Posts tagged #montana artist

Growth - With One Eye

One of my favourite portraits is a self portrait of Pablo Picasso as a young man. Wether it was intentional or unfinished, he created a painting of  himself with only a single eye, and the other a bit smudged out. I had the opportunity of seeing it in person a couple of years ago at the MET. While it was small, it held so much strength.

Below is the second piece I have left, "unfinished", missing an eye. The first was a self portrait I did many years ago...I often wondered why I was attracted by something seemingly left undone.

Perhaps on a subconscious level, I like it because it symbolizes (for me) the human need for growth. We are all unfinished beings.  Or perhaps it means we like to keep something for ourselves, not giving society a full reveal - Guarding our hearts.

Today I decided it was time to place the final mark (my signature) on this 1 - ish year old piece painted from life at the Scottsdale Artists' School with artist Johanna Harmon. Her words of experience continue to echo through my thoughts as I paint. Thank you for helping me grow Johanna - you are an excellent artist and teacher! 


Pablo Picasso Self portait - hanging at the MET


Self portrait study 2009

Vintage family photo

In the last several months I have been receiving more portrait commissions. Yay! :) This particular commission is different than the usual commissions I am asked to do. This image is a detail shot of a work in progress, referenced from a 1920's vintage family photo. In those days it was not uncommon for photographers to use copper materials to produce an image, called a photogravure. Because the portrait was made in that time frame, in addition to it being highly archival, I have chosen to paint on copper.  (side note: I'm very grateful that my patron has absolute faith in my choice.)  I'm finding that painting on this surface changes my technique, keeping the paint smooth and forcing me to change the way I use my medium, as well as using different brushes.  Luckily, I watched a youtube video by Sadie Valeri demonstrating the use of her medium. medium. It was so very helpful, as this is definitely a learning curve for me. My goal in creating this piece is to provide smooth textures on the face(s) while incorporating my preferred, textured, brush strokes as I work out. 

I definitely love this process thus far, and hope to do many more commission works on copper in the future!

This piece has many more hours to go until it is finished. To see this and several other works in progress, be sure to follow me on Instagram, and Instagram stories.  Link/icon is at the bottom of the page.

If you have any questions or would like to begin the process for your own commission, please contact me at:

Thanks, and have a beautiful day! :)    ~ Coila                                                                                       

Bringing Back the Auction for 1 Full Week

Are you wondering why I'm bringing back the auction all week long?

Many of you have been following my work since before the very first time I offered artwork up for auction, raising money to go to NYC for a 2 week art residency 2 years ago. That was a pivotal point for me with my work. My career. Since then, I've made a strong commitment to my work, and paint in the studio nearly everyday. If I'm not painting, I'm researching imagery, planning projects, and listening to podcasts. If you've been following since then, you know how far I've come. But I have big goals. Big dreams. I need more progress. I need to be better.

The most recent, and most important of my successes to date is the recognition as a finalist from the Portrait Society of America for "Portrait of a Family Man" for which I'm truly honoured. This gives me great courage in proceeding to my next step(s).

In the past several months I have also been busily working in my studio putting together a strong portfolio of works to take to their annual conference in April.

I'm using this week's sales to aid me in making that trip to Atlanta for this amazing opportunity. Not only will I have the opportunity to have my portfolio critiqued by America's modern masters, I will also have the opportunity to watch them work, as well as take workshops, network (hopefully find a mentor) and absorb as much knowledge as possible.

Being an artist is not the easiest road to travel, but I've wanted it my entire's the only thing that has truly "fit". This conference is the next step in my career.

I thank you for your continued support of my work, applauding my successes, and encouraging me when I need it...thank you for being a part of my journey. Again, I am truly honoured.

To follow the posts tune in everyday @ 8:30 a.m. MST on my personal FB page. The auction will run through til Monday, February 27th. 

Link to today's posting :

All the best on this Monday;
Happy Presidents Day, and National love your dog day!

~ Coila Evans

Posted on February 20, 2017 .

Friendly reminder from 30 works in November

I was looking for an image this morning on my Instagram account, and came across this friendly reminder. Thought this should be on my blog.

This quote (below) from living legend, Howard Terpning, is one of the reasons I'm doing 30 small works in November. While each piece does not visually indicate I've "grown" or "learned more" or "pushed myself" as an artist. Each piece does represent a problem I'm trying to solve. Be it working to put down paint in a limited amount of time to become more efficient with my work, or seeking geometric shapes inside of light and shadow, capturing an expression and likeness on a small surface, telling a story, or simply creating form by referencing a piece of fruit. 
Keep your eye out for the piece that speaks to you most. Let me know if you would like to make arrangements for that piece, as many will be available for the Christmas Stroll on Saturday.

Thank you for following for the past 28 days. 
There are only 2 days that remain, but my efforts in learning will not cease. Cheers to 2 more days! 🎉

"I'll never stop learning. There's so much that I don't know. The day that a painter says he knows it all, that's the day he should hang up his brush. The greatest thing about painting is to trying to improve and learn. That's just about the best part." Howard Terpning. 
Western Art Collector, June 2016.

"Best Nine" from 2016

The Power of Art - We Didn't Start The Fire

Friday night we met friends out for an hour or two. Short evening. We stopped in to hear people sing karaoke. We sang "We didn't start the fire" by Billy Joel. Not my idea - hubbs. 


As I was singing. A terrible singer mind you. Yes, I'm one of those! But there were back up singers for the melody, so I'm hoping it saved the audience a bit. As we were just going through the motions, be bopping the words out...I could really start sensing the importance of the words and how relevant they are...I've loved this song since I was a kid! I knew it was politically charged. I knew part of the history, but never really looked up any of the history behind the lyrics. Only recently did I learn who the Rosenbergs were. Thanks to 60 minutes.


Of course, the older I get, the more I learn, etc.


With this election and watching the debates, I've been working to figure out who is the best candidate for me. Trying to focus on the issues that are important to me, while looking at what is best for the country as a whole. I do not feel proud to cast a vote for either of these people.


As I read these words aloud, I could feel this innate sense of anger well up..I wasn't merely saying the words, I began to feel them, and by the end of the song when it reads, " I can't take it anymore!"

I yelled it out followed by solid profanity!!

It felt good to get it out! 


I do not feel especially proud that I yelled in public over a microphone. That people were subjected to my rant. But I did.  And maybe I yelled what everyone is thinking or feeling. I did not begin my evening with frustration and feeling disgruntled. In fact I had a terrific day!

But it was obviously in there, as it came rolling off of my tongue like a freight train without brakes. 


I'm left feeling surprised Billy Joel's song didn't have more angst to it. I'm wondering if his producers reigned him in. Those words are so powerful. I feel surprised he wasn't screaming at the top of his lungs during recording. Or maybe he does when he performs. Or perhaps he saves that for himself...when he's in the throes of writing or singing in his own privacy.


This madness! 


This manipulation! 


Testing our values, and logic, and putting us in boxes with labels that would have each of us with different views or opinions turn  on the other like rabid animals. Trying to make us feel inept, bad, corrupt, you know this list goes on. Even urging us to feel the end of the world is surely imminent come November 9th. 


Really?!?! Yes! It's coming all right...maybe tomorrow, or the next day, or 109 years from now. 


Until then I shall continue following the path I'm on. Continue to make a daily effort toward gratitude. I can only hope one day I can make art so powerful it can affect generations to come.


Finally, I'll be more mindful about  singing politically charged songs during election season - ha!







Courage gaining - A slightly edited text to my cousin

So, I think I keep sending you these things (out of love and encouragement)...because I need it too.

I want to's the likely next step in my business. I think of good ideas, titles, etc. But.I.Just.Will.Not.Do.It!!

So weird!

But, I'm gonna try. I must. I'm stepping out on a precipice of faith. Scaling back my massage business by 90% give or take a little. I have no choice if I want to make the gallery work. If I want to make my art give them a fighting chance. The gallery needs it. I need it.

As I'm writing this, I'm thinking maybe I'm actually blogging to you. In this moment. Maybe this is how it starts - No need for complexity.

It feels scary, and naked, and vulnerable.

No wifi at home. Because. I'm not supposed to be working from home. This work is meant to occur at the gallery. Ironically, I'm standing in my bathroom (standing. not sitting. Freshly washed hands of course). Meanwhile my nacho dinner (most recent obsession) is getting cold in the microwave. Ha!

Let me know if you would like to navigate these waters together. I hear its good to have someone that can help hold a person accountable in these cases. Ha. Ha.

Dear audience, thank you for reading this blog. Thank you for following my work.   There is more to come in these coming months, as I am very excited about a project that I'll be working on this winter. I sense it is very important, and am grateful for the opportunity to document modern day history.

Please continue to follow as I strive to make the transition from a part time business that I very much love, to another business that I love even more. Artist. Gallerist.

Warm regards, Coila

#LoveWhatYouDo #DoWhatYouLove #Grateful


The Art of Seeing.

The Art of Seeing.

Could it be comparable to the art of stopping?

Perhaps the art of finishing?


Recently, I have been devouring podcasts on art and on business.

I enjoy both as they feed both sides of my brain. A person cannot have one without the other, no?

The artist must create. Create. Their. Very. Best. Work.

The artist must also know how to sell their work.

Sell directly to patrons, OR to a gallery.

As it turns out, I am both artist and gallerist. Responsible for the sales of my artists, for myself and my husband.


But, back to the art of seeing.


I have been listening to this podcast with Quang Ho:

Quang Ho is one of the artists I am most fascinated by. He talks on the art of seeing and what that means. I've listened to this podcast 3, maybe 4 times, in the hopes of gleaning insight to help my work evolve.

The latest and perhaps most important information I have replayed countless times is the bit about light and shadow, and Rembrandt. How the science of light and shadow in 7 steps is so profoundly simple an 8 year old could understand. As I listened  over and over to these steps - I painted. I painted a wonderful start on a self portrait I am working on to meet a deadline.  As I painted, my focus was on letting the value of colour turn the form, creating a more 3 dimensional shape.

I felt so happy with Sunday's  outcome, Monday I completely dove in to painting while listening to Phil Collins Easy Lover and Groovy Kind of if his musical mastery coupled with nostalgia would help me complete this new work. Without too much time passing, I ruined it. I erased, repainted, erased, repainted, and erased and repainted one more time before I picked up a new canvas to lay down a wash of color to tone the back ground. You see, I was painting without any intention...other than from the feeling of spontaneity as the notes of the music echoed through the studio.


I decided that I was having too much fun listening to music, and immediately went back to "studying" via podcast. 


The ability to study a subject, and paint what I see without force, is undeniably the most difficult thing I have tried to achieve. The portrait and the figure (in my opinion) are the most difficult subject to pursue, as the human eye can detect a flaw in one quick second...even if they are not able to pinpoint the flaw, the human eye knows something is off.


While I am certain I will always be on the quest of "seeing", it is plain as day I was well on my way to making the self portrait muddy and over worked. 


Monday's  lesson: know when to start so I can know when to stop. 

                AKA: painting with intention.




After a long conversation Sunday night with veteran artist, Neil Jussila, from Billings, MT, I have finally decided to blog. While his work is completely opposite of mine, I greatly admire his work. He recommended the benefits of journaling...he told me himself he is half way through his 73rd year. Who am I to question such sound advice. After all, this is a practice that has proven to stand the test of time. Without journaling we may not have ever known Anne Frank.


Thank you for reading. Thank you for following my work.


Cheers from ⭕️⬆️, MT.

Coila Evans

Artist. Proprietress.