Today's Artist Spotlight is acrylic and mixed-media painter Debbie Tracey! Debbie is originally from San Francisco but spent most of her upbringing on the island of Kauai, where she enjoyed experiencing all the South Shore of the island had to offer. The beauty she came to love on Kauai has left a lasting impression on her, and she aims to express this beauty through her work.
From a young age, Tracey was experimenting with pottery, stained glass, and watercolor in various classes, and her creative ambitions only accelerated as she got older. She went on to study at the Pacific University in Oregon where she completed a degree in fine arts, later returning to school to earn a MA in education. While she has always cultivated her creative side, it wasn’t until retirement that she had the time to do a deep dive into her true calling of painting.
Tracey’s studio is on the Puget Sound in Olympia, Washington, but her island upbringing never ceases to find a home in her work—others have eloquently noted that they can feel sensations such as breezes and smells of Kauai. Her paintings are best described as bold and
. She primarily works with a pour technique, intuitively adding layers of paint—without a particular subject in mind—and moving it around with brushes and palette knives until a final composition presents itself to her on the cotton canvas. On her website, she says regarding her practice, “I also love the fluid movement of my work, which becomes a ‘dance’ with my creative soul.”
Color is central to her work—check out her many abstract works on her website to experience her bold, vibrant, and flowy style. In one work titled Moonlit Waters, she channels her love of the water in the square composition. Of course, the title gives us an idea of where her mind might’ve been going while she painted, but she also leaves plenty of space for the viewer to get lost in the painting on their own terms. Blues, greens, and whites form luminescent waves that seemingly defy gravity, forming a sort of memory of the ocean that we all can find a home in. The way the paint lies on the canvas brings images of the artist meditatively pouring on the canvas, watching it unfold.
In Nothing’s Missing, Debbie moves even further into abstraction. Warm ambers, deep browns, and off-whites flood the large 30"x24" canvas giving few hints at a subject matter, but like all her works, Debbie’s flow state as she creates is palpable in the final color forms. Lastly, she has many “floral” paintings, in which she pushes her freeform style into a bit more representational territory—while, of course, allowing the viewer room for surprise and wonder.
Debbie’s work has been featured in nearly 20 exhibitions and festivals and you can come across her paintings in several local galleries. Some of her upcoming events include an event through MAA at the Hilton Hotel and Convention Center in Vancouver, an exhibition at Latte Da Coffee House and Wine Bar in Vancouver the entire month of April 2022, and a showing at Cliff Creek Cellars in Newberg, Oregon June, and July 2022.