Sitting Down With Local Artist Kim Talley



By Stacy Fisher

Sitting down for a cup of tea with Kim Talley, and one of the first things you notice is her passion for her art, her community, and her family.  When you see her oil paintings, you can appreciate that she is painting about subject matter that she loves and through her vivid color palette, brings her subject matter to life.

Currently living in Centralia, Kim has focused on painting for the past 20 years.  Her subjects include instruments, fine wine and flowers, but I was most drawn to her stunning oil paintings of jazz musicians.

She is meticulous about using composition, light placement and brushstroke texture to reinforce her subject’s prominence.  You can hear the jazz music in the background and settle into the smoky scene.

Kim has always been drawing since an early age and excelled in the arts at school.  She won numerous art competitions and was a recipient of The Niguel Art Association scholarship.  She went on to receive a degree in fashion design from FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising) in Los Angeles.  She excelled in fashion illustration, and recalls having her drawings mysteriously disappear in school.

After school, she gravitated back to painting and she started painting full time in 1990.  At this point in her art journey, she also decided to stop giving the paintings away.  She has painted in water colors and acrylics, but prefers to paint almost exclusively in oils now.  She prefers the richer and deeper colors the oil paint provides.

Her first gallery show was at Olympia’s Arts Walk.  When I ask her about being an artist, she laughs, “the work is very hard and terrifying!  I wish I wasn’t, but I’ve been given a gift, through the family, through my father and his father…but it’s not something I do to relax.”  She continues, “when the painting is going well, I’m just beaming…. but when it’s not going well, people should go hide!”

She currently uses her home dining room for her studio space, which houses material for her other creative outlets including quilting and cooking.  When starting a painting, she usually starts with an idea and references old photographs, sometimes vintage black and white photos, for inspiration.  The photographs help remind her of certain aspects that intrigue her initially.  Normally it’s the light and shadow, the mood or atmosphere and she adds her own story and starts “imagining the music”.  She likes her paintings to tell a story, or create a setting for the viewer to fall into and create a story of their own.

Look for her artwork being displayed during Centralia’s JazzArtique Festival, happening on July 28th and 29th.  Her ‘Red Piano’ piece is being featured in the JazzArtique Festival posters, a piece perfectly suited for an event which will be highlighting jazz music, local antique stores and artists.

Kim’s artwork can also be seen at Olympia’s Wine Tasting Bar located in the New Caldonia Building on 5th Ave.  To see more of Kim’s amazing art or to contact her regarding commissions, visit

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