I lost one of my dearest friends, Kim Kincaid this past week. It is her memorial today - a thing which I can hardly wrap my head around - it was so sudden, and far, far too soon. We've spoken at least weekly, many times daily for the past 8 years. I feel her absence keenly. I thought it might help me to talk about some of my memories of her....
I met Kim back in 2008, at the first Illustration Master Class. I didn't know anyone else there and felt totally out of my depth. Kim was gracious and welcoming. We bonded over being in the 'older ladies' club (the bulk of the attendees were much younger whippersnappers.)
I was charmed by both Kim and her work.
We stayed in close contact after IMC. Talked about art. Our families. Our mutual faith. The nature of beauty and creativity. We critiqued each other's work. We looked forward to spending in-person time together at the IMC the following year.
No one was a more enthusiastic student than Kim. She took every opportunity to glean every bit of knowledge she could from instructors, other artists and fellow students. She frequently reached out to artists whose work she admired to ask them about their technique, or their inspiration - in person when she could, but online when that was not possible. She was fearless in that way.
She talked with *everyone*. And was also a fabulous listener.
People felt safe, and heard, talking with her.
She was also willing to help out in any way she could - I have many pictures she let me take of her modeling for me (in this case as one of a dozen different flying monkeys she posed as). Her thoughtfulness always put me to shame. I have a stack of birthday, Christmas, and I'm-just-thinking-of-you cards in my studio. When our beloved dog of 11 years died of cancer, Kim was the one to send me Dog Heaven in the hopes it would help me feel better. I've heard many stories from others of her little kindnesses and thoughtful gestures when they needed it.
When I started facilitating TLCWorkshops, Kim was my biggest cheerleader and the very first person to sign up (shown here with Greg Manchess - my first, and most frequent, favorite instructor. Kim was his favorite student).
She was also the first person to stay in our shiny new guest room when my kids left home. We shared our love of animals, nature, music. And art. Always art.
Kim was also an avid reader and a former librarian. I can't tell you how many conversations we had comparing books and literature. She created truly lovely tributes (fan art) to many of the book characters she loved and was touched by. These resonated with other fans of the same books - she was able to really capture the intangible but heart-felt essence of so many characters in her illustrations.
While always tentative about her artistic abilities, she quietly racked up achievement after achievement - commissions, being accepted into illustration annuals, gallery shows, etc.. A few years ago, she was one of four "Rising Stars" chosen by the esteemed Muddy Colors blog, and got to show her work at the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live convention.
She was somewhat overwhelmed by the experience - her first convention - and being around so many of her artistic heroes in attendance. Sweet, lovely Kim, however fit right in (here at dinner between one art-idol, Bill Carman, and the incomparable Paul Bonner).
Kim continued to work incessantly to hone her skills. And to engage more emotionally with her work. We attended Smart School together online (studying under Rebecca Guay.) It was a joy to watch her thought processes in and out of class and to have a fellow student to talk through our mutual approaches as we problem solved and pushed ourselves. Kim always helped me elevate both my work and myself.
Last summer, we returned to the IMC again. We both wanted to participate in their new Gallery focus, and watch the amazing Brad Kunkle at work, and of course, Kim made the most of every demo, every instructor, every conversation...
She wasn't satisfied with the piece she created there -but even her 'reject' art was lyrical and compelling.
I always found her graphite work especially exquisite - even the rough sketches. (Here is a preliminary study for her Snow Child painting currently hanging in Krab Jab Studio's "Dream Covers" gallery show). For the Faery art shows I curated for Krab Jab, Kim was always one of my first choices for artists to invite.
This is how I picture Kim when I think of her - at once quiet, humble and self-depreciating, but with a completely quirky, witty take on life. Her very quick sense of humor always caught me by surprise and delighted me.
Oh Kim, I miss you so much already. Your innate goodness and deeply held faith. Your generosity and selfless care for everyone you came in contact with. Your deep devotion to your friends and especially family. Your incessant search for beauty and truth and self expression. Your willingness to let me talk and rail and try to find those same things in myself. You are such an inspiration of the type of person I aspire to be. My confidant, my art-sister, my friend. I can't wait until we are able to talk and share and create together again. Love you.