There’s a secret world all around you. Rub your eyes or remove your glasses, and you’ll see it as the light gets a little blurry, the world a bit more dream-like. It’s as if you’re walking in another dimension entirely. And that’s the place where Allison Coelho Picone begins her artistic journey.
Ever since childhood, Allison has been inspired by ambient and ethereal light, and in her stunning mixed media pieces she does a bold and beautiful job capturing that spectral view of the world. When talking about one of her pieces she referred to her approach as “creating chaos on the canvas, then simplifying it.” That’s our kind of philosophy, so it was a pleasure to dig a little deeper into her thoughts on art, inspiration, and nature.
Roominate (R): Walk us through your process when you're creating a piece - Where do you start? What inspires a piece? Etc.
Allison Coelho Picone (AP): Observing the sun’s glow behind a blade of grass, leaf or flower inspires me to create, not only with the colors that result from backlight but also on a transcendent level. I do not produce a representation of what is observed, but rather I create nature’s mood and light. What is originally cast upon the canvas is a chaotic mix of images via textured paint layers or water-manipulated photos directly adhered to the canvas. Through a method of transparent washes, line work, and the removal/addition of more acrylic paint, a more simplified image will arrive.
Not only is making my own mark in paint important, but also choosing a title and writing a description for that particular painting helps to communicate my message. I look to Rumi, philosophers, writers and artists for uplifting quotes before I begin my day. Sometimes the quotes themselves take on a part of the title and of the image. Other times the emotion I receive while painting will lead me towards choosing a title that complements the work.
(R): How has your style changed over time?
(AP): I used to anticipate the outcome of a painting. The final image was in my head and I worked hard to achieve that vision. My work was more representational in thought and execution. I don’t predict the outcome anymore. I enjoy creating a simple image out of chaos. The philosophy and emotions of the current series are also in my mind in order to “arrive” or complete.
(R): What should people know about your work that they might not be able to tell by looking at it?
(AP): I embrace painting from within. From my heart. Created with light and hope. My early years of being in awe of stained glass windows at church have made a lasting effect on how I observe nature. By observing nature, I learned to let go of academic knowledge and discover the true creative self. Life’s chaos can be transformed into peace if one takes a moment to breathe. My goal for each painting is to embrace what nature provides us, that of stillness, peace, beauty and light in our hearts.
(R): What's your favorite piece that you've created so far?
(AP): Enchanting Chaos, 20 x 20”, Mixed media. What I put down on the canvas was at first chaotic but beautiful. The entire process was intuitive and the image that arrived was one from a memory of a repeated childhood dream.
(R): What is your studio/ workspace like? What are your favorite places to work/ create?
(AP): My studio is a very small room that is jam packed with books, a computer, printer, paintings galore, a portfolio cabinet my husband created, a gorgeous view, and all of my materials. Although I walk outside and occasionally paint on location, I prefer to absorb nature’s beauty and recreate in the studio.
(R): What is your biggest acheivement as a creative? What are you proudest of?
(AP): One of my solo shows yielded over 300 visitors and I sold 18 paintings on opening day. Just to think of that day still gives me goosebumps.
(R): What inspired you to become an artist?
(AP): I first realized my love for art in second grade. The word “Artist” was handwritten in a blank check box in my School Years scrapbook. My parents provided a creative and nurturing atmosphere when we were young. Besides our nature walks at end of day and tinting Queen Anne’s Lace wildflowers with food coloring, our dear mother would reproduce Kate Greenaway illustrations in pencil while my sister and I sketched alongside her.
(R): If you could describe your work in 3 words, what would they be?
(AP): Ethereal, light, emotional
(R): If you wanted your audience to know one thing about you/ your work, what would it be?
(AP): My work speaks to the innate goodness of all living things. All of these pieces contain a light within. Nature moves me. My sensitivity is heightened. My work represents that sensitivity and explores the peaceful and restorative power that nature yields.
(R): What advice do you have for emerging artists?
(AP): My most important advice for an emerging artist would be to create something every day to make and develop your own voice, your own mark. Choose a topic or image that is meaningful to yourself and the passion to create will spread like wildfire. Push beyond the obvious to create real beauty, a deep and inner real beauty.
(R): Are there any other kinds of artistic mediums that you enjoy doing?
(AP): My whole family is musical. I enjoy good music, a live band, where everyone on the dance floor is filled with joy. It’s one of the best things in the world to see people enjoying the music and being totally uninhibited while dancing.
(R): Can you tell us about your relationship with Graphik Dimensions Ltd./ pictureframes.com?
(AP): I have been ordering frames from PictureFrames.com since 2010. I have always been satisfied with their customer service and their high-quality frames.
(R): Why do you continue to create with us?
(AP): Because you offer high quality frames at a good price that I can turn around and sell to my clients at a discount.
(R): What are some of your favorite frames to use?