“I was able to go downtown and take advantage of all of the art galleries and museums... I grew up in an atmosphere of the arts and music, they're very dear to my heart,” said Koepsell.
Additionally, she developed and abiding appreciation for nature which has found its way into her art.
“I grew up around plants and tree. We had a lot of flowers in and outside of the house. I've always had a lot of nature around me. I think I have the nature to interpret that into art... Flora is my favorite subject matter,” she said.
Koepsell attended college in Maryland, married and devoted that segment of her life to raising a growing family.
“When the children got older, I decided that this was my time. So I went out to Windemere to Lydia Quick and I took some lessons in oil painting. I was out there, oh, for several months, I would think, and I got a little it antsy. I decided that I wanted to try watercolor and watercolor has been my medium ever since,” she said.
“I never took lessons on watercolor. The thing that I like the most about watercolor is experimenting. I like have the white piece of paper and seeing it as a challenge. Until you put the first stroke on the paper its kind of frightening. But once I get started I don't want to stop.”
The media of watercolor lends itself to nimble, fleet expression but Koepsell is methodical with how she plans a painting.
She said, “I see things all the time, it doesn't matter where I am. Color is very, very important to me. If I want that shock of color I bring it out, it doesn't matter if it looks like it doesn't go in the painting. When I start a painting, I usually sit down at my drawing board and I draw it out. With oil you don't really draw out a pattern, but with watercolor I find that it helps me to visualize.”
She is quick to emphasize that the artist takes what everyone sees and interprets in through their own lens. “You don't just take the picture and duplicate it. But you map out your own idea of what the painting should be. You have to put your own stamp on it. It's got to have your own feeling in it.”
Koepsell has a recognizable signature style after years of honing her skill. Recently, though she has branched out from that her previously established works.
“[My husband and I] took a cruise and we went to Puerto Rico. There were banyan trees on the walk. My husband asked: 'Why are you taking pictures of the side of that banyan tree?' But I could see different figures in the tree. I looked at that tree and I thought, 'What a great painting that would make!'”
“I know some people that are going to look at this series and think: that lady must be crazy to do this, but I wanted to step out of my box a bit. Its great to paint something that is outside of your nature. You can't paint just paint to satisfy others, you have to paint to satisfy yourself, that spirit in yourself that wants to create.”
Koepsell will be at the opening reception for her show at The Steinway Gallery in Altamonte Springs this Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m.
“I started out with the first picture and I showed it at the Avalon Gallery downtown. It won second place and someone bought it right off. After that I got so enthused [with this series,] everybody raved about that painting,” she said. “I have two from that series at the Steinway Gallery, you have to stand there and see if you can find the different images embedded in the painting because they're not specifically pointed out.”
Jessica Pirani can be reached at email@example.com.