Lately, there’s been a stream of new ventures which have encouraged steps outside my comfort zone. With those steps, I’ve had to brush up rusty skills and develop new ones. After one of my paintings (The Cadence, The Thorns) was published in Arcadia Magazine, I queried their editor. I wondered if the magazine would consider me a regular contributing illustrator of pen and ink drawings for their Online Sundries. The answer was yes!  Other publications have hired me for painted editorial illustrations, but I’ve also hoped to utilize my pen and ink skills for publication. I’ve amassed piles of drawing journals that date far back before I was a painter. Drawing was my first artistic impulse. Those pictures are where I’ve learned to follow creative ideas, even if they lead down rabbit holes. Especially if they lead down rabbit holes.  I’ve learned to draw freely about the various facets of the human condition, maternal instincts, nature, sexuality, adaptation, spirituality… meandering freely and weaving multiple concepts. Organically, I realized that the best way I create is improvisationally, by “anti-method”,  automatism.

And All the Rest, drawing by Charmagne Coe
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Markings
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Intimate Morphology, drawing by Charmagne CoeIntimate Morphology
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Cordelia "Living. Give My Regards to Anubis", drawing by Charmagne CoeLiving, Give My Regards to Anubis

It is exciting to be able share another medium with Arcadia Magzine. I greatly look forward to receiving assignments and concocting images on topic, though still in my anti-method. The drawing below was created for the story “Kurt Vonnegut Didn’t Like Me”, by David Peteroy.

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Later in April, I was again in touch with Arcadia Magazine. The editor asked if I would create an art column that featured and discussed six of my paintings. I am usually reticent to discuss my work in-depth (those of you who know me very well know this to be true), out of a sense of preservation and respect for the process. That process fluctuates and evolves constantly. It changes with skill and experimentation. So, I wondered at how to put my finger on a moving target. How could I broach a topic that by its very nature requires me to celebrate mystery and is often very open-ended to me? I decided to stop troubling myself about misconstruing, or being misconstrued, and do what I’ve always done — create automatistically, but also in writing. It is actually not my first foray into writing, but I’ll share more about that later in a future post.

I hope to convey uninhibited snapshots of technique and what about the painting speaks to me to share with you. I’ve followed the work, advice and ponderings of many artists before me. It makes sense to add mine to the cauldron, sheepishness and risk-aversion be damned. Words, like paint are, after all, another medium. Below is the first painting of my column, Familiar Spirits Light the WayIt is also my most recent painting: Panthea. 

Panthea, painting by Charmagne Coe
I am left with a great deal of curiosity about this cross-pollination of the arts in my life. Gratitude goes to all of you for encouraging, reading and connecting.

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p.s. To my friends who are writers:  I might call on you for advice!