My name is Laurie Coates and not long ago I almost died. I live and paint in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. I named my art studio "The Magpie Eye" and it is my little slice of heaven on earth. She sits atop a mountain just five minutes from the north flowing French Broad River.
And this is how I became an artist...
At 51, I suddenly found myself at the beginning of an intense inward journey. I needed to find me. To get my health and wellness back and seeking the ever elusive balance and peace I craved. So I started to pay attention. Attention to my thoughts and my feelings. That may sound easy to do for some , but it was not easy for me. I needed to learn to love myself and how to truly live. My near death experience had left me mentally and physically weak and wrung out. I knew I had had to change and to do that I I knew I had to learn. If I haven't already lost you, I bet you are wondering what kind of artist statement is this? Please hold on with me for just another moment because now is when the magic begins!
One day I'm on a treasure hunt with my "Magpie Eyes" at a Goodwill and I find probably my favorite toy ever from my early childhood. It's The Spiromatic! A psychedelic art making toy for kids. Holding that box I am carried back in time to a very young me. I feel joy, excitement, anticipation, giddiness and impatience. The memories are vivid and bright in my mind like it had just happened. Oh the masterpieces of spin art I had given life to when I was just 6. As soon as I was home I gave her a few batteries and she fired right up. Time to paint! While setting up for my first painting I became aware that I was experiencing real joy so I paid attention. The joy I was experiencing was accompanied by faint whispers of "paint" within me. And again, I paid attention. Within a few minutes me and my nifty Spiromatic were making a new masterpiece. And just like when I was a young, carefree and impatient child I could not wait to see what I had made. Yep, in went my hand and the abrupt stop of the spinning sent paint flying everywhere. I can't remember ever feeling happy about ruining my clothes with paint, yet that's exactly how I felt. I was happy and I paid attention. The whispers to paint grew louder in my heart. So I paid attention. My trusty sidekick "Spiro" and I played with paint all afternoon and what had started as quiet whisper was now a roar. And, I paid attention. I had to paint! My inner dialogue that afternoon went something like this... You want better health Laurie? Paint. You want to thrive in this life? Paint. You want to flourish and truly live? Paint. You want more balance and meaning in your life? Paint. You want to be of service and give back joy to others? Paint! And I paid attention.
Now I have my own art studio and I paint daily. It was only when I started to pay attention, really pay attention, that everything came together for me. I am now grateful that I almost died because now I color everyday glad!
1. My favorite time of the day to create is early morning.
2. I’m often surprised when hearts and flowers show up in my work.
3. When I need to get out of a rut I go fishing on the French Broad river.
4. My color palette comes from my heart.
Why do I create the type of art that I do?
I love abstract art which to me is an idea. I always ask the painting to become all it can be with copious amounts of love and encouragement along the way. And yes I do talk to my paintings. I like to think of my hands as tools to be used as needed by the painting. I mostly drive and let the painting do the navigating. In the end, it's really the art's show anyway.