My little painting studio! by debbie rich

Here is my new little studio! Between this rented area and half the attic at home, I've got a lot of paintings in queue. Which is great because with oils, at any given time, I'm waiting for 2 or 3 pieces to dry so I can work on the next layer.

My studio is in a shared space in this art collective in Oakland. The building was formerly a training institute for mosaic tiling, so there are tons of delightful mosaic murals, mosaic sculptures and crumbling offbeat mosaic objects around the rooms and outdoor garden. 

My swirly tree branch tattoo by debbie rich

Finally got the tattoo I've been thinking about for years. Surprise! It's a series of swirly lines that look like branches. Color will come in a few weeks. I conceived of the tat wrapping around my wrist but once the artist sketched it in, and covered only the exterior of my wrist, I decided to leave it that way. After the summer, I'll add in the flip side.

My first commission! by debbie rich

An old, dear friend contacted me about painting a Valentine card for his parter. So incredibly sweet. He wrote the words — which, for privacy, I've removed from the images below — and I made the art to showcase them.

It was a rush job since he contacted me on a Weds, Valentines Day was the following Friday, and we needed at least three days for the paint to dry and package to ship. I decided to render a tree since it's my core competency (and obsession). Made a digital comp using stock photo thumbnails and Photoshop, got client signoff, and went into painting mode. 

Here are the frame, final, sketch and comp.


(Canvas) size is important by debbie rich

I've recently been asked what size my paintings are. They're small. 

Many of the pieces are finished versions of on-site sketches that originated in a sketchbook. They wind up in 8x10 frames with a 5x7 matte, like the one below. 

Once I've completed that first piece, I begin a second version that is 8x10 (like this) and typically on watercolor paper. It will find a home in a 11x14 frame. 


A big goal for 2014 is, well, to work bigger. I'm moving this month, and very excited about having more space to get creative. 

Frozen branches by debbie rich

I love the random things that happen in life, art and the computer. This screenshot falls into two of those categories. I'm working on a banner for my wildbranches.com portfolio site, and the Photoshop window froze, leaving me with fractured design elements. Actually, the quality of being fractured bleeds into that final category of life. 


My trees from mid-90s by debbie rich

I’m moving very soon, which means I’m sorting through paperwork, tidying up my computer files, and packing up the last boxes. Found a digital folder called ‘undergraduate art ugh’ that has paintings I did (often poorly) in the early to mid 90s.

It’s interesting to see that my style has greatly evolved, but it’s already present in this earlier work. Bright colors, twisted trees, Impressionist influence.

I think this one is from 1993.

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Old factory in the sunset by debbie rich

Another old painting unearthed, this time from the faraway land of 1993. I remember taking a trip from New Jersey to Ohio and snapping an early morning photo of the winter snow against lampposts and a factory. When I painted the image, the white snow in the first light of the morning had a deep blue, and the sun felt orange and yellow. While this painting lacks sophistication, 20 years later, I think it still looks nice.