Some people never quite figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Sommer Kibbee never had that problem and knew from the age of 4 she wanted to be an artist.
She got the art bug from her father, who is a sculptor, and she sold her first pieces of art long before she knew she could make a living doing what she loves.
“From the time I was little, all I did was draw. That’s all I did,” Sommer said. “You know what I would I do when I was little? I would draw these horses and I would go to family gatherings and I would have a book, like a catalogue that they could order drawings out of.”
“This was when I was like 8. They would chose a horse and then I would like go in the back and trace the one I had already drawn and sell them the copy for a dollar. I would always take my Trapper Keeper with the unicorn on the front,” she said jokingly.
Nowadays, Sommer is a mother and works out of her home studio in Kellogg. She also traded in her old Lisa Frank binder and drawing pencils for paint brushes and pallet knives about 10 years ago and just five years ago she started creating murals.
“How many people actually get to grow up and be what they wanted to be when they were little, you know?” Sommer asked. “Do you know that song by Pink, ‘So What (I’m a rock star)’? It was all about like you can’t take this and you can’t take my talent away from me. Like I will always have this, you can break me and knock me down, but you can’t take this from me.”
“I feel like that every single day. I get behind that canvas in my studio, I pour a glass of wine and I think, ‘Nobody can take this from me. This is my creative outlet and I love it,” she continued.
In addition to her father being in the business, Sommer said another experience from her childhood helped solidify her passion for art. After her parents divorced, Sommer would go to her babysitter’s house when her mother was working and the babysitter had a new children’s TV station that was all the rage.
“My babysitter had the Disney Channel, which had just come out. I’m 37, like Disney Channel wasn’t really around when I was that little,” Sommer said. “She had cable and the Disney Channel, and I would sit in her solarium and watch TV and I would draw.”
This became a normal routine for Sommer and one day she said was drawing the cover to the classic Disney film “The Sword and the Stone” and she left it at her babysitter’s house.
“She sent it to the Disney Channel and didn’t tell me,” Sommer said. “A couple weeks later, I’m sitting there by myself in her solarium and watching the Disney Channel. And then here goes by my picture in a gold frame and it was playing ‘It’s a Small World After All” and it said by Sommer Brown age (10) Newton, Iowa.”
“I could not even believe it,” she continued. “I didn’t think twice about it. That was the moment for me, that I thought, ‘OK. Someone else thought I had a talent and then sent it into a television station, which also thought I had something.’ So that was my magical moment.”
Since her initial magic moment, Sommer has worked to inspire other young creative types and has served on several levels for Iowa’s PTA Reflections program, which encourages more student participation in the arts.
While she is skilled in multiple painting techniques, Sommer admits she prefers doing abstract art with a palette knife over the traditional paint brush.
“I can do any of this kind of stuff, but my heart is with palette knifing,” she said.
Sommer also has work for sell regularly at Sombrero Restaurant, has a current display at Progress Industries and does murals and commission pieces. You can see more of her work at her site: www.muralsbysommer.com.
Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.