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And now for something a little different…

Artists in Art poster small

I invite you to join me at an event that will take place on July 22, 2017. Martha’s Vineyard painter Elizabeth R. Whelan has invited 24 Vineyard artists (of which I am honored to be included) and their galleries to participate in this unique public art event. She is painting a portrait of each artist, and will reveal them all on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury, Martha’s Vineyard from 1-8pm. It’s a celebration in portrait of 24 of the top Island artists, with an accompanying show of their art.

“The 24 portraits will be unveiled one at a time, 4 an hour for 6 hours! Each artist will also have their own work for sale at the event. It will be a great art show and lots of fun. Join your favorite artists as they view their portrait for the first time, and check out the accompanying top-notch art show by these same artists — over 100 paintings on display and available for purchase!”

For more info and schedule of times, artists and direction check out Artists in Art

Elizabeth has put together such a fun and unusual art event I can’t wait to be a part of it! I will be sharing my new work for sale at the event and looking forward to seeing my very own  Elizabeth Whelan portrait. You can check out my listing page here. I hope you can join the fun for some portion of the day – my portrait is scheduled for reveal at 5 pm and I will most definitely be on hand to see it! Please join us if you can.

By the way, sales of the portraits will benefit two Island non-profits: the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Visual Arts, which provides grant funding to local artists annually, and the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School radio station 105.5-FM WYOB, with a curriculum designed to provide professional radio skills to students.

Dreams Under Construction 24" x 24" work on canvas @g2017 Deborah T. Colter

Dreams Under Construction   24″ x 24″ mixed media work on canvas   @2017 Deborah T. Colter

The Impression it Creates…Color!

“A color is as strong as the impression it creates.”
– Ivan Albright

Beyond the Boundary 36″ x 48″ work on canvas ©2013 Deborah T. Colter

I write to you as the snow is piling up once again. It has been a cold and snowy winter but then again, it is winter isn’t it? I am grateful for the solitude and the time I can devote to my painting.

I have been thinking a lot about color. I find I tend to focus on certain groups of color for a time period and then rotate into something different. I love using bold color, color that grabs and holds the viewer long enough to beg a longer look. Karla Araujo writing for the Martha’s Vineyard Times wrote an article last summer about my work. She mentioned just this thought when interviewing me; “Color is extremely important,” she told The Times, pointing to groupings of archived paintings that range in hue from deep rusts and reds to royal blues and teals, citrons, and mossy greens. Color is what first draws the eye to Ms. Colter’s paintings. But it is the complexity of shapes and patterns that holds the viewer’s interest.” (read the whole article here)

In my pieces I build multiple layers of collage elements that create patterns and subtle shadowing. I often feel as though I am creating something out of nothing – transforming paper, paint, collage & mark making into a painting that is alive, provocative and thrilling is my goal. Color for me, provides an invitation to look deeper and longer – it is an invitation to breathe in the pure pleasure of the impression it makes on the soul.

What impression does color make on you?

“Just as there are connoisseurs of wine, there are connoisseurs of blue,”
said the French writer Colette.”
–Quote from the January 28, 2014 newsletter of Robert Genn

Painting 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.

A Blooming Adventure

“Once an artist gets it in his mind that it’s a blooming adventure, then, and only then, everything falls into place and starts to work.”
-Joseph P. Blodgett

"Natural Peace" 20" x 20" work on canvas

"Natural Peace" 20" x 20" work on canvas

Adventure, I love that! It’s a blooming adventure all right. Just back from the most recent art festival, one of my favorites, where we endured 90º plus heat and humidity, 4 am garbage collection wake up calls outside the hotel room every morning, and high winds, which put some exhibitors tents at risk. In addition we were warned of pending weather issues approaching on the last day – over half of the artists packed up and left which pretty much put an end to the festival. I took a chance, watching the radar all the time, and the pending rain never did make it to our location. I had my best sales that day! There was a robbery, a doggie carnival, a drunken celebration by fans of a winning team that left filth overnight in some exhibitors booths. It was three blooming days of adventure for sure! Great meals, nice hotel, good sales, lots of sweat, tears and a little blood. All in all a good weekend…

Looking forward to new adventures next weekend when I will be back on the road again. Leaving Friday to participate in the brand new Scarsdale Fine Art Fesitival on Saturday and Sunday. This will be the last of my spring festival show as I am preparing for up coming Gallery events this summer.

“Your most valuable asset can be your willingness to persist longer than anyone else.”
– Brian Tracy

Scarsdale Fine Arts Festival
Scarsdale, New York
June 19, 2010, 10:00 am-6:00 pm
June 20, 2010, 10:00 am-5:00 pm

Visit me in Booth #82

Painting is available.

Open to the Possibilities

“Unexpected happenings are encouraged through a serendipitous, intuitive openness to possibilities. Although these efforts do not guarantee achieving the goal of each picture, fresh, exciting results are instigated whenever stepping off known paths.”

-Bonnie R. Beaver

"Providence" 40" x 40" work on canvas    ©2010 Deborah T. Colter

"Confidential Providence" 40" x 40" work on canvas

I have been very selfish with my time lately – I have been obsessed with my paintings and have devoted the majority of my available hours to them and them alone. I have been destroying things, rebuilding, removing, applying, sanding, scraping, reworking. Trying new colors, shapes, angles everything I can think of to bring a fresh look to my work by stepping off known paths...

I have been concentrating on slowing my process down, simplifying somewhat and being open to the intuitive process of creating. It takes time to respond to  those unexpected happenings within a piece. I am excited about the results so far and love that renewed spark of energy that comes with new work. Spring is here and there is much to be done for the upcoming show and gallery seasons, deadlines loom and obligations must be met. Although these efforts do not guarantee achieving the goal of success within of each picture, I believe it is true that fresh and exciting results can be achieved by stepping out of one’s comfort zone ocassionally. For that, I will try to remain open to all the possibilities…

I am pleased to be included in a show titled “Mixed Media” presented by Anelle Gandelman Fine Art at the AGFA Project Space in White Plains, NY. The show opens April 8 and runs through June 3, 2010.

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

Painting is available.

All Images ©2010 Deborah T. Colter

An Artist is an Explorer

“An artist is an explorer. He has to begin by self-discovery and by observation of his
own procedure. After that he must not feel under any constraint.”
-Henri Matisse

"Dreaming of Summer" 50" x 50" work on canvas

"Dreaming of Summer" 50" x 50" work on canvas

Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unexpected places. I am back in my studio exploring a number of new directions. I am always interested in looking at other painters work but sometimes I think it is wise to stop looking at what others are doing and pull the focus back in – look, observe, study, and then forget it all and paint. It is not just other painters that inspire me; I can find inspiration just about anywhere. Finding a new source to explore is always a joy. I am having fun studying and incorporating my finds into my work right now – reminding myself, I “must not feel under any constraint”. Just paint, explore, experiment. It becomes too easy to fall into a pattern of working without pushing the limits. I am always looking for that balance of chaos and order – studying and working. Perhaps there will be only subtle changes or perhaps there will be something quite different in my work. It is way too early to tell where my new inspiration is taking me but this is why I paint.

I am looking forward to a feature show of my work at Gallery KH in Chicago opening in July 2010.

“Painting is like childbirth. It’s a precious gift that is labor intensive and
drains one’s energy. A natural high comes with creation.”
– Debbie DeBaun

My Brushes are Resting…

“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

brushes1My brushes are resting. It is the time of year I think we all naturally take inventory of many things. A time to reflect on the days gone by and look forward to the coming year. To count our blessings, to celebrate the season, to work through the successes and the failures we have experienced – a time to reflect on many things. I missed being in the studio working and I told myself I would get back in this week – thinking I could squeeze out a few solid days of painting – but the focus is just not there. I need to recognize that my muse, having a mind of her own, has gone on vacation.  I thought about Robert Genn’s insightful quote, “Never forget that the nurturing and preservation of your own muse is job one. Lose it and you may be losing a great deal.” Self nourishment of the mind, the body, and all the creative resources is so important. It is an emotionally packed time of year and sometimes it is best to just step back and reflect. To enjoy family and friends, count my blessings, to make cookies, to spend time with all the important people in my life, to remember those who have gone on, to celebrate the season and in doing that, “restock the trout pond, so to speak”.

Wishing you Peace, Joy and Inspiration now and in the coming New Year!

“Often the Muse will not respond to direct and logical requests.
She must be lured in with the playful and gentle.”
Jill Badonsky

Live Each Season

“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, 
and resign yourself to the influences of each.” 
– Henry David Thoreau

"Bits and Pieces" 30" x30" work on canvas

"Bits and Pieces" 30" x30" work on canvas

It hardly seems possible that the summer season is coming to a close. Our oldest son returns to College tomorrow and the youngest leaves in a week. The house will quiet down. We will no longer be subconsciously waiting up to hear that everyone is home safe. They will resume their lives with their college friends and continue on down the roads they are building. It is hard to let go and at the same time, it is time. They need to go and find their own ways. There is a lot of growing up to do out there! 

I have been quite scattered lately. Feels like bits and pieces all over the place. It has been very hot and humid and life gets quite crazy on Martha’s Vineyard during the month of August. It is a test of patience, sanity and nerves dealing with throngs of tourists, traffic and the heat. And then, it is over, things quiet down and the seasons shift to a slower pace. It all seems to happen quite unexpectedly, and yet, it happens every year pretty much the same way. It just doesn’t seem possible that this time of change is already creeping up on us.

The commission work is going well. I shipped my piece for the Twitter 140 Art show at the Grandon Art Gallery. I have an opening this Saturday on Martha’s Vineyard at the Cousen Rose Gallery that coincides with a book signing by Gwen Ifill that I am thrilled about. The Island is quite abuzz with excitement because an important family from Washington DC will be vacationing on the Vineyard starting this weekend as well. There are fireworks and the annual Ag Fair, and our boys are leaving. It is all a part of the end of the season, changes are on the way, I will breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign myself to the influences of each change.

Painting is available.

Making Something Out of Nothing

Art is making something out of nothing and selling it. 
-Frank Zappa

"Sea of Tranquility" 48" x 36" work on canvas

"Sea of Tranquility" 48" x 36" work on canvas

I often find when dinner time rolls around that there is nothing to make – the fridge looks empty, never the right ingredients for recipes on hand, too wiped out to run to the store – the possibilities are bleak, but I always manage to somehow pull together “something out of nothing”. I have come to joke about this talent, if you can call it that, and even suggested it might be a good final inscription when the time comes. I am aware that I have been making something out of nothing for a very long time. This is really what I do every day. Art is making something out of nothing. Tubes of paint, mediums, charcoals, ink, papers, canvas, all bits and pieces of nothing really, until they are molded by the artist. The collective accumulation of a whole lot of nothing suddenly becomes that wonderful something and the painting takes on a life of its own. “Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.” 

Pleased to report that the “selling it” part went well this week too. Once again the Cousen Rose Gallery came through for me and the show looked  wonderful, sales were made, and I am now looking forward to returning to the studio where I will continue on my mission of making “something out of nothing”…and selling it!

Opening July 18, 2009 Cousen Rose Gallery

Opening Reception 7/18/09 Cousen Rose Gallery

“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.”
-Pablo Picasso

Painting is available from Cousen Rose Gallery, Martha’s Vineyard.
Coming up in August:
Saturday, August 22 – 7:00pm to 9:00pm 
A Book Signing and Art Exhibit
Gwen Ifill – Moderator and Managing Editor of Washington Week  and Author of
“The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama”

 The Gallery will feature work by Janice Frame & Deborah T. Colter

Commitment, Confidence & Continuity

“There is a wonderful feeling when you walk into your own exhibition. You see the work as a true extension of yourself. Win or lose, your interests have led you to an accumulation of your personal expression, signed lower right, 
mounted to best advantage.” – Robert Genn

"Comfortable Bliss" 30" x 30" work on canvas

"Comfortable Bliss" 30" x 30" work on canvas

Next week my work will be featured at the Cousen Rose Gallery in Oak Bluffs. Owner Zita Cousens has exhibited my work since 1997. We met when I was waiting tables and she and her husband Mike used to come in for dinner on a regular basis. They always came late after Gallery openings and the other wait staff wanted out – I always volunteered to stay. After a time Zita found out I was a painter and asked me to bring in some of my work. From the beginning she believed in me. I was working very much off the beaten path of the other local artists who primarily sell representational work. She has stood behind my artwork through all of its growth and changes without ever questioning where it was headed. The Gallery celebrates 30 years of business this summer and in a constantly changing retail environment on Martha’s Vineyard, that is a remarkable accomplishment! Congratulations Cousen Rose!

Next Saturday night my work will be up – some new pieces and some earlier work not shown here before, and  I will walk into the gallery reception and Zita Cousens will have outdone herself in the modest space she has to present my work. For a few hours we will celebrate the exhibit and win or lose, sales or no sales, I will walk away knowing that the work is a true extension of myself, an accumulation of my own personal expression, represented by a Gallery owner who has always believed in me. What more could I ask for?

Cousen Rose Gallery
Martha’s Vineyard
71 Circuit Avenue
Oak Bluffs, MA 02557

Exhibit runs from July 18 – July 25, 2009 [work will remain in Gallery all summer]
Opening Reception Saturday July 18 5:00-7:00pm
Also this summer:
Saturday, August 22 – 7:00pm to 9:00pm
A Book Signing and Art Exhibit
Gwen Ifill – Moderator and Managing Editor of Washington Week  and Author of
“The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama”

 The Gallery will feature work by Janice Frame & Deborah T. Colter

Above painting is available from the Cousen Rose Gallery.