In her show entitled “Art et Cetera,” November’s featured artist Beverley Coates demonstrates how the exquisitely sensitive eye and skill of a seasoned artist can bring to life the visions of a lover of nature.
Noted for her delicate detail and artful rendering of flowers, birds, and the beauty of nature, Beverley often takes inspiration from fleeting moments that she records with her camera.
Whether she is capturing a pair of blue jays visiting her bird feeder, or honoring strutting peacocks as they cross her path, or simply noticing the way light and shadow play across a flower garden on a sunlit afternoon, Beverley is always seeking an opportunity to convey the excitement of discovery through her paintings.
Beverley’s love affair with watercolor began some twenty years ago, sparked by subjects that continue to inspire her today: the lush colorsand textures of beautiful gardens and the less structured but no less beautiful scenes she finds in roadside jaunts.
Most of her small and large paintings begin with one interesting subject. From that point, she says, she enjoys discovering and drawing a creative framework for that object almost as much as the actual painting process. An example of that creative process occurred recently, when she glimpsed two blue jays atop a birdbath just outside her sunroom window.
Within seconds, she had spontaneously photographed and imagined the challenge for another watercolor painting. The created background of “Talking a Blue Streak” depicts a naturalized setting that permits the animated birds to be the focus and gives full play to their multiple hues of blues and purples.Visitors to “Art, et cetera” will be fascinated when they compare the painting with the reference photograph displayed nearby.
On another occasion, as she was driving along a very rural, unmarked country lane deep in heart of Stafford County, Beverley braked her car, not quite able to grasp the reality sauntering in front ofher car—a pair of peacocks! Nothing else moved in the surrounding fields but those two elegant, regal birds. She has portrayed them several times, in such paintings as “Majestic Struttin’ ” and “Southern Peacock.” This show includes another painting in that series, “HRM of Stafford.”
The painting “Garden Days” was inspired by a brick column that lends structure to Chatham Manor’s formal garden. The repetitive image of the column appears in four panels, for which Beverley has imagined scenes: a woman collecting flower clippings or a tea table awaiting guests, for example. The weathered reds of brick columns with trailing roses and lush foliage ranging from yellowish green to bluish grey-green pay homage to the magnificent gardens of history.
When Beverley hears viewers comment that her representational work is pretty, she comments wryly, “I have never met a florist who wanted to create a floral design that was ugly.” Referencing her thirty years’ experience operating a floral and wedding planning business known as “Weddings of Fredericksburg,” Beverley admits that by now, her creative relationship with the natural beauty of flowers is second nature.
BCCoates, as she signs her works, seconds Pierre-Auguste Renoir in saying, “to my mind, a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful, and pretty, yes pretty! There are too many unpleasant things in life as it is without creating still more of them.”