Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Deborah T. Colter: Massachusetts


Artist Deborah T. Colter

Please share a little about yourself.

I grew up in central New York, Finger Lakes Region. I was strongly influenced by my cartoonist/architect father. His discipline and ceaseless work ethic molded my own approach. After studying Fine Art at the Rhode Island School of Design, I received a BFA in Printmaking in 1981. I then moved to the island of Martha’s Vineyard where I chose to focus my creative energies raising a family. Influenced by the spectacular coastal environment, I returned quickly to my passion for painting in the early 90’s.

Concrete Reality 
40 X 30” acrylic, mixed mediums work on canvas

At what point in your life did you become interested in making art and was there a certain point when you decided you were primarily an artist?

I always loved to draw as a child; early in my adolescence I discovered the singular joy of creating images. Art making held for me a special magic that comes from somewhere within which kept me sane through those tumultuous high school days. Making art provided for me a unique path of my own – it gave me a voice. I don’t think I ever really decided to become an artist – I just grew into it with time.

Idle Reverie 
 40 X 36” acrylic, mixed mediums work on canvas    

What is your media?

Technically I view my current work as mixed media paintings—I use acrylic paints and incorporate additional mark making elements such as prisma pencils, conté crayons, pencil, and pastels into the surface. I also work with multiple layers of cut paper and collage elements, sanding, scratching and painting to find the balance in each work. Often my paintings feel somewhat like construction projects!

Controlled Magic
30 X 30” acrylic, mixed mediums work on canvas

Unassuming Grace
40 X 30” acrylic, mixed mediums work on canvas

What is your current work about?

Often I think of the view from an airplane window and how the surface below is mapped out by the intervention of the human hand. The roads, the buildings and homes, congestion in contrast with open spaces, and how those elements interact with natural elements and each other. There is an ordered sense of chaos, a quiet beauty, when the landscape is viewed from above. Referencing images of the earth’s surface as a starting point, my painting layers evolve from the comple—to take on a life of their own.

Endless Vision
30 X 30” acrylic, mixed mediums work on canvas

48 X 40” acrylic, mixed mediums work on canvas

What is your workspace like?

I work in a small, unused guesthouse that doubles as my studio, packing, shipping and marketing nerve center. I dream of a large white walled space somewhere out there but for now, my space serves me well.

Colter at work

Colter's studio

Another studio view

How do you develop a sense of community with other artists, and how do you support your art colleagues?

I have wonderful and supportive artist friends I have met through festivals, shows and Internet connections. There is a huge worldwide community available in places like twitter, and others out there that continually support one another. Making art is primarily a solitary occupation, it is really great to be able to just sit down share experiences with another artist half way around the world – or right down the street!

Do you ever get stuck with your work and how do you remedy this and do you have particular habits that you think support your art practice?

Yes, I think we all experience being stuck at times. I have always approached my art making as a fulltime job. I make studio, business and marketing time a regular 9-5 job. I believe just showing up and putting in the time solves many of the roadblocks that present themselves. My discipline is found in working daily and allowing myself downtime to renew (mostly on weekends).

Sphere of Influence
60 X 48” acrylic, mixed mediums work on canvas

Do you have other jobs other than making art?
My other full time job entails managing home and family. I am a parent of two very talented, aspiring creative souls.

You can see more of Deborah's work at:

Jules Place, Boston
Gallery KH, Chicago
Cousen Rose Gallery, Martha’s Vineyard
Blue Heron Gallery, Wellfleet, Mass.

Deborah also works with art consultants and online venues.

Do you have any upcoming shows that you'd like to mention?

My work will be included in an Abstract show that opens at Gallery KH
in Chicago — May2012. 

I also have a feature show at the Cousen Rose Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard - July 2012.

You can see more of her work here http://www.deborahcolter.com/

and she maintains a blog here
Blog: http://deborahcolter.com/in-the-studio/

Thank you Deborah!