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Andell McCoy displays some of her art during “Abstract Reflection” in Richmond, Virginia.

Andell McCoy exhibits ‘Abstract Reflection’ in Richmond, Virginia

Local resident Andell McCoy’s work is on exhibit in Richmond, Virginia through Aug. 31 in an art exhibition called “Abstract Reflection.”
McCoy grew up in Mt. Gilead, graduated West Montgomery High School and UNC-Chapel Hill with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Journalism.
Immediately following UNC, Andell attended Howard University Law School in Washington, D.C. Later she obtained a Master’s Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy at Phillips Graduate University in Los Angeles.
She has also pursued interests and study in poetry, songwriting, comedy and expressive arts.
Her work experience in Los Angeles and North Carolina includes teaching, counseling, real estate sales, radio syndication, advertising and television.

A group project called “Collective Consciousness, I am Because we Are” involves individual art pieces created in a workshop and displayed as a paper quilt reflecting the experience.

McCoy loves to laugh and people who know her enjoy her stories, her down to earth, bottom-line truth style and her talent for offering comic relief.
McCoy is a self-taught artist who has exhibited a few times, received an honorable mention, is a member of the Stanly County Arts Guild and had work on display at Falling Rivers Art Gallery in Albemarle.
This summer her work will be on display at the Elega Folklore Society in Richmond, Virginia through the end of August.
“When painting I am fully present; in the moment it’s me, the canvas and the paint. I don’t have any preconceived idea of where I am going or what I want to accomplish,” she said. “I just begin, colors, strokes, patterns, movement. I paint fast, working to minimize thinking, to be as spontaneous as possible; sometimes I listen to music; however, mostly I paint in silence. In the beginning of a piece I work to let things flow through me, rather than controlling the experience; then paying close attention, exploring and discovering what shows up; the lines, the detail, the depth, color, contrast and my perception.
“I paint with different sized brushes,” she added. “However, I might use a variety of household items such as spoons, rulers, sticks, lids, straws, toothpicks, etc. to manipulate the paint, for different textures and results. With the acrylics, if there is something I don’t like, I can wipe or wash it off. Sometimes small areas, on other occasions almost the entire piece may be reconstructed. Often in order to access different images/perspectives I may take photographs of a piece or change the direction of my painting by turning it upside down or sideways.”
She also likes working with paper.
“It’s fragile, I can tear, fold, and layer it; color it with crayons, water color, colored pencils or acrylics,” she said. “I most enjoy the richness, the intensity of primary colors, though you will notice that some of my paintings have more muted, faded appearance.
“Perhaps those are reflections of my moods finding the way onto the canvas. Most often I am extroverted optimist, however, I am very comfortable with my more quiet, intuitive and reflective states.”
She encourages others to find creative outlets.
“I run into some many people who say, ‘I’m not creative;’ I believe we all are creative,” she said. “To me, being creative may require willingness to go beyond what we feel most comfortable with; it may challenge us to be less judgmental, more open-minded, more willing to test, trust and reflect.”
McCoy says art is one way people can share their strengths and learn from one another.
“It’s in the creative process that we can find our connections, realize that we are indeed more similar and related than different,” she said. “Art, all creative forms, can challenge us to find and move into new ways of being and doing, new ways. Art can calm us, make us smile, can help us see another perspective, appreciate and understand diversity and each other.
“I hope my work and my paintings can, too,” she added. “When painting, with every stoke, each blend and the space between the images, I am challenged to be more free; to be me and to witness the evolution of a new piece. Free self-expression and free individual interpretation are two elements that I seek to promote with my work. I enjoy the possibilities of imagination.”
For more info, contact Elegba Folklore Society at 804-644-3900 or story1@efsinc.org.