Saturday, December 31, 2011

one for the New Year.

so, i screwed up.  couldn't get my images into the right format to submit to the collage show.  bummer.  so, back to normal now.  just carry on, do my work.  stop beating myself up because i don't know sh#t about re-sizing images to have the right pixel/image/ppi numbers for the artthingy (an electronic submission thingy used by places for online entries...and this show only accepted online entries! grrrrrrrrrrrr.... DEB! stop biting your cheek!) is the portrait redacted in it's present state.  will make some gelatin slurry tonight and place a mirrored line drawing on the glass, then glue the whole shebang together.

 2012 is already shaping up pretty well for me.  In the Current opens on Friday at The Common Street Gallery in Waterville ME with 4 or 5 of my fish works on display.  The Cape Ann Museum has a four of the fish paintings that I did for them on exhibit in "The Rule of Four" curated by Martha Oakes. Free to Gloucester residents in January!  I will give a gallery talk/demo sometime next spring at the museum.

 Have a safe and Happy New Year's Eve everyone.  Here's to health and prosperity to you and yours in the New Year!  as always, your thoughts, comments are welcomed and thank you for taking some of your time to follow my progress through this blog.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Some new work, under construction and one completed warthog?

 Above:  under construction, showerboard, metal leaf, glass.  22x22, depth variable.

 Above:  St. Anthony preached and the fish danced, icon in progress.
mixed media with egg tempera.

 Above:  fish or warthog?  mixed media with packing tape, digital photo transfer, kodak holographic mylar.

 Above:  fish scape, under construction.  mixed media with leaf, photo transfer, marker, tape laminate

Above, under construction.  face.  mixed media with silver leaf, gold dust, egg yolk

Above:  ibid, with glass.  
question of this state:  go back, go forward and use the glass to establish a 2nd work based on the first. 
 new work is intimated. the portrait redacted, again.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hey Picasso!

When I went to the last Picasso show at the MFA, it covered his early years, posters, rose period, blue period.  I went in the company of my students.  one student was in awe.  I forgot I was sizing my self up.  very simply I told Fred:  this is art student work.  exemplary, but student work.  the counter posture pose, the underpainting.  the classical tradition.  the breakthrough in the rose work:  he simply left  the awkward out-of-relationship drawing of the red chalk cartoon, a first stage on the canvas and moved on.  he didn't correct the size of the head...something that would get covered up in subsequent layers; if he had continued to develop the painting.

student Fred strongly disagreed with me.  very good.

I had to knock all of the greats off of their pedestals in order to be free of their ghosts and to make way for this Debbie Clarke way of 'ahht'.

and onward. i'm painting.

St Anthony Preached and the Fish Danced

2 works, 3 pics.  the first is the icon that announced itself yesterday with these words:  St. Anthony preached and the fish danced.  

The way of the icon is that one listens with an inner voice and writes or translates the prayer through image and color under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  I thought I was working on a collage of transferred digital prints.  as i was so busy doing what i thought i was doing, the spirit had something else in mind.  stepping back from the work, i saw that the icon was completely drawn.  the next step was to separate first light, as all is light, there is no darkness.  this morning i cleared the work area and asked that the work be blessed, that these hands follow, that this heart listen to the promptings of the spirit.

the following 2 images are of the same painting:  merluccius bilinearis (again) first under flash, second under natural life.  the glass panel is worked with egg yolk and gold metal pigment.  the image that is poking through is my reference material, which may or may not be part of the whole.

and onward.


ps:  today i make egg glue aka 'glair' for adhering leaf to the glass and other panels.  will also make gilder's slurry (gelatin) for a few mirrored surface.

Friday, November 11, 2011

2 Plates

two images constructed from the same visual information.  same exposure, different orientation.  i'm inclined towards the lower image...Babu The armless, legless, headless goddes is present.  another fish scape.  I need to find foils to print these images on.   any suggestions are greatly appreciated.


Fish Scape!

approx 6x7".  m/m collage:  packing tape, transferred digital print, sharpie, copper leaf, silver leaf.
copyright 2011 debbie clarke gloucester ma.

it is a collage, it is a printing plate created for digital scanning.  next:  printing options?


Monday, November 7, 2011

collage: drawings (wip)

Today's slideshow is of 2 new works in progress: the first are copper and aluminum leaf on backing board with glass. each panel is 19x20". They are a diptych from my 'night work' series. I painted in the dark of night last summer, outside on the deck. I loaded a 2" chip brush with gilder's slow set oil, guided by the weight of the brush. When the slow set was almost hard the copper and aluminum leaf was applied. this is a self portrait: You, Me and the Fish.

The second part of the slideshow is a mixed media drawing: digital print transfer onto packing tape, gilded, then applied to plastic waffle board. When the drawing is complete, the tape is removed, then adhered to another laminate. This drawing interests me as is. I will leave it alone and start another.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fresh Fish November 2011

My Good Workspace aka my kitchen studio with all of the work-in-progress for the fish show and one rainy day verre eglomise (that i have been working on for 2 years).  some of the images are blurry.  why?  because my reading glasses are buried on the work table.  the fish images are all fodder for transfer/transformation, and the slideshow pics will be thrown into the printed fodder.  

note to self:  need epsom ink!


Saturday, November 5, 2011

are you a naked painter?

I laugh everytime this search term shows up with a landing on my blog:  nude painters in gloucester ma.
Do you paint in the nude?  I haven't gotten naked to paint in years; however, everytime I place my work before the public I feel naked.  exposed.  there's an inner cringe of. ohno, here we go again.  then wait for the tomatoes and eggs to get thrown.

a runic comment is the most hateful i have ever received:  Rubbish from Hell, and other Feminist Bullshit!  damn right!  made me laugh.

the offer stands:  if you desire a painting of a nude figure, I can do this!  just let me know what you want.


ps:  Great Name for a Show or an Artist's Group:  The Naked Painters.

check out the google query for The Naked Painters (there is a nudist group!)

Google Search 11/5/11 for The Naked Painters

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


"Spanish Mac"  mixed media with glass/foil/packing tape
detail size approx 7x15"

making fish for the 'Fish Show' at The Common Street Gallery in the New Year. 
here's the gallery link: The Common Street Gallery, Waterville Maine 

other doings:  just ordered my sketchbook for the 2012 Sketchbook Project
my theme this year is:  Villains and Heroes.  last year my theme was 'down your street'.  it turned into an 'adhere to me' folio by the time i had fully deassembled/reconstructed the sketchbook.  this year's sketchbook should have sturdier paper.

and, i am sending my application for the "Strange Glue, Collage at 100" show at The Cambridge School of Weston.  the info follows here.  online application only, no entry fee!

these doings will keep me busy for a while.  still waiting for art folk to share their marketing experiences with me and my readers.  yesterday's post has the questions (with my answers).


Monday, October 31, 2011

questions for visual artist friends

where have you had the most success selling your work?

in a traditional art gallery?

an artist cooperative gallery?

a vanity gallery? (pay for the privilege of exhibition)

a restaurant showing?

on-line marketing efforts?

how much time on a weekly basis do you spend marketing your work?

do you sell prints of your work?

how many on-line sites do you have?

if you donate work to non-profit fundraisers/auctions...have you ever made additional sales?

if you belong to an art association, do you make sales to cover your membership, get referrals?

My answers follow:

I ask this because the traditional route of showing through galleries, responding to calls for artists, etc has not worked for me.  I did this in my early career, got some press, got some awards...but the attention was not directed so much to me as a valid artist, the attention went to the 'causes'.  social art was (may still be) very big then.

artist cooperative gallery:  founding member of Local Colors Artist Cooperative here in Gloucester.  member for 8 years...spent most of my time making cards, crafty items to pay the gallery rent, which rarely happened.  i started making reverse glass paintings during these years and demonstrated/painted in the window every day for a month...this got me my first big commission 'lucky break'.  an art consultant also found me through the cooperative, resulted in a modest sale to a corporation.

vanity gallery:  have never done a vanity gallery show.  will never pay someone to exhibit my work, unless it is a cooperative gallery.

restaurants:  have had shows in restaurants.  great openings, the restaurants looked good, no sales. clarification:  my first big commission/lucky break was to a restaurant.  i received 2 referrals, one turned into my second major commission.

on-line marketing efforts:  no sales through print on demand sites.  have started to make sales through the web during the past 3 years, and an up-coming gallery show in Maine through facebook connections.

prints of my work?  nope.

on-line sites/social networks:  3 photo sites, 4 blogs, 1 journal, facebook, google+, twitter, saatchi, youtube, and 2 print on demand sites.  so far facebook, goodmorninggloucester and live journal have produced consistent interest & sales.

non-profit auctions/fundraisers:  been there, done that.  just kissed the work good-by.  no sales, referrals. clarification:  i made the paintings of verre eglomise fish at the top of page for The Cape Ann Museum's 'Making Waves' show (it was a show about the fishing industry, the declining fish species, there was data, b&w pics of fishing boats, the fishermen, fishing gear, weight equipment, etc.  they needed images of the fish (the life blood of the industry!).  i made the paintings, gave them the work; which was on display for about 10 years.  i received lots of referrals (mostly for prints, which i do not sell); however, 2 major commissions came out of these referrals.

art associations:  none will have me, so i no longer give them my money to review me to tell me no.  money is dear and I would rather buy paint and canvas and gold leaf with $40-$50-$100-$150 required to get approved, then get in by paying the dues.

and i rarely respond to calls for entries, but I do like working with those involved in the revitalization of historic places through contemporary art. am thinking it would be cool to do an art revitalization project at The Oak Grove Cemetery.  That's where Twachtman and few other noteworthy bones lie.

looking forward to your responses/thoughts.


Good Saint Anthony come around!  We all seem lost and must be found.  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Something Fishy!

working from my imagination. 
this is a small reverse glass with oil, marker, copper leaf. 
size:  8x10, detail

to the left, 12x12 ".  imaginative fish heads: reverse glass with oil, marker,kodak holographic laminate, digi print transfer.  this detail does not scan/photo true.  the overall tone of the work is silver, not blue.  the glass will be offset to allow the layered holograms to 'float'.

I have a lot of work in progress.  Today's objective is to cut down the backing boards on some of the larger works that were started a few weeks ago.  I can 'see' the pescado, no one else can because they are so undefined.  beginning to see fish in everything, pushing me into new directions, new media ideas.  this must be what the art folk mean when they talk about 'pushing an idea'.  still using leaf, but i'm trying to not be too dependent on it.  leaf is very seductive in it's beauty, it needs some grit and structure to hold together as 'ahht'


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Holy Mackerel!

the first 2 images are source digital prints that are details of one of my earlier foil laminated construction of Mackerel.  i printed out several copies of these prints on some 96 bright white paper, with the intention of creating some photo transfers onto laminate.

The prints were then deconstructed, transferred, foiled and laminated.  following are two fishy landscapes.  

Holy Mackerel landscape 1 approx 5.5x6"

Holy Mackerel landscape 2:  approx 6.25x6"
this one has a lighthouse!

have never considered myself a landscape painter, yet this island landscape of gloucester ma imposes its silhouettes into my work.  i have also transferred/incorporated some details of Hokusai's "Great Wave" into these works.  


ps:  have noticed that i am perfecting my craft as i focus on this series. work is coming through me that i have never seen before.  i think my friend Kate Somers once dreamed it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs and my AHA encounter

I was going to start a kickstarter project to raise funds for gold leaf.  Steve Jobs' ' heart/intuition' speech re-iterated on the tv, my secret inner heart decision to go another way.  what will i do?

hint:  i still have several thousand yards of packing tape.  and yards and yards and yards of reflective material to work with.  verre eglomise?  who knows?  this is an adventure.  dreamin; a roomful of fish!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It is a Rudderfish! (firm id pending)

My friend Paul Frontiero is a contributor to our community blog goodmorninggloucester.  This morning Paul posted my query about the striped fish I photographed at the Gloucester Maritime Center last Sunday.  I got an id as Rudderfish from the education director of the Maritime Center Mary Kay Taylor.  Her response follows.

Anonymous mary kay said...
Hi Deb-
I believe that it is a Rudderfish (aka Amberjack or Pilotfish) Sierola zonata. I’ve sent some photos out to some local experts for a firm identification. More information about this species can be found through following this link:

I fell in love with your paintings at CAM years ago and have visited them often. It is great to finally put a face with your beautiful work! If you have any questions about specimens, feel free to contact me at Maritime Gloucester any time.
Mary Kay Taylor,
Education Director, Maritime Gloucester
there is always a wider, deeper story behind every painting that i do.  here's a brief recap of the folk through social media that helped me.  the identification came within an hour of paul's post.

 added the entry to google+ and recieved a note from E.J. (another gmg contributor!) with the determination that the fish does not identify to a 'sheepshead porgy'.  i shared the pic and post as status updates on facebook.  my facebook friend identified it as a "Banded Rudderfish", another gmg responder identified it as a Rudderfish; he also reported seeing some off Cape Ann a while back.  it seems the Rudderfish is out of its waters.

it would be so awesome to have a glass sided room under one of our harbor piers.  i would go there every day and sometimes i would paint.


ps:  here's the link to Paul's post on gmg  What fish is this?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What Kind of Fish is this?

This little fish (about 10") was found in one of the tidepool tanks at the Gloucester Maritime Center.  I couldn't find an identification/information tag near the tank.  Today I did a google image search which sent me in the direction of "grunts", particularly a 'sheepshead grunt'.  My Audobon field guide places grunts in the Family Haemulidae (perch like fish) and places 'sheepshead' in the Family Sparidae' aka "Porgies".  if you can confirm my identification, it would be much appreciated.  

another contender for the new series.  i love how the nape stripe drives through the eye and into the snout.


Monday, October 3, 2011


 Here's  another contender for the new fish series, the very skittish "Rufus". Rufus  never fully adapted after his move from Gloucester to Portland Maine after which:  he spooked easily evidenced by continual incontinentence.

.  Here's more info about this freshwater catfish, common to South and Central America, that is favored in freshwater aquariums.
  Rufus is the second Pleco that lived with us.  the first one
Magnus grew to 8 inches or so. He would rise to the surface for feeding with the other fish and would let me rub his tummy.  Magnus succumbed after a move which required the emptying and re-establishment of the tank.  


Saturday, October 1, 2011


Big Sexy

Captain Joey's photo of a sculpin.  he names this one Daddy.  I'm looking for some good underwater pictures of a sculpin.  i think people eat this type of fish.  it has dangerous spines in it's fins.  this is a face that only a mother, or artist could love.  i wonder if they live alone or in schools?   bottom fish? this fish will definitely be the subject of new work.  also looking for the latin name.


ps:  just found out from Joey.  neither sculpin, nor pogies are eaten.  sculpin are full of worms and bones and dangerous spines.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Capt Joey's "Pogie"


My friend Joey Ciaramitaro of Capt Joe's and goodmorninggloucester allows me to use his photos as reference for my fish paintings.  I'm starting a new series of glass paintings, and will try to have them complete within the next two months, so that some can be shown next year.  This Pogie, which is used for bait is kind of sad, yet i can see through the rot and have a 'sense' of the fish's individual character.  the eyes tell me everything i need to know.


ps:  if you click the photo, Capt Joe's "Not so Beautiful Industry" page on flickr will appear.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Something Fishy!

I've been asked to imagine a roomful of fish for a show first quarter 2012. gotta get to work, so i'm going through my files. this pic is of sockeye salmon in one of its early states. the finished panel is deeper with pthalo blue. gotta find the painting...i think it's in the attic.

Friday, September 9, 2011

oh, no...muse at play.

above:  judith's pears prior to muse at play

above:  after the muse stepped in it.

 above:  detail of the muse's work..dancing figures, a couple of musicians.

above:  the panel for Judith's Pears with a question?  fireblight?

  note to muse: keep your hands off!  it works the way it is.  (i better sign it before the muse decides to redact the pears.)  i have another 10x40" panel that is fresh and clean.  the muse can get that panel.  and finish the dancing figures.  ugh.  am reminded of writing: sometimes the writer has to run to catch up to the character that has taken over the story.  a completely different story than one was planning to tell. it is a for better/for worst relationship.

with best intentions,


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labors' Rest: Here and Now! Sargent House Summer 2011

yesterday i published pics of the back of this glass panel.  today i set the front panel (the viewing pane) to museum quality work.  judith's garden.  verre eglomise palimpsest.
copyright clarke
gloucester MA


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fruits of my Labor: Sargent House Museum Here & Now! summer 2011

 detail left 10x20"

 detail right 10x20"

 detail right, brighter conditions

 detail left, brighter conditions

ready for the frame box.  10x40x2.5"

this is the paired pears from my time spent working in judith's garden this past summer at the invitation of Kate Laurel MacIntosh of the Sargent House Museum in Gloucester MA.  Kate invited artists to work in the gardens as a way to revitalize, bring awareness to the museum, which is in need of membership, donations and volunteers.  This was the second time that I have worked with Kate on a revitalization project, the first was for the Peabody Historical Society "Historic Interpretation". 

This work 'Fruits of my Labor" is comprised 2 glass panels (front and back) that are 10x40" heavy glass shelving panels.  one glass panel is worked, one is flat glass with no ornamentation.  the 10x10 inch stretchers serve as windows of time. metal leaf, oil paint and sharpie define visual references. the reverse is a metal leaf drawing of Judith's pears as seen in the first photo.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Sargent House Museum August 21, 2011: HERE AND NOW!

Pears from the garden at The Sargent House Museum in Gloucester MA. The black spots on the fruit and leaves:  fire blight?  There is a quince planted within 10 feet, showing same signs. Quince were destroyed in the United States during the 30's or 40's due to extensive fire blight, which can take out entire orchards.  Is there an expert reading this that is willing to take a look?  The museum is in need of some community support through volunteerism and membership.  The garden entrance is on Main Street between La Trattoria and Bananas Vintage, up the granite steps. 

I have lots of work in progress developed from my 2 Sundays in the garden.  Verre Eglomise and metal leaf on panel.  stay tuned.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A very small sketch with painting directions

color directions for a painting.  drawing copyright clarke
bv=blueviolet, yo=yelloworange, b=blue, bg=bluegreen, ro=redorange, yg=yellowgreen, etc.

this is a very small sketch with color directions on the back of a cash register receipt found in an old sketchbook.  i made the paintings, they are somewhere in the upstairs storage, or maybe i threw them out.  the idea still intrigues me.  may make these paintings again, but wonder what the paintings would look like if someone else took these directions and made a painting.  

if you are inclined, i would love to see your 'debbie clarke interpreted' painting.  send me a pic and i will post it here.  need more info?  please leave a comment.