Kerima Swain

It took almost forty years for Kerima to answer her calling to be an artist, even though she has loved art-making all her life.

Born and raised in Taiwan until seventeen, in a family and environment that did not value the arts as a career path, Kerima’s formative years were spent on excelling in math and science. That path took a turn when she discovered Graphic Design while studying to become a doctor or engineer at Oregon State University.

Another change of direction came after working in the graphics field for four years. Kerima decided to leave the deadline driven field to pursue a career in the helping profession. She received her Master’s degree in Art Therapy and Family Therapy from Notre Dame de Namur University, then worked full time as a counselor at the San Francisco Family Agency. When her first child was born, Kerima decided to stay home and attain her MFT license. Once her children were 3 and 5, Kerima began working part-time as a therapist.

Having witnessed the power of art and healing with her clients, Kerima realized that she needed to take care of her own creative needs.  She took a few years of evening and weekend painting classes at Civic Arts Education in Walnut Creek before building her home studio and painting on her own.

Kerima began exhibiting her paintings publicly in 2006, and has since received many awards in local juried shows. Her artwork can be viewed at several venues in the San Francisco East Bay area including Valley Art Gallery, Moraga Art Gallery and Blackhawk Gallery, where she is also the director.

Kerima creates in her studio and outdoors, and furthers her skills by self-study and occasional workshops. She also continues to work as an art therapist part time with older adults in Board and Care Homes. Kerima finds balancing her life as a mom, artist, art therapist, and gallery director challenging and fulfilling.

When she’s not creating art or spending time with her loved ones, Kerima can be found dancing, doing yoga, playing steel pan or piano, hiking, and traveling. Kerima often obtains inspiration for her art from what she loves. Kerima lives with her family in Walnut Creek, California.

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