Gail Coleman

Here is a Q&A with Gail Coleman, Cornerstone’s Artist of the Month for December 2019.

Tell us briefly about your background & how you got started in your medium.

While I was always creative, I did not begin painting until I was fully retired and had the time. Three years ago, December 2016, I took my first Abstract Painting class with Linda Benton McCloskey at the Millworks in Harrisburg. A month later I took her Cold Wax Medium workshop. I fell in love! Since then, I have painted almost every day. My medium is “mixed”,  meaning I use what inspires me, found objects, unexpected combinations of materials. Usually this includes acrylic paints, inks, graphite, charcoal, pastels, crayons, collage bits. This allows me a lot of opportunity to experiment and play.

How does your medium inform your viewpoint? Or what do you like most about your medium?

Working with mixed media is very freeing. I especially love “gestural intuitive” painting….which means I get physical, using large arm movements, and sometimes putting some serious pressure into the brush or mark making tool. And I don’t project. Each step is inspired by the moment, i.e. the current information provided by the painting.

Who or what have been your artistic inspirations?

Who or what inspires me? I have always been a fan of color! The possibilities energize me. And a while back, I had the good fortune to visit New Mexico. That was a turning point for me as it helped me see the beauty and value of “imperfection” in art/ creativity.  I was inspired by the casual approach to creativity, such as making a wreath from barbed wire, painting the trim of a mobile home to match the pickup truck, leaving the rough edges on art.

Transmission I & II
Transmission I & II

Do You Have a Favorite Piece in Your Portfolio?

My favorite pieces are the ones that surprise me. “I made that?” One of these is “Transmission”, which is actually a pair of paintings. The morning after I painted them, I was studying them to determine what they needed. I found myself getting lost in them….sort of like a meditative trance. I knew they were “done!”. Whenever I look at them, I get a feeling a deep peace.

What would be your advice to artists just starting out in your medium?

Advice? Just do it! Dive in! Take a class (in person or on-line). Invite a friend over to paint with you. For me it has been a learn-as-I-go adventure.


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