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Kim Diment
A North American native, Kim Diment's unique art brings personality and life to the animals she has chosen to depict. As a young person she spent hours in the woods surrounding the shorelines of the AuSable River near her home. She drove her parents crazy with the hurt and orphaned animals she would bring home. Her brother ruined her teenage social life by dubbing her "Nature Girl".   Her formal training involved a double major from Michigan State University in Zoology and in the Fine Arts.  Kim taught High School art for thirteen years while continuing to pursue her own art.  In 2003 she started painting full time.
Kim became addicted to travel in the early nineties. She  visited countries that were especially diverse in wildlife.  She has traveled Ecuador, Belize, Canada, US, Europe and most of the southern countries of Africa. It was no wonder with Africa's animals that she became especially addicted.  Future travels will hopefully include Alaska, Northern Canada, the jungles and Australia.   Kim's  contribution to conservation involves several at home projects and one continuing African cause.  One of these current projects involves picking an endangered species to paint and a group that can best use funding generated from the sale of a limited edition of that animal. This year's animal was the Kirtland's Warbler, a species that is very close to Kim's home of Grayling Michigan.  The Kirtland Warbler is also nick named the "Fire Bird "due to the fact that it relies on fires to open up the cone of the Jack Pine.  When this happens the seeds of the tree are dispersed  and the sapling quickly grows. These small Jack Pines serve as the nesting habitat for the Kirtland Warbler.  The northern parts of Michigan are this bird's exclusive habitat.   The Kirtland's over winters in  the Bahamas.  The Kirtland's Warbler was on the brink of extinction not too long ago.   A collective effort from several organizations, along with the Michigan Forest Service has significantly increased the Kirtland's numbers. Audubon is one of these organizations. Kim is  donating rights to Audubon for half  an edition of prints from her painting "Ballad of the Phoenix".  The Phoenix was the first  "Fire Bird".  It was said  that after its fiery demise it was reborn again from its own ashes, a legend that somewhat describes the Kirtland's Warbler. Money collected will be used for public school programs in both Michigan and in the Bahamas. Next years endangered species looks to be the Trumpeter Swan.
Another close to home endeavor for Kim is working with a regional wild animal rehab center "The Animal ARK" of Houghton Lake Michigan.  She is providing the center with a set of paintings of native birds and mammals commonly rehabilitated at the Ark. These Giclee images are being sold or raffled with a large portion of the monies going back to the Ark.  In the future images will be used as note cards with proceeds going to the ARK. Kim is also  involved with the ongoing project  Tahquamenon State Park's "Art for the Park"  Kim is using a landscape from Michigan's beautiful Tahquamenon's Falls area and portraying a native animal.  An edition of 125 prints is being made for each year's scene.  Last year's painting placed a bull moose at the mouth of the Tahquamenon River.  This years painting features a mother black bear and two cubs walking the shallows of the middle falls.  A portion of the sales proceeds go back into the State's Park systems.Further away from home Kim is working with Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya to raise awareness to the endangered species that are prevalent in that park.  This connection to Lewa started due to an exhibit in California… In 2001 Kim  had several pieces accepted into the international "Wildcat Art Show" juried by renowned African artist, Simon Combes. Here she became acquainted with Simon and his wife Kat. Simon and Kat told Kim about an artist safari they were going to be doing in the future.  Kim was able to attend this artist safari. The group went to many places including, Nakuru,Samburu, the Masai Mara, Aberdares, Samburu and Lewa Downs Wildlife Conservancy. While the artist group was visiting Lewa, Simon's friend and safari organizer Anthony Cheffings, mentioned that Lewa  was looking for an artist to do a painting of the Grevy's Zebra. This was where the project started. Kim's first species to paint for Lewa  was the Grevy's Zebra.  It was decided that Kim would come to Lewa the summer of 2005 to do the field work. When Kim got to Lewa she met her Masai guide, Sumpere Toki, who kept her from getting lost and helped her find the Grevy's Zebra. She then spent 7 days watching Grevy's, taking photos and doing field sketches. While studying the Grevy's she also learned The Grevy's Zebra is the largest wild horse on the planet. Its beautiful markings make it one of the most elaborately patterned zebras in Africa. Unfortunately its shrinking habitat and past over-hunting for its decorative hide, lead the Grevy's population to the red line. The most drastic decline was first noted in the 1970 s and 80s when numbers dropped by 70 percent. Although this decline has slowed there are some areas of Kenya where an increase of numbers can be noted.  She learned that one of those places is Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. There are approximately only 2100 left in the world today. Twenty percent of that figure resides at Lewa. With all of Kim's new insight and information she began work on her painting, "Against the Clock".  The next painting Kim did for Lewa was "Last Light".  This painting portrayed a mother and baby Black Rhino.  Kim went back to Lewa to gather reference for this painting November of 2006.  She and friend/fellow AFC artist Judy Hartke were once again guided by the trained eye of Sumpere Toki. Many hours were spent with the rhinos.  The Black Rhino have been a huge success story at Lewa.  Their numbers are consistently increasing since their introduction in the late 70's thanks to Anna Mertz and the Craig family. Kim recently returned from Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in March 2008.  She was gathering sketches, video and photos for her upcoming painting depicting the infamous" Three Brothers".  The Three Brothers are a coalition of three male cheetahs. They have inhabited the Lewa Conservancy for nine years and have appeared in many published photos and TV programs.  Kim and fellow Michigan wildlife artist and friend, Pauline Pierce were once again guided by the expert eyes of Sumpere.  Labon, a new guide and driver was a welcome addition to  this year's safari. These two guides were able to find "The Brothers" and another more elusive set of cheetahs almost every day for the two women's referencing. This year's "Three Brothers"  cheetah painting will be finished in July.  It, along with the previous two paintings is waiting to be sold.  Five thousand dollars is earmarked from each painting to go back to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.  A portion of the limited edition prints are also be designated as Lewa's and will be used for fundraising. Past projects closer to home include donations to "Ducks Unlimited" and "Trout Unlimited",  providing  pen and ink drawings for the Humane Societies of Iosco and Crawford County(Michigan) for calendars, note cards and T-shirts, contributions of original and reproductions to the Safari Club International for habitat conservation. Kim resides in Grayling Michigan on the Au Sable River  with her husband Carl and a small herd of cats.
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"WILD CHAMELEONS OF MANHATTAN"
By Carel Brest van Kempen
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"Schools Out"
By Mary Jane Jessen
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