Splash® 2018 — Supreme Award

The winner of the Watercolour New Zealand Supreme Award:
"Street Merchant - Chefchauoen, Morocco", Congratulations Min Kim!

Paint without fear or hesitation

“I was born an art student” says Min Kim, “I have never stopped learning and painting beauty. My father was a professional oil painter, so I grew up surrounded by his paintings. I naturally started painting with watercolours at the age of five. We lived in South Korea.

From 16 to 20 I learned from the Art Institute about history and technique of classical drawing and watercolour. I was incredibly focused and progressed with consistent practice. A particularly influential person in my formative art training was a tutor called Hyujng Sickpark. I met him at the Art Institute when I was 16 and credit him with enabling me to paint without fear or hesitation. His instruction was utterly inspiring and he has given me the freedom to be an artist. I graduated from Art University in 1995. I moved to New Zealand in 1999. Later in my life, from 2006 to 2009, I moved to Florence, Italy, to study 19th Century Classical Impressionism.

I have never been confused about my life as an artist. A moment that has been very special to me occurred during my first travels to Italy in 1992. I met Master works at significant art galleries and the experience I had with them totally transformed my practice. I promised myself I would be a real artist achieved through hard work. I have great admiration for John Singer Sargent and Joseph
Zbukvic. They are real masters with the ability to capture beauty from magical brush strokes and tone.

I received my biggest award in 2007 with a second place in the Salon International Award (U.S.A.). I also received finalist placings in the same award from 2008-2012, along with a finalist placing in the 2003 Australian Art Magazine for still life. I have exhibited in Queenstown, in Texas, in Wellington until 2004, and the Bryce Gallery in Christchurch, which I own, is now my main gallery. I love to travel and paint all over the world. I have been particularly in spired by Italy, Spain, Turkey and Morocco, where last year I spotted the street merchant who is the inspiration for my winning painting. I love to capture people in a natural moment. I draw directly from life and take
photos whenever I find an interesting subject. I appreciate the timeless beauty in old things. The ease of transporting watercolour paints me gives me freedom to paint anywhere. Watercolour, 4B pencil and clay are my close friends, but oil is my preferred medium.

My main source of energy for starting and finishing a piece is excitement. Excitement carries me through the painting process. I never make a plan before I start. If I have found an impressive subject, I watch and observe it for a long time. I record it through many methods, photographs, drawings and memories …. and just start! I build my paintings from initial abstract first strokes.

Normally I use a full sheet of watercolour paper and paint directly without drawing or stretching.
640gsm Arches enables me to do this.

For me, painting is the most natural way to express what I see, what I feel.

Min’s painting tip: “Fall in love with tone.”

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