“I guess you could say that my goal is to express the emotional feelings of wonder and admiration of the world’s natural elements, events and occurrences and to have the viewer experience a different way of seeing.” - the artist
Q: What led you to become an artist?
A: I have always been curiously interested in the various forms of nature’s beauty, and how it can be found in every aspect of life. As a young girl you would find me outdoors and going on explorations looking for rocks or other interesting things. My grandmother, and accomplished artist, introduced me to oil painting at the age of 10 and I began studying in earnest. I was considered a bit of a “nerd” by many and, in hindsight, I guess I was…I was the only member of the “Rock Club” in 5th grade…a Science Club studying minerals, rocks and gems…it was awesome!
I was also lucky to have a wonderful high school art teacher who mentored me and taught me about other mediums. I went on to receive my BFA from Hartford Art School at The University of Hartford where I spent her time focusing on large scale sculptures and bold shapes and design.
Q: You work with poured medium and resin, as well as mixed media. Tell us how you became proficient in these mediums?
A; My training and studies were concentrated in oil and acrylic mediums and, until recently, I almost exclusively used acrylic pigments. I had seen some resin work and became fascinated with the concept but was surprised by the overall lack of artistry that was involved. On a whim, I purchased a couple of gallons to see what it was all about and have, pretty much, spent the last 3 years challenging myself to find beautiful and different ways to use it. My work in the medium is constantly evolving as I experiment with a lot of different pigments, micas, paints, and stones in the resin. And, I also now have quite the collection of power tools. Every piece I create involves a variety of blow torches, heat guns, sanders, saws, rotary tools and, my favorite, my dremel.
Q: Where do you derive your inspiration from?
A: To this day, all of my artwork continues to be inspired by nature. My admiration of minerals, stones, landmass and the sea has only grown stronger and, while many don’t see this in my abstract interpretations, it is always there. My art is multi-dimensional and is based on one or more of these elements while also attempting to capture some aspect of light, darkness, warmth, and convey my the feelings this evokes in me.
Q: You've developed quite a following for your stick sets. And it's quite a different and unusual size at 5" x 60". Tell us the reasoning behind this size selection and why you believe it is so popular?
A: These Sticks!! It is funny how they came to be. A collector of my art was challenged by a round wall in her foyer. After many conversations about what art could be placed on a round wall in her home, we agreed that mirrors, “tall, skinny mirrors”, were the solution. That somehow morphed into” tall, skinny art” and I made a commissioned set for her. “Paint Sticks” is kind of a tongue-in-cheek name for them as they are really quite beautiful slices of fine art. They have garnered a lot of interest and I am now spending quite a bit of time doing custom “Sticks” for clients and have introduced “Twigs”. I am not constricted to the 5” x 60” size as I am now working with a local artisan who is fabricating all of my structure which is handcrafted from kiln dried birch and pine and constructed in a way that will never warp or be compromised . What is great about these is that they can be used in tall, narrow, rounded or otherwise awkward spaces, They can be grouped together to create a beautiful montage, the uses are endless. I mostly meet with clients at their homes, measure and then do them in the sizes that work best for their spaces. Also, Frisco Fine Arts, is carrying an extensive collection of them.
Q: Is there some underlying message you like to portray via your art? What do you hope for viewers to take away from your art?
A: There is no underlying message, per se, that I am trying to communicate with my art. It is something that gives me a sense of peace and joy. I guess you could say that my goal is to express the emotional feelings of wonder and admiration of the world’s natural elements, events and occurrences and to have the viewer experience a different way of seeing. Maybe to pass along a bit of joy to them as well.
Q: How do you view your art career in five years?
A: Five years ago, I was still caring for my family and ending a totally different career and only painting in my spare time for myself. I would never have imagined that I would be fortunate enough to begin a new career this late in life and have it be my lifelong passion. So, 5 years from now? Hard to say and I really don’t want to jinx myself. So long as I’m still able to create, I will be a very content artist and person!
About the artist:
Much is revealed about Deborah Hartigan Viestenz through her artwork. Known for her large scale multi-media abstract paintings seeking to translate nature into feelings, Deborah is based in the United States and began her creative journey and love of the outdoors at an early age.
“We see these every day. Birds, grass, trees, lakes, oceans, stone. We are touched by these every day. Water on our hands and bodies. Sunlight warming our skin. Rocks and grass beneath our feet. Darkness making us seek light. We hear these every day. Birds speaking to each other. Wind rustling the leaves. The cacophony of storms and thunder. My goal is to express the emotional feelings of wonder and admiration of these natural elements, events and occurrences—to have the viewer experience a different way of seeing.“
Always fascinated with the often overlooked beauty of nature, and encouraged by her grandmother, an accomplished painter, Deborah began her studies in oil painting at the age of ten. Given her admiration of minerals, stones, landmass and the sea, these elements became the subject matter of her work. After attending Boston College, Deborah received her BFA from Hartford Art School at The University of Hartford where she spent her time focusing on large scale outdoor sculptures along with painting and design. She has spent her adult life achieving a successful and creative family/work/life balance and enjoying the gradual maturation and seasoning of her work. Presently based in Dallas, TX, Deborah has resided in New York, London, and Paris and continues to find inspiration in her travels.
Her art is exhibited/available at several galleries in Dallas, or on her website at www.dhvartworks.com. As you explore her works, share in the spirit of her imagination, generosity, and genuine love of life.
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