With a pallet of soft watercolors and masterful brushstrokes, Beverley Coates creates paintings that are light and uplifting and have the power to transport their viewers to a realm of joyful surprises. At the same time, she exhibits a down-home attitude and sense of humor that makes visitors feel as if they have known her for years. (In fact, given that Beverley has spent her life in King George and the Fredericksburg area, many have!)
Throughout November, as the featured artist at Brush Strokes Gallery, she cordially invites all to experience a new exhibit of her works, “Changing Seasons and Times.” Beverley’s paintings are readily identifiable by her hallmark style that reveals a unique sensitivity to the way that light plays on objects and awareness of the structure and detail of features of nature.
In part, Beverley’s perception of her subjects was honed throughout a 30-year career as a florist and wedding planner—which followed years of serving as a teacher in both Spotsylvania and Stafford schools. Her first brush with art (pun intended!) occurred when she was enrolled in an art class at Mary Washington College where she earned her degree as an educator. As she experimented with different mediums that semester, she found that watercolors were meant for her.
“Acrylics just sat there and dried! And when I started with oils, I learned that I was allergic to some of their ingredients and had to put them far away for their long drying times as I added different layers. That was just too long for me!” she explained
Surprisingly, after that first college experience, Beverley put art on hold until many years later in 1995 when a series of events brought home the fact that life getting was shorter and she told herself “OK, Beverley, if you ever thought you wanted to have fun with watercolors, this is the time!”
In pursuit of that joy of creation she looked to the mentor of many local artists, Johnny Johnson, and enrolled in his watercolor workshop 25 years ago, and continues to attend the gatherings every week to this day.
“There is wonderful camaraderie, encouragement, and support from that fantastic group of artists that emanates Johnny’s heart and spirit,” she said.
November’s display of her works will include a number of classic “Bev Coates,” including a grape vine and goblets of wine, and the branches of a Dogwood tree, which she titled “Diamonds of Spring.” Others reveal her sense of humor, such as one of two parakeets
with their beaks at different angles, which she dubbed “Do You See What I See?”
In addition, one work will feature a style of experimentation with a new medium—watercolor on canvas—which requires a series of surface preparations and the application of a sealant. Beverley explains that she began experimenting with this art form when she attended various art out-of-town workshops as weekend getaways from the pace in her career when she was planning and creating floral arrangements for as many as 80 weddings a year. This work on canvas, titled “Approaching Fredericksburg,” features numerous images about town, ranging from the traffic light and mural at the foot of the Chatham Bridge, to a tower on the UMW campus, to a peek at the ice cream cone and a bit of the neon sign at Carl’s.
“I hope those who visit my exhibit will come away thinking the world can be good. I want to convey positivity," Bev says.
A prime example of the accomplishment of this goal is Beverley’s painting titled “Faces” which features a patch of seemingly smiling pansies.
Beverley Coates’ “Changing Seasons and Times” exhibit will be displayed from October 28 through December 1, and visitors will have an opportunity to meet and chat with Beverley and other gallery artists at the exhibit’s opening reception on “First Friday,” November 1, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Visit Brush Strokes Gallery at 824 Caroline Street, open daily from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, to view the special exhibit and our artists' creations in a spectrum of mediums, including hand-crafted jewelry, unique glass art, metal sculpture, images on porcelain, charcoal drawings, pastels, photography, and paintings in oils, watercolors, acrylics, and mixed-media.