I’d like to invite you to come have a look at my new website, at kimduhaime.com

I’ve just done a major redesign – not that it’s ever going to be as perfect as I’d like it to be, but there are only a few tweaks left to go. I’ll be adding some new shop links as I’ve decided to start selling on saatchi.com instead of Etsy, and I’m working on some prints and other items too that will be sold through another online vendor. There will also be a link to add your email address to my mailing list.

Along with the new site comes a streamlined blogging process – from now on, my blog will be hosted under my main site and I won’t be posting here any longer. So I’d like to thank everyone who has been following me here, and I hope that you’ll migrate over and follow me there.

I’m a little bit sad to be letting go of the “Breathing Under Water” title for the blog as it held a lot of very personal significance for me, but the time has come for me to look to the future.

Au revoir, et merci!

Sneak Peek… New Work!

It’s been such a hot summer that I’ve been spending more time at the lake than in the studio.You can tell that’s been a big inspiration for me lately!

I have a bunch of these cool-feeling watery cuties almost ready to go. They’ll be available by the end of the month!

New Work – Cool Ocean Vibes

24″ x 24″  •  Acrylic on canvas  •  Untitled

Aside from some minor touch ups to do in that dark sea-blue area at the bottom, this one is done! It’s been a brutally hot summer in a lot of places, so I hope you’ll enjoy some these cool ocean vibes.

I sometimes have a hard time finishing work… my process is very spontaneous and exploratory, so I’m forever “just seeing what happens if I try this”, which doesn’t always lead to a resolution in terms of design and composition. So… lots of layers and things can take a long time. It can be a challenge for me to reign in my curiosity and do things deliberately that will bring about the sense of balance and harmony that I’m seeking.
Another thing that I’ve discovered is that I often need to let a painting sit undisturbed for awhile before deciding whether it’s done or it needs more work. Sometimes I come back to things after a month and find that there’s actually nothing missing and they’re done!

There are five more pieces in this part of my Mare Incognitum series, almost ready for me to say DONE! So stay tuned for another wave of these (did you get that… did you see what I did??? Okay, okay, not funny. Yes, the heat and humidity are getting to me tonight! It’s definitely time for a moonlight swim here. Have a great weekend everyone.


LET US PULL DOWN THE STARS, acrylic on canvas 12″ x 12″

If you’re in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada this month, stop by to see Small Treasures at the Inverness County Centre for the Arts, on from June 30th to July 29th, 2018. It’s a show featuring small works in a variety of mediums – from painting to sculpture and even video installation – from an international roster of artists, and I’m proud and excited that my painting, Let Us Pull Down The Stars was chosen to be part of the exhibition!

Ray Cronin, former Art Gallery of Nova Scotia curator, at the vernissage for Small Treasures.

The show was juried by former Art Gallery of Nova Scotia curator Ray Cronin, who stated that he was impressed with the quality of entries and with the curation of the Small Treasures show at the Inverness County Centre for the Arts.

Centre for the Arts curator Page Simon says, “It is a prestigious show, not because that many people worldwide know about the Inverness County arts centre, but because we have a very well-known juror. So being picked for the show by Ray Cronin is a big feather in one’s cap.”

Let Us Pull Down The Stars is one of the first pieces I made in my Mare Incognitum series, which is inspired by the myriad properties of water – its rhythmic fluidity, its changeability, and the infinite variables of its colours and forms. The properties of water act as visual cues to the sensory experience of nature, and also to the idea of navigating uncharted waters. My idea throughout this series is to explore the way that order and balance can emerge from chaos and cacophony, and how calm is often present under turbulent surfaces. I tap into my own memories and emotions to harness both the deep joys of remembered experience and the tension of things that may not be comfortable.

And with that, I’m off to dive into the cool, dark waters of the lake!





May Madness… free shipping on everything in my Etsy Shop, all month-long


I’ve just done a big Etsy shop update, adding most of my newest small paintings.

Etsy is having a great promotion right now, but I’m going to go one better: free shipping on everything in my shop, all month long. It’s a perfect time to get yourself something fresh and new to celebrate May Day!

If there’s something you’ve seen on my website that isn’t in the shop, let me know and I’ll set something up for you.


After weeks and weeks of ice and snow, it’s so good to feel the warmth of the sun. I’ve been holed up in my little studio working on a new subset of my Mare Incognitum project. My latest paintings are all small pieces in acrylic, 10″ x 10″. I’m exploring a colour palette and mark-making inspired by memories and impressions of the ocean, specifically, it’s raw power and ever-present movement.

The Well of Colour  •  10″ x 10″  •  Acrylic on canvas

In addition to hours in the studio, I’ve been diving into the work of Irish writer and poet John O’Donogue. He died some time ago, but his work is timeless. His brother Pat writes of his work:

His themes of echo as the response of continuity, imagination as the ability to still see the mountain behind the mist, and absence as the transformed presence of the vanished, awaken our thinking and provide food for our spiritual journey in an increasingly hungry world.” – John O’Donogue

A Stain of Ocean  •  10″ x 10″  •  Acrylic on canvas


I came upon O’Donogue’s writing on Brain Pickings, while researching the role of memory in creativity. Everything I’ve been painting in the last year is based on exploring how being and experiencing in a deeply present way affects your sense of the moment and place, and thus your memory of it.

“Memoria is always quietly at work, gathering and interweaving experience. Memoria is the place where our vanished lives secretly gather. For nothing that happens to us is ever finally lost or forgotten. In a strange way, everything that happens to us remains somehow still alive within us… It is crucial to understand that experience itself is not merely an empirical process of appropriating or digesting blocks of life. Experience is rather a journey of transfiguration. Both that which is lived and the one who lives it are transfigured. Experience is not about the consumption of life, rather it is about the interflow of creation into the self and of the self into creation. This brings about subtle and consistently new configurations in both. That is the activity of growth and creativity.” – John O’Donogue

Work in-progress

Beyond the powerful influence of memory, my work focuses on reaching beyond the boundaries of the known, or pushing myself beyond what I’m comfortable with. The forms and motifs inspired by water and ocean give me a perfect metaphor to work with… Mare Incognitum. O’Donogue wrote extensively and beautifully of the ocean and on how water expresses elements of the sublime:

“One of the most amazing shapes that water takes is that of the ocean. The presence of an ocean is so huge that it resembles the divine; its constant movement and soundings signal a powerful inner life. Surprising in such a huge force is its perfect sense of rhythm. The ebb and flow of the tide resembles in a strange way the ebb and flow of the human breath.” – John O’Donogue

The Habit of Twilight  •  10″ x 10″  •  Acrylic on canvas

You can find Krista Tippett’s wonderful On Being interview with O’Donogue on the home page of the website dedicated to his work: https://www.johnodonohue.com/



Most winter mornings, my day starts in the dark. I love to sit by the window, coffee in hand, reading, and watching the sun rise. I pretty much always have a novel on the go, but just as often, I’ll spend some time catching up on my favourite artists and writers by reading their blogs or checking out their Instagram accounts. This morning’s reading included author and poet Shawna Lemay’s lovely blog, Transactions With Beauty. Her post today featured three poems about sitting, which is one of my favourite things. This one, by Canadian poet Phyllis Webb, stunned me in its perfection:


by Phyllis Webb

The degree of nothingness
is important:
to sit emptily
in the sun
receiving fire
that is the way
to mend
an extraordinary world,
sitting perfectly
and only
remotely human.

To sit emptily in the sun receiving fire… so many layers to this! Mindlessly soaking up the sun on the dock by the lake is the most blissful of things, but going deeper… before painting, I’ll often just sit for a bit, allowing myself to become open to receiving the fire of inspiration. I just sit, letting thoughts, judgements and agendas fall away so that there is room for other things, as well as for nothing.


I just sit, and then I get up and paint.



I’ve always loved walking in the woods, especially on a crisp wintery day. Recently, I came upon the Japanese concept of Shinrinyoku, or “forest bathing”, which means to go deep into the woods where everything is silent and peaceful. Just being in the forest, seeking relaxation. It’s supposed to have calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits.

Who knew… it’s a thing.

To me, it’s a lifeline, an escape from an annoying and stressful world. I’m fortunate to have a wonderful walking partner, my great dane Jasmine – we get out into nature every chance we get. She loves to sniff around, and I love to just look closely at all the textures and colours, tucking inspiration away in my soul for future reference.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life. – Hermann Hesse

Here are a few snaps taken on one of our recent walks…




You’re never really alone out in the woods. Birds, animals and plants are all around. They’re the best company.





Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2018 is Ultra Violet, PANTONE 18-3838, a cool purple shade that veers towards the blue end of the violet spectrum.

“People are exploring and experimenting and looking for something that’s original.” – Laurie Pressman, VP Pantone Color Institute

Oddly, as I look at the printed colour chip of 18-3838, the aspirations projected onto this bluish-purple hue don’t quite jive with what I see in front of my eyes: coming from a background in corporate branding and design, it feels like a conservative colour to me, like the type of colour you’d have chosen in the 90s for a corporate logo. On screen, it shows up as a dull mauve shade. I may not be the only one who thinks this: looking around the internet for examples of how it’s being used, I’m seeing lots of products and mood boards in variegations of mauve and purple, but not much of the actual specific colour that was chosen.

I unexpectedly fell in love with this room from Elle Decor (PHOTO: Mikkel Vang, for Elle Decor)

People seem to be embracing the spirit of the choice, if not the specific hue, hailing it as being unexpected and refreshing. Pinterest is certainly exploding with it.




Gorgeous mood board from australian blogger The Hello Bureau

The hype from the Pantone website:

Announcing PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, PANTONE® Color of the Year 2018. A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.

Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.

Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.

Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to Ultra Violet. The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces and other gathering places energizes the communities that gather there and inspire connection.

Pantone has created some great tools for designers and beautiful palettes for using Ultra Violet. I rarely use violets or purples in my work, but I do love how these hues can calmly anchor blues and teals in a painting, or create a rich tapestry when combined with bright jewel tones, such as last year’s Colour of the Year, Greenery. Two of my favourite palettes from their site:


I especially love the creative tie-in with food:

“Considered exotic and enticing, purple fruits, vegetables, and starches, such as acai, purple shaded cauliflower, yams, carrots, asparagus and cabbage are also known for their natural health benefits. These new “it” foods are naturally rich in nutrients and antioxidants, and also bring vibrancy and sophistication to the table.” – pantone.com (I found these images on Pinterest and unfortunately was not able to find the original posters – if these are yours, please let me know so that I can credit you or remove them if you prefer)

Saatchi Art has partnered with Pantone to select a fabulous collection of art that embodies the spirit of Ultra Violet. A few of my favourite pieces from the collection:

Clockwise from top left: Dearly Beloved We Are Gathered Here Today To Get Through This Thing Called Life, by Angie Jones; Astro Violet, by Teis Albers; Night Sea 3, by Alexander Jowett; Spray, by Wendy Turchan

What I find most interesting about Pantone’s colour of the year is how this very influential annual trend is chosen.

The woman behind it all is Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. in addition to her position at the helm of Pantone, Eiseman holds graduate degrees in psychology and counseling and is the author of numerous books on the subject of colour in the context of consumerism and psychology. Recognized worldwide as a guru of colour trends, she’s described as one of the world’s top style makers and ranks higher than Steve Jobs amongst the world’s most important “Outsider Influencers” in the world of interior design. Definitely a woman to watch.

So how is this holy grail of hue selected?

{ Dream Job Alert }

A committee of colour experts is sent to travel the world every year, to search out trending colours in every industry and major event in which colour may be a prominent factor. The actual selection process and criteria are secret, but it boils down to looking at the “aspirations, moods and attitudes of consumers”, examining how colour is used throughout the world in art, design, fashion, decor, beauty, sports, film, and every other cultural expression of humanity that you can think of.

Ultra Violet in Taiwan and Bali (PHOTO CREDIT ??? from Pinterest)

“What we do is try to read the pulse of the public, so to speak,” Eiseman says. “What are people asking for? What are they saying their needs are? What are they hoping for? What are their aspirations? We try to then pick out a color that speaks to that cultural reaction to color, the collective consciousness’s reaction to color, and the psychological and emotional impact.”

They’re looking for something that goes beyond reporting what’s currently popular or forecasting what’s going to be big next year: their mission is to try to identify the one specific hue that expresses the current ideological zeitgeist common to the entire world. The challenge is to select a specific shade that will not only express what’s currently coming into vogue, but also has the kind of staying power to hold the public’s affections over the lifespan of the various products that might adopt a colour of the year.

I’m particularly fascinated with Eiseman’s  philosophy regarding colour:

“When 80% of human experience is filtered through the eyes, we understand that the choice of color is critical.”

This is certainly a powerful factor in influencing consumers’ buying habits, but more interesting to me is how Eiseman describes the psychological aspect of colour as being “very symbolic and represents many emotions”.


This is exactly what gives art the power to move people. In the hands of an artist, colour is a language that touches people in a deep, visceral place, unique to everyone but also universal. This to me is where the true value in Pantone’s colour of the year: much more than a consumer-oriented trend indicator for packaging or makeup, it’s a bold statement that captures the ephemeral spirit of our time.

Alright Ultra Violet, let’s see what you can do.