By Ann Leach

Oil painter Kim Kissel’s life has been centered around art ever since her awareness of art began with her mother, who taught her the creative side of life. “She’d share stories and songs and conversation with me as a young girl,” Kissel said. “I began to challenge myself as a young person exploring mediums and subjects that captured my attention.” 

Kissel was hooked, and drawing became her constant pastime at home and at school. “I started collecting art supplies and would spend hours in my room painting,” she said. “This would lead to an education in fine arts and progressed to exhibits, shows and gallery representation, along with a social media and website presence.” 

The artist’s day begins with giving thanks, enjoying a warm beverage and playing a game of chess online. “I casually glance at the painting on the easel throughout my morning, and that gives me a fresh perspective and direction for the day’s work,” Kissel said. 

Her 2024 art focus is on portraits and figurative work depicting everyday life in the 21st century as she sees it. There are two easels in her studio space, one that demands immediate attention, most likely due to a commission, and the second one for exploring ideas. 

Kissel described her work as “quiet. It holds me in a moment of thought. There is a sensitivity that questions the outside world and brings a sort of solitude into the picture. It is okay to be me.” 

She shared that her thoughts center around discovery of the things she feels and sees. “For the most part, I would say my work is cathartic and helps me to approach the truth of my life. It focuses on an object or place that gives life to the events of my life.” 

The art experience for Kissel is about “making your way into a world of color, value, line, texture, all the good things that matter when you are thinking about your end result.” She enjoys what she calls the “trifecta of completion. The concept or what it is you are saying, the process or how you say it with your materials, and the visual images that pronounce your concept are what create the trifecta of completion for me,” she said. 

Kissel is a member of the Joplin Regional Artist Coalition and Spiva Center for the Arts, and said, “My hope is that Joplin will continue to embrace and grow in support of local art and the tradition of patronizing the creative spirit that resides in this beautiful community.” 

You can find Kissel’s work at Local Color Art Gallery and on her website, She is also represented by Midwest Galleries for whom she exhibits in solo and group shows. She also accepts commissions. 

See more photos in the March 2024 print edition or digital issue