We had the good fortune of connecting with Kimberly Beltrame and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kimberly, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Balance can be precarious at best. What was once good for me became not so good for raising a family when I started one. I made the decision early on (and the feminist in me struggled a bit) to give up working full time to raise a family. That became one of the most deeply satisfying periods of my life. I gave all of myself to raising two children and taking care of a household. Childcare, cooking, cleaning and financials became my full time job. Someone had to do it but I am proud to say I was able to stick with it. When they began to go to school six to eight hours a day, I struggled to fill in the gaps at first but it didn’t take long to realize that I needed to work and put my energy into my art again. It had been a thirteen year or so gap and it wasn’t easy. I even started teaching Italian part-time to supplement my near zero income though I was fortunate enough to have a patron (my husband). Just before Covid hit, I retired from teaching at the high school which I had done for almost fifteen years, and dedicated myself full time to my artwork. I look back at all my decisions to balance family and career and although it will take a lot more work to become a well established and successful artist, I don’t regret a single one.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have always wanted to ‘create’ beautiful, delicious (I love cooking) and exciting things. It centers me, gives me purpose and lowers my blood pressure! After graduating from college with a double major in Italian and Fine Art in which my final presentation was in Intaglio or etchings printed on paper, I moved to Italy to further my experience in that technique. Little did I know I’d return to the meticulous nature of that type of creation. After years of painting oil on canvas, I’ve returned to using the wonderful heavy printing paper that is both unforgiving and versatile. I am using mixed media on this surface and loving the results. I’m never satisfied with the final piece and can envision where I want to go, but the interaction of watercolors, oils and other mediums combined on this surface is, in my eyes, beautiful.
I don’t create to protest world atrocities or teach a lesson or express any particular point of view, I create to share the beauty I see in line, shade and color while exploring materials and increasing my expertise in technique.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in paradise and I love water. Trips to the beach to snorkel our reefs, paddle boarding out through our lagoon to catch glimpses of manatee, dolphin and even shark and boating off our coast to feel the immensity of the ocean would be the first few things we’d do. Some of my favorite places to eat and drink are farm to table spots, like the newly opened Colab Kitchen or vegan yummies like Froot and Roots. I’d bring you to Hani Honey to buy our locally grown honey and get a taste of some of their homemade soup and then for a nice Italian dinner, I’d stop in at Pepe e Sale in downtown Stuart. There are now dozens of great spots to dine while listening to live music here. The only problem is I believe the rest of the country has discovered these places too and what was once a sleepy town is now quite busy.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband, Lorenzo Beltrame, is my biggest fan and supporter for all I do. I am lucky to have met such an amazing man. In addition, I have to thank my friends and family who have helped me pop tents, hang artwork and promote my work at every event. Winter Garden Art Association was the first group of artists I joined and they too were amazing as we joined efforts to support each others work in the central Florida area. I am now in Stuart, Florida and have stumbled onto the most amazing group of artists and mentors anyone could imagine; the Martin Artisans Guild. There organization has been the next piece of my puzzle and is already an integral part of the larger picture.