So, what about this lady named Irene Coatta who has lived in SunBird for 25 years? She is a salty, diminutive, tell it like it is person packed full of energy and the owner of over 380 paintings which hang in each room of her house. All are products of her zest and talent. There are more under her bed. One is a nude requested by a husband who then refused to pay for it, so Irene tucked it under her arm and marched home.
When did she first notice her love for art? “The moment I was born,” she says. Her real passion for art began while raising her three children and ranching in Washington. She learned then taught ceramics between driving farm tractors, feeding cattle and caring for the family. Two of her three children followed her path and are competent artists.
She has worked in 23 mediums and when asked which she likes best, she replies, “Whatever one I am working on at the moment because I love art and try everything.” She currently paints mostly in oil, alla prima, palette knife – egg tempera, old master technique, pastel watercolor, acrylic, pen and ink, scratchboard, clay board, ceramics, china, glass porcelain, clay sculpture, cold cast bronze, paper sculpture and murals.
Her extensive travels, plus living in Mexico City and Europe, stirred her to expand her creative gifts; studying at Herzfeld School of Art in Wiesbaden, Germany, enhanced her professional art training. Other colleges attended are San Jose, De Anza, Foothills (CA), University of Colorado, and Northern Arizona.
She has taken over 65 workshops in the United States. Her art is displayed in Europe and the USA plus galleries in AZ, CA, CO, NM, WA, WY and others can be found in homes and businesses throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Mexico.
Being a versatile artist, Irene creates art in many different mediums with a varied assortment of subject and styles. “I try not to conform or follow a certain formula or procedure. I want my work to communicate an energy of interest to my viewers. There is an emotional attachment to everything I paint, no matter what the subject matter may be.”
With her husband she traveled and lived in Europe three years. She was especially interested in viewing paintings of the old masters there, many of which she has reproduced.
Along with many other publications, Irene is also a writer with one book completed and another in the works. She wanted to write a murder mystery, so she took a three month training program with Chandler police in preparation. “I didn’t know crap about murder.”
Many SunBird residents have produced paintings now hanging in their homes due to her tutelage. She was instrumental in establishing the Art Club many years ago. An activity she enjoys is teaching art to first graders in Chandler.
Currently, there is a painting of a realistic row of books in the SunBird library. One can read the titles on each and many mention our residents. For example, there is Earl the Pearl’s Voice Lessons.
“I create decorative murals by commission and am available to give art workshops in various media.”
Father’s little farm girl has done pretty well.