Friday, 31 August 2007


Compromising is a topic that came up during the March 2007 Santa Barbara art workshop I took with painter *Nancy Reyner from Santa Fe, NM. Nancy talked about compromises and how they can affect us in the studio when we are painting. It all starts with our first choice, and when we compromise that, we set the stage for compromising everything.

Let’s say you want to paint a really big painting, say 40” x 50” but you already have several smaller sized canvas in your studio. Remember the big painting is a metaphor for whatever you want to create – a new business, a tidy & organized kitchen, a restful day, write a chapter of your novel, a better relationship with your partner, etc. The big idea is the real dream.

So, in the case of the studio artist, you decide to compromise and use the smaller canvases you have in your studio. You justify it to yourself that you’re saving money not getting the bigger canvas, saving time for the trip to the art store, and the underlying belief that accompanies these non-actions is; “that it’s Ok ‘cause I’m not really worth it anyways”. You tell yourself a good little story about why you’ll just make do with what you have. So here is your first compromise.

Now you have set the painting session for compromise, what’ll it be next? You don’t have the exact shade of yellow you envisioned – you wanted to use Naples yellow but heck that’s special order historic color so you’ll just use that old tube of yellow ochre will do? The pallet knife you have has a broken handle, but oh well, it’ll do. See what’s going on here? Compromises and Energy drain!

So we end up with a half baked painting that really wasn’t what we were dreaming at all. Or a day where we had planned something special for ourselves, but let other things get in the way…We let the compromises win out and the energy drains away…

And it all started with our first compromise with ourselves when we didn’t really follow our heart, the spiritual direction, our inspiration i.e. in-SPIRIT-ation – we were sent initially about what we were really supposed to do.

So, it takes guts and bravery to learn to go for what we really want from the start. It takes trust that the original thought came from a higher place and are orders to be followed, not ignored, compromised, or worse – utterly case aside. And it takes belief in ourselves, that we are WORTH IT – worth the big canvas, the best paints, the new pen, the 10 minutes of writing time towards that novel….Because we lose energy every time we waiver from our original inspiration and compromise our true desires. We also lose trust in the Great Creator who intends us all to create abundantly and follow our dreams.

So, on that note, I’m off to follow through on my intention for today of my artist’s date with myself to visit a new gallery in town here in Santa Barbara. If there’s anything cool worth mentioning I will let you know! Thanks for reading. Keep painting. Love, Deb

*(Nancy is the author of The Acrylic Revolution a great book for starting to learn about mixed media painting with acrylics.)

Thursday, 30 August 2007


SMIGs is s a ritual I do every evening, yup, even managed to keep it up camping in a little tent in the middle of nowhere on this last river trip on the Nahanni. It’s about paying attention, cultivating awareness in the little moments and honoring all the big and little pieces of our daily life.

Simply, SMIGs stands for: Success, Magic Moments, Intentions, & Gratitude. The little ‘s’ at the end reminds me to keep it small to take small steps ! This exercise brings you into the now and let’s us see what we’ve done as well as honoring the beauty in the little moments of our day that are worth remembering.

Here’s a photo of my SMIGs exersice in my journal. Notice the contents of my “create-anywhere kit” a fold down wash bag which includes soft gel gloss, paint brush, palette knife, C’aran dash water soluble and non water soluble crayons, lots of pens and little post-it notes. I put together these supplies so I can create anywhere and stay in my creative painting flow even when I am away from my studio.

SMIGs sample I wrote in my journal on this last trip...

Wednesday August 15th 2007- Deb’s Journal Entry camping along the Nahanni River, North West Territories, Canada

Success – Did Qi Gong and yoga in the morning. Wrote 3 morning pages. Canoed a lot!

Magic moments – Absorbing the natural earth energy during my Qi Gong practice, Soaking in the natural hot springs by the river (awesome!), had a nice little nap on the raft on the way down the river, enjoyed being in Keri’s raft – laughing, singing & telling jokes. Collecting special rocks with Matt on shore.

Intentions for tomorrow – drinks lots of water, write 3 morning pages, stretch, enjoy the experience.

Gratitude – great dinner, beautiful scenery, being with my Dad and my man, health, love, life, my journal.

You could make it simpler and write just one thing for each section.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

New work : Faux Encaustica Series

Good morning! My daughter is sleeping in so I thought I’d tell you about some of the new pieces I am working on in my “Faux Encaustica Series”. Well, first off I must say these paihntings are the most fun ever.. EVerytime I go in my studio and take a peek at these pieces I get little shiverse of exciment…hmmm….what am I going to do next? Such fun!

Often in the mornings I go into my studio and re-bound (jump up and down on a small trampoline playing some funky music – my late favorite is a Jimmy Cliff album I have on my ipod that starts out with “Wonderful World, Beautiful People”. So I jump and sing outloud sometimes and look at these paintings and figure out my next step.

Here I am in the studio with Ruthie (4) and all the Faux Encaustica series paintings in progress! It’s great to be working on canvas again. We’ll see how things pieces evolve!

This technique is all about using acrylics and acrylic mediums to beautifully imitate encaustic art (wax). I took a workshop with Nancy Reyner in March of this year and learned all about combining and using Golden products such as Soft Gel, Heavy Gel, Matte Medium, Gloss Medium, GAC 800 and all sorts of other ingredients to create the wax look. Nancy is a Golden Working Artist so along with learning a lot about the Golden products we all received a ton of free samples! Nancy teaches all over the US. It’s a great workshop I recommend.

Here is the first completed piece in the series which for me I called “Staying Connected” because what I am learning from these paintings is the sheer joy and fun of being in the moment - connected fully to my creativity and the process of creating. These paintings are truly a reflection of connecting with the playful kid inside me.

First completed painting in this series, Staying Connected, 24” x 24” , mixed media, acrylics and collage. Deb Chaney 2007. Original For Sale $850 Visa/Mst Accepted (805) 403-9870

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

On the Right Track

Hello, it’s been a while. Thanks for coming back to my blog. I’ve been away, a way up north actually. No internet in the great remote outdoors, so that’s my official excuse for a break in blogs. Me, Matt, and my Dad went for a week long paddling trip down the Nahanni River in the North West Territories of Canada. Wow, what a spectacular adventure.

Deb on the Nahanni River. Aug 2007.

Being in the outdoors re-fills my creative wells and energizes my spirit like nothing else. The big wide open spaces, big sky, interesting geology, wild rivers, black bears, green trees, canyons and mountains for hiking, lakes and hot springs for swimming and, I am sold. I am in love with the north. I am as passionate being in the outdoors as I am about painting.

On my way up to the Nahanni River in the North West Territories of Canada we stopped through Yellow Knife and I had a day to peruse shops, enjoy the local scenery and experience some of their fabulous northern cuisine. I picked up a few souvenirs at a few of the local artisans galleries. One of them being a soapstone carving of an “Inukshuk”.

Here is a photo of my little Inukshuk nestled into my “Heaven on Earth” studio window still along with some other goodies. Nothing like toys in your creative space!

Inukshuk’s are little stone figures made to look like men. The Inuit people of the north would build large Inukshuks’ in order to mark a path or give some kind of helpful information to fellow traveler’s to come. The human like stone form could say “ you’re on the right track, keep on” or “good fishing here”. They were left as positive guides.

I think positive sign posts and guides are a essential for artists. We need to expect them. Ok this painting is working out, I’m on the right track. Wow, those couple hours in the studio sure felt fun last night, I’m on the right track. I’ve sold quite a few art pieces in the last few years, I’m on the right track. I really love being an artist…..and so on.

Sometimes we feel like we might be off the track, that things may not be going how we intended. At this most recent show I had at the Sojourner Café, I did not sell a single painting. I have never had this experience of not selling art work I’ve put on display. How lucky am I?

Perhaps I could be discouraged or feel like I’m off track. Not at all. I wasn’t too surprised at these results for a number of reasons. But more importantly I gained a lot from doing this show and this series of 18 paintings. I painted a body of work and became a stronger artist and person for doing this. The show gave me a deadline. I’ve never worked with collage before and this series gave me the freedom to explore using paper with paint. And most importantly I painted this work for myself, to express deep feelings and release them in a way that would contribute instead of destroy. These paintings were healing. Regardless of what happens I feel I was on my right track when I was painting these works.

So perhaps I have not sold any of these paintings yet, but I trust they will find their homes to the right person at the right time. Meanwhile my Inukshuk sits on my studio sill and reminds me I am on the right track. And I know that I am.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Studio Visitors

Recently my husband and my daughter went to Disney land for a couple of days. They did it to celebrate her 4th birthday. I opted to stay home, have some personal time, and paint. Any true artist would understand the gift in alone time. The minutes, the hours, I relished all of them. I don’t think I slept much…I didn’t want to waste a single second!

I vowed to take care of myself though and went for a massage. On the way back I remember telling myself; “ I won’t stop by the art store, I don’t need anything, I know what they have” of course the universe only hears “art store” so next thing you know I’m walking back from the massage and I’m at the art store. It was right next door to the massage place, hardly easy to avoid. There on the front door was a posted sign for a play about Jackson Pollock. Suckered in immediately, I got my notebook out to write down the place and time. Turns out it was that evening – my last evening alone before my crew came back. I made the decision right there to go.

[“We think we are alone but we are not” I Diptych Deb Chaney 2007 Mixed Media, Acrylics, collage on 300 lb paper, 23” x 30”, unframed $1500. Currently on exhibit at Sojourner Café. For sales contact ]

I am not a theatre person. My mother likes to go to plays and will often ask, sometimes drag me to plays when I visit. Last time I was up in Vancouver she asked me if I wanted to go see a play. “What about?” I asked. “It’s about mothers, mother hood, teenagers and stuff” my mum told me. We ended up going to see Mums the Word II at the Playhouse theatre on Granville Island for a nice little date out together. The play was fantastic. Hilarious. Heart wrenching. I was close to tears and then close to standing up and yelling “you go girls! Go mamas!” So the last experienced was a good one I thought I’d risk it again and went downtown that night to stand in line outside the playhouse on Victoria Street in Santa Barbara.

I have not seen the Jackson Pollock movie. Nor have I studied in any formal art classes, art history, whatever. So for me, since I started painting full time, I have learned along the way who is who and how abstract expressionism emerged into America and became ‘acceptable’ even popular art. For me the still continuing journey of discovering Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, William de Kooning , Hans Hoffman and the rest of that gang started out by a teacher here in Santa Barbara, Rick Stitch, who said to me if you want to be a great artist you’ve got to study the great artist. He loaned me a couple of books (yikes, still need to return the last one! Sorry Rick) and my education began. This play was the next step in my art education.

Jackson Pollock, as depicted in this play was angry, frustrated – it seems- and extremely ego driven “what about me? How is my art? Will they buy it?” He also seemed incredibly insecure. I could relate but also felt like this time has past. Living in the “me” game is the recipe for suffering. I would hope artists today could start moving on from this. He got so volatile in the scene where the photographer came to photograph him in his studio close to the end of the first act, that I left. I couldn’t handle the energy.

Anyways, in the process of getting my ticket and being seated for the play I had connected with the artistic director, William. I knew I recognized William from a movie or two – his face was so darn familiar – but more than that there was a spark between us and when I mentioned I was an artist, he expressed an interest to come visit my studio and see my work. We talked on the phone later that weekend and invited him for dinner a week later on a Friday night.

[“We think we are alone but we are not” II Diptych Deb Chaney 2007 Mixed Media,
Acrylics, collage on 300 lb paper, 23” x 30”, unframed $1500. Currently on exhibit at Sojourner Café. For sales contact ]

I haven’t had a whole lot of studio visitors at this point in my career as a working artist. I’m sure there will be more. I think the concept of inviting people into my studio needs to be done with keeping a balance. When I am in full-on creative mode I don’t want anyone near within a mile. (my dream is to own 10 acres with a big studio space and trees all around, quiet, quiet, quiet. Gulf Island preferably, thanks for asking. J) but sometimes it’s fun to have people come over and play - so to speak.

William brought me his movie set prop portfolio (His card does not have a website otherwise I’d give you the link . Hey William, if you’re reading this send me your link so I can put it here for people to see you awesome work! ) and I showed him some of my finished new works ( The Raw Expression series) and a number of other paintings and projects I was working on. At that time I was working on the painting that ended up being called “We are not alone” but at the time of William’s visit it was going in a totally different direction.

When I first started creating this piece I was really inspired by the beginning and ending images in the Matrix movie. I enjoyed the first movie and the whole concept within the movie of taking a pill and waking up to this life being a dream. For me, I watched that scene and went “wow!” that’s really how it is. This life is a dream. I was really taken by how they presented this concept. So I was moving towards imitating those green computer screen images that the matrix is known for. Funny thing is when William looked at the in-process painting he saw a city. Turn it around and it does look like a whole bunch of high rise buildings, sort of New York-esque. I liked that and it caught. The whole piece changed from his comment and opened up a new door for me.

I like that I was open to the new idea. To changing where the painting was headed. I’ve always loved the views of high rise buildings in the night with their windows lit up and the yellow and orange light bursting out into the night. There were some paintings depicting this beautifully in a newer book put out by Natalie Goldberg. She did a wonderful job of capturing it. I looked at the paintings in her poetry/art book several years back when the book first came out and thought; “ I want to paint those”. So here I was doing collage in the same theme, exploring the beauty of cities and all their buidlign and the lights through the windows. Funny how things happen.

So, studio visitors, well I think it’s good to let people in once in a while. Not all the time. Not just anyone. After all, our studios are sacred. We must preserve the energy, the space, our time. But once in a while I think inviting someone in to take a peek, have a look, come an dplay can’t hurt. I think it can even add to our growth as artists.

So, William, thanks for the help with that painting.

Much love,


Sunday, 5 August 2007

Art Marketing & Buz Mgt update

Progress on Marketing/Business side of being an artist. Yes, I'd rather be in the studio. But I also want to get my work out there and I'm willing to do what it takes....

Here's some of my Success so far!
1. Got credit card processing. Decided on Intuit services for QB b/c they have remote online terminal access and I can do it all through QB. Yay! This was a big step.
2. Sent art show announcement – next time will use BCC function as suggested by Ann B ( Thank you!)
3. Got an email from a photography student who could take new picts of me in my studio for the brochure and website. WE will meet in August when I get back.:)
4. Reconciled accounts in QB, paid invoices owing.
5. Went through the marketing to do list!

Current To do list that I will look at when I am back from our Canada/Alaska vacation:

  1. Continue building the new database in ACT!
  2. Continue uploading images and setting up to sell prints, posters, mugs and t-shirts based on my art images.
  3. Research sites for high quality art prints (get site names from Tammi again)
  4. Make a meeting date with my web woman regarding:New 2007 Raw Expression BrochureWebsites for just art – add more images, add more productsHtml newsletter template – either Tam helps me or someone else
  5. Find someone who can build a CMS (Content mgt system) website for me that I can upload myself. And Overall website update/re-vamp
  6. Blog thoughts -Put up dashboard ( got the images from Tam, need to upload)Learn how to create side snippets ( really like the favorite books Claudine Hellmuth put on her blog)
    Create a blog schedule and decide how many times/week I will add things.
  7. New 2007 'Raw Expression' Brochure - Choose 8 favourite imagesRe-write Feng Shui and art relative to Raw Expression paintings
  8. NewsletterKeep adding ideasTalk to Tam about template that mimics websiteFind out where I could get snippet little facts about artThink about different sections to write about: creative inspiration, mixed media painting techniques, events/shows, other.
  9. Research if I can convert digital images to slides? Find online sight
  10. Talk to Troy about making a poster with Emerging and Vof H images & ask him about slides.
  11. Application for 3 art organizations Lana mentioned ( get 2 other apps)
    Find out date for entry to SB and LA Art organization
  12. Call Natural History Museum about Art walk show in September
  13. Learn how to write a kick-ass query letter to submit to galleries – choose 3 galleries to submit to. Maybe pick up the Artists Market book.
  14. Organize binder with promotional tools, tips and resources for art marketing.
  15. Prioritize this list (!) - do on next blog, (OK, list still needs to be prioritized but at least I went through it!)
  16. Breathe!!! (most important thing here!)

Raw Expression - show announcement

August 3, 2007.

We are pleased to announce RAW EXPRESSION a new series of paintings on paper by Deb Chaney.
View all 18 new works at

August 1 – 25th, 2007 the Sojourner Café
134 E Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101

A WOMAN’S EMOTIONS….RAW, HEARTFELT, AND EXPLOSIVE can take many paths and express much energy. In this series, mixed media artist Deb Chaney allows her inner self the unrestricted freedom to express as she has never done before.

Deep radiant reds and the use of contrasts illuminate the power and vitality behind this work. “Each piece in the series started with a thought written in paint on the paper.” The words are then devoured by layers of red, black and white papers, and mixed media to create the texture and vibrancy of the finished abstract image.

Provocative, playful or expressing a deeper consideration, Deb just puts it out there and lets her intuition guide her. “It’s about taking risks and trusting the process. If I’m feeling cross or naughty, I just go with it. My job is to set the intention and then allow the creative process to flow through me”.

Deb’s work transforms spirited thoughts and emotions into stirring visual form in bold and imaginative ways.
Originals are 22” x 30” mixed media, acrylics, collage and unframed on 300 lb paper and $1500 ea. For original sales inquiries please call Megan Hvrada Havrda (805) 637-3670 or Visa and MasterCard as well as personal checks are accepted. All California sales subject to 7.75% Sales Tax.
All images can all be viewed online at

Prints, posters, magnets, tote bags and much more with Deb’s art images are available for sale - Raw Expression paintings images on them as well as some of her past work at:

Deb’s best selling image “Valley of Hearts” is now available in small and large prints at:

Deb’s Little Inspiration Book, Ideas to Empower Women is now available as PDF format for easy download to your computer. Or buy the real book at:

For stories, artist commentary, details on how the paintings were created and more please visit Deb’s blogspot at

THANK YOU ! None of this would be possible without the help and support of so many people including; My husband, Matty-baby for first off triggering many of the emotions that I channeled into these paintings, for building my kick-ass studio, and loving me fully for the woman I am. My daughter Ruthie Firefly for being the little spark you are. For Pete Moraites, for allowing me to vent and cry and be frustrated and suggesting that I take these emotions to my paintings. To Patsy Flemming for your amazing work which truly set something off in me. For saying “fuck” when I first met you and melting that ice right away. Katja, Alice Marie, Patou- I love you women! Tammi for all the work you did in setting up and updating Megan for being the woman you are and playing a key role with art sales. Thank you! My creative coach Shirley who is helping me co-create the truly great artist I am meant to be. To Peggy McInerty for re-juicing my batteries with Raiki, CST, and Shiatsu. I am so blessed to have your grounding support. For Lana Grow for your heartfelt love, support, teaching, mentoring, inspiration, encouragement, and friendship. To Ann Baldwin for your phenomenal workshop in collage, your kind words and encouragement. Jill Badonsky for listening when I needed an ear and allowing me to process how I self-sabotage. Lisa Saanich for listening to me process myself, my work, my life on our hikes and for letting me experience baby Julian’s beautiful little spirit along with us. Alyson Stanfield, yes we have only talked once thus far, but your website alone has given me sooo much. Can’t wait to work together in October. Miss. Dr. Jenn Waterhouse. I am so proud of you, of us, following our dreams. I am so thankful for you being here in my life for over 20 years!!! To Marcel, the Big Bad Business guy. Thank you for being the man that you are and being part of my support team. And, to the mountains, beaches and trees of this beautiful City of Santa Barbara. The natural beauty feeds my soul and replenishes my spirit. I am so grateful having all of your support, I could not have done this alone.
From my heart, Thank you!!