Kim Shirley Written by Joyce Walkup
Fine art watercolorist, wedding and landscape photographer, office manager, ice cream
aficionado (and scooper!), runner, hiker, benevolent church volunteer… these diverse talents and attributes are all combined into the exuberant ball of energy that is Kim Shirley.
Her first love is watercolor. Professionally trained in this art form at Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Kim’s technique is masterful and the passion for her craft informs every canvas. The impeccable layering of colors creates her signature style – there’s a softness and mood that are uniquely hers. There are many favorite subjects – horses, landscapes, cowboys, Montana’s wildlife, flowers, people… wherever the inspiration takes her. Kim says that, “Being able to capture and translate images to paper the way I see them and to be able to strike a chord with others is a magical thing. It is a privilege to get to share the beauty I observe and have it acknowledged.” 406
Capturing the light and essence of people and animals is surely a rare gift and Kim’s canvases are saturated in style, color and feeling all demonstrating this undeniable talent. Kim’s fine art watercolors truly tell the stories of the landscapes, people and animals that they portray.
Watercolor commissions are found around the valley from Kim’s brush. “Mac” the beloved Zignego/Gardner West Highland Terrier graces the wall of the Five Star Rental Office in Whitefish. This commission was a gift from a friend to owner Jill Zignego. If you know Mac, you’ll immediately see his personality and presence in this rendering. Other recent commissions include a precious cabin in the woods (requested by its owner to grace his wall until he can spend more time there), a well loved horse forever
memorialized, sisters caught in a laugh filled moment. Kim truly has the ability to render a sense of wholeness to the page of these animals and people, evoking deep emotions of all kinds. She has a rare gift indeed. The love of light in people and places also informs her photography. Infused with special wonder, these captured moments in time allow her talent another avenue of expression. Wedding photography is a lovely, joyful way of combining these forces. The bride, groom and family members are able to continue to experience the initial moment’s love and joy for years to come as they continue to savor their wedding by way of these photographic memories. This capturing of love and light has created a vast library of Kim’s images, all full of beauty, composition and