Saturday, 29 September 2007

Art Supplies

I've been asked a number of times; where do you buy your art supplies? Here is where I buy my art supplies online: - I really like how organized their site is, very easy to navigate. - mainly craft things but I found some wonderfully large palette knives there the other day!

Here in town I go to Santa Barbara Art Essentials only when I'm out of something and need it quickly b/c they are quite expensive.

and, hands down, the world over, my favourite art store is OPUS Art Supply on Granville Island in Vancouver!!! I will be there next week as my daughter and I will be in Vancouver.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Co-Creation Collaboration with Pete Moraites

Last Saturday Peter Moraites drove up from Santa Monica and came up to co-create some mixed media - digital art with me. If you don’t know about Peter he was the #1 digital artist on you tube (over 100,100 downloads) based on his piece called “Hypnotize yourself” I could have the name wrong. Check it out for yourself. Anyways, Peter has vibrant energy and is passionate about art and creativity. (see past blog post on Hurrah Peter for more on Pete). We had a blast in the studio creating a 30” x 40” canvas piece with gels and mediums, papers, foils, liquid and full bodied acrylics, powder pigments, and liquid metals. Layering, scraping, dancing, photographing were all part of the process. The final piece will be called “Faith” so keep tuned for its completion…I will post it on this blog.

Peter took some fabulous new shots of me for my upcoming Raw Expression brochure as well he created an awesome collage piece – Sebastian style – with images of myself entwined in our painting. Peter loves to co-create with other artists. If you like what you see, and we’re not done yet – he’s working on a little video podcast of me painting and a comic strip series of photos – he could do the same for you. You can contact Peter at

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Everything Counts

I haven’t written for a while and am giving myself total compassion. Life has been busy. As a working artist and also as a student of the creative process I am aware of the fact that everything counts that everything we do -parenting, our jobs, how we are in relationships, how we take care of our bodies, how we manage our finances - is a creative endeavor. And everything counts! It all matters.

For me, I manage by having deeply ingrained habits and rituals in place so that I get to the non-urgent things but important things, like painting, in my life.

Usually mornings are my studio time, when it's quiet and everyone is sleeping. Or very late at night, again when it's quiet and everyone is (hopefully!) sleeping.

Mondays are my "magical money management" days and that's when I pay bills, reconcile accounts, and do the book keeping support for my husband's company. I don't even think about what I do on Mondays, it's automatic that I'll be at my desk most of the day- and this really works for me.

Tuesdays are my “toot my horn Tuesdays” where I work on marketing and promotion of myself and my work. Website updates, creating a new brochure, adding contacts to my database, and reading the online blogclass I am currently taking with Alyson Stanfield (

So far those two days along with morning studio times are solid. I’m looking forward to forming more rituals that serve me in creating my goals - especially taking time out for self care, more studio time (!), and fun time with my family.

I'm still working on a house cleaning ritual and I'd love to hear your comments and how you fit it into your life!(1-800-Mollyl Maid?) :-)

I call this photo "The motherhood pull" . Ruthie (age 4) needs a lot of attention; the trick is to balance it so I can get my needs met too. This morning I gave her own big canvas and some paints. This kept her busy and gave me time to work on some paintings in the studio. See what she created!

How do you manage your art with your life? We al have the same struggle with juggling it all. It's the little tricks that keep us coming back to doing what we love regularly. I’d love to hear about your tricks to make time.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Pure Abstraction - In the process of things

I am in the middle of working on those three (3) ‘Pure Abstraction’ 36” x 36” pieces on canvas I told you about several week ago. ( What fun I am having but also I am feeling challenged and am learning much in this process. I wanted to share a with you about my creation process of these, something I wrote in my journal;

“I listen to the painting. I feel what it needs next. Maybe more paint, maybe less. Maybe work more while it’s wet. Maybe let it dry. Scrape away with a palette knife or wipe with a rag, melt it together with a wet brush or maybe wipe it with my sleeve. Scrub a layer away when it’s dry. Tonight I rubbed the latest layer with my fingers, getting involved with mixing the colors in. It’s what called to me, I had to do it. If I had to eat the paint to make it work, I probably would do this too. Sometimes I am tired or the painting just says; “Leave me alone, go rest, trust, come back later”. Some days I just lie down in my studio and sleep next to the paintings. That is my work for that day. The paintings lead me, and I follow. This process of trusting and listening fills my soul.”

P.S. A wise older friend told me several weeks ago; make sure you let them know you and your life isn’t perfect – that you make crappy paintings, mistakes, that you can relate other ‘normal’ people. (What is normal anyways? We all have our passions, talents, dreams. I believe there are just a few of us who are willing to risk all and commit to living them. This is not so easy. It takes spirit, fire, commitment, dedication, unrelenting enthusiasm, focus, working when I don’t feel like it, working through depression and working with life going on all around me.) Tonight for instance after making dinner for my ‘spirited’ 4 year old (spoon feeding it to her because otherwise she refused to eat), giving her a bath, playing some games, reading a Curious George book, letting her have 20 minutes of her Barbie movie, she is currently, as I write this, in bed whining for me to come and cuddle her. I feel for her but the paintings call is strong. So is my dream. As well, I wanted to share with you tonight. So motherhood and the artist life is a challenge I have chosen for this life and I hope to find peace and balance and success in both – however I define those to be – and pass this along to you. Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Bodies of Work

In 2006 I created a body of work I called "Emerging". The work was inspired by my studio lessons with Adolfo Girala, whom I had met at an art fair in 2001. Adolfo taught me so much - both in art and on a personal level.

"Earth and Sky" Deb CHaney 2006. Polyptic, series of four 16" x 20" ea. $2200. Mastercard and Visa. (805) 403-9870 Prints at

I am so grateful to have met someone whose style and techniques I so admired and who was willing to share. His generosity has further enthused me to share with you - my techniques, stories, habits and secrets. Adolfo - thank you!

So, in puttering around and experimenting in my studio from 2001- 2006 I created this "Emerging" body of work. Most of the works were flops, experiments. A lot of the work didn't work out. But I learned and played and grew as an artist. And then with the help of my graphic artist we put together this brochure, and I thought I was done.

(for PDF brochure download for Emerging series of paintings pls visit

Honestly I was tired of trying to imitate Adolfo's work. He is such a master at his style. It was emotionally draining trying to emulate something that seemed so illusive. All his paintings seemed to work out...mine did not. I held his work as my standard and fell short every time. It became ever more frustrating!

I stopped focusing on these Emerging works and took workshops with a number of artists whom I admired... Bob Burrdige, Anne Baldwin, Nancy Reyner and Lana Grow.

The Raw Expression series came from after learning new ways from new teachers. I created work that was totally my own. I was working on 300 lb paper on not on canvas. I was using paper in my paintings and only doing a few layers, not 20 - 30. I was breaking the rules I had learned with Adolfo. I was liberating myself with this series.

So, last week, I was downtown with my husband and wondering through the Spirit in STone Galleriy and ogled Wosene's work, not for the first time. This time the sales lady at the desk handed me his artist statement, but it was more like a "history of the artist" because the narrative described his work and bodies of work over the last 20+ years. It was fascinating how he had worked on various bodies of work for 5, 6, 7 years each and then evolved into what he grouped as a different series, a new focus, another 5-10 years.

I have so much admiration for Wosene. I love his work but what I truly admire is his dedication and focus to his work. To paint for more than 20 years. With 3 paintings in the Smithsonian. But above all that, what intrigues me and captivates me is his dedication to his native Ethiopian language; " Amharic ".I feel like he is so lucky to have that rich heritage, the intrigue and playful beauty of the written words to incorporate into his art, to call his own. It makes me wonder what my language and focus is….but that is another blog entry.

So, for now, what did I learn? Well, I learned that a body of work can span years. And I went back to my study, newly enthused, and pulled out some of those old not-finished Emerging paintings. So I am excited to share with you some of the new Emerging pieces. I will link you to them as they get posted on the website. And to see how I progress with Adolfo's teaching and everything else I've learned and see what evolves and emerges in the next few years.

The journey continued, as I continue to emerge. Thank you for being here with me. Take care, Deb

Monday, 17 September 2007

Production Mode

Currently I'm in production mode...really enjoying the studio time, the process, experimentation and completing new works.
Here's a photo of some pieces I've got ready to take to the photographers.
Back to the studio...

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Hurah for Peter!

I want to introduce you to my dear friend Pete Moraites, who works under the moniker of Sebastian Process as VJ and photographer. He had a big spot at the Los Angeles downtown Art walk showing his process of animated photography this last weekend and I’m sorry to have missed it. (Next time!)

Stages of his new work can be seen at and Pete/Sebastian Process is a member of the creative-expression championing collective Eye Pscience, and the eclectic music-art combo Salvador Dalek.

On display was the Pete Moraites "Spelling Test" collection of animations set to original music. Spelling Test features solo visual and musical works as well as visual collaborations with Alyson Boote and musical collabs with Eric Scott (as Salvador Dalek). Best known amongst the "Spelling Test" collection is the viral hit "Program Yourself".Influenced by Richard Bandler's Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Ericksonian Hypnosis, and early typographic design music videos of Underworld (designed by Tomato) "Program Yourself" is a visually administered mimetic catalyst designed to induce trance in the audience and access our most enthusiastic, joyful, loving, happy, and knowingly amazingly capable thoughts of ourselves, energize these thoughts, and set them looping in our subconscious as well as part of our conscious minds which frequently loops a catchy piece of music. Linguistically engineered with viral properties, the piece has enjoyed over half a million viewings online, was a number one feature on YouTube and a featured story in Noyse Magazine. A wild mashup of animated styles and media including photography, drawings, clay, video, and text, with an inspired soundtrack to match, "Spelling Test" is a tribute to the joys of Creative Play.

The LA art walk runs the Second Thursday of Every Month in Downtown Los Angeles
453 South Spring Street (btwn 4th/5th Street) Los Angeles, CA 90013.

Peter and I will be doing a collaboration piece soon – we’re talking about a photo comic strip of me doing my art work…we’ll see what we create together. Stay posted. Cheers, Deb.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Naming your art work

How do you choose or find the right name for your art work? I just finished a new piece in my “Faux Encaustica” series which I entitled; Travel Plans. The title came easily when I decided to incorporate bits and part of our e-ticket stubs and travel itineraries from our most recent travel adventure into the painting. I love to travel and I also love to plan trips, so this title really felt right. But sometimes I have no idea what to entitle my work so I have a few tricks I want to share with you…

I keep a list of painting title ideas in my journal. Sometimes when I’m writing in my journal if an idea comes to me about a series of paintings or a specific title or concept I’ll tab it using a specific tab color so I can refer back to it easily.

I also use these resources to search for painting titles when I’m stuck:
  • Thesaurus
  • Baby name book
  • Write down good lines from a movie (one of my favorites)
  • Highlight a great line from a novel I’m reading
  • Newspaper headline
  • See what other artists's entitle their work and use it as inspiration/start off point

My friend Lana Grow when she’s really stuck on naming one of her abstract pieces will ask one of her 10 grandchildren to name it!

So I’m curious, how do you choose the names for your pieces? There is a place below this blog for comments. Please use it, I’d love to hear from you!

Travel Plans - Deb Chaney 2007, 30” x 40”- Mixed Media, Acrylics and Collage on Canvas, $3200 USD

All of Deb Chaney’s original artwork displayed in this blog is for sale. Visa and Mastercard are accepted. For purchase inquiries contact Deb at (805) 403-9870 or Shipping, handling and tax are extra.

Don’t have the budget for original work but like what you see? Prints, poster, mugs, magnets, t-shirts,etc - less expensive items with my original art work on them are available at

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Art Image Collection

I like to put images of paintings and designs I like into a book dedicated to art images. I collect pictures of art work I like from magazines, postcards from art shows, & off the Internet.
Having my own hand-picked art image book is a great resource for ideas and inspiration .
Using the back of a stepped palette knife, I apply Golden soft gel (gloss) to glue in thin papers like magazine cut outs and I use Golden heavy gel (matte) to blue in thicker postcard papers that need greater adhesion.
It's a fun thing to do when I'm not intersted in painting but want to do something mindless and creative!

You could use this same idea even if you're not a visual artist - collecting images that support your dream however that appears to you - a table that you'd lke to make, a quilt pattern or colour that inspired one you intend to create, images of clothes you'd like to acquire for your wardrobe. You get the idea... Have fun!

Here I am at a local cafe putting gel medium on the back of an image before I put it into my image book. I sometimes use a brayer to smooth down the image.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Artists Dates – Vancouver café artists

Something I love to do when I am traveling is go and check out other artists shows in café’s, book stores, and galleries. A few weeks ago when I was in Vancouver my husband, daughter and I enjoyed some time strolling along West 4th. (Can't remember the name of the cafe - will let you know if I do.) When it started raining we ducked into a little café with a winding staircase up the middle and comfy sofas all around. The art was fantastic mixed media which gave me such the impression of the artist having a great time doing it. Scott Schafer is a Vancouver artist and when I contact him he shared the following with me.

Scott recently wrote me of his newest painting endeavor; “....I've just finished a collection of images being shown in Calgary this week for the next 12 weeks....the collection was painted in Ontario, thru out this summer...on Lake Erie, in an abandoned church,....I rounded up everyone's old paints and varnishes....and on several large canvases I painted a mixed media of topographical views of the earth, involving everything I could use...or what would actually stay on the canvas....everything I paint now is I work totally in open air environments around the is Thailand and HongKong.....I'm deeply affected with how life rotates around the painting is a comes first...with that commitment...I will see the world...dada”.

Here are pictures of two of Scott's mixed media pieces on canvas that represent what he had exhibited at the café August 2007.

Whether its actual physical objects in our surroundings like Scott is doing and adding stuff he finds to his work or just mentally collecting images, thoughts, and emotions around us, this is what we as artist do. We ‘mine’ the world and then take it home and use this to create. Everything is our work. Living is working is playing…could we get any luckier?

You can contact Scott at cell: 778.838.4636 Or visit him online at:

Thursday, 6 September 2007

On this journey of being a working studio artist

On this journey of being a working studio artist, there are many challenges - not just in staying inspired and motivated to paint daily, but forging into the business of being an artist is like making a whole new art piece in itself – in a new medium, in a foreign studio, with different tools…..

I just received my 2007 Artist’s Market book and am in process of paging through it going through the galleries and deciding which ones to look into further – check out their websites and see if my work is compatible. It’s daunting and scary and brings up lot of feeling of vulnerability. But with Kaizen small steps I proceed and enjoy the process of beginning this new portion of my career.

Somewhere in one of my journals (I need to go and re-locate it) I have a list of the top ten things I would like to attract in a gallery and gallery owner representing me. Well, there is the wish list of perfection – a trap that can stop me in my tracks. And then there is the reality of just starting applying! (Hey, if you’re interested I’ll post the list on the blog, please let me know in the comments section – I’d like your feedback.) Anyways, My next little step is to start writing a query letter to the galleries I’d like to apply to. I’m hoping to find a template online to follow. No luck yet.

(By the way did you read Eric Maisel’s newsletter on the fears and excuses we artist come up with when thinking about getting our work out there and applying to galleries? I thought he wrote it to me personally! You can subscribe to his newsletter on the home page of his website:

Meanwhile, back to the fun part of the painting! I am working on 3 paintings this morning that are teaching me a lot. I have not painted anything like this before and am enjoying the burnt umbers, iron oxide yellows and ultra marine blues. The composition is still coming together and at this point I feel that two of them are definitely in their puberty, ugly duckling stage. This is normal. Paintings don’t always just work out, it takes time and finishing them is often the most challenging part – what needs to be taken away? What needs to be added? If the painting could talk, what would it say?

My mentor Lana Grow taught me to take photos of my work and then use the photos to judge what needs to be done. The photo gives us a sense of ‘standing back’ a useful perspective when I’ve been in close all morning putting around with a cloth and palette knife.

So here’s to trusting the process, honoring the ugly duckling stage and taking small steps forward towards our goals.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Back in the studio

I got up this morning around 6:30 am and then headed to my studio at 7 after writing my morning pages and making my daughter’s lunch. It was a pretty long labor day lull and I didn’t get a lot of painting done in the last three days. Wayyyy too much TV! I’m currently addicted to that Kyle XY Series – fascinating.

So it felt odd walking into the studio this morning. Time to get back into my creative groove, out of zombie mode. What am I doing to do? I don’t feel like working on that! Lots of resistant thoughts came up. “So what! Let’s do it anyways” is great for when the little voices take over and we freeze up.

Luckily, three large paintings, each 36” x 36”, caught my eye and I had an idea of adding a little transparent yellow oxide. So I just threw some paint on and started working. Then a little ultra marine blue.

Also, I have some music ( my husband picked it up somewhere and put it in my studio as a gift) that really gets me flowing creatively too, so I put “Creative Mind System – free you artistic expression”, by Dr. Jeffrey Thompson. And before I knew it my daughter was up and it’s now 8 am!

So this is what’s its really about .Being in that zone where time disappears and there is just the color and texture and small questions like “what would work next?” It’s a wonderful, wonderful feeling to be lost in time like this and this is why I work as an artist. Because my work is play.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

River Rocks

Lately I have been re-reading the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron as one of the required books for the Kaizen Muse Creativity Coaching Certification program. It's definitely taking me down memory lane as I think it was about 10 years ago when I got my first copy and did the 12 week program. Anyways, before leaving on the Nahanni River trip, I finished a chapter where at the end one of the tasks was to find a rock (or two?) for fun, for beauty, for a reminder I can carry anywhere in my pocket. (This task is page 113 on my copy of the Artist’s Way)

I’d forgotten all about this task during the trip when Jackie, part of river group, starting collecting the most beautiful rocks along the river bank during a stop for lunch. Wow, art in rocks! The shapes, colors, lines, and textures were beautiful and then the Artist’s Way exercise came back to me and I thought, what the heck, I’d start my own little river rock collection!

Here’s a photo of a journal sketch I made during the trip of river rocks and their beautiful colors- especially when the rocks are still wet. And I’ve included a photo of the rocks I ended up finding on the tripa lso. They now have a special place in my studio, next to my little Inukshuk, on the window sill. The river rocks remind me of the energy I get from being out on the land, fully in nature. They remind me of a great trip, good times with my Dad and my husband. They remind me of beauty and they add delight in my studio.