ArtTalk Debbie Redden - September 2020
Planning a Painting....
As an artist, I always work from my sketch. Planning is the largest part of my painting time and working from nature, I opt for pen and ink to create the sketches. Some artists sketch in pencil, marker, charcoal, whatever works for them. The purpose of the sketch is to lay out the composition, figure out the light source, the mid tones, dark shadows and most importantly, work out any problems. I'll do several sketches of a scene from different viewpoints until I get the effect I'm looking for. Without a plan, the painting becomes a hit or miss affair which results in areas getting repainted and overworked. In watercolor it leads to a muddy painting. Once the sketch is solidified, I draw and then paint from the sketch. After all, that's where all the information has been worked out. When buying a painting, sometimes you can also purchase the sketch.
ArtTalk Debbie Redden - August 2020
Choosing Your Subject
"Every work of art is a self-portrait of the artist", said Pablo Picasso.
I agree. The subjects artists paint or create are a window into their souls. They choose things that resonate with them and compel them to want to capture the mood, the light, the drama, the colors or the shapes. Looking at the artist's body of work, you see the story of their life, their journey.
When you look at fine art, look beyond the image and look through the artist's eyes. A common question is "How long did it take to do this?” An artist is not honored for their labor but for their "vision" which comes from a lifetime of experience and years of hard work at their craft.
A piece hopefully will resonate with the viewer. If there is an emotional response to the artwork, then then the viewer’s own feelings and memories are brought into play. It's that connection between the art and the viewer that the artist strives for. If the connection between the two is made, the artist has been successful.
ArtTalk Debbie Redden - July 2020
First there are the early morning shrieks of gulls and clanging of metals that assail you, then there are intense whiffs of saltwater mixed with grease and rust and sweat afloat on the air, and finally the sight of the docks sharpen all the senses to the scene splayed out before you. Then Debbie Redden unpacks her easel, picks up her sketchpad and begins to sketch.
Hers is a legacy of creativity inherited from mother, father, siblings and unsurprisingly passed to her sons. Debbie grew up equally at home on waterways or on land and shares her memories most clearly with reminisces of sailing. She was shaped by the coastal scenes of her youth as much as she was influenced by the neighborhoods in which she lived. Debbie cherished the character imbedded in the Victorian homes and savored the sights and sounds of life along the meandering back streets of town. From the outset she saw with an artist’s eyes, though her initial goal was to teach, English perhaps, which ultimately steered her to a gifted advisor who urged her to consider art as a field.
So began her higher education with a focus on art which upon graduation spanned cultural divides and classrooms elementary through high school. Debbie obtained an MA in Fine Art from Pratt Institute in NY which led to an opportunity to teach the teachers. As a college professor, she taught students how to teach art, watched them student teach by day, then in night classes furthered their skills with lessons on how to become exceptional teachers.
It was a serendipitous beginning to what ultimately was a credit to Debbie’s lifelong inspiration from the boats, beaches, fishermen, and neighborhood scenes which commemorated her upbringing. It wasn’t until retirement that Debbie finally was able to turn her full attention toward creating art. She does not paint those powerful working boats from memory; she goes down to the docks, talks to the fishermen and studies the boats, the trawlers, and the shrimpers. She prefers to paint there, on location, where the sheer brutality of their livelihood is magnified in sight, sound and smell.
Through her paintings, Debbie chronicles coastal scenes of raw splendor often with color no more than two or three shades of the same. Her in town paintings glimpse lives in action as inhabitants walk the historic neighborhoods enlivened by telephone poles and street signs. “Why do you paint the stop signs and poles” she’s often asked. “It’s the character of the street,” Debbie replies. “When you walk you want to see it all.” When she paints, Debbie wants to paint it all.