I attended the First Friday Artwalk this last Friday for my professional practice. I had called the Lane Arts program that hosts the artwalk to see if there would be any artist at the artwalk talking about their work. Sure enough, there was! A very nice lady named Hilary informed me about the guided tour, where they speak with the artist and ask questions. Not wanting to miss this opportunity to hear from the artist, I attended.
The first stop was at the Karin Clarke Gallery on Willamette. The artist that was being showcased was an older woman by the name of Margaret Coe, who presented about twenty of her oil paintings. As the talk started, Margaret stated that her paintings were from her “Five weeks Inspirational trip to Italy.” The paintings were all of Venice. The Tour guide proceeded to ask her “Why Venice?” In turn, Margaret responded, “I wanted to spend time remembering Venice. They are currently experiencing a flood in the canals, and in my own opinion, I believe it’s the jewel of the city and the world.”
After seeing some of her paintings, I was beginning to believe she was right. Her use of value and composition created several breathtaking pieces. Margaret went on to say that she spent every day painting on location. 17 were painted on the spot, and she only finished three of them at home. An amazing feat in my opinion that she was able to paint a painting every day while she was in Venice. “I like to think this show as a love song to Venice.” She said. The tour guide asked her then, “Being in Venice, several of the masters have painted there, are there any masterworks that impact your work?”
Margaret gave it some thought and then proceeded to say that J.M.W Turner and John Singer-Sargent were two favorite painters of hers. She went on to explain how she’d seen their work in New York and noted their use of values and compositions, and then proceeded to say that they had also painted Venice. What amazed her, was the fact they changed the way they worked because of Venice, and how the city impacted their work in a way that made their style change. “How did Venice change the way you work?” The tour guide asked. Margaret explained she used really fine canvas for portraits while she was in Venice and that she kept thinking light. Everything is reflected in the canals, and the color is vibrant.
From where I was standing during the talk, I had a good few of several of her paintings, and I could see what she was talking about through those paintings. There was light in each of them, and being as I have never been to Venice, from seeing her paintings and hearing her talk about how bright and lit up Venice was, I believe what she says. As the talk drew to a close, Margret said she took reference photo’s to use for when she returned home to finish the three paintings that were incomplete and went on to explain one of her paintings actually has a tree in it that wasn’t actually there before.
Overall I enjoyed her talk about her trip to Venice. Her paintings were really beautiful and breathtaking, and as a painter myself, I wish to one day have the same experience she did, and go to a city like Venice and paint it so I can bring it home with me and showcase the love I have for that city for others to see as well. The whole experience was enjoyable, and it was fun to see the different types of people that showed up as well. We all had something in common, and I think that was our love of art, and to hear someone talk about their own art and see their passion was a very amazing experience.
This was one of my favorite pieces of her Venice series.