The paintings of Upper Michigan artist Kristan Coleman are an exploration of vibrant colors and light through different watercolor techniques. You will recognize much of her artwork from quaint areas of the UP and Northern Wisconsin but you will also see an influence from many years she spent living in Spain. She likes to paint the world around her and bring out the unique details and colors that make those places special to her. Kristan has had some formal training but is mostly self-taught through experiences, learning through trial and error, and by studying the works of other artists.
Born in Ohio, grew up in Spread Eagle, Wi and lived in Hancock, Mi; Kristan is no stranger to the beauty the UP offers. When Kristan first went to college she knew she wanted to study art, however, after a year of college she decided to join the Air Force and became an Aerospace Mechanic stationed in Spain and California. After the Airforce, she went to Michigan Technological University to study Mathematics and play volleyball. It was then that her creative side was sparked again by her instructor, mentor, and now friend – Mary Ann Beckwith (award winning watercolor artist and signature member of NWS, AWS and the International Society of Experimental Artists). The spark was short-lived and after college she began a teaching career, coached volleyball, and became a mom. Life got busy.
Her father passed away in 2020 and it was life changing for Kristan. “One of the first things I was inspired to paint was of my Dad snowshoeing with his dog at Misery Bay. While I painted; I cried, laughed, and smiled. I have wonderful memories of hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, camping, and eating lunch at little cafes all over this area with my Dad. Painting was a way to bring color to those memories, and at the same time, it brought me a level of peace and happiness that had been missing in my life.”
That was the spark that she needed to paint again. In 2020, Kristan launched her own line of greeting cards and a website called ArtbykristAn. Her cards can be found at small gift shops like Chickadees in Houghton, Mi. She has painted hundreds of watercolor representations of the world as she sees it – colorful and unique. She currently lives in Iron Mt, Mi with her husband David and her two Scottish Terriers.