Anyone who knows Cindy Coleman or her work knows the Bayfield artist is an animal lover; she operates under the auspices of Duck Girl Art, after all.
But ducks dont quite make the cut for Colemans new show that opens Saturday at the Sideshow Emporium & Gallery in Dolores. Spectacular Zoo delivers what it promises; in this case about 25 paintings of animals that most of us have only seen through the bars of a cage.
Im a huge fan of the St. Louis Zoo, so every time that Im home I come up with an excuse to go, the Missouri native said.
Last fall when I was there I took almost 400 pictures, and we actually made it around to every exhibit. When Heather (Narwid) asked me to do a show at Sideshow, it was obvious that it would involve my zoo animals.
Colemans zoo is a collection of very realistic animals set against brightly colored backgrounds with odd, fun little accoutrements thrown in here and there.
Her unique process involves gluing scrapbook paper to masonite and glazing it three times so the paper wont soak up the paint. Then she draws the animals image in charcoal and transfers it to the paper and paints the animal using acrylic paint. and finishes it with a gloss.
The whole time Im painting, Im thinking of objects or paper that I can add to the finished piece stamps, wine labels, jewelry, rocks ... Ive collected things since birth I think, so Ive got this huge box that I sort through to find things, she said.
For example, in creating Wolf Played by Jed, which is a painting of a wolf inspired by the film The Journey of Natty Gann, Coleman found that the piece needed just a bit more.
I kept singing Whos Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf when I was painting it, and this wolf didnt appear at all menacing to me, so I threw the song on there, she said, alluding to the added line Whos afraid..... at the bottom of the painting.
Saturdays opening reception also will include a poetry performance by Laura Hawes Thomas, who will read from her Girls Encyclopedia of Sensuality series.
Spectacular Zoo will remain on display through Aug. 25.