Nell Koopman had an interest in painting and drawing since her early childhood, but it wasn’t until 2011 that I opened a studio at the encouragement of friends. Nell earned a degree in communications and graphic design from The University of Alabama and pursued a career in graphic arts. After several years in the graphic design industry she stepped away from her career to earn a Master of Education in Art. While teaching High School level art she had the opportunity to experiment and teach with a variety of mediums including oil, acrylic and watercolor, drawing, photography and ceramics. Opening a small studio geared at teaching and exploring art with the neighborhood kids was a natural fit.
Nell loves to paint with color and texture and manipulate the materials. Her artwork often incorporates layers of acrylic, gel, oil pastel, graphite and other mediums. She experiments in most bodies of work by altering the mediums with water, sand and other fibers which adds an element of surprise while creating. Nell paints with loose and gesturally brush marks and does not want to be tied to a particular style. When painting, mixing and layering, she is always wondering....“what happens if?” Nell's work is inspired by her surroundings whether it be travel, music, people, an event or sometimes just her mood.
Nell Koopman is a native Texan. She was born and raised to love boots, cowboy hats, the great outdoors and all things Texas. As her grandfather said, "You can take the girl out of Texas, but you cannot take the Texas out of the girl." But, having lived in Alabama for over 25 years, she considers it her true home. Her southern roots are strong and another inspiration for her work. For approximately seven years she and her family lived in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and in 2021 relocated to Western Michigan. In the summer of 2023 her family returned to their beloved south, Birmingham, Alabama.
With a background in advertising and graphic arts, Nell's early works were very structured and linear. Through years of experimentation, her artwork has evolved to gesturally and free form. She loves color and texture. The layers, movement and color in the works of Willem de Kooning have provided inspiration for Nell. de Kooning was influential in her early graphic arts career. She is always playing with a variety of mediums and creates works that keep the eye moving around the canvas. Nell's curiosity keeps her continually emerging as an artist.
Since Nell's recent move back to Alabama, she has shown a greater focus on realism. By creating art based on wildlife, architecture and landscape, she feels it's a good way to hone her skills in detail and perspective. Attempting to mix her loose strokes and abstract visions with things more detailed and life like has peaked her curiosity and given her endless ideas.