Creatives de Taos

Norlynne Coar: Artist's journey to the land unseen

By Teresa Dovalpage
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 3/14/19

Norlynne Coar lives in a world of blue, though she admits to crawling out of it occasionally to do something different. Her renditions of portals and horizons draw the viewers in and often have a …

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Creatives de Taos

Norlynne Coar: Artist's journey to the land unseen

Posted

Norlynne Coar lives in a world of blue, though she admits to crawling out of it occasionally to do something different. Her renditions of portals and horizons draw the viewers in and often have a Zen-like effect.

Coar, whose work is in corporate offices, hotels, medical centers and private collections, considers herself a searcher, and her art "a process of discovery." "I have always wanted to go beneath the surface," she said. "I wonder what is on the other side of a black hole. I think it is probably light!"

She has been all over the world. Her travels, work and artist's residencies have taken her to France, Spain, Italy and Portugal, among other countries. She speaks English, French, Spanish and um pouco Portuguese. "My fluency depends on the environment and how often I am speaking the language," she said. "I've traveled alone a lot because it forces me to speak and to communicate with people. I enjoy studying different languages and having to switch between them."

Her love of languages extends to those of music and math. For her, it all comes together, coalescing in experiences that she later translates into art.

This is the third time that Coar has lived in Taos. She moved here for the first time in 1979 to an adobe house in Arroyo Hondo with running cold water, an outhouse and only a wood-burning stove "during the worst winter in 40 years." Undeterred, after buying some land, she returned in 1989, built a house and stayed for about seven years, then went back to film school in California. After working in the film industry for 14 years and several stints in Europe, Taos called her again and in 2017 she came back. She now has her home, studio and gallery downtown, at 913 Gusdorf Road -- where everything is accessible. "I hate driving, with so much money going to the oil companies and creating pollution," she said.

Her next show will take place at Magpie Gallery in September. In the meantime, she keeps painting, taking photographs and producing videos for artists and small businesses, another facet of her creativity that she has recently put to good use. Here are some of comments from our conversation.

You have lived in so many places around the world. Why did you choose to settle in Taos?

I would have loved to move to Europe, except that I couldn't decide where I wanted to be or stay long term. I have friends in so many places! But in Europe, if you want to stay for more than three months at a time, the visa process gets complicated. I needed a home base where I could live and paint. It turned out to be Taos, where I have many old friends, including a prenatal friend. We call ourselves prenatal friends because our parents were friends in Japan before we were born. And I have new friends, too. Another reason I came to Taos is because it is like a village with a very diverse community. I have never liked homogenous populations, and Taos offers a variety of cultures, religions, sensibilities and languages.

What challenges does the Taos art market present to you?

It's more of a traditional landscape market here, rather than a contemporary or abstract art market. I would like to get gallery representation in Santa Fe. Meanwhile, my work can be seen on my website (norlynnecoarfineart.com) and by appointment in my studio. There are also some small pieces at Magpie Gallery.

What are you working on now?

I am working on two pieces as well as smaller pieces. It remains to be seen if they will become portals or horizons. They are 40 inches wide and 30 inches deep, a different size from what I generally use. I inherited these canvases, and I am enjoying working in a different format.

What sparks your creativity?

The sky and the ocean inspire me, and my experiences with the ocean and meditation. I grew up near the sea, in California, so it has always been part of me and my art. Before I start creating, I go into the dark, where things come together -- like tree roots. For me, all new life begins in the land unseen. The creativity and the connection of all things rise up from the deep.

And what happens when you start painting?

There is a real exchange between me and the painting. Painting in layers, I look for what is beneath the surface. I like to look at things from different perspectives, to see them change and to reflect these changes. Other than that, the painting tells me what to do. If I am lucky, it tells me when to stop. In the end, it's really fulfilling when something that may look simple can draw people in for periods of time and bring them to another place or to peace. I hope that then people can go within and let all the noise go.

Please see the Spanish version of this story here.

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