About this Blog

At its beginning this blog was supposed to be an adjunct to my primary website, www.DeborahElmquist.com, and a project to learn about the “new world” of digital communication.  I thought that a blog would be a good way to “talk” with and keep in touch with my collectors and fellow artists.  The blog has become an amazing journey for me, for it has become a gratitude journal, an editorial journal, a resource journal, a teaching tool, and a personal diary of a kind all wrapped up in one place complete with followers and interactive functionality to boot!  

Today this blog is primarily about my personal visual journey and artistic growth, my observations, opinions, and comments about art in general and representational art in particular and finally drilling down to Classical-Realism as its primary focus (thank you Richard F. Lack!). By observation I mean how I see the world and how to I translate my observation to the canvas. I must confess that above all else I am seeker of art knowledge. I read all the time, search out other artist’s work, and spend much time thinking about art, in addition to spending long hours in my studio creating fine art oil paintings.  I am also a perfectionist with regards to my painting skills and technique. I am very self-critical of my work, and perhaps just as critical of other’s works as well, but with an open mind.  To quote a fellow artist, “observation does not necessarily preclude knowledge; in fact it is often quite the opposite. And so it is with this blog and website: observations and knowledge, working in concert.”  I find much personal peace in this quote!

One of the primary goals for this blog is to highlight and explain the many different ways to approach painting; how one begins a painting, develops a painting, and finishes a painting. Part of this effort is to explain what I personally do and think about art; what I do and don’t do, and why. Hopefully I can explain myself in a way that does not negate other approaches to representational traditional oil painting. Another part is to give the student/reader information from a wide selection of artists and perspectives so that my students and followers can intelligently decide what is right a good for themselves.  And there is much for the collector too.  I am certainly not all knowing about art, but I am reasonably knowledgeable about art and Classical-Realism, enough that I have something of value to offer the collector to educate and provide sources and resources for their further consideration.

Finally, a primary goal of this blog is to defend traditional oil painting and representational art!  Duchamp’s porcelain urinal for me represents something more than just “modern” art; it represents the direction and trend of art and artists today; that is, in the proverbial toilet!  In this "modern" world beauty is to be shunned and discredited, good technique and skill is considered passé. Art today (according to the "experts") must be shock-and-awe; if it is not insulting it is not a valid statement of reality.  We have too much reality as it is; on TV, in the “news”, on our streets and in our neighborhoods and schools.  How much of that reality do we need or want?  Good art should be and must be a resting place; a place to go to recover from the noise and incivility in our daily lives.  Instead much of the accepted art of the day has itself become crap depicting crap! If you are a thinking person, check out “For the Thinking Artist” on the links page of my atelier website; see if you agree, or are at least willing tolerate a different artistic point of view!        


About Me

I am Deborah Elmquist, artist and painter of the Threads of My Life. I am an experienced and award winning Classical-Realism, Contemporary Realist, fine arts oil painter. 

My formal study of fine art began early in life while at the then Orlando College, Orlando FL, directed by Professor Ralph L. Bagley (a long time Winter Park, Florida artist and teacher). But I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't draw and paint, wanting to become a professional oil painter---a dream fulfilled today.

I received a Fine Arts Degree from Orlando College, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida, a Masters degree from Rollins College (Winter Park, FL), and a Doctorate degree from the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL), while I worked to become one of Florida's better known representational artists.
My work emphasizes the same underlying concept to painting that has guided master artists for more than 500 years.  Following in the traditions of Rembrandt and Vermeer, my use of transparent and semi-transparent glazes allows light to pass through the painted objects on to the canvas, producing a luminosity and depth not possible with the direct, opaque method.  I paint in the Sfumato and Chiaroscuro styles of the Old Masters.  Although I specialize in the still life, I also draw and paint the figure, doing an occasional landscape.

The focus of my work is strong light and shadow shapes that create drama for the viewer.  My backgrounds are varied in tone and detail, with attention to foreground design and the use of negative space.  I work to convey a special mood, thought, or feeling related to the subject matter of the painting.  Ultimately my goal is to create a painting that is meaningful to the viewer, beautiful to see, and communicates what inspires me to paint.  My works are narrative and emotional in nature and at the same time classical in composition, design, and painting technique.

My art knowledge and technical skill, and my use of color and line, elicit pleasure and interest in the eyes of both the novice and cultivated viewer alike.  Private collectors both nationally and internationally hold my work.  I also have works purchased for Art in Public Places in the Regional Library of Volusia County, and have works of art in the permanent collection of the Museum of Arts and Science in Daytona Beach, Florida.

I paint full time, teach classical oil painting for adult students of all levels at Atelier Soulworks in Port Orange FL, and formerly at the Art League of Daytona Beach, write about art and oil painting, and conduct workshops in my studio.  In addition to my formal training, I continued my own art education by studying with artists Gregg Kruetz of the Arts Students League of New York, NY; Joshua Fallik of the University of Colorado, Bolder, CO; Sadie Valeri; and Michael Siegel, Scottsdale Artists' School, Phoenix, AZ, among others.  I am is an associate member of the Oil Painters of America (OPA), a Portrait Society of America (PSA) active member, and past member of the National Association of Independent Artist (NAIA).
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