Kimberly Boulon, above, in her new gallery on the second floor of The Marketplace.
After housing Maps Monde and the gallery of the now defunct Artists Association of St. John, the second floor of The Marketplace is keeping its artistic tradition alive thanks to Kimberly Boulon.
Kimberly Boulon Fine Art is the St. John artist’s first gallery, although she has been painting on the island for decades. Working mainly in plein air on location and at her home studio at Windswept Beach, Boulon has been capturing the island’s landscapes and seascapes in various nuanced lighting for more than 30 years.
In fact Boulon was the founding president of the Artists Association, and has known about the windowed location in The Marketplace for years, she explained.
“I’m very happy to be here and for the opportunity to showcase my work in this location,” said Boulon. “I’ve thought about this space for years; it’s a good spot with good energy.”
With help from her interior designer sister-in-law, Heidi Leighton of Boston, and husband Rafe, Boulon transformed the space with muted hues which keep her canvases firmly center stage.
“We worked with my colors, the colors I tend to gravitate to,” said Boulon. “Rafe, the love of my life and my partner in all things except the actual painting, made my free standing panels and helped me in so many ways.”
Kimberly Boulon Fine Art showcases the artist’s deep sense of mood as well as her range. Working in oil, pastel and gouache — along with a few raku fired clay works and mixed media pieces — Boulon is not hemmed in by any one medium.
She excels at oil paintings of representational images showing familiar shorelines in perfectly captured light like the gorgeous “Trunk Bay Cay in early afternoon light.” But Boulon is equally impressive at capturing especially evocative portraits and her contemporary abstractions urgently draw in the viewer.
“I am a painter of emotion and mood,” said the artist. “I usually start with a figure, even in my contemporary pieces, but it depends on how I see it. If something catches me and I feel it, then I go for it.”
“I may have a general sense of color, but I don’t want to have an outcome in mind,” she said. “For me it’s about getting the composition and the colors and then I start building and the work starts revealing itself to me.”
With a background in marine ecology and animal behavior, Boulon unabashedly anthropomorphizes her subjects, she added.
“I do what I want with my paintings,” said Boulon. “As my teacher and mentor David Millard said, ‘You are the conductor of this orchestra; you are the one with the brush.’”
“So when I see seagulls for instance, I can make up anything,” she said. “I anthropomorphize without apology.”
The gallery is also a chance for Boulon to climb out of her artist’s cocoon and allows her an opportunity to interact with the public.
“As an artist, I spend a lot of time isolated with my work,” she said. “It’s wonderful to meet other artists and residents. It’s always humbling and always enlightening watching people react to my work.”
“I appreciate other’s expressions,” said Boulon. “I try to leave a certain amount to the viewer’s imagination, to allow them to make up their own story and react to each painting in their own way.”
In addition to Kimberly Boulon Fine Art, Boulon is still represented at Bajo el Sol in Mongoose Junction, which has showed her work since 2000, and Gallery St. Thomas in Charlotte Amalie, where she has been shown since 2001.
Boulon is planning to host an opening reception at the gallery on Friday evening, May 11, in honor of Mother’s Day. She plans on collaborating with several other businesses in The Marketplace for a truly memorable event, planned for 5 to 8 p.m.
Kimberly Boulon Fine Art is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment. For more information about Boulon check out her website www.kimberlyboulon.com or call 693-8524.