Tag Archives: painting

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.

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.

Change, A New Year, Change

“One should paint small, and then very big. Miniatures and murals. Humans do their best with variety. Most people are bored, and even artists are bored. The answer is change.”

 -Peter William Brown

"Thought Structure" 48" x 60"

"Thought Structure" 48" x 60"

Painting large. I have been focusing my energy on this for what seems like a very long time. Large canvases somehow seemed to call to me. Recently, I was asked to create a 6″ x 6″ work for a show titled “Small Wonders” at my Gallery in Michigan  (The Water Street Gallery), piece of cake I thought… major mind shift! Wow, I am having some fun with this!! There is something absolutely wonderful and precious about small work. (I will post some of the pieces soon…) Change, the catch phrase of the moment seems to be grabbing a hold of me as well – it is so easy to sit in a comfortable place and not take on that challenge of change that is required…let see where this goes. Anyone interested?


Work on canvas
(Copyright © 2008 Deborah T. Colter. All rights reserved.)
Painting has recently been sold to Cisco Systems in California. 

As promised, here is a peek at some of the new small works…

"Small Work Series #62"

"Small Work Series #62"

"Small Work Series #63"

"Small Work Series #63"

All pieces are 6″x6″ square on panels and are available for direct sale on my new “Small Works Gallery“. 


The Lucky Ones

How disappointing to discover we aren’t going to be young and strong and live forever… The challenge and the fascination of artistic creation is the best distraction in the world…we’re the lucky ones.”
-Janet Best Badger

"Contemplation of Infinity" 48" x 40"

"Contemplation of Infinity"

Well, my husband and I just dropped our youngest son off at college. He is a lucky one but I am not sure he realizes it just yet. He is in a wonderful school in a fabulous city and will be studying art for the next four years. I was transported back to my lucky time. Wow, it was a number of years ago that I was in his shoes, how did that happen?  I have been living with the fascination of artistic creation and all its challenges for many years. I am truly one of the lucky ones…      


Copyright © 2008 Deborah T. Colter. All rights reserved.)
Work on canvas, 48″ x 40″. Painting has been sold to a private collector. 


“It’s a lot harder to paint nothing than to paint something.”
-Graham Gillmore 

"Rhythm of the Wind" 30" x30"

"Rhythm of the Wind" 30" x30"

A work on panel
Painting nothing and making it something. Over the weekend I heard once again how easy it is to make abstract work. Is it? Am I fooling myself? I find the challenge of painting “nothing” far more interesting than painting “something”. I do not find it easy in any sense of the word. I choose to take the road of creating something from many different elements, many different “nothings” and making them into a unique and interesting work that stands on it’s own as “something”. 

(Copyright © 2008 Deborah T. Colter. All rights reserved.)
Painting has been sold to a private collector. 


Opening Saturday:

At the Cousen Rose Gallery – Martha’s Vineyard
71 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, MA, 02557
Reception Saturday, July 26, 5-7 pm
Exhibit runs from July 26 – August 1, 2008

* Judges at the Westport Fine Art Festival selected Deborah T. Colter’s mixed media works for the Blue Ribbon in her category at this year’s event July, 2008.


“All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.”  

-Albert Einstein

"Potential Balance" 30" x 30"

"Potential Balance" 30" x 30"

a work on panel
(Copyright © 2008 Deborah T. Colter. All rights reserved.)
Painting has been sold to a private collector.


Hello Blogging World!

In my world of color, paints, composition and creativity the blogging community seems very foreign to me. I create with paint, words often elude me however, I will give it a try…

My challenge as a painter is to find an exciting balance between the pandemonium of my thoughts and the multitude of images and events that bombard our daily lives. I trust the inner thoughts of the mind as they reveal themselves purely through the act of creating.

“Abstract literally means to draw from or separate. In this sense every artist is abstract… a realistic or non-objective approach makes no difference. The result is what counts.” -Richard Diebenkorn

a few pieces in the 2007 gallery show at Mary bell Galleries

I work with an abstract collection of marks, textures and color, repeating shapes and forms, seeking to find a balance of chaos and harmony within each piece I create. Often these marks will reflect architectural landscapes, roads, maps, repeated patterns, or colors as if seen from above or as recalled from within, a sort of visual record book of the mind.

It’s a start…


mixed media paintings