Kimball Stewart Erdman

Photo 2010
Autobiography written circa 2003

I was born in 1937 in Salt Lake City, Utah but raised in Portland and Eugene, Oregon. After graduating from Eugene High School in 1955 I attended the University of Oregon two years before transferring to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. There I received a BA in Botany (1959) and an MS in Botany (1961). I earned my Ph.D. in botany at Iowa State University (1964). I taught 3 years at Weber State College in Ogden, Utah and then moved to Pennsylvania where we remained for 20 years while I taught botany and environmental science courses at Slippery Rock University north of Pittsburgh. In 1987 we returned to Oregon where I taught biology part-time at Linfield College and Portland Community College. I then Joined the Division of Fish and Wildlife ant Bonneville Power Administration in Portland where I served as an ecologist and data manager from 1991 until 2002 when I retired.

Although I have always had strong artistic interests, I have never had any formal art training other than auditing watercolor courses while I taught at Weber State. While I love watercolor, currently pen and ink is my preferred medium. These ink drawings are the outgrowth of renewed interest in ink work following the completion of a project illustrating the Edible Wild Plants of Pennsylvania and Neighboring States by Richard and Mary Lee Medve (published in 1990 by Pennsylvania State University Press).

Drawings of this complexity, detail, and size require at least 30 to 60 hours. I complete about 8-12 a year. While some might view such an effort as tedious and repetitious, I find it relaxing and very therapeutic. A rough pencil sketch outlines the basic forms and specific details where needed. I usually start the ink work in one spot, essentially completing it before working out from there. I prefer the large size format because there is greater opportunity for expressing the atmosphere of the scene and being drawn into it. I usually work from photographs I have taken or occasionally from other material. My selection of topics is based on what I feel like doing and I tend to “live within the picture” while working on it. I find trees, forests, and other natural materials especially appealing. I am also fascinated by other cultures and their common, everyday buildings. I am especially interested in Japan, Europe, and Central America.

I have exhibited in a number of places in Oregon. While I do sell both originals ($800-1500) and prints ($120-200) the main reason I draw is personal interest, not the marketplace. Usually I draw because of the needs it fulfills within me. I have, however, accepted commissions if I felt impressed by the subject and felt it was within my abilities to do it justice.

In the years after he wrote this autobiography, Kim served three 2-year missions with his wife Dorothy for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The first of these was in the Philippines, after which they served twice in Florida. Kim developed a love for these places and drew many pictures of them.

In January of 2012 Kim was diagnosed with lymphoma of the brain. He passed away on June 1, 2012. He was loved by many and will be missed. His love of nature, science, knowledge, and Truth was remarkable. He was a brilliant yet humble, kind, gentle person, and a patient teacher.

Thank you for taking time to visit the site and enjoy his artwork.