At Willow Bend Title we strive to support local businesses that help people achieve the "American Dream" of home ownership. We spotlight and interview the owners of these businesses to help our clients and partners become aware of the services they can provide for them.
Being a female owned and operated business, we are always excited to meet other female Texans who are supporting real estate professionals and homeowners in fun and unique ways.
So for this WBT Spotlight, we sat down with Kim Guthrie, owner of Kim Guthrie Art Gallery that is located right here in our hometown of McKinney. Kim has quickly gained a reputation in Texas for her versatility, talent, warm wit, and whimsical creations, and when it comes to the real estate world, her house portraits have become the gift that keeps on giving!
Q: What is the Kim Guthrie Art Gallery origin story?
"I painted indoor murals and faux finishes in restaurants and homes as a career for over 30 years. After hurricane Katrina happened and my town was affected by her aftermath , I looked to that as an opportunity to switch artistic gears and focus on painting things that I wanted instead of client driven subjects. I began to paint on canvas and also learned the art of paper mache. I entered shows, was hosted in galleries and sold in festivals, all while longing and looking for my own space so I could interact with customers again.
I needed a space with good lighting as well, so I could create works (a studio) and retail (gallery) to the public. I kept searching and finally, in historic downtown McKinney, my dream found me. What I thought would be just a gallery to sell from was just the beginning. To my delight this warm and happy place has become customer focused and an educational and inspirational environment to all who enter."
Q: Tell us about your amazing house portraits! What inspired you to start creating them?
"I began doing house portraits incorporated into the fresco style murals on walls. The scenes of a palatial southern estate became part of a landscape. Later when painting "plein air" during travels, a house portrait became a barn portrait overlooking a vineyard or farm.
When I got my Kim Guthrie Art Gallery/Studio space here in McKinney, house portraits became a personal gift for clients as well as realtors. These portraits come in all sizes and mediums. Watercolor style is soft and at times has a whimsical flair and is usually the most requested. I also do an oil painting impressionism style that has texture and depth of color and can be presented without framing for a contemporary look.
Another popular bonus add-on is a digital image of the original work that can be used to make note cards for change of address or prints for other family members. What is great about this for realtors or title companies is that this is a plus for a buyer or a seller."
Q: Why do you think your house portraits have become a unique and special asset for those in the real estate industry?
"I think my house portraits have become a special asset to the real estate industry because it is a unique gift and is hand done. When you give a gift of art that means someone was thoughtful, heart felt and patient with your memory.
I also pride myself in a 40 year career of business practices as an artist. That translates to being professional with my time management, consistent with my skills and presentation and cost-effective in my pricing. I have found that being talented is not always enough but being talented and trustworthy is the key to maintaining relationships whether personal or professional."
Q: Do you have a memorable story about one of your house portraits?
"There are so many memorable stories. Each one is as unique as the home style and as the families that shared lives there. A personal one though that won the hearts of the sellers was my offer to do a house portrait for a closing gift for the family I was trying to purchase from. It just so happened (kismet) that the seller was an artist and felt warmly toward the prospect of another artist residing in his family's footsteps. A win for me!"
Q: What inspires you as a woman business owner? Any advice for others starting out? Any challenges you have overcome?
"With hard work, honest business practices and a gift from God, you can achieve your dreams. Thats really less about being a woman but just more about being "you". This would also be my advice to anyone starting out except I would say, what you thought your dream looked like can morph over time and age, but your passion never fades. Don't give up! Wherever you have paint you have challenges: mess, drying times, deadlines, poor communication, technology, edited images, copyright....ha, challenges! Wherever you are self employed you have challenges and that mostly comes from all the hats you have to wear and the learning curves from no one going ahead of you to show you the way. Last year my challenge to overcome was when an unexpected fire broke out in the building next to mine. Thankfully none of my art burned or was smoke damaged but the building remediation and remodel took almost 6 months to remedy and get back in. This is something you don't plan on and hindsight, the proper insurance is one of those things you don't need until you do. I am grateful to my landlord Hal Harbor, Nationwide, the close knit people of McKinney, and online friends for continuing to support me emotionally as well as through commissions, working at home throughout that season."
Q: When you are not making beautiful works of art, what types of things do you enjoy supporting and doing in our Texas communities?
"Being a "creative" means that you enjoy creativity in the visual arts as well as the Performing Arts. So when I'm not making art (which is rare), I'm photographing events, live music and architecture to inspire art. I am also attending other art shows to encourage fellow artists, festivals and supporting local charities. Many local non-profits have their events throughout the year. Some to look out for are Empty Bowls, Chestnut Square Historic Village, Hugs Cafe Gala, Heard Craig Center for the Arts, Heard Craig Science Center, Collin County History Museum, Samaritan Inn, Arts and Music Guild, Love Life Foundation, Mane Gait and so many more (I'm sure I have forgotten some). McKinney people have such a heart for "community" and they work hard to preserve and sustain that. I'm so lucky to be a witness as well as a beneficiary of their generous spirit.
Nature is also "a must" to recharge the artist's soul, so I walk or hike at all our parks and surrounding neighborhoods before the Texas heat sets in. I have fond memories of farms and animals from my childhood and when I can't visit friends' farms north of McKinney, a petting zoo makes me smile. My favorite night out is to eat "farm to table" at locally owned restaurants."
Q: Do you have any exciting projects, news or events coming up that you would like to share?
"After returning to my Kim Guthrie Art Gallery Studio on Virginia St. after the fire, just being back to "normal" in my dream space seems exciting. I sit in the big bright windows and paint at my easel. I greet passer byers and make faces at kids with my cow art mask through the window. I am happy to demonstrate, teach or answer any questions or take custom orders. I plan to have a gallery grand re-opening. The date is still TBD because the building facade is pending awaiting its remodel. In May I will be starting my 4th year in this wonderful, bright space, so at the very least an open house should be planned. Please check my social media for upcoming things or the "hot off the easel"art. The pandemic changed my newest plan to do "LIVE" event paintings at weddings and event dinners. That ball is back up and running now and two are planned this month. I am terrified and excited all at once!"
Connect with Kim Guthrie:
Interested in working with and/or networking with Kim? Use the below links to connect with her, locate her on our Local Business Recommendation Map, and don't forget to tell her that Willow Bend Title sent you!
Who would you like to see in our next WBT Spotlight? Contact us and let us know what they provide, what makes them unique and why they are an integral part of Texas home ownership!