Kib Bramhall Goes Viral

The Vineyard has been Kib Bramhall’s muse for most of his life. As a boy, he visited his grandparents, who summered on the Vineyard, and he fell in love with the Island, the water, and fishing.

Bramhall was able to turn his love for the Island into a long, successful career as a painter. Though he sold his first painting in 1957, the 86-year-old Bramhall feels the 1970s and ’80s were the height of his career. “I had an urgency, and would paint up to fourteen hours a day,” says Bramhall.

In 2017, after sixty years showing and selling his art, Bramhall retired from painting professionally. He paints now and again, but just for himself and if inspiration strikes him. 

But that’s not the end of the story. More recently, Bramhall’s body of work — a retrospective, if you will — is finding new fans every day on the social media platforms of Instagram and Facebook.

Bramhall joined Facebook a few years back so he could keep up with his grandchildren. Like many young people, his grandchildren soon jumped to Instagram. Bramhall was encouraged to follow, but for another reason — his art. 

Bramhall started his official Instagram account, @kib_bramhall, in January 2017. “When I started on Instagram, I had about seven followers,” he said. Currently he has 844, and almost 800 on Facebook.

Bramhall has painted about a thousand paintings in his career; most have been sold, and hang in homes around the world. “I realized that many local people had not seen my paintings,” he told me.

Over the years, Bramhall had photographed most of his paintings; now he curates from that collection, and posts on both social media pages. “More people see my art in a month now than in any gallery,” Bramhall said. “Looking back through my painting, I really am reminded of how I spent my life, what I was doing through the years.”

As he sifts through photographs of the paintings of his life’s work, he gets to choose what to post and when. Snowy winter scenes, his favorite season to paint, are posted during the winter; lush greens and warm blues of summer will be posted this season.

He generally posts one painting per week on Facebook and Instagram, usually toward the end of the week.

Currently, you can catch a glimpse of a few of Kib Bramhall’s paintings up-close at the Granary Gallery in West Tisbury, but if that feels like too long a drive or you’re not on the Island, enjoy a glimpse of a long career, one painting at a time, on Facebook or Instagram. 


Tina Miller is an editor of Edible Vineyard. 

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