Such a Time as This

I assume like us you are at home.

I accessed a global virtual site and traveled virtually to London and Paris and the streets were filled with tourists and city sounds. Of course the tours predated 2020.

Then I checked webcams in different locations today and feel like I am living in an episode of Twilight Zone. The beaches are empty. The streets also. Times Square! Rod Sterling at his best would not have written a more bizarre scenario.

Just as I thought I could not emotionally stand any more politics, garden variety election year politics has been replaced by life and death issues-people sick and dying, joblessness, mental breakdowns, shut down businesses- all with no end in sight. Alcohol flowing quite well.

There is a personal bright side. I have my husband -and best friend- with me in our stay at home life. At least we have a gorgeous view and as of yesterday a new firepit on our deck. The great blue heron continue to fly back and forth over the marsh and our bird feeders attract an incredible variety of birds including bluebirds.

Nobody uses the “busy” excuse anymore.

My grandkids are communicating by text. I am talking more with friends from all over. I am cooking a lot (but then again I am a foodie and have always cooked) And so long as the entire world does not try to watch Netflix at the same time, I can binge watch come of my favorite shows.

On the other hand while I do have time, I have not even started my project of using more social media to showcase my art. However working on going through my photos  is just not on my real to do list. In fact I am avoiding reorganizing and deleting my 17000 photo images. Sigh.

I have done several cartoons that you can see on my Gloria Coker Fine Art Facebook. But my followers though loyal have not shared their enthusiasm. (That is a little joke) But I will persist.

Eventually this will end. Then we can figure out what permanent changes we will face. We won’t go back to business as usual. I hope many changes will be for the better, but we shall see.

In case you missed them, click on the cartoons below to see each one full sized.  Enjoy!!

Enjoy the Show

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I had prepared and hung a lovely show of my paintings at the James River Country Club.  Sadly we were social distancing before many folks were able to enjoy the show.  So I thought I’d share my own commentary with each painting for everyone to enjoy from the comfort of your own home.  All of these paintings are currently available for purchase.  If you are interested, please contact me and we can make safe and socially distant arrangements.

Blues Guitar and Horn 23.5x29.5

Blues Guitar and Horn
23.5×29.5

I have been painting jazz musicians for many years.  My first renditions were more delineated.  As I got more comfortable with the subject matter and how musicians held and played their instruments, I have gotten more willing to create more abstractly. I wanted the emotion, color, and essence to attract the viewer rather than the specifics.

End of Autumn 24x36

End of Autumn
24×36

I am from New England and though this painting has a particular reference to Maine, it could be anywhere in the north. It is called The End of Autumn, because I see and feel the chill, and some iciness, along the shore. There is considerable texture in the painting because underneath, it is another painting and maybe even a third!

Bass Player 30x24

Bass Player
30×40

Another paint-over. When I find myself getting a bit too “tight” meaning the images are too delineated for my taste, I live with them for a while and then I paint over them. I added a musical score collage and random brushstrokes.

Break From Fishing 24x24

Break from Fishing
24×24 

I has a solo show in Manteo. NC in 2019, and I wanted to have a painting that reflected the waterfront. But I found myself “over” boats and marine scenes.  Instead I used my made-up young musicians along with a few added items from a photograph my friend Cyndi took for me.

Dalmatians 11x14

Dalmatians
11×14

I have never owned a Dalmatian, but I know a cute pose when I see it. These two had such a bond I could not resist painting them.

Dance in the Garden 48x36

Dance in the Garden
43.5×32.45

This is one of my larger paintings in a series of dancers that endured for many years. Luke and I took ballroom lessons for 3 years.  It was a great time to not just experience the dance, but to see others actually perform. As always, the background becomes whatever I want it to be.

Dancing At the Festival 24x30

Dancing at the Festival
24×30

I have painted women for decades and my ladies all seem to move and wear colorful garments. This painting, like many others, includes imagined or made up figures.  They’re based on my feelings at the time of the environment and the relationship of the women. The hula hoop looking circles of color are added to create more visual action.

Man With A Horn 20x16

Man with a Horn
20×16

I am still playing with this piece. Particularly the hat area. But not right now. The horn player is based loosely on musicians I saw and photographed in New Orleans.

At Least I have My Phone 30x24

I Still Have My Phone
30×24

My thanks to the young woman in Hampton who let me photograph her sitting in a shop window.  I loved her clothing, pose, and the fact that it genuinely reflected the young people in my family with their “devices”

Jittery Jazz 24x16

Jittery Jazz
24×18

This painting has at least two paintings beneath it. When things don’t work sometimes one must just destroy the painting to make it better; either by just painting a new version on top of the old or gessoing the whole thing and starting from scratch. I usually chose the former. He has a 50’s flair that reminds me of “the Fonz.”

Letting Loose Jazz After Midnight 36x48

Letting Loose the Jazz After Midnight
36×48

A large painting that I literally attacked. Keep throwing paint on until I finally evolved some forms that resembled musicians. There are many other ways I could have handled the design and colors but I will save them for another day.

Qualifying Time 22x28

Qualifying Time
22×28

My family has always cycled. Luke and I did a lot of tandem biking as well as bike tours that go inn to inn in New England and Barbados. These riders are racing.   I used my brushstrokes and sometimes brush stem to add choice of color so that you, the viewer, would feel the motion.

Sax, Horn , Guitar 30x30

Sax, Horn, Guitar
30×30

Another expression of my feelings watching musicians in the clubs on Bourbon Street. I did a quick sketch while we were inside one of the clubs.  Al Hirt actually signed my sketch!

Seaside Park 24x24

Seaside Park
24×24

I grew up near Long Island Sound in Connecticut and after school we would all troop down to the beach and the seawall. There really wasn’t much beach so this is improvised as well as my placement of a Tidewater oyster boat.

Sketch Artist 30x24

Sketch Artist
30×24

It is quite uncomfortable for me to draw in this sitting position, but others are not as stiff! Doing preliminary sketches is the best way to formulate an idea. I have spent too many hours trying to fix the unfixable because it was just a bad design.

Musings about Oceanview Amusement Park

A while back I was working on a commission for someone who asked me to paint her parents circa 1941 at Oceanview Amusement Park in Virginia Beach. I did enjoy getting all my research together and doing preliminary sketches. I enjoyed the stories through photos of the sailors who were deployed from Norfolk during World War II. They spent free time at Oceanview Amusement Park. The colors and movement of amusement parks and fairs have always interested me as an artist. When I worked as an illustrator at the Daily Press, I had the sad opportunity to watch the tear down of the iconic wooden roller coaster. I believe it took three times for the explosives to finally work. It was an end to another chapter in local history.
 
For my personal work, I am still searching for a realistic, but looser style. I know folks think that I already paint in a loose fashion. But I want to do it in a more confident manner. I want the brushstrokes, colors ,and shapes to carry the painting rather than the reality it is based on. If that sounds confusing, it is because maybe I am. I think of Jackson Pollock and how he would throw house paint on his canvases flat on the ground.  I try to think of how much excitement there was in that approach, but then I think about how much my back would hurt if I painted that way.
 
Having said that I would like to paint larger canvases despite the fact that I have nowhere to put them and most people are downsizing. Corporate world do you hear me? Tired of your prints that look like wallpaper samples? (Is that too mean?) Let’s talk. Meanwhile I continue my search for a new fresh series. Maybe I need to take my camera and do some exploring. But I think I will wait till it warms up.
Oceanview Amusement Park

Walk on the Wildside Show at Suffolk Art Center

Sorry for the short notice, but I wanted to get this out to everyone!  Excited to be sharing some of my more WILD artwork at the Walk on the Wildside Show in Suffolk this spring.  Would love to see you and chat at the Opening Reception on Thursday, March 5, 2020. 

Horse for Wildside Show Suffolk

 

Ramblings: My Miserable Painting Day

Artists know that we can really mess up big-time. Sometimes we just have a miserable painting day.

And it happens much more frequently than we’d like to admit.

The other day I decided to attack a painting that I had done several years ago.  While the painting was pleasant to look at and interesting to a lot of people, it lacked what I would like to see  my work represent.  In other words, it lack the wow factor. 

I looked at the painting for a long time,  I realized I hated the design.  I kind of liked the colors.  I found the figure was fairly well done, but it was overall just pedestrian.

In retrospect, I should’ve taken photos of the painting throughout the whole course of the day to document all the stupid decisions that I made.

To start, I thought the figure was rather lonely so I enlarged the figure.  When she still didn’t have a life, I gave her a partner. That didn’t work, so I added another figure.  But three figures weren’t any better than one smaller one. So I kept on doing what I tell people not to do –  rework some things without really thinking about the design, the shapes, and the color.

There was no sense of movement left.  I should have just left it or gessoed over it so I wouldn’t have to look at it anymore.

But now I still had paint on my palate, my water wasn’t terribly dirty, and I wasn’t at a point of true exhaustion. So now I sit staring at a painting that is a whole lot worse than the original.  I am kicking myself.  I know I will paint over it and be frustrated again. I never learn.

Having said all that, I do understand that failure is part of the learning process. Some attempts are never meant to succeed. I still wish I had the presence of mind to photograph the whole process. Time sometimes lets those closed doors open again. New insights?

Old work sometimes includes little gems one can build on. But if it is all painted over it is gone. 

jittery jazz revised - not used for my miserable painting day

Ramblings: Brilliant Creativity

Out in the March done with brilliant creativityI think there is a general misconception by the public that people like me, who tend to get involved in what we loosely called creative pursuits, simply plod along.  We engage in brilliant creativity.  We progress from one brilliant idea with a beginning, middle, and end,.  There is a pause and then we go to the next brilliant idea.

Well obviously every idea isn’t brilliant, but when we are in our inspiration phase, sometimes we feel that it may be creating the best work we’ve ever done. However, the pauses can be a lot more lengthy.  During this intermission, we feel not just uninspired, but scared to death that there will be no more brilliant ideas! The best we can hope for is to regurgitate the things that we’ve done before, the tried-and-true and perhaps the successful (monetarily speaking.)

I say we and I probably should not. Because this is just the way I feel.

So this was a lengthy lead into the feelings I am having right now.

I can always go back to painting the themes that people seem to recognize from me. But that is playing it safe. And you don’t learn and you don’t excel by playing it safe.

But then a painter, like myself, sits back and says,

  • All right so how do I not play it safe? 
  • What do I do differently?
  • Do I change my theme?
  • My subject matter?
  • Do I change my technique?
  • Do I get more rigid or more exuberant?
  • Do I paint larger or smaller?
  • Do I tell a story or paint a feeling?
  • Do I paint more abstractly or with more representation?
  • Is the best really yet to come?

I don’t know those answers right now, but I have to believe that the best is yet to come.

Fear not! I will continue to paint, because I can’t not paint.

And you will be the first to know if I succeed in becoming inspired again. And it may be in the realm of technique and approach.

Ramblings: Drawing from the Beginning

One of my first memories of art is when I was nine years old.  I know I was nine years old because my sister had just been born and my mother came home from the hospital with a bunch of gladiolas. 

I proceeded to take out some colored pencils.  I drew a picture of the floral bouquet which resided next to the drawing that I had copied of a cartoon character.  The character was a duck named Slappy with a little stick over his shoulder holding his little bag of belongings like the hobos would do back in the day. 

I thought the drawing  of the gladiolas was pretty good.  I continued to draw as I grew up, but I never considered drawing to be something that I would do as a job that would earn money for me.  Remember, this pre-dated the current world of graphic design.  At that time, the closest college major for using art in the commercial world would be industrial designing.  So when it came time to consider college, I checked out the courses that were offered in each major and chose psychology instead of art, because the choices were so eclectic from English literature to language to sociology.

I enjoyed drawing cartoons sketches and thought I’d share this one with you today.

artist cartoon sketch drawing from the beginning

If you’re still looking for the perfect last minute Christmas gift, consider a beautiful painting!  If you’d like to schedule a time to consider a painting at the Associates in Dermatology office, give me a call at  757-846-3650

Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen Gallery Show

Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen Gallery Show Painting of Colonial Girl in the GardenNovember has been a busy month for art shows for me this year!  Thank you so much for your continued support and attendance.  I love getting to see you and share my latest paintings with you. 

For my friends around Richmond, Virginia, come join me in Glen Allen for my Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen Gallery Show.  The opening will be Thursday, November 21, 2019 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. 

I’ve been busy painting in between shows this month.  Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Glen Allen Joy of Life Show

Dare County Arts Council Show Wraps Up

Dare County Art CouncilThanks for everyone who came out to enjoy the “Let’s Go and Enjoy” show at the Dare County Arts Council in Manteo, NC over the past few weeks.  I was pretty excited to see it was written about in OUTER BANKS NOW.  Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Physicists teach that life is motion. All life. Even a sedentary rock.

Gloria Coker reveals the motion of everyday scenes, people and objects in her paintings to celebrate the underlying rhythm of life. In her own words, Coker’s paintings of musicians, dancers and beach and street scenes appear more like videos than static images.

The work of the Virginia artist is on display at the Dare County Arts Council through Wednesday, Nov. 6.

Thirty-five acrylic paintings fill the upstairs gallery of the Manteo venue. They call to the viewer to listen to a saxophone, watch as children splash in the ocean, feel the rhythm as a tango unfolds and sense the air rushing by as bicyclists race through an explosion of color and lively brush strokes.

Some works appear fully abstract while others merge abstraction with impressionism to reveal swirling dresses, strumming hands, and collective and contemplative faces of performing musicians.

Figure and background merge as blurred edges and a cacophony of brushstrokes create a moving moment rather than a still snapshot. Couple these choices with vibrant, complementary color, and you have myriad celebrations of life enlivening the staid, wooden-walled gallery that, ironically, once served as a courtroom.

Coker never thought she would be an artist. She earned a degree in psychology and another to be a counselor. Eventually — and armed with a talent for drawing and an excellent visual memory — she went into illustration in the newsroom at the Daily Press and also did courtroom drawings. Over the years, she photographed life creating a morgue of images from which she painted.

“My family was involved in biking, ballroom dancing, tai chi,” she said. “I had access to those things. I did art for the Virginia Symphony for four years.”

While she may start a painting — she works in acrylics — using a photograph as a reference, she may turn what once was an oysterman into a bicycle mechanic.

“These are all made up,” she says of her current work. “I do not have something I copied from a photograph here. They are invented.”

What matters to Coker is accuracy, how fingers are place on a keyboard, how a musician is holding an instrument.

While Coker can paint a realistic portrait, she is more interested in engaging the viewer in what a person is doing. Her figures may have minimal features to keep the focus on their actions.

As a result, she presents universal happenings to which a broad swathe of people can relate. She keeps them attracted, as moving things do.

“Motion and emotion,” she says. “If I can get someone to feel it inside, I have accomplished something.”

Replicating a pulsing sense of life is not easy unless, as in Coker’s case, the paint runs through your blood.”

You can see the entire article at:  OUTER BANKS NOW 

And don’t miss my 5th Annual Show and Sale tonight (Friday, November 8, 2019) beginning at 5:30pm at Associates in Dermatology.  Hope to see you there!

Celebrating the 5th Annual Art Show and Sale

5th Annual Art Show and Sale

Enjoy special pricing on my paintings for the 5th Annual Art Studio Show and Sale!!!

When:  Friday, November 8, 2019

Time:  5:30 – 7:30 PM

Where:  Associates in Dermatology office,  17 Manhattan Square, Hampton, Virginia (map / directions)

Come by, browse, shop and bring a friend. 

Buy a holiday gift. 

Munch on some delicious hors d’oeuvres. 

Drink a bit of wine.

There will be many paintings offered not to mention those hanging throughout the Associates in Dermatology offices.

See you at the 5th Annual Art Show and Sale!

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