Kim Lewis grew up in a sleepy suburb of the city of Montreal in Canada. As a child she always wished she’d been brought up on a farm. She remembers her mother’s big garden, going to get ice creams from the corner store with her grampa, watching her gramma wrap Christmas presents in a meticulous and beautiful way, and hearing her father clacking away at the keys of his typewriter in the basement. Her favorite things from an early age were drawing and making things. She still remembers her mother despairing over the constant request for materials and the subsequent art mess everywhere. Until high school she played with a large gang of children who used to rove from one garden to the next on her street, mostly pretending to be wild horses.
Kim earned a degree in fine rt in Montreal and then went to Hornsey College of Art in London to do postgraduate printmaking. She says she met some British people at university in Montreal and liked them so much that she wanted to come to the country where there were lots more of them. From the minute she arrived in England, Kim says she felt completely at home. After Kim met her husband, Flea, at art school they moved to Northumberland to live and work on a hill farm. Something about the landscape reminded her of home. Flea and Kim brought up their two children on the farm, along with 650 blackface ewes, 100 suckler cows, 12 hens, 6 border collies, and 2 cats. She says she will never leave, or cease to love, the countryside in Northumberland.
Kim began her artistic career as a printmaker, working especially in the area of stone lithography. Her work has always been detailed, where she prefers to work from the observation of life rather than from her imagination (which, says Kim, is never as amazing). Her favorite subject matter was to be found in the quiet corners of the farm where machinery and animals rest, woolsacks are stacked, and the barns are weathered to a hundred years’ sort of gray. Encouraged by an illustrator friend, Kim decided to tell the story of the shepherding year for her son James, who was three at the time. That began a series of farm books for Walker Books, and Kim has been making picture books about her beloved countryside ever since.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Kim:
1. Her hair is very curly and she can’t do anything with it.
2. She is always changing her garden around, which makes the plants dizzy.
3. She tells only three jokes a year, which makes people really laugh as they are so surprised.