Painter Corinne Cowen Pomeroy has always been an artist. “I was raised by and around creative people,” she says, paying homage to an uncle who was especially influential in her life. “He was a gay man living in Wilmington in the 1980s, and he was always surrounded by beautiful and interesting things—fabulous interiors, antiques, people,” she recalls admiringly. They’d take day trips to Philadelphia, where he’d introduce her to arts and culture. “In many ways, he shaped who I am today,” she says.
Expressing herself for as long as she can remember through fashion, drawing, découpage—all art forms, really—Pomeroy’s parents put her in painting classes at age 10. “There was little focus on the arts in my school at the time,” she says, “so this enabled me to hone my craft.”
In high school, the Ursuline Academy grad found her style through AP Studio Art, where traditional instruction compelled her to break boundaries in her free time. With a fondness for the abstract, Pomeroy went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from University of Delaware, where she also had the opportunity to travel to Florence, Italy, studying at the renowned Santa Reparata International School of Art.
With adulthood on the horizon, however, Pomeroy feared becoming the proverbial starving “career” artist, even turning down another opportunity abroad for a more stable path in marketing, where she played it safe for more than a decade. It wasn’t until she gave birth to her son, Wyatt, in June 2017 that she got the push she needed to live her passion.
Corinne Pomeroy: Having Wyatt brought me back to pursuing what made me truly happy and grounded me. The real push came when my best friend [fellow UA grad and music therapist-turned-calligrapher] Lauren Gagliardi Kelley hosted a holiday pop-up the following year and asked me to participate. Art had always been more personal for me, but she inspired me to just do it, saying it was time to put my work out in the world.
CP: I’m inspired mostly by topography and the beauty and emotional depth of time and place. Memories are moments in our lives—good or bad—that shape our being and help chart our course. Nothing is more concrete in those moments than where we are and what we’re feeling, creating, over time, a “map” of sorts.
CP: I mainly use acrylics and various inks, while occasionally mixing in remnants of past works. Texture takes center stage in the majority of my work, with the layering of paint representing the layering of life.
CP: Perspective is core to my most recent work, which has evolved over time and is more mature now, I think. Lately, I’ve been looking to my garden for inspiration. It’s a space to be in my own head and helps fuel creativity. Gardening is a lot like painting—adding various elements to make a beautiful composition.
CP: Place—somewhere you can let yourself go and just make things. Surrounding myself with materials and inspiration, as well as having my own space to create makes it more fluid and fulfilling.
CP: Like my work, this has evolved over time. It used to be R&B and hip-hop on my iPod. Now it’s podcasts on my Bluetooth. Criminal and Terrible, Thanks for Asking are two series I love. I’m drawn to people’s stories and how they’ve been shaped by things that have happened to them. I love to read and hardly have time for it, so these allow me to “read” and do art at the same time.
CP: I was doing a festival show (Pomeroy has appeared at the Brandywine Festival of Arts and Yorklyn’s Center for the Creative Arts show, among others) and a woman who was observing this one particular piece—lines and loops in black and white—said, ‘This looks like a blind contour drawing. Did you close your eyes, and what were you trying to make?’ This hit home. It wasn’t a contour drawing, but I thought, in a way, I am always feeling my way through the experience across the canvas. We’re pretty much all doing a blind contour drawing through life, right?
CP: In my opinion, the arts are foundational. You wouldn’t throw someone into the world without any math instruction, and we shouldn’t underestimate the benefits of art, music and dance. They provide an outlet and help you to become comfortable with yourself. For a long time, I was on the board of the Christina Cultural Arts Center. For many kids there, it was a safe haven, the one thing in their lives they looked forward to. I’ve seen firsthand how impactful this can be. I’ve also donated my work to various local fundraisers, so it’s been a way to give back.
CP: I’ve always been drawn to the texture of Van Gogh’s work. It seemed impossible to me to create scenes with brushstrokes like that, and when I was a student, this technique [celebrating] imperfection helped me feel more comfortable with not exactly following what I was taught in art class. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more interested in abstract expressionism, particularly Mark Rothko, and how art and history relate to one another. I follow various artists on Instagram whose work inspires me. I can’t stop looking at @kenjihoshiart, whose 2D acrylics on paper look 3D. Catherine Freshley is a Midwest painter whose landscapes evoke emotion because they are similar to my paintings, in that they’re depicting time and place. It’s almost like her realism and my abstractness are yin and yang.
CP: Ideally, it turns into steady work commissions. I hope to find that space in my head and soul that I think every artist spends their life searching for—a style that is so clearly mine and feels so good to produce. I want to make people’s lives a little more beautiful; if I can do that subtly or on a grand scale, I’m happy.
To view Pomeroy’s work, visit ccpfineart.com or follow her on Instagram @ccpfineart.