You might not have guessed it, but the quiet artist we know as Marcia Coppel spent many years as a speech pathologist in the Montgomery County Public Schools. As a child she was drawn to the visual arts, graduating high school with a major in art. After that her studies at George Washington University took her in the direction of speech therapy, which became her major and her field of expertise after securing a post-graduate degree from the University of Maryland.
Born and raised in the District of Columbia, Marcia spent many an hour in the Washington's premier art museums soaking in the colors and compositions of artists past and present. After graduating from college, she began to study art again with private teachers and at the Corcoran. Beginning as an abstract artist, she and went through stages of geometric and expressionistic painting before her current series which she sees as figurative/abstract with a strong emphasis on color. She started making sketches when traveling to Italy, Spain, Greece, and eventually Mexico and now uses the sketches as an inspiration for her current series.
After Marcia retired from her career job, she found her way to Mexico and lived for four and a half years in San Miguel de Allende. She studied at the Instituto Allende as well as with private teachers. At first when she drew the model, the models laughed at her. As her drawings became more abstracted, they became more amusing and the models laughed with her, and she began making paintings from her whimsical drawings. Her "career" had now transformed from speech therapy to painting "figures of speech." Figures communicating with one another on the canvas instead of in the classroom. Painted people sitting at the café table speaking to one another. Purple people talking with blue people under umbrellas of peach and green or people sunning on a hot bright beach beside teal water.
A keen observer of both verbal and non-verbal communication, Marcia says she likes to make people happy through colors and amusing figures in deep discussions, or listening to the latest gossip, or lost in thought. "In my Life Is Too Serious series, she says, "I want to counteract some of the grimness of contemporary life. I hope viewers smile and maybe chuckle at these painted conversations and ink sketches."
If you need a bit of cheering up--and we all do these days, head on over to Touchstone Gallery and get a dose of humor in Marcia's paintings. Then get a kick out of the scribbley ink nudes repeated across the composition . They'll be on exhibit May 3–June2, 2013; Preview: May 1 and 2, 11-6pm. 901 New York Avenue NW, Washington DC; 202-347-2787; Opening Reception: Friday, May 3, 6-8:30pm; Third Thursday: May 16, 6-8:30pm