Rediscovering Herself Through Art: Ilse Coffman’s Artistic Journey

Get to know artist Ilse Coffman, from Portland, Oregon, as she prepares to release a collection of all new pieces for the latest virtual art show experience from Artburst Studios!

To Be Featured In:  An Unexpected Twist (May, 2024)
Learn More & View Work Examples:  Artburst Studios Artist Profile

Ilse Coffman, a mixed-media artist and educator living in Portland, Oregon, is a storyteller at heart. Her work explores quiet themes that many of us can relate to—home, still life, and the introspection that comes with a life well-lived. After spending over 15 years teaching art to children and running a successful small business, she found herself at a turning point. When the world paused, she took the opportunity to do some deep soul searching, which led her to a new way of expressing herself. What began as a personal exploration soon evolved into a profound artistic journey.

“My art is a collaboration between my body and my soul.”

Ilse’s work reflects a sense of holding on—to home, to children who have grown, and to the quietness of change. Her paintings often depict figures in repose, inviting viewers to step into their stories. She uses a mix of acrylic, oil, charcoal, pastel, and collage to create her pieces. The result is a unique aesthetic that is simple yet raw, with flat images inked on wet paper, embossed, cut, and collaged on wood. Tribal patterns often find their way into her work, creating a rich, textured backdrop to the subjects she portrays.

Growing up in Northern California in the 60s and 70s, Ilse was immersed in the arts, thanks to her parents who were both artists. Her early exposure to textiles, pottery, and tribal arts has had a lasting impact on her artistic style. Despite her artistic upbringing, it wasn’t until later in life that she truly embraced her personal art practice. Now, living in Portland with her husband and two curious yellow labs, she has found a new rhythm, one that allows her to explore and express the beauty and challenges of aging, the comfort of home, and the joy of creating.

Ilse’s paintings capture the essence of these themes, often featuring scenes that evoke a sense of nostalgia and warmth. Her use of rich colors and textures creates a “batik-like” look, giving her work a unique visual appeal. Each piece invites you to reflect on life’s simple pleasures and the relationships that define us.

Through her paintings, Ilse Coffman invites us to contemplate the beauty of a life well-lived and to find inspiration in the stories she tells. Her latest collection of original pieces will be unveiled at our next virtual art show “An Unexpected Twist“, which opens on Wednesday, May 29th at 10am MT. The show will close on Friday, May 31st at 6pm MT. Be sure to create your free Collector Account early so you are prepared for the show open!

You can see more of Ilse’s work at her official website:

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