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My Story:
Donna Leigh Coupard

My formal training was as a dancer, historian, and body
psychotherapist. My personal art school was circumstance: In my late 20’s I was hit with MS. While I had always been “Donna the dancer,” suddenly I was bedridden. I had been smart, and now I was too exhausted to string thoughts together. Over the four years I was incapacitated so much fell away. I lay there watching the world – really seeing as only someone who is so still can. I saw light and shadow, line and color. I studied the art on my walls stroke by stroke, and when I emerged I began painting.


My eye now attuned, I had to train my hand. I began with studies of the simple beauty around me: vegetables from the farmer’s market, flowers from my walks. And then on a rainy island, where no one knew

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I was a novice, I took a leap and began painting the faces in front of me. They too were just light and shadow, line and color. In painting portraits I want to capture the tenderness of the subject: their moment of joy, openness, vulnerability. Capturing a true feeling is all-important to me.


Each painting is a new beginning and a continued opportunity to learn. This beginner’s mind keeps me present and grounded. Finally, after having let go of so much -- my dancing, my intellect - painting opens a whole new world for me. It has been my buoy in the rough seas of MS. It keeps me going when the loss and disability have brought me down, generating beauty and creating a new reason to live each day.

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Inquires for commissions and portraits are welcomed. Please contact me for more information and pricing.