The cover art for this issue is in memory of Shelia McCoy Hamilton, whose art we featured on the September 2009 cover. In February 2015, Shelia’s husband Dan wrote to us:
“My beloved wife passed August 27, 2014. If you could consider the attached painting for a Mothers Day cover she would be pleased. We were married for 31 years. I think you could search the world over and never find a man more happily married than me. She was my heart and soul. I will spend the rest of my life focusing on all that we shared and working to make her work known to the world.”
With heartfelt sympathy for Dan Hamilton, and in recognition of her extraordinary body of work, we are honored to remember Shelia McCoy Hamilton.
Shelia McCoy Hamilton was born in the small and impoverished Appalachian town of Matewan, W.V. Her drawing and painting abilities were evident by the time she was nine years old and attending grammar school in Freeburn, Kentucky, 30 miles away. Shelia was the oldest of six children. There was no money for toys or dolls, so she made paper dolls and designed their clothes. This was the beginning of the creative inspiration that lasted throughout her life.
Shelia’s skill and talent developed. Raised in the physically beautiful, but economically disadvantaged Appalachian region, there was no opportunity for a fine arts education. She became a self-taught artist. With determination and drive, she developed a personal and unique signature in her work. From the beginning, her paintings had such appeal they frequently sold before the paint was dry. Patrons teased that her work was indeed “the real McCoy.”
Shelia and her husband Dan relocated to Okatie, S.C., where she found new inspiration in the natural beauty inherent to the Lowcountry. Galleries in the region took notice of her work, appreciating (and wanting) the detailed marsh scenes and still lifes that depict the lush Lowcountry landscapes. Shelia’s true passion was painting ladies and babies. Dan says, “She would have loved to do nothing else. I think it started with those paper dolls.”
A recurrent theme is women: women dressed in flowing skirts walking on the beach—alone or with children; women reading; women enjoying other solitary moments. The paintings have vibrant color and rich patterns of gold and shaded hues to create depth, movement and palpable emotion.
Hamilton’s work is impressionistic; the medium is oil. The loose gestural images are alive with color and emotion. The images embody love and affirm life. In her 2009 interview with Pink, Shelia said, “What I want my work to illustrate most of all is love…because it is life’s greatest gift.”
Since Pink had the great fortune to discover Shelia in 2009, her work has achieved widespread acclaim and is now recognized throughout the Southeast region. Shelia McCoy Hamilton lived a creative purposeful life that celebrated love and beauty. She loved and was loved profoundly. In her life she embodied the principles, grace and passion Pink Magazine strives to promote. We are proud to honor the life and art of this remarkable woman.
For more information about her work go to: www.sheliamccoyhamilton.com