Ann Coulter, whose compelling landscapes can now be seen at the Millbrook School’s Warner Gallery, says she would like her paintings to be more than just decorative backgrounds as is so often the case with the genre. She says she wants to give her landscapes “a bigger clearer voice [by searching] out the intricacies that make each place special.”
For much of her life Coulter worked in pastels. Two years ago she began experimenting with oils. As is obvious with this exhibition she has fully mastered the process. Nonetheless one can still see the influence of the pastel technique in the absence of any visible brushstrokes in all of her paintings.
Ann E. Coulter lives near Elmwood, Illinois, a land of vast cornfields and enormous skies. It is this landscape that forms the subject of her paintings. Coulter manages to capture the light, the weather and the atmosphere that define each of the passing seasons. These elements are timeless yet they change from hour to hour.
Many of her images depict the land after a rain or as the snow is beginning to melt in the spring. These are occasions defined by mist and fog, which she manages to convey so vividly that in looking at the paintings one can almost feel the mist and fog on one’s face.
In many of her landscapes Coulter has chosen a high horizon line, or sometimes none at all. This emphasis on the foreground serves to draw us into her work and make us aware not only of the details of the natural world but of the specific qualities of color and light in one particular place at one particular moment.