Photo by Hugh Fortmiller
|Loring W. Coleman|
|Birth Date: 1918
|Death Date: 2015
|Loring Wilkins Coleman, Jr. was born in Massachusetts, the son of Loring Wilkins Coleman and Christine Snelling. Coleman grew up in Chicago, but also spent much of his youth at Tanglewood, his grandmother’s residence and farm in Concord, Massachusetts.
From an early age Coleman showed talent as an artist, drawing in the margins of his school books and producing whimsical works. Coleman was able to develop his interest in drawing through mentor Russell Kettel, who later introduced him to H. Dudley Murphy. Coleman studied oil painting with Murphy and John Enser. His work matured and so began his lifelong vocation of painting and teaching.
While living and teaching painting in Boston, Coleman met his future wife, Katinka Podmaniczky. They were married in 1941, the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Coleman was drafted into the army and stationed at Fort Lee in Petersburg, Virginia for the balance of the war. He attended Office Candidate School and attained the rank of Captain. Following the war, now with two children, the Colemans moved to Decatur, Georgia where he worked for the Development Office at Emory University. In 1948, the family returned to New England, settling in Sudbury, Massachusetts. Coleman succeeded his former teacher, Russ Kettle, as chairman of the Art Department at Middlesex until retiring in 1974. During these years he taught painting in a variety of venues and continued his career in the Army as a reservist, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Coleman’s approach is one which promotes the viewers’ curiosity about the past and a speculation of the future. Despite old bricks in a deserted house, a dilapidated barn or a decaying tree in a wild field, the pictures are alive. This effect is accomplished by light; sunlight is an important part of the artist’s style.
During his long career as an artist he transitioned from painting in oil to watercolor and never went back. He was an Academician of the National Academy of Design and a member of the American Watercolor Society. In February, 2009, due to failing eyesight, Coleman painted his last watercolor at the age of 90.