Coco

Are you wondering why I am combining two series, ‘Artists I Love’ and the current ‘Breast Week’?  Coco is the reason. She was the inspiration for Breast Week because she just recently had a mastectomy as a result of her second bout with breast cancer. Her first was 15 years ago. She also happens to be a life-long artist.


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Coco – 1972 High School Yearbook

 

A Long Time Ago

Coco went to school with me starting when I was about 13 until high school graduation 6 + years later.  She was one of a handful of people in school who were designated, like I was, as ‘the artist’.  Turns out, now that so many of us are reconnected via social media, we realize our school (Darien High School in Darien, Connecticut) produced a prodigious amount of amazing artists, but back then some already had shown such talent that there was no doubt they were and always would be an artist.  Coco was at the top of that list.

Alas, as often happens after high school, I lost track of most everyone, including Coco.  I moved back to California where I was born and it made keeping connected pretty hard. It was long before social media and unless you called or wrote a letter it wasn’t going to happen.

Cape Cod

Fast forward many decades and my family is going on vacation to Cape Cod and Boston. I post a note on Facebook letting my friends on the east coast know that I am coming their way and ask them who I may know on the Cape. Coco’s name comes up.  I connect with her after 30+ years and find, no surprise, that she is still a practicing artist.

Linda, Caitlin and I made it to Cape Cod and I was able to visit Coco in the summer of ’09. It was the first time I had seen her since we graduated from high school.  She was busy with some commissioned paintings and contemplating a kitchen demolition and remodel. It was great to see her and her fantastic place.

 

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Coco’s backyard

 

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Coco – 2009

Coco’s Art

I also found that she had breast cancer more than a decade earlier and that she painted a series of self-portraits during that time.

 

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Inner Child Prays – Self-portrait

 

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Coco’s self-portraits – displayed in her home

 

The paintings are powerful in color and emotion, but diverse in feeling and depth.  It’s like seeing someone they way they see themselves, a rare gift we don’t often get to experience.  She does what the best artist’s do:  she exposes herself with emotional courage.

 

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Coco at Her Opening – Photo by Steven Specht

 

She also has done amazing work in landscapes, portraits, and collages.  Here is a selection.

Landscapes
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Above All Else – 2007

 

Kehoe's Dune

Kehoe’s Dune – 2007

 

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Kehoe’s Dune – close up – note the hint of a home behind the dunes

 

The Painted Whale  
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Coco Larrain – Painted Whale – 2005

Coco_paintedwhale1-inprogress

Painted Whale – in progress

 

Drawings and Paintings
Coco_painting-ishmaelswisdom

Coco Larrain – Ishmael’s Wisdom

 

Coco_painting-womanredgloves-2012

Woman with Red Gloves

 

Collages
Coco_collage-catandbirdgames

Cat and Bird Games – collage

 

Coco_collage-mothandapple

Moth and Apple – collage

 

Cancer

Coco found out recently that she had breast cancer again.  She is facing it with the same incredible endurance and creativity she faced it last time.  She is embarking on a portrait series of her self once again. This time she is enlisting the help of a very talented photographer, Julia Cumes, to document her journey.  Check out Julia’s blog, Apertures and Anecdotes, to read about her interactions with Coco as they have completed the photo sessions so far.

 

Coco-juliacumes

Coco Before Surgery – Photograph by Julia Cumes

 

I am so looking forward to seeing how her courage and creativity will push her, and us, forward into fantastic and profound moments of art. If you would like to explore more of Coco’s work, you can see it at her website, Coco’s Artwork.

Click here to see the whole ‘Breast’ series

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Fall/Winter 2016

Winter/Spring 2015

Summer 2014

Winter 2012/2013

Winter 2011/2012

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