Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Deborah Paris interview:part one

September Evening by Deborah Paris
Deborah's name is a household word by now. Her intimate landscapes amazingly show drama and peace at the same time. The deep luminosity she creates using veils of color make you want to linger forever in their world.
Enjoy our conversation:

L-Would you please speak as to your evolution as an artist?

Deborah- I started my life as an artist when I was a small child. I was always interested in drawing. In fact my first large scale work was on the walls of my brother's bedroom. Back then I was horse crazy and drew horses a lot. Later when I went to college I didn't think of studying anything else. Art was my thing. I did a double major in studio art and art history. One of my professors, a young woman, influenced me quite a bit when I was there. She was a Bernini scholar and at that point I studied the Baroque and the Renaissance.

L-Why that particular period?

Deborah- I was fascinated with the energy in the arts at that period of time. There was such a huge leap forward in naturalism and perspective. I was fascinated with the idea of patronage and the life of the artist. In particular  I was attracted to Caravaggio - his compelling, mysterious story. The story of his life had a romantic appeal. He used everyday people as his models. His use of chiaroscuro mirroring the mystery. The sacred and the profane. I remember when I traveled to the Fogg museum in Boston for research on my senior paper. I was amazed!
Well, after my undergraduate I had what I call a "psychotic break" and went to law school. You see when I finished school there really was no one out there painting like I did. It was mostly all abstract. In the 70s there was no encouragement to paint this way. I am still not sure why I made the choice to go to law school. At that time it was an unusual thing for a woman to do- a big move. I didn't paint for 10-12 years.
It didn't take too long to realize I had to paint. My mother was an artist and she always hoped I would get back to it. I was on my turn around.

L- Was there a turning point that you could remember?

Deborah- No, I think it just built up. I started to play around painting on weekends. My Mom and I were going to go to a workshop, we didn't go that year because of her health. The stirring was beginning. The following year we made it to that workshop.  I had just made partner in a big law firm, but I knew I needed to leave law behind. I made time and started working with Ned Jacob , in fact I studied with him for quite a while. He gave me a concentrated dose of encouragement and lots of excellent training. He was a high key painter and I was too at that point.  I had made my decision at that point so I just needed to make my way. For five years I woke up and began painting at 4:30 AM, finishing just in time to go to the office. I also painted on the weekend. I sought out drawing groups. In a short time I knew that landscape painting was my muse.
Drawing from life was good and I continued to work with Ned. One major gift he gave me was impressing upon me how important drawing is.
I must say it's the hardest thing I have ever done; much harder than being a lawyer or going to law school.

Part two...soon. In the meantime check out Deborah's website and blog...or sign up for one of her many excellent online courses.


Janelle Goodwin said...

Interesting interview! I'm reading things about Deborah I never knew. Looking forward to Part Two!

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Thank you, Loriann! And thanks to Deborah, too. Draw and then draw more, it's a call to the wise, I think. Looking forward to part 2.

Lisa McShane said...

Fun interview!

loriann signori said...

Thanks for your comments Janelle, Kvan and Lisa.....the best is yet to come!

Astrid Volquardsen said...

Hi Loriann and Deborah,
thanks for the interview. I find it always encouraging that not every artists' way is on a "straight route", that there were interruptions, times where you didn't paint at all. But when listening to your calling everything will fit into its place.
So nice and honest to say, how much you struggled with drawing.

I have followed Deborahs blog for quiete a while and I will look at her pictures with a even more higher regard.

Lynne E. Windsor said...

Good interview Loriann, I love the psychotic break... I shall have to ask Deborah about that! I think I have had a few of those!!

loriann signori said...

Hi Astrid, You are so right, it is encouraging to learn that not everyone had the straight route. And that doesn't mean you can't excel. Keep reading her blog and soon part two of the interview!

Hi Lynne! Psychotic break...I loved that one too..I think we can all relate to that.

Caroline Simmill said...

A very interesting interview on how Deborah found her way back to art. Inspiring to us all. Thank you Loriann.

loriann signori said...

Hi Carolyn, I am glad you enjoyed the interview... much more good stuff to come. Thanks for reading!

Brian McGurgan said...

Thanks Loriann! This is a great interview and I just finished reading part 2 as well. Yes, that indirect path toward a career (or part-time career) in art seems to be my calling. I love reading and hearing about how people got to where they are in their professions and in their lives as a whole. This interview with Deborah is especially interesting, of course, because I admire her artwork and teaching skills so much.