Introduction to Natalie Colleen Gates and her Art

A brief explanation of my painting style
Natalie Colleen Gates

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Although I think technically not my first blog post, this is the introduction to Natalie Colleen Gates Artist Blog. In creating this blog I intend to share who I am, what motivates me, my philosophy of art, as well as some of the day-to-day aspects of being a professional artist.

Me, The Basics:

I’m thirty-five (for the moment) and my birthday is coming up soon; I’m not looking forward to it. Actually, I have a lot to be proud of this year and I am really looking forward to Fall weather. I recently left my job of five years to pursue my art and nothing but. It’s been a month so far and I still have food on my table, money in my bank account, and (currently) a beer in my hand. Also, I really disliked my former occupation so I’m much happier.

A photo of a hamburger with fries
People really loved my burgers.

I was a line cook in my former occupation. I’ll never really know how I ended up in that job except that my first impression was that it is a lot better than waiting tables. Still it was not a profession I loved.

Before I was a line cook I was an art student at Virginia Commonwealth University—that I loved—I drank way too much, but I managed to graduate Cum Laude anyway and pick up a whole bunch of really pretentious ideas about what it good art and what is bad art.

Okay, maybe I still have some pretentious ideas. If you’re the type of person who thinks Bob Ross and Thomas KinKade make beautiful paintings, I’m probably not the artist for you.

Prince (yes Prince):

A couple of years ago, Prince died; I’m a big fan of Prince. I’ve never been the type of person who cries over celebrities passing, but Prince’s death hit me really hard. I think it was the fact that he would never write another song that really got me; I considered him a genius.

His death effected me two ways. One, he wasn’t old; I realized that I might not have decades and decades of life ahead of me to figure out how to make great art so I might as well start making the art that I’ve been making since I was a child. And two, despite making songs with popular appeal he was still a great musician; Prince made money doing what he loved by making music that ordinary people loved. In other words, instead of trying to make art for curators and art critics I could make art for ordinary people and make a living doing what I love.

A photo of me holding my Rain album
“A photo of me holding my Purple Rain Album*”

My Artistic Style:

A renaissance style painting of drag queens
“Three Fancy Ladies” Oil on Panel, 16″ x 20″

In art school I learned to revere High Modernism. As a child I thought that the Renaissance artists were the pinnacle great art. The thing is, I’m not usually patient enough to paint like a Renaissance Artist.  When I try to work abstractly I feel that my paintings become formulaic.

For me painting isn’t about subject matter so much as it is about applying paint to a surface. Meaning, I don’t paint because I enjoy depicting a subject. I paint because I enjoy the different brushstrokes that I use when painting.

Despite this, I am not a non-objective artist.

I feel that painting objective subject matter gives me a framework upon which to use many different brushstrokes and techniques (I consider myself somewhat a technique whore).

An oil painting of Devil's Triangle in Richmond, VA
“Church and Garage at Devil’s Triangle” Oil on canvas, 18″ x 24″

I say often that my style is the result of having a lot of skill and not a lot of patience. There are aspects of my paintings that resemble Photorealism—
some of them look like photographs from a distance—but I rebel against that. The Expressionist in me needs to add more weight to my brush strokes.



Reading this blog you will gain insight into my personality, as well as my philosophy on art, projects I’m working on, and my day-to-day life. I plan on updating frequently, so please subscribe so you don’t miss a post.


*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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