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Kyle was born on June 12, 1980 to Jon and Beth Sims. He grew up just outside the town of Cheyenne, Wyoming. He has a younger brother named Blake. Kyle’s training with the arts began very early, but with no formal regimen in place. His talent and interest was recognized early by his parents and they nurtured and encouraged this passion. He had very intelligent art teachers through his school years that taught him the fundamentals and principals of art, but also had the ability to let Kyle run with things when they saw the chance versus forcing him into their view of “good art”. Kyle also enjoyed the competition that came with athletics, including cross country, basketball, and track. But it was around the age of 13 that he can remember having a strong interest building towards painting animals in particular.
At the age of 16 Kyle began taking workshops from artists making a living from their work. Some notable teachers were artists named Terry Isaac, Daniel Smith, and Paco Young. Kyle began to heavily study the works of those who painted wildlife in a realistic manner and in the medium of acrylics. He used acrylics for five to six years following this time and recalls it as being a great way to continue his improvement with drawing and layering with paint. Acrylic dries very quickly and made the layering process more efficient.
Paco Young was very influential with Kyle’s development. It was Paco that really hammered home on how important it was to get outside and paint from life. Painting in the field altered the way Kyle sees, not only his subjects, but how it can help an artist to make a more pleasing painting. Solely relying on a photograph will only get you to the point of having your painting look like a photograph. That’s already been accomplished. So, what’s the fun in that?
During this time, Kyle attended Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana. He primarily learned from two professors named Mark Moak and Jim Baken. They were both great teachers in their own way, but it was Mark that enjoyed challenging Kyle. Besides contributing to the knowledge that would directly influence Kyle’s work, such as figure drawing, college was a great way to mature and get out on your own without all the financial responsibilities that come with adult life. It was also during this time that Kyle met the girl he would spend the rest of his life with, Joylene. Joylene works as a private practicing mental health therapist. Joylene and Kyle enjoy traveling together to most places, including the field trips Kyle takes to gather reference material and ideas for his work. Getting outside is paramount. That is half or more of the enjoyment of being a wildlife artist.