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Life & Work with Kimberly Deene Langlois

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kimberly Deene Langlois.

Hi Kimberly, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I grew up in Eastern North Carolina where art was always a part of my life. My mother had such a wonderful, creative mind and filled our home with handmade curtains, pillows, and bedding. I remember being amazed as I watched her fearlessly tear the fabric off of our living room couch and transform it into something beautiful and fresh. Art was a way of life and something that felt very natural. I followed her footsteps when I had children of my own. There was always a “project” going on and remnants of paint and glitter could be found embedded in the wood grain of the kitchen table. The children’s framed artwork was proudly displayed on the walls.

I had a long, 30 years career in the insurance industry and although it provided a stable income for my family, I never felt fulfilled by my work. In 2016, I found out that I would be losing my job due to a company reorg. I had nearly a year to prepare for the final date of my employment and it was stressful and almost terrifying to think about. I set up a table in my home office where I worked, and at the end of each workday, I would spin my chair around and paint. I felt something change inside of me. It became something that I needed, something that stirred me, something that gave me purpose.

I began to experiment with a medium that I knew absolutely nothing about at the time, alcohol ink. I fell in love with its vibrancy and its organic qualities. I eventually found my “style” and developed a unique approach to creating dimension in my floral pieces. I remember that during this discovery period, I would feel my heart race and my skin heat up when I saw what was happening on my paper. It was a true “falling in love” feeling.

I made a tough decision then. I decided that this was what I wanted for the rest of my life … something that filled my soul. But could I do this as a job? I wasn’t sure but I had to try.

After posting some of my work on social media in an alcohol ink group, I was contacted by a craft shop near Winston Salem, NC and asked to teach some workshops. I then also created some online classes which were very successful. I’ve had over 2000 people take these online classes and it still blows me away when I think about it.

I continue to teach online and in my backyard “she-shed”, And I just launched a new online membership which is all about alcohol ink flowers.

I can’t say that it’s been entirely easy making a new career of this, but I can’t imagine doing anything else. I have never felt more fulfilled.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has not been a smooth road. Just when my teaching was gaining momentum, Covid came along and changed everything. I had just invested a lot of money into a backyard, she-shed studio where I was teaching, and that came to a sudden halt. I had to regroup and focus more on online classes, Zoom and learn so much about technology. It seemed the more I learned, the more I didn’t know.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I work with alcohol ink and I’m known for my flowers, specifically for the three-dimensional quality of the centers. I’m most proud of the relationships that I’ve built with other artists and with students along the way. I’ve had some students reach out to me and tell me that my classes made a true difference in their lives. They connected with my teaching style and with the online community that I built around the classes. Many were going through hardships and difficulties where they needed a creative outlet and my classes and online community filled a void for them.

We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
Success to me to doing something that you love every day, having a job that doesn’t feel like work, and feeling like you’re making a difference in someone’s life.

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2 Comments

  1. Sandra Joyce

    July 26, 2021 at 7:06 pm

    Kimberley is a remarkable teacher from whom I took 3 workshops in alcohol ink painting. As a commissioned stained glass artist for decades I needed a break and was looking for a new creative outlet. We were introduced by her brother who I got to know by donating a large stained glass to the Holly Springs Law Enforcement Center where he worked. She made learning to paint fun and dispelled the intimidation I had always felt in considering anything in the painting field. I continue to learn from her through her Facebook group and value our friendship. This article showcases her unique creative story and warm personality. Well done, Voyage Raleigh!

  2. Chris Kolar

    July 27, 2021 at 10:11 am

    Kimberly does the most amazing work! Her classes are fun and easy to follow. The support and positive reinforcement from her students makes you want to keep going and trying new techniques.

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