Kim Thayer was born in rural Pennsylvania and lived her first seven years on her family’s old mill property. She attended grade and high school in New England where one of her fondest memories was studying architectural design under the eaves of a classical mansion. The building had been converted to a high school which granted her a scholarship. In her senior year her artistic gift was recognized with an independent study award at the renowned etching studio, Crown Point Press in Oakland, California. In the avant-garde enclave of minimalist and abstract master artists such as John Cage, Christo, and Richard Diebenkorn, she was exposed to extraordinary artistic works in process.
Spurred by her west coast experience, at age seventeen Ms. Thayer moved across the country to attend the University of California at Berkeley. She focused on black and white photography, drawing, writing and global climate change studies. She went on to the San Francisco Art Institute and has since worked with many mentors. She has followed the centuries old tradition of studying under practicing master artists.
During high school summers, Ms. Thayer worked on cattle ranches in the Rocky Mountains. In these formative years she learned the meaning of hard work and long hours. She recalls one day out painting when a father and son walked by and the little boy asked, “Wow, how do you paint like that?” To his father’s delight she answered “Practice.”
Ms. Thayer is fortunate to be part of a large, extended family of celebrated artists and educators. Her earliest mentors in childhood were professional artists. Ms. Thayer’s ancestry includes a long line of artists in the United States and before that the United Kingdom. Some of her more famous relatives descended from one 17th century American family: Sylvanus Thayer of Thayer Academy and West Point; Polly Thayer, the first female whose work was exhibited by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Abbot Handerson Thayer, renowned impressionist painter.
Ms. Thayer is not solely a plein air painter. She reworks outdoor studies into very large canvases in the studio. Many small paintings she keeps for years to use later for other pieces, much like a writer uses essays. Occasionally, Ms. Thayer begins large pieces on location, but not often. In her words, “A large canvas with the slightest wind will become a sail, then a kite, then a UFO.” She paints and travels extensively for clients. Few things are as gratifying to her as painting outdoors where she is part of the land, light and water, and expresses that connection through paint and canvas. She believes it is worth the extra effort to paint when immersed in nature. Ms. Thayer’s goal in every painting is to move viewers to a feeling of a place and make them want to be right there.
Ms. Thayer and many in her family work to protect wild land. She explains that “We are blessed with clean coastal water, small farms, natural preserves and wilderness. Their beneficence in our lives is incalculable and essential to the healthy evolution of humans and all organic beings. Our oldest tenets of wisdom and beauty spring from the study of nature."
Wonson Street next to the Rocky Neck Cultural Center
1330 San Marco Blvd., Ponte Vedra, FL
2871 Washington Rd., McMurry, PA.
225 Newburyport Turnpike, Rowley, MA
St. Simon's Island and 1413 Newcastle St., Brunswick, GA