Don Nims started painting about six years ago when his wife, Peggy, worked with the 21st Century Learning Center at Barren County Middle School.
“She got Mr. (John) Wing to teach one of the classes,” he said. “That’s how I got started. I continued with him for, I don’t know, four or five years and then I took a two- or three-year break because of my work.”
About three years ago, he got back into painting and now takes classes with Glasgow artist Patty Hughes through the Barren County Community Education Program.
“Art, if you are happy doing it, you just do it,” he said. “I like color ... I have some other art in the house by people I know very well who are artists. I love going to art museums. It’s breathtaking some of these things and to just do something for myself is a way of artistic release.”
Nims, who works in the counseling department at Western Kentucky University, considers himself to be more right-brained than left, so he thinks that’s where he gets his artistic ability. His undergraduate degree was in drama, so he said he has always been drawn to the arts.
Nims works with acrylics only.
“Mr. Wing got me started doing acrylics and it is very forgiving,” he said. “It dries quickly and if you don’t like what you’ve got you can paint over it and start again. It just works better for me.”
Inspiration for his paintings comes from a variety of sources – from books, calendars or anything that tickles his fancy.
One painting is reflective of the time he spent in the Peace Corps, while another was inspired by a sunset at Hilton Head, S.C. The idea for another painting came from a photograph in a calendar.
“It does help to have a picture you can copy and go from there,” he said.
Nims has also done a few abstract paintings.
At this point, he has no goal to exhibit his work.
“There is a friend of mine who has an office, she is a counselor in Glasgow, and she’s got two or three of my paintings hanging on her wall. I’m just happy to do that,” he said.
He has some paintings displayed in his home that he wants to hang on to, because either he is really fond of them or his wife is, and she won’t let him sell them.
Nims volunteers at 212 On The Main, the Arts Guild of the Barrens, and said being at the gallery, surrounded by the art, encourages him to improve his painting skills.
He is looking forward to taking an acrylic painting class with Jane Ward Kehrt, also a Glasgow artist, in the summer.
Nims fits in painting around other activities. He runs, plays the banjo and is involved with his church. He also enjoys working outside.
“I sometimes need somebody to concentrate me so that’s why I’m looking forward to that course,” he said.
He is finishing his final semester of teaching at WKU and hopes that once he retires he will have more time to devote to his painting.
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