find more of her portfolio on her website.
My artistic journey began with crayon drawings and coloring books, but didn’t really take off until I took a 4-H photography class when I was nine. I used my dad’s Brownie Instamatic and rolls of black and white film to produce oh-so-sophisticated tiny photos of crocuses, barn doors, and farm implements.
When I entered 7th grade I had to choose between continuing to play my viola (Orchestra I) or ART (Painting and Drawing I). I chose the latter, foregoing a possible future as a concert musician. However, my love of art was quickly subsumed by my plan, hatched in 9th grade, to become a lawyer.
Although I did eventually purchase an SLR camera with which I continued to shoot my own version of fine art photography, left brain activities consumed my life for much of the next 27 years.
In 1998, a friend noticed that I was interested in doodling with colored pencils and fountain pens. She bought me a box of soft pastels, which she said was “a forgiving medium.”
I took a couple of classes, worked on my own, and even had a show of my work in a local coffee shop. I had always liked making collages, so I did that as well—usually covering notebooks with designs constructed from ephemera and old jewelry, and gifting them to friends and family.
I liked using the pastels, but I really wanted to paint. My sister, a genuine artist with a BFA, suggested I try acrylics first due to their easy clean up and non-toxicity—and so I did.
I didn’t really get the hang of painting for a long time, Once I took a class with an artist at a local art center who specialized in acrylic, I understood more about how the paint and brushes work together. I began to develop a distinct style, which became even more distinct when I switched from brushes to credit cards for most of my mark-making.
I spent five years mentoring with a local artist, Hazel Belvo. With her encouragement, I continued experimenting with combining media in non-traditional ways.
These mixed media works, which often incorporate paper, acrylic and other media in a single painting, have become the means to create the feeling and sense of place, rather than a literal representation. That is the goal of each of my pieces.
My work is inspired by the vast prairies of central Kansas where I grew up and lived until middle age, and the forests and lakes of Minnesota, where I now reside. Many of my paintings consider the role that fire plays in the natural landscapes of prairie and forest.