To anyone with young children who insist on watching Disney films again and again and again and again and... (well, you get the idea), the name James Coleman may seem vaguely familiar. The sort of name that you can't quite place but itches at the back of your head. That's because those parents have seen the name a few dozen times in the credits of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. Coleman specialized in background animation during his years at Disney, and that alone should give some idea of his talent as an artist; the background scenes of the films in the Disney Renaissance (the relatively recent Disney films, as opposed to old classics such as Snow White or Fantasia) are one key element that makes Disney's new endeavors stand out so well. Rich details, vibrant colors, and perfect shadowing -- the sort of stuff one might now find in Coleman's paintings.
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After his work on two of Disney's most popular recent films, Coleman left the Disney Corp. Contrary to popular belief, jackbooted agents of Michael Eisner do not track down Disney's ex-employees and "disappear" them for knowing too much. Today, Coleman has achieved international recognition as an impressionist painter. His hazy light is as much a calling card of his painting as his signature. Because Coleman often paints tropical landscapes, it comes as little surprise that his work comes to the Wyland Gallery. Wyland himself all but personifies the kitschy, almost stereotypical tendency of South Florida artwork to incorporate seascapes, shells, dolphins, and other seagoing themes.