Tag Archives: abstract

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

 

Making my own Sunshine

“My paintings evolve organically from life’s everyday glances.  Rather than trying to force my will on them, I give them total control.  Each layer determines and guides the next.”
-Dion Archibald

Strength of the Sun 48" x 48" work on canvas

Strength of the Sun 48″ x 48″ work on canvas   ©2015 Deborah T. Colter

Signs of spring are finally peeking through here. Spring greens and sunshine yellows have been making their way into my work. In the depths of winter working with yellows and greens always lift my spirits. I’m making my own sunshine!

 

Golden Sun I, II, & III  works on paper  21" x 21" each  ©2015 Deborah T. Colter

Golden Sun I, II, & III works on paper 21″ x 21″ each ©2015 Deborah T. Colter

There have been some terrific changes on my website lately. I have been working with my web designer Heather at Goffgrafix – she is wonderful! Check out the new zoom capability for images. There is now a search element if you are looking for something specific. Work on paper has been added along with grouping or companion pieces if your home, office or client is looking for multiple pieces. I am quite pleased with the results and invite you to take a look and share your thoughts.
I hope I have added a bit of sunshine to your day!
I am most grateful for your continued support of my work.

 


Corporate and residential commissions welcomed.
Contact me for price quotes, availability & shipping policy.

“Only he can be an artist who has a religion all his own – an original way of viewing infinity.”
-Vincent van Gogh

A Thrilling Joy

“All of us have had the experience of a sudden joy that came when nothing in the world had forewarned us of its coming – a joy so thrilling that if it was born of misery we remembered even the misery with tenderness.”
-Antoine de Saint Exupery

 

My work is in the HGTV Dream Home 2015
on Martha’s Vineyard!

"Blue Banter I & II" Great Room HGTV Dream Home 2015

“Blue Banter I & II” Great Room HGTV Dream Home 2015

‘”Two large paintings on either side of the front door were sourced locally – much of the art in the house is local,” says interior designer Linda Woodrum of the striking artwork art found in HGTV Dream Home 2015.’
quote from HGTV site

Allow me to share some wonderful news with you – I am thrilled to have had my work chosen for the HGTV Dream Home 2015 which was built on Martha’s Vineyard this year. The designers for the project visited my studio in late October and chose 3 original works they felt would enhance the interior spaces of the home. The two pieces above, titled Blue Banter I & II are featured in the Great Room of the newly built home. There is also a third work titled Chartreuse City which is featured prominently over the fireplace in the Master Bedroom can be seen below.
HGTV.com has some wonderful photos posted on their website which show the works installed.
Every year HGTV builds a Dream Home which is given away to some lucky winner along with other great prizes. HGTV will air a special TV program on January 1st at 8:00 pm EST which will be a full reveal of the spectacular property. I invite you to join me in watching the program this Thursday evening.
You can begin entering to win the Dream Home online at the HGTV.com site.
I appreciate you visiting my blog.
May 2015 bring you all the best!

 

Master Bedroom HGTV Dream Home 2015

“City Chartreuse” in the Master Bedroom HGTV Dream Home 2015

Thank you. 

 

A Way of Communicating

“Painting is a way of communicating vision and experience so that it reaches beyond a single moment in time. What fills our hearts and spills over must be shared.”
– Stormy Bailey

Blue Harbor  40" x 40" work on canvas  ©2014 Deborah T. Colter

Blue Harbor 40″ x 40″ work on canvas ©2014 Deborah T. Colter

What fills our hearts and spills over must be shared.”

Please allow me to share a new painting recently finished from the studio. Blue Harbor consists of multiple layers of acrylic paint, paper and collage elements. It is built on a canvas substrate which is stretched around a birch wood frame.

To my eye, a painting needs to have rhythm, balance, harmony, life, a spark of magic. Making paintings requires a great deal of fearless trust in the process of creating.

To create something, really out of nothing, and see it transform into a piece that is alive with energy, exciting and intriguing is my main objective. Color, pattern, textures and other various elements need to meld into a compelling language all their own. I invite you to fall in love with the unknown.

“My paintings evolve organically from life’s everyday glances. Rather than trying to force my will on them, I give them total control. Each layer determines and guides the next.”
-Dion Archibald

Blue Harbor is available from the Artist.

Selected Quotes from Robert Genn’s Art Quotes: The Painter’s Keys Resource of Art Quotations

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

A Small Show

I am grateful to be included in an exhibit at the Featherstone Center for the Arts on Martha’s Vineyard. Featherstone Center for the Arts is nonprofit dedicated to promoting the arts and developing community through the arts. In celebration of Featherstone’s 18th  year they have invited artists to submit work that is no larger than 18” X 18”. The show is currently up and includes the work of 53 different artists.  I am pleased to be able to support this wonderful organization and show 3 small original works on canvas. That’s my work in the middle of this photo. Small works are such a great way to start or add to your collection and you help out a nonprofit at the same time!

I hope you will be able to take in this show and perhaps find a treasure for your collection!

18" x 18" Show At Featherstone Center fo rhte Arts  Martha's Vineyard MA

18″ x 18″ Show At Featherstone Center for the Arts – Martha’s Vineyard, MA

Photo shared from the Featherstone Facebook page.

The 18×18 show runs daily, 12 noon to 4 pm, through March 19. The entire Featherstone 2014 schedule of shows, classes, and events is currently posted on its website, featherstoneart.org

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.

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.