Passion shared.

I have been extra busy with painting and other art related activities lately.I had the joy of attending the San Francisco ArtMarket event this past weekend and meeting up with two fellow Alumni from MoMA courses we studied together online. It is the first time we have met in person!

Meeting up with fellow artists Starr Davis and Lisa Omerod- at the SFO ArtMarket 2015
Meeting up with fellow artists Starr Davis and Lisa Omerod- at the SFO ArtMarket 2015

So much fun and hopefully the first of more outings together. It is wonderful to share a passion with friends. You speak the same language and understand the joys and the frustrations shared, providing new vantage points to look at something and discussing idea's on how to express the meaning behind a work, it is inspiring! So was the diversity of work on display at the show. There was definitely something for everyone!

This month, I've been sorting out work for a catalogue to launch new series along with my updated site. Of course, it has taken longer than i thought but I am doing a little bit every day. It is a lengthy process and I can't wait to finish and get it printed and distributed.

It's enlightening to see the work laid out in series and the story of each make sense in relation to the one that came before it. Works have a natural progression born from instinct, but with clear threads to each other that are made more visible with hindsight. Paintings have leapt to new stages quickly in the studio and I have run with it, preparing  more canvas and letting it flow. Old techniques mingling in new ways telling me the discovery isn't over yet, there is always more to learn and I can feel my audience widen along with more experimentation inside of my work. I have professional photographs and details  of '2014-15 new works' to share very soon, which is meanwhile growing with each painting that is eager to emerge. So, much to do but it feels like play time! Back to the studio for now....

Today is ANZAC Day in Australia...'Lest we Forget I' and 'Lest we Forget II' from my ANZAC Series.

April 25th is a National Holiday in Australia, ANZAC Day.We have a dawn service and a march through the cities, with a minutes silence in memory of the Anzac soldiers and their bravery in Gallipoli during WWI. In 2001 I painted my first painting in this series only to revisit again in 2013. The first painting was created in my lounge room while watching the Anzac Parade on TV. I felt a deep connection to the stories being shared and they translated on to the canvas I was working on at the time. I didn't set out to paint a commemorative painting, it just happened. My palette consisted of colors that represent the beach, the blood shed and the bravery in Khaki's, also the light. As with a lot of my work, crosses found their way in to the picture plane. In this painting they are more deliberate. Over the years they have become more gestural and guided by the hand. Thank you to all the soldiers who risked or gave their lives for our freedom. You are not forgotten.

'Lest we Forget I' 24" x36" Oil on Canvas 2001 (Not for Sale)

'Lest we Forget I' 24" x36" Oil on Canvas 2001 (Not for Sale)

In 2013 I revisited with 'Lest we Forget II' I hope at some stage to continue this series.

'Lest we Forget II' 36" x 48" Oil on Canvas 2013
'Lest we Forget II' 36" x 48" Oil on Canvas 2013

'Dancing Girl'

I love the moment of recognition that something is just meant to be.I had a moment like this recently when a client contacted me in regard to buying a painting for a mutual friend for her birthday. This particular painting was made as a diptych (two paintings that read together as a pair) and I had it hanging in my home for years. I didn't want to sell it as I had planned to do a series of work based on this diptych and frankly it is much easier to have the work in front of you to recreate the same feeling. A photo of the work has never given me the energy connect in the same way.

'Dancing Girl'

'Dancing Girl'

A couple of years ago a friend had asked to purchase it and I declined. It felt awful to say no, especially as she really did seem to have a special connect with the work but I also knew from past experience I shouldn't sell what I wasn't ready to let go yet. Recently, our mutual friend contacted me and asked if it was for sale. It wasn't until I heard who it was for. I couldn't deny that this painting must be destined to belong to this person. So, I agreed and sent it interstate to it's new home. I love the fact that 'Dancing Girl' has her new home and will be treasured by her new family. I also love the fact that a mutual friend got to buy this as a gift for her long time friend. It is such a special gift to give....artwork that connects someone to a deeper part of themselves....from one friend to another. I feel blessed to be part of this transaction and although I haven't managed to create the series I have wanted to yet, I am sure when the time is right, I will. This chain of giving was too good to miss out on. The good feeling of this coming together nourishes all! Cheers to all the Dancing girls!

'Secret's of The Fog' triptych has landed in it's forever home!

'Secrets of The Fog' triptych Oil and pastel on canvas 16" x 40" (x3) 2015
'Secrets of The Fog' triptych Oil and pastel on canvas 16" x 40" (x3) 2015
'Secrets of The Fog' triptych Oil and pastel on canvas 16" x 40" (X3)
'Secrets of The Fog' triptych Oil and pastel on canvas 16" x 40" (X3)
'Secrets of The Fog' triptych Oil and pastel on canvas 16" x 40" (x3)
'Secrets of The Fog' triptych Oil and pastel on canvas 16" x 40" (x3)

I am pleased to announce 'Secrets of The Fog' triptych has arrived safely to it's new home in Dallas, Texas! I was holding my breath waiting for confirmation, as Dallas has been in another Ice Storm and I hoped delivery would be successful and safe for all. There is nothing as rewarding as a client who sends a message of 'loving the paintings even more in person' than online. In honesty, it is a relief but also a moment of deep sharing of yourself with another.

When someone resonates with a work you have made, it is very personal. It is a big part of who you are as an artist to create and there is naturally a bond with your work but when someone else has a connection to it also and you can see how it effects them, it validates the energy that is actually housed inside the work, the energy you send out in the world as an artist. So wonderful when someone is deeply touched and appreciates the feeling it awakens in them. I am not adverse to people buying art to match their furnishings, I know some artists hate that but I have no judgement on why someone buys a work and to be honest I feel it belongs with them for the same reason as someone who buys a work because it speaks directly to their core but maybe they are just less conscious of the deeper connect.

I am sure the paintings do their job (energetically) regardless but when someone really 'gets it' and feels their heart flutter , it is amazing, a real high- only matched by the feeling in the studio when after weeks or sometimes even months, a painting finally comes together and all the layers make sense and you know it is complete! I have enjoyed every minute of making this triptych and also the process of getting to know my new client. I am grateful too for her patience while I had them included in the photo shoot, delaying the posting a couple of weeks. Imagine my surprise to find out I was sending the paintings to an address in the very street I lived in last year and yet had not met this lovely person. We lived only doors away from one another!

I am so pleased we have now 'met' and look forward to our new friendship growing and I'm thrilled this work is now living in a home where she will be cherished!

Spring is on it's way...

It's been very warm of late (72F/22C) and the energy has changed.There is a lightness coming back in, but it is delicate and not full strength yet. I've noticed people are a little more relaxed lately too. It helps not having to run errands in the rain.


This mood is reflecting in my paintings at present. I have two 36" x 48" canvases on the go and they are very light in nature and in color. The palette is pastel and White's and although there is still the element of calligraphy with the pastel mark makings from the 'Fog Series', they are smaller and fuller. They almost make me feel like plants in Spring time, as they pop through the ground and you just catch a glimpse of their furled up selves. These little markings may be small but packed with energy. They feel like they are ready to blossom and bloom. Maybe I will title them so. Below, are two small photo's of detail from the larger works. IMG_4790


I look forward to sharing the photographs of the final paintings with you soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the warmer weather and fecund energy.

The Sun is out again...

The Fog lingers, but the Sun is present and warms quickly, the morning.CA Winter!

'Warming morning,         after Fog'

I have been busy in the studio on a daily basis immersed in shades of White. I'm still producing further works within the 'Fog Series'. I am working on a couple of 36" x 48" A couple of new techniques are being incorporated into these paintings. They have elements of the 'Fog series' but are branching out.

'Fog Series' Different stages drying together.

All series are like a 'stretching' to the next.

That's where I see the thread best in my work. When the techniques or palettes change a little and a new direction is born. It is fun to watch.

I am still using a palette knife but also playing with rags right now. Rubbing paint and dabbing, along side troweling with the knife, even finger painting!

'An unintentional theme'

There's a lot of freedom in the act of changing your tools now and again to push you into another way to express.

Naturally, as you use the tool differently, you are automatically 'open' to trying a new way of working. Over time, I have learnt how to trowel a transparent marking over an area as easily as spread a thick one. You do get to know your tools so, by changing it up sometimes, you give yourself a little extra creative license and a little learning room because as nearly all artists will tell you ; "It's often the 'mistakes' that turn out the best!"


The rains....

It's raining! The sound on the roof of the studio is very conducive to creativity. There is movement in the air and the rain is washing away the dust of drought. The color outdoors is so vibrant and renewing. I feel inspired...

'It's Raining!
'It's Raining!


Sometimes you see clearer through a fog.You know the way 'black and white' can narrow things down, simplifying the hues in between and creating a clean cut shape of things. You might miss a few details but sometimes they are mere distraction. A gem shines brightly, you'll know it. I have been feeling my way through a fog of late. Literally and not so literally. Physically (Winter in a Valley) and emotionally (just putting down some roots) as always, the footprint of 'life' has been showing up in my paintings.

The Fog
The Fog

My palette is quieter than late 2014's high energy, bold works (a time of great momentum and energy in daily life during this period) and the techniques have been based around a palette knife and not a brush. (Much easier for cleaning...bonus!)

Palette Knife
Palette Knife

I have felt lighter in spirit, so whites were added. Zinc and Titanium, at different times, creating different layers of warmth and cold. I was feeling a little of that energy wise too. I was on or I was off. High energy or incubation. Those months were full of change, punctuated with adaption and chance. It fueled my creativity. I took risks with my overpainting in these works. For many layers some of the 'bits' didn't seem right but I didn't paint over them and now, some many layers more, it all reads together, as though that was always there just waiting to be discovered.

Detail of texture and overpainting.
Detail of texture and overpainting.

A sculptural quality in my hands. Guided to remove or add in trust of what is building on the canvas. Feeling your way, noticing what beckons you to mark or stain or wipe away in some fashion. I'm always learning something. I've been 'feeling my way' through the Valley too. It gets mighty thick some mornings. Romantic but also in a way, 'eery', it's denser than I would have thought and the world around here is kinda damp right now. Which is good and nature is green as a result but it does change what you can actually see! It is also quite instinctive to hibernate.

A sweet young critic of mine recently commented this series represented the fog. I have to admit, it does and in so many ways. I painted them from the onset, with a 'do what you want to do for yourself' feeling and I did what I wanted to do, just because I wanted to do it just to please myself, no other agenda or theme for a show. It worked, they do please me. The more I digested of the world around me, the more I shared those feelings with the canvas in front of me. I think they read beautifully together. The colors reflect a lighter heart.

'Beauty in the fog' 24" x 36" Oil and pastel on canvas
'Beauty in the fog' 24" x 36" Oil and pastel on canvas
'The fog is lifting' 24" x 36" Oil and pastel on canvas
'The fog is lifting' 24" x 36" Oil and pastel on canvas

The calligraphic movement is coming back in my wrist, making marks  of dance along the way, some staying visible, others  highlighted with further applications of white paint with a palette knife. Revealing and concealing over time. I worked through my emotions and saw  reflected exactly where I needed to stretch and grow. It's not always comfortable and it's not always pretty, but it sure is always worth it. The paintings are like my diary. I see them chronologically capturing the emotion of the period of time in which they were created. The series, 'Fog' was a time of sitting still and reflecting, being open and resisting judgement where possible and lots of letting go. I didn't always succeed but I feel I gave it a good shot. There is still at least one more canvas yet to be completed in the series Fog. There may be more.

2015- Happy New Year!

This is the perfect time to introduce a new style of sharing. I have been soul searching for a better feeling connect with writing my blog and feel it is time to share more of myself in the process. In the past I have tried to keep the blog about just the process of making the art or what is happening in terms of showing it but something always felt lacking. I didn't really think people would want to know about me as much as my work. Turns out I am wrong. I have felt some form of vulnerability in exposing more of myself and frankly didn't know that it would be of any interest but after conversations with collectors over the past couple of weeks, I have realized it was the missing element for me and perhaps my audience...I love this type of opportunity for growth and hope you will like it too.

A few months ago, I began filming my sessions in the studio with a time lapse camera. I put this off for a long time as I thought perhaps it would put me off getting into the flow and effect my work but I was wrong. In truth after I turned it on and began working, I completely forgot about the camera. The hour or two sessions are condensed into 20-30 second video's...time is precious and probably only painter's love watching paint dry. (I must admit it is one of my favorite things, to watch as gravity effects different area's of paint on the canvas and magic takes place in front of my eyes, I may make a slower video at some point to share these moments too though as they are delicious to witness) I hope you enjoy seeing the paintings come to life in these clips as I do when they are flowing through me.

IMG_4425 The feedback I received from sharing this footage is that a lot of people were surprised at how physical painting can be. Stretching up and down to stroke a canvas and running between palette and canvas and even multiple canvases in one session. Of course every artist works in their own way and space requirement is dependent on the size of canvas you are working on but I have never worked on a tabletop, always an easel of a canvas flat on the floor. I love having to move around the canvas in order to reach different parts of it and it allows different perspectives as you move. I am working on these 3 canvases at present. My new work for the beginning of 2015. It is lighter in palette and combines a number of techniques I have used in paintings preceding these but not usually all together like this. I am loving exploring the outcomes. Here is another video from October...I'm heading back into the studio now! IMG_3823

'Fall Forward' Group Show

I am pleased to announce I have been invited to participate in the 'Fall Forward' group show @ the Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery here in the East Bay. The show opens on Thursday the 6th of November 2014 Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery 6.30-8.30pm- reception 3620 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette CA (925) 284 1485

The Exhibit features 6 East Bay artists presenting a variety of medium. Artists: Jeffrey Sully- Sculpture Lisa Carroll- Paper Allen Wittert- Acrylic Jon Larsen- Pastel Jennifer Perlmutter- Mixed Media and myself, Deborah Rhee- Oil

It's interesting to note the draw different mediums have on artists. How is it we are drawn to a particular form of expression? How do our materials convey a deeper understanding of our own personalities and points of view?

I have always worked in Oil- Oil and layers of Glaze. There is something that brings to mind the history of painting when using these materials that makes me feel part of something larger than myself. I love their buttery texture, the fact their longer drying time affords me the luxury of returning to rework an area over many times, adding and subtracting until I am happy with the result. I delight in playing with the consistency by adding glazing mediums of various viscosity and watching in turn how that affects the outcome of the application, in itself and how it affects already existing layers of color. Building layers of transparency and opacity, creating world to explore in what I see presenting on the canvas. I consider my work a true collaboration with my materials. The techniques I use bring a certain element of surprise as I work, with gravity playing an important part in the finished product. Where and how my drips run or collide and where washes pool and rivulet, all adding to the scape building before my eyes. Honestly, I get lost looking at the smaller detail of these actions. It's mesmerizing to me, like cloud gazing. I lose myself. Time disappears. A blue wash will run over a section of yellow already applied and a small hint of green will appear. There is an innocence in my participation. Guided by intuition and discovery rather than following a preconceived plan of something I am trying to create. I let the materials show me what we are creating together.

This show of mixed mediums has made me consider more deeply my choice of material. What exactly my choice of material says about me is not yet clear but I am happy to be entertaining the question.

I look forward to learning more about the other 5 artists contributing to 'Fall Forward' and the story behind their choice of expression. Hope to see you at the show!

'I'm back'

'I'm Back' 10" x 8" Oil/Glaze July 2014 I haven't posted in a while due to our families move across state from Dallas, Texas to the Bay Area in CA. Life has held a frantic pace with wrapping up life as knew it and heading off to an unknown to me but reputedly loved by all who have been there...San Francisco, California.

So far, so good, although It hasn't been without it's challenges, arriving after a 6 day, cross country trip across 5 States of America with loaded car and small child. All my art supplies packed in a truck, headed towards our new home with all our treasure's, just hours ahead of our own departure. I often looked, on the days we travelled, at the names on the sides of the 1,000's of long distance moving trucks we passed on our journey wondering; was it ours?

I don't like forgoing my studio time, especially for long periods as involved in a move, where packing up the studio, then transporting and in this case, again waiting 3 months to access the materials, means making do with other artistic pursuits to quench my thirst for paint and brush.

I paint on a larger scale that requires some space to move and slosh paint around without too much mindfulness. A furnished rental is not the place to play with messy paint. I'll be honest, with preparing a house for sale and packing up all your belongings to researching your new surrounds for homes beginning with good school districts, there isn't a lot of time for work, moving like this is a full time job.

Today, i couldn't take the lack of my mediums. I have been expressing my creativity in other ways of late but still, the need to paint bubbles up daily and I have to tell myself "soon". Well, we have been here a total of 3 and a bit weeks and 'soon' won't cut it i couln't wait for my studio to begin working.

I have purchased a mini kit of everything i need to express until i have my new studio. Thank you to my husband for noticing the 'Dick Blick' out of the corner of his eye in Berkeley at 5.45pm on a Sunday, when they close at 6pm and thank you 'Dick Blicks' for your 20% sale I wasn't expecting!

I am now at the kitchen table working on 10"X8"s. It feels good to be back!


'Friendship' 10" x 8" Oil/Glaze on Canvas 2014  

This is one of my recent works in a smaller scale that was created as part of a triptych to celebrate friendship. In my triptych 'Deeper', I stayed within the family of Blue's, wanting to create depth without distraction. This was my next adventure and I wanted to explore multiple colors and textures in a small scale work. I used many of the different techniques I use in my larger scale work to see if they would translate. I feel they did. I love the energy and warmth in this work. It speaks of friendship and the many layers that contribute to it's fabric. Friendships are often complex and simple at the same time. It is wonderful when they reach a maturity where these qualities can co-exist harmoniously, as they do in a completed work of art. It too, is in the home of a dear friend. of my favorite colors.

'Deeper' 10" x 8" Oil/Glaze on Canvas 2014 This is one panel of a triptych I painted recently to explore size. I have been working on larger scale canvases for the best part of a year and felt the urge to scale down and see if I could achieve the same type of depth with a smaller canvas. I think i did. I love this painting and it is going to live with a special friend, which is a blessing as I will get to see it again whenever I visit. It speaks of depth. The deeper thoughts we have, the probing of ourselves to better understand our motivations and our desires. Not something for the faint hearted at times but definitely rewarding and a way of being that creates a rich and layered life. The reward for being brave enough to face oneself and acknowledge the mysterious depths inside, also the courage to face oneself in the light of that honesty and make adjustments when necessary. Not everyone lives that way but the owner of this painting does. I am proud to have it hang in her home.

'Lightness of Being' has founds it's new home here in Dallas!

'Lightness of Being' Oil/Glaze on Canvas 40" x30" 2012 This painting is rich in layering and is best shown, like most works of art, with good lighting. The original layers are still visible to read through the surface which is one of my favorite ways of working. I remember when I began painting  more than 15 years ago, one of my goals was to layer color in a way that still enabled the colors underneath to show through. Each layer effects the previous in some way (adding a blue over a yellow creates a green and so on) but by using glaze I was able to find a technique to enable the individual colors to still shine through. I marvel at great artists like Rothko and Reinhardt who have made of career of such pursuit. There is something amazing that happens when you lose yourself in a painting and it reveals it's inner being to you while you sit with it. I guess that is part of the allure of Abstract art for me. The painting requires you to stop and actually 'be' with it for it to reveal it's full self. The reveal is the reward for the viewers patience. I am pleased this painting will live on in the home of a good friend and hope it provides their family as much pleasure as it did for me with it's creation!