Hinsdale artist paints the world she knew out West
Watercolor artist Deeda Cordin gives her cut flowers a drink of water. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Has lived in: New Mexico, Wyoming, Virginia, Hawaii, Michigan, Florida and Illinois
Media of her artwork: watercolors, acrylics, oils, and sculptures in clay and wire.
Number of children: 3
Number who are artistic: None (she says).
Updated: July 15, 2012 2:34PM
Seeing Deeda Cordin’s paintings, one can tell where her heart is — out West.
She paints big horn sheep in Yellowstone National Park, buffalo in the Black Hills, and a tack room in Montana. She paints still lifes, landscapes and lots of horses.
“I love horses,” Cordin said. “The first word I ever said was horse.”
Cordin, who lives in Hinsdale, grew up in New Mexico and Wyoming.
“My parents had a real working cattle ranch with real cowboys” she said, and the cowboys were just as rugged and appealing as those portrayed in Hollywood Westerns.
“I fell in love with every one of them,” Cordin said. “They were always such gentlemen.”
Because they lived so far from the nearest school, her father built a schoolhouse on the ranch and hired a teacher from New York to come and teach Cordin and her three sisters.
When she was a young teenager, the family moved to Wyoming.
“My dad wanted another adventure,” she said.
He was looking for land to run a dude ranch, but instead found property the University of Miami in Ohio rented for its geology department. Wyoming’s vast prairies and mountain ranges resulted from a long geologic history dating back more than 2 billion years, which Miami students came to study and research.
“My mother and my aunt cooked all the meals for the students. My mother forced us to get up at 4:30 every morning and make sandwiches for them,” she recalled.
Still, it was a great childhood, but one that did not include art education. Cordin did not take any art classes until she was in college. Early on, she painted with oils.
“But I got so tired of the drying time with oils. Sometimes it can take months to dry,” she said.
Cordin found painting with watercolors more to her liking.
“Oil painting is very deliberate. With each stroke you take, you know what is going to happen,”she said. “With watercolors, you don’t.”
Cordin planned to bring about 22 original watercolors to the Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival and a few prints. They cost between $90 and $320. Cordin only does two shows a year, the festival last weekend in Hinsdale and one in Black Hills, South Dakota.
“It’s a good excuse to pack up my paintings and go out there,” Cordin said. “I love it there. “
“I travel several times a year.” Cordin heads west with her camera and takes “hundreds, in not thousands of photos.” She uses the photos, sometimes combining the images, as the subjects of her painting.
She prefers painting indoors rather than in the field. She paints in her studio and frame shop, Deep Creek Art, named after her family’s ranch in New Mexico, which was named for the creek on the property.
She originally just wanted a place to paint away from home.
“I would start painting at home in the morning. Before I knew it, it was 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and I hadn’t done anything but paint,” she said.
No laundry, no errands, no cooking: “Once you start painting, you lose all sense of time.”
So in 1995, Cordin rented second-floor space in a building on Washington Street in Hinsdale.
Over the past 17 years, her personal studio moved to 44 Harrison Place and expanded to include art lessons for children and adults, custom framing and painting on commission.
“It started out as a place for me to paint, and evolved into a place for others to paint and for custom painting,” she said.