When talking about my process of creating impressive landscape paintings, Lim Khim Katy explains that: “I let my painting plane fly freely”.
Female painter Lim Khim Katy was born and raised in Saigon. At first, she attracted attention with drawings of working people. She shared with Urbanists that when travelling around Vietnam, she often actively observes the poor and tries to understand their feelings to convey to her paintings. When looking at these paintings, viewers seem to be living in the character’s situation with the same emotions of sadness, boredom, misery and resignation.
However, because she always kept the character’s emotions, the artist’s soul became “poor, tired, and melancholy”. So one day in 2006, she stood in front of her easel and just wanted to draw something that would help her feel relaxed. Only when the paint began to dry did she realize that she had created a vivid landscape painting. Since then, Katy started painting landscapes interspersed with character paintings. She explains: “I felt the connection and love with the forest, and my heart was soothed and found peace from the whisper of leaves, trees, wind and water.”
Katy’s character paintings are inspired by people and life in Vietnam, from the image of girls avoiding the midday sun to the scene of workers waiting for the bus. Meanwhile, her landscape paintings are quite the opposite. Dense trees are bathed in brilliant red, mixed with blue and green colours to create a magical scene from a foreign land. Katy explains that she doesn’t think of a specific place when drawing, much less a re-drawing of a photo of a home.
Those scenes all come from Katy’s imagination, and her emotions at the time of painting will determine the picture’s colour. She recently saw beautiful autumn vegetation on a trip to North America that looked a lot like the rows of trees she had drawn based on her imagination.
Among Katy’s landscape paintings, a personal story has inspired her. Katy’s father was born and raised in Cambodia, and after he passed away, she wanted to redraw what she imagined about her father’s hometown. The painting depicts two coconut trees growing on a small island immersed in the gentle sunset. Katy explains that the image symbolizes her father and grandfather’s connection to their homeland.
Katy has started experimenting with brushes more when painting characters, but she still uses flying to create landscape paintings. The image is made of countless spots, patches of colour with different shades on the canvas. This technique divides space into layers, contributing to the depth of the painting and thereby simulating the scene in nature. The elements do not exist separately but are linked together in a harmonious whole. This way of drawing helps the artist to express emotions better, but it also requires her to draw quickly because too long a break between paints will make the previous paint dry, making it difficult to eat new paint. So she usually completes each landscape painting within a week. That makes the works have a consistent common point of capturing a single emotional state.
After many months of discussion, she learned more about the artist’s landscape paintings created in recent years. Katy’s character paintings strongly impact viewers’ emotions, while her landscape paintings bring the peace that Vy believes many visitors are scanning.
Triển lãm Sức Sống Mộc Nhiên | Tree Spirit là triển lãm tranh phong cảnh đầu tiên của họa sĩ Lim Khim Katy tại Việt Nam, tổ chức và trưng bày tại VY Gallery, đã diễn ra từ 12/12/2020 – 10/01/2021.