Tag Archives: Talk about 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.

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 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.

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.

Stand by Me

“A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people.”
-Edgar Degas

Idle Reverie  48" x 36" work on canvas

Idle Reverie 48" x 36" work on canvas ©2011 Deborah T. Colter

Next week my work will be featured at the Cousen Rose Gallery in Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard, MA. 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.

Next Saturday night my work will be up 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.

If you are on Martha’s Vineyard at all this summer, please come by and have a look.

Opening on Martha’s Vineyard July 16, 2011

Cousen Rose Gallery
Will feature the works of Deborah T. Colter
71 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, MA, 02557

Exhibit runs from July 16 – July 23 and work will be on location the entire summer 2011.

Opening Reception Saturday July 16, 2011 7:00-9:00pm
gallery website

On another note, I was very excited to have Mary Grauerholz interview me a few months ago and write a feature piece about my work for the Cape Cod Life ART 2011 special annual edition which has just been published. The magazine is widely availabe on the Cape and Islands and can be viewed online here as well.

Painting is available.

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