Contemporary Realism and Modern Art
Debra, growing up you were always drawing and making things. When did you begin making paintings?
“I discovered my passion for painting in a workshop on Mom’s night out. I began in oils, and moved on to acrylics paintings.”
Why did you switch to acrylics?
“ I appreciate the ability to execute fine details in acrylic paint due to its quick drying time. I like oils also, but find the clean up and fumes unpleasant. Acrylics afford the same look with much less fuss.”
I see two distinct styles in your work.
“Yes, you're seeing realism and modern art styles. I love to paint portraits, landscapes, and still life in realism. However, occasionally I create blind contour drawings or paintings in a modern style.
What is blind contour drawing?
“Blind contour drawing is so fun! It is drawing while not looking at the paper or canvas. My eye is fixed on the subject and carefully moves over the outline of the shape, while my hand mimics the eye’s movement on the paper. I generally try to do these drawings in one continuous line. If I’m painting I start with the background, blind draw over it, then finish it while looking by pull out and emphasize certain elements with color.
This technique creates such interesting character in the subject. For some reason, the randomness of the outcome feels more creative; so my inspiration gets supercharged. The relaxing part is leaving out the details. It's a very free expression because it doesn’t demand the same accuracy as portraiture in realism. In fact, the looser the drawing and the farther it is from the model's appearance, the better I like it. This technique really captures and releases my imagination. There are quite a few blind contour paintings hanging behind my easel. They inspire me as work.”
You paint portraits, what other subjects do you enjoy painting and why?
“Yes, I love to paint faces, I painted and drew commissioned portraits for years and family portraits fill the walls in our home as well.
My favorite portraits though are a collection of feet. I thought it would be funny to paint family portraits of our feet. They are rather large 2'x2'. It's a bold statement. Also, the reference photo shoot was hilarious. ‘Come on, guys, I want to feel your foot’s emotion!’ My daughter-in-law the actress said, ‘I need to build my back story.’ We're a goofy bunch. We now have an entire wall full of feet. My mom commented, “You should paint this wall (the opposing) full of shoes.” I haven't gotten to that yet.
Occasionally I am asked if I have a foot fetish. Lol. I don't. At that particular moment, I was tired of painting faces. I also have a collection of fruit and vegetable paintings because I love to garden. There is a group of landscape paintings chronicling my love of nature, and because I'm a spiritual person I occasionally paint along those lines as well.”
So, you paint from your life experiences.
“I do. Some artists paint to make political statements or challenge other's beliefs, but in my art I seek to communicate the peace of joyful memories and love of people.”