This story was featured in the May 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art May 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.
In her former life, Kimberly Wurster developed wildlife refuges in Montana. These days she is more likely to paint the winged inhabitants of such places near her home in Oregon. Her impressionistic depictions of various birds and waterfowl often include an abstracted background that brings the subject forward as the focal point. “I like to have the viewers feel as if they can reach out and touch the feathers,” Wurster says.
Since her younger days of growing up on a Montana farm, Wurster has been passionate about nature’s many creatures. But it wasn’t until she and her husband moved to Oregon’s Elk River area in 1995 that she entertained the idea of portraying them as an artist. Her journey started quite by chance after she created a painting of a prairie falcon as a gift for her brother. After receiving much praise for the work, she plunged headlong into pursing her natural talent, putting in countless hours of field observation and studio work.
Her dedication has reaped its rewards. Last year Wurster’s portrait featuring a crow was a finalist in one of The Artist’s Magazine’s competitions, and another painting was juried into the Pastel Society of America’s annual exhibition in New York. Wurster still puts in hours in the field gathering reference material. During spring and fall migrations she regularly heads to the shores of Oregon’s Cape Arago area and to points south near Bandon and Port Orford, where osprey, sanderlings, and western sandpipers nest and rest.
Wurster’s works most often begin with thumbnail sketches and value studies. Once inside her studio she may listen to music for inspiration, including everything from Mozart to recordings of birdsong. An accomplished cellist who performs with an ensemble in her spare time, Wurster says, “Music and birdsong are like oxygen for me.” She believes that if artists love what they are doing, the passion is easily conveyed to listeners and viewers. “They then get a glimpse into the soul of the artist,”
Wurster says. —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Sage Place, Bandon, OR.
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