Description This was Miriam's first painting with oils after not painting for fourteen years. She was inspired by the relationship she had with her sisters and mother. At the time she painted this picture, her relationship with her sisters and mother was a bit distant. From left to right are: her twenty year old sister, herself, her youngest sister, and her mother. She painted herself facing away from them because, although they are always around each other for support, she feels a great disconnection with them. Facing away also represents the way she views herself as a person who is always looking into the future and not letting the past drag her down. She decided to paint the girls faceless because she feels they lack identity and do not know who they are yet. The specific colors represent the stages in life where they are at. For example, the red to Miriam means wild, fiery, inexperienced, in love, untamed. The blue represents maturity, subtleness, and freedom. The green, young, nave, fun, and careless. Last, the purple represents contentedness, wisdom, weariness, aged. She also decided to put her mother as the person looking at her sisters to represent the influence her mother has on them. The hoods on their heads represent their burdens they stubbornly hold on to. Despite her point of view, she painted them all close together because of the blood that keeps them bound.
Miriam Copeland, Yakima Member Since February 2007 Artist Statement Miriam Copeland was born in Colima, Mexico to a single-mother. When Miriam was 5 years old, the struggles of living as a single mother in a third world country forced Miriam’s mother to immigrate to the United States in pursuit of a better life. Once in the United States, Miriam’s life began to change with her enrollment at Hoover Elementary School in Yakima, Washington. While attending Hoover Elementary, she was selected to join a local art program called Company Seven.
During Miriam’s time with Company Seven, she exhibited two of her paintings at the Yakima Valley Museum. Company Seven helped her develop her skills as a painter for an entire year at the school's expense. Unfortunately, after a year Miriam’s mother had to choose to pay the tuition or take her out of the program. Being a struggling single mother, she regretfully had to withdraw Miriam from the program.
Fourteen years later, Miriam picked up a paintbrush again and remembered the exhilarating feeling she felt while in Company Seven. With the support and enthusiasm of her husband and family, Miriam rediscovered her passion for painting.
Miriam's most recent work has been done in a period of six months without any classes or training since Company Seven. Her paintings have a surrealistic aura that almost feels like a dream. Although some of her paintings come across as eerie, her ultimate goal is for people to find out why they feel vulnerable by her art. Miriam’s goal is for her paintings to bring out subconscious feelings that need to be dealt with.
Miriam’s studio is a tiny space in her apartment where she resides with her best friend— her husband. On any given day, when she is feeling inspired, she sits by the window in her studio and begins her creative process. What Miriam loves about her art is the way her paintings seem to stray from her original intentions into a world of their own and the satisfaction that comes from creating something beautiful out of nothing. The new ideas that the creation process generates become fused with her original thoughts to create something unexpected and exciting.
Miriam currently lives in Washington state and is attending college with the ultimate goal of earning her Master of Fine Arts degree. Her association with Yakima Valley Community College's Larson Gallery, as a Guild member, has allowed her to display one of her paintings, Guilty.