Nathalie was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. With both of her parents’ careers steadfast in the art and design industry, Nathalie was introduced to the creative world early in her life. Coulombe’s parents were fully immersed in the Montreal and Toronto art scene – with close friends like Ray Mead (Painter’s Eleven) and George Zimbel (iconic Marilyn Monroe and LIFE magazine editorial photographer). Nathalie grew up surrounded by Meads work, within a collection of many other recognized Canadian artists. Art covered the walls of her family home in downtown Montreal, and her parents (both having taught art at Concordia earlier in their careers) always explaining the subtleties and importance of the arts to her from a young age. A love and respect of the arts was constantly being nurtured and discussed.
In 2004, Coulombe left Montreal to pursue a need to travel and see the world. Subsequently, Nathalie found herself in Vancouver, where she attended art school. Classically trained in the Fine Arts at Langara College and Emily Carr University of Art and Design, naturally it was in school that Nathalie’s innate love of painting was honed, and her abilities realized. She was offered her first large-scale set of commissions immediately after the grad show and sold two of her displayed works to accomplished abstract artist Scott Plear.
Soon after her time at Emily Carr, Coulombe acquired a space to create in the well known East Vancouver Parker Street Studios, an old mattress factory converted into loft style working spaces for creatives. The compulsion to create art never ceased. For years Nathalie maintained a space in Parker and continued to show and sell her work in Vancouver, growing as a successful emerging artist.
In 2015, Coulombe decided to relocate to the Okanagan, a beautiful and unique part of Canada that Nathalie had been visiting for years. The Okanagan is an arid desert landscape - the northern most tip of the Sonoran Desert that stretches as far south as Mexico. Uninterrupted and focussed, Nathalie was able to work from the nuances of the ethereal world. For Coulombe’s landscape work, the ever-changing scenery from season to season, the various displays of light throughout the day, the abundant plant life, all come together in a sort of visual playground for the artist. For her abstract and more conceptual work she was met with focus and time to recalibrate her thoughts and realize ideas.
Coulombe works on both paper and canvas with various two-dimensional mediums. Coulombe’s artistic interests range from works that are completely abstract in nature to works that are more representational, all the while maintaining her unique style and aesthetic that is so recognizably hers. Nathalie draws inspiration from the natural world, intrinsically through feeling and a vast teetering spectrum of human emotion. Currently, Coulombe peacefully resides in the Okanagan Valley - where she is met daily with a wealth of inspiration. Nathalie has works in private collections across Canada, the United States and Europe. With a distinct style realized early in her career, Nathalie continues to evolve and experiment in her practice.
As a species who in this day and age predominantly inhabit urban landscapes I am interested in the effect that rural settings have on us as humans. For many, the silence and serenity lifts a weight and settles the soul. For many, it clears a space in the mind where peace is found, and life’s challenges seem to fade into perspective. In contrast, there are those that find the tranquility disquieting, forcing us to face ourselves and who we are.
As a Montreal native, it took me some time to adjust to the slower schedule of a more rural setting. It took time to acclimatize to the quiet nights in bed – without the drone of traffic outside my window. The peace and quiet can suddenly find you alone with your thoughts – encouraging you to take a longer look inside yourself.
My landscape work examines various angles of this topic. From the darker spaces of the Phantom Valley or Winter Rumination series to the balance and stability found in the On Our Way Home series, my work is filled with the highs and lows of getting to know oneself.
Georgia O' Keeffe