Category Archives: Thoughts

Soul searching, why do I paint?

“Once, Picasso was asked what his paintings meant. He said, “Do you ever know what the birds are singing? You don’t. But you listen to them anyway.” So, sometimes with art,
it is important just to look.”
– Marina Abramovic

Rising Sentiment  24" x 24" work on canvas/panel ©2017 Deborah T. Colter

Rising Sentiment 24″ x 24″ mixed media work on canvas/panel ©2017 Deborah T. Colter

Why do I paint? Why do I make paintings? Why do I include the collage materials in my work? I am at a curious place in my world where I find myself asking these questions and not being totally clear on the answer. I have always done it; it has always been a part of me, habit, pattern, but why? That is a much larger question to answer and do I even know? Let’s do a little soul searching…

I often feel that my paintings take on a life of their own however, the paintings would not exist if I didn’t exist to create them. Making art that comes from the soul is such a deeply personal thing that no two people can make the same thing. I am continually fascinated with building layers of collage into my work. I think of them as layers of experience. The experiences I have had, the life I have led, the happiness in my life, the food I have eaten, the tears I have cried all contribute to what is me. These layers of my experience inform what I paint. For example I love water, flowers, vegetable gardening, fish, cooking, reading, family, stars, circles, a drawn line, color, and the feel of paint, on and on. All these things are imbedded in my DNA; they are what make up “me”. The feelings and emotions I have when experiencing daily life informs the mark making and design of the work. It can be as simple as a single line I remember from the curve of a tree, a color from watching a sunset, a circle seen from looking out of an airplane, tears cried when my mom passed, picking a fresh strawberry. All of things are accumulated subconscious memories that continually inform the paintings I make. I guess my answer to why I paint is that I paint to visually communicate my experiences. I paint to remind myself of the things I love, I paint to escape the doldrums of daily life chores, I paint to awaken my senses to the simple joy of brilliant blue or yellow or green. I paint to see how a piece of charcoal makes its mark on a field of color. I paint to experience life and I paint to express my life experiences, to share the joy and the pain through a singular visual language. I paint to share my world.

I am in gratitude to you for sharing my world with me and for taking the time to just look. Why do you do what you do – have you asked yourself lately?

Rising Sentiment is available from artist.

Inspiration, what is it that lights you up?

“Life inspires me to paint. Painting inspires me to paint.”      – Dion Archibald 

Inspiration Board

Inspiration Board

Inspiration.

What inspires you as an artist? I think this is one of the most asked questions an artist gets other than “how long did it take you to make that?” Inspiration, what lights you up? What are the things you love? How often do we really stop and collect all those things together and analyze them? I was asked to do this exercise as a part of a workshop and it was an eye opening experience. I cut out photos of the things that inspire me – pasted them on a board and hung it in my studio. Wait a minute; does my art come out of all these different things? I had to really question what I was painting and why? I have always felt that my work comes from a deeper place within – it is connected to everything that is me – I just couldn’t see the connections clearly in the work I had been making. My work suddenly felt shallow and super controlled, too deliberate with these new eyes.

Now what?

The suggestion was to write, stream of consciousness sort of thing, think about how you feel about these things, allow the deeper feelings to surface – let go, take risks. All things that used to be so easy to do but somehow I managed to bury. I am not sure I am any closer to painting the things that really light me up however; I am on a path to include the feelings, the emotions, the layers, and the depth in my paintings. To put a muzzle on my inner control freak and allow the experience of painting guide the work where ever it chooses to go. One thing I learned is that what inspires me is allowing all the various elements of my experience to surface through the multiple layers of my painted language. I learned that painting inspires me to paint. I am super excited about the new work I am making and can’t wait to share more.

What inspires you in your work?

Mechanical Energy    24" x 36"    mixed media work on canvas   ©2017 Deborah T. Colter

Mechanical Energy   24″ x 36″   mixed media work on canvas   ©2017 Deborah T. Colter

Mechanical Energy is available.

The Pause Button

Matter Remixed 24" x 36" work on canvas/panel ©2017 Deborah T. Colter

Matter Remixed   24″ x 36″   work on canvas/panel     ©2017 Deborah T. Colter

Sometimes life events put you on pause. Unexpected, expected it doesn’t really matter – time seems to stop and then one day you look up. Where was I, what was I thinking, what was I doing, where do I go from here?? These are all questions I was facing this past winter when I was able to return steadily to my studio and my work. How do I get back in touch with my inner soul – my work – my passion? The answer for me was to step a bit outside of my comfort zone and to commit to an online creative visionary program (CVP) with Art2Life that has rocked my world. To give myself up to total immersion in an intensive 12 week program that I knew very little about was a real leap of faith. I will speak a little more about CVP in the next time as I am still processing this amazing experience. Some may believe that artists who seek out workshops are just starting out, my feeling remains that there is always something more to learn. I hope I never stop wanting to learn. Stepping out on a limb was the best gift I could have given to myself at this time.

The good news is, here I am posting to my long sleeping blog and while I can’t commit to future posts. I can say that I am glad to be painting, I am working steadily again and I am totally excited about my new work. I look forward to sharing more thoughts with you all about my creative journey.

“As artists, we must learn to be self-nourishing. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them – to restock the trout pond, so to speak.”
-Julia Cameron 

Painting the Roses Red 12″ x 12″ work on panel

 

The Color of Love

“Through some memory, feeling, experience, the passion wells up and spills into my palette; it mixes with my paint. And the paint tells me what to do. I listen. I act on it.”
Ann Dettmer

Seduction 1399  40" x 30" work on canvas

Seduction 1399   40″ x 30″   work on canvas

“February is the month associated with the color purple and the birthstone for those born is February is Amethyst.” Purple is also said to be uplifting, calming to mind and nerves, It offers a sense of spirituality and encourages creativity.* In my experience the color purple has a very strong effect on art viewers. You either love it or hate it  – no middle of the road with purples. Personally I find the color to be exciting and passionate – the color of love. It feels warm and comfortable, seductive in its beauty. How does purple make you feel?

“In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.”
Marc Chagall

Seduction 1399 is available from the Artist.
Selected Quotes from Robert Genn’s Art Quotes: The Painter’s Keys Resource of Art Quotations
*(http://arts-humanities.squidoo.com/allaboutpurple)

Copyright © 2014 Deborah T. Colter. All rights reserved.

Working and Reworking

“I destroy things every day in the act of working and often recall a picture I had
considered finished in order to rework it.”
– Frank Auerbach

Scarlet Allure  40" x 40" work on canvas  ©2014 Deborah T. Colter

Scarlet Allure    40″ x 40″    work on canvas     ©2014 Deborah T. Colter

Often I am asked, how do you know when a painting is finished? This is a perplexing question. How do I explain what it feels like to know a piece is done? Is it ever done? It seems artists for centuries have battled with this question. Leonardo da Vinci is quoted with saying; “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

In building up layers of paint and collage elements I am constantly balancing visual elements within the work. I look for relationships to develop among these elements. Often there is an “aha moment” when I step back and ask myself (and the painting) the very same question – are you finished? Learning to listen to the work takes patience. This is where a little abandonment comes in. Letting a painting have some time allows for a new perspective.

There are occasions when I rework canvases that I have abandoned, only to find new and pleasant surprises in their evolution. Art for me is constant motion.

How do you know when a painting is finished?

Work is available from Artist.

Reversal of Orbit

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense.”
-Melody Beattie

Reversal of Orbit   24″ x 24″ work on canvas ©2013 Deborah T. Colter

As we move into the New Year with all its vast possibilities, I would like to reach out to each of you with heartfelt thanks for your continued support. I am most grateful to each and every one of you.  I could apologize for my absence on this blog but that’s is not why you are here. Time sometimes slips by faster than we realize and the longer one is away from something, the harder it is to return. Where to start? How to begin? It somehow just makes sense to begin here and now – it’s January 2014.

I am painting, setting goals and focusing on fine tuning my approach to the business side of my art career. I count myself among the lucky ones, I do what I love and I love what I do. Of course there are always times when the path is difficult but those are the times I remind myself how fortunate I am. I do believe that being grateful unlocks the fullness of life and I am truly grateful to be living the artist life, with all of its successes and struggles.

I am pleased to share with you my newest gallery representation Exhibit by Abersons in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I have never been to Tulsa but would love to have feedback from any of you who are in the area. I look forward to working closely with Aberson Exhibits and sharing my work with a new audience.

Another new development is my listing on the new CODAworx.com website. The website states “CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art. The global online community that celebrates design projects featuring commissioned artworks.” I have posted projects and artwork and look forward to expanding my connections there.

An exciting start to the New Year! I welcome your thoughts…what’s new in your art world?

I am filled with gratitude for the ability to live the artist’s life.
In my studio. Being an artist. Everyday.”
-M. Acierno

Mayan Gold   24″ x 24″ work on canvas ©2013 Deborah T. Colter

 

Painting Mayan Gold is available from Aberson Exhibits, Tulsa Oklahoma
Painting Reversal of Orbit is available from Artist.

A Controlled Magic…

“What I dream of is an art of equilibrium, purity and tranquility,
devoid of upsetting or troubling subject matter …”

-Henri Matisse

Controlled Magic 30" X 30" work on canvas ©2012 Deborah T. Colter

I regularly receive a studio newsletter titled “The Painter’s Keys” from fellow artist Robert Genn in Canada. It is always full of interesting thoughts on the business and pursuit of Art. The newsletter seems to magically arrive when I am searching for some particular answer… this time I thought I would share with you, a quote from the newsletter which jumped off the page at me… 

“Abstract understanding doesn’t mean arbitrary sloshing and messing. Abstract art is controlled visual magic based on laws and methodology. Abstraction generally involves implication, suggestion and mystery rather that obvious description. Like a good poem, a good abstraction attacks your feelings before your understanding. Abstraction within realism adds zest and excitement to otherwise dull subject matter. Abstract understanding takes time and patience.”

-Robert Genn
“Five skills worth learning”
Newsletter dated February 14, 2012

Painting is sold.

Motionless Movement

“What I am seeking… is a motionless movement, something equivalent to what is called the eloquence of silence…”
-Joan Miro

The Eloquence of Silence  48" x48" work on canvas

"The Eloquence of Silence" 48" x 48" work on canvas

“The artist is concerned not with a single focal point but with the unfolding of many layers of movement within a fluid language of images.”
-Una Johnson

A motionless movement, the eloquence of silence, the unfolding of many layers of movement within a work, a fluid language of images. How clearly these thoughts describe the surface and textures I constantly strive for. It is always a joy to me to stumble upon an artist’s quote that perfectly fits my present tense. I am reworking of some canvases from an earlier time and finding pleasant surprise in their evolution. Art for me is in constant motion and this just feels like the right thing to be bringing new life to these canvases I had once looked at as complete. This process brings fresh spring growth if you will, new life, an unfolding of many layers that push me towards a motionless movement.

Coming up soon Anelle Gandelman Fine Art of Larchmont, New York will be representing my work at the Spring Affordable Art Fair in New York City. The Affordable Art Fair takes place the weekend of May 5 -8, 2011.

I am excited to now be represented by Joyce Robins Gallery. Joyce Robins has been showcasing quality paintings and sculptures for discerning collectors since 1996. Joyce represents a carefully selected a group of living artists whose styles range from representational to abstract, working in a variety of media.

Work is available.

@2011 Deborah T. Colter

The Excitement and Possibilities

“As you work, the mood grows on you. There are certain images which suddenly get hold of me and I really want to do them. But it’s true to say that the excitement and possibilities are in the working and obviously can only come in the working.”
-Francis Bacon

60" x 48" work on canvas ©2010 Deborah T. Colter

"Reconnecting the Dots" 60" x 48" work on canvas

Taking myself back into the studio has been a bit overwhelming. I feel like I have been trying to reconnect the dots! It has been an exciting and busy fall season. My road trips to festivals are over for the moment.  I have been shipping work, delivering work and picking up and rotating work around. I am in the midst of reorganising my studio to best prepare for the long winter ahead. Catching up on neglected chores around the house and garden. Resting. Autumn always seems to bring changes – transition time. After diving back in to the studio this week, the familiar exciting mood is beginning to grow once again. It’s true to say that the excitement and possibilities are in the working…” I feel the excitement – and the possibilities – I do love this time of year!

I destroy things every day in the act of working and often recall a picture I had considered finished in order to rework it.”
– Frank Auerbach

Painting is available. ©2010 Deborah T. Colter

Circular Time

“I have never thought of time as being linear. I believe in circular time,
one season following another.”
Josy Hilkes Britton

Time does seem to move in a circle and the rotation gets faster and faster! Hard to believe we are moving into a new season already but I can feel the change in the air. It has been a busy, fantastic summer and I do hate to see it go, but it is time to refocus. The circle of time is moving…

Timeless Edge 40" x 40" work on canvas

Timeless Edge 40" x 40" work on canvas

Labor Day has come and gone and I will soon be getting on the road. The first weekend in September brings my fall festival schedule into full swing with five exciting events lined up. The September air brings a renewed energy. I am renewed as well with a sense of excitement for the future. I am delighted to have been chosen to participate in these upcoming shows and to have the chance to exhibit my work and meet and greet interested collectors. Studio time will be limited for a few weeks as I participate in these events. However, the break from the studio routine always brings me back in with new direction…full circle.

I was thrilled to have recently been Friday’s Featured Abstract Artist on Lynne Taetzsch’s Abstract Art blog. Lynne features abstract art, abstract artists, and the daily practice of painting and drawing on her blog each week. Thank you Lynne!

“One of the essential characteristics we must have to be happy and productive artists is the skill to navigate our way through random time; so that even without a clock for a compass, and without a clear destination,
we still know what direction to go.”
Eleanor Blair

I do hope to see you at one of the following events…

8th Annual Alexandria Festival of the Arts
480 King St, Alexandria, VA
September 11, 2010, 10:00 am-7:00 pm
September 12, 2010, 10:00 am-5:00 pm
website


Annual Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show

18th & Walnut Streets, Philadelphia, PA
September 17, 2010, 11:00 am-7:00 pm
September 18, 2010, 11:00 am-6:00 pm
September 19, 2010, 11:00 am-5:00 pm
website

49th Annual Armonk Outdoor Art Show
North Castle Community Park, Armonk, NY
September 25, 2010 10:00 am-5:00 pm
September 26, 2010, 10:00 am-5:00 pm
website

The Gracie Square Art Show
at Carl Schurz Park
East End Avenue between 84th & 88th Streets
New York, NY
Saturday, October 2, 2010 – 10:00 am-5:00 pm
Sunday, October 3, 2010 – 10:00 am-5:00 pm
website

29th Annual Outdoor Arts Festival of the Bruce Museum
The Bruce Museum, One Museum Drive, Greenwich ,CT
October 9, 2010, 10:00 am-5:00 pm
October 10, 2010, 10:00 am-5:00 pm
website

Painting is available. ©2010 Deborah T. Colter