Magical realism, art by Kim Morrow Russell

Sit forward and enjoy the whimsy, the fanciful creations of Kim Morrow Russell of Sunapee.

Childhood memories, family life and “little moments” in time, as Kim describes them, are the inspirational foundation for her art.

Her paintings (oils/acrylics on canvas) and her fiber art and hand-made pillows are playful and colorful. They feel close-to-home, near to the heart.

The provincial subjects in my work are often rabbits, birds, sheep, dragonflies, butterflies, peasants, pigs, horses, and all manner of flowers, trees and grasses. Each creature is laden with centuries of sentiment, use, companionship and awe. Each is a catalyst for a story…” – Kim Morrow Russell

The New London Hospital art show (that’s on display through May 11, 2012,) includes a collection of Kim’s canvasses: imaginative birds,  portrayals of “peasant women” and contemporary, story-filled landscapes, such as The Day Ann Johnson Saw the Pigs… (on West Court Road in Sunapee.)

Yes, her art is delightfully fun and personal.

Folky and really funky

“We love her work, and as soon as we started carrying her pillows, they started flying out of here,” said Peter Ensign. “She has a wonderful following.”

Peter and his wife, Rachel, own Vessels and Jewels in New London, N.H. The gallery sells contemporary American art and crafts. It began displaying Kim’s work two years ago. It’s a good fit for the shop.

“Kim’s paintings and pillows display beautifully together and they create a niche that really works well,” Ensign said.

The pillows are hand-stitched, made from recycled fiber, and adorned with lots of imagery, bunnies, hearts, circles and dots, and fun and decorative objects.

“They are folky and really funky. It’s hard not to love them,” added Ensign.

Magical realism

Kim’s art is a narrative that invites you in… to share a smile, to stand tall, to feel bold (if you feel so inclined), and to find beauty from simple objects and simple pleasures.

When asked to describe her style of painting. Kim responded: “magical realism.”

She adds bold decorative elements and folk symbols to the rural landscape: the one-room schoolhouse, the farmyard, the village center.

Working from her home near the center of town, Kim moves easily from her studio to the kitchen and to the garden. For her, these spaces are “one.” They inspire. They become part of the story-telling.

From her early years to her blog

In her blog, Kim details her “early years” and her influences: the people, the places, the experiences.

Number one on the list is her mother Ann Johnson: “My mother is pure magic. My mother taught me how to make Finnish Bread and Swedish Meatballs. She taught me how to ride the bumps in the road. She taught me how to grow plants from seed. She taught me how to sew. She taught me how to plan a wedding and survive a funeral.”

Also, Sunapee high school art teacher Pearl Rich “had a big influence on me….She would sign me out of school and we would draw in Sunapee Harbor…the architecture, decorative elements on buildings and nature.”

Two years ago, when building her “own place in the [art] world,” Kim started to blog.

My blog is a weaving of folk symbols, provincial subjects, wicked juicy colors, decorative motifs and patterns all layered in my paintings, mixed media, fiber art and my life. My artwork, my recipes, my poetry, my story, my musings and photographs conspire to share my life as an artist. –

Where you can view and buy Kim’s art

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