In Search Of Self I, Charcoal Self Portrait

Self portrait "In Search of Self" by Deborah Chapin

Self portrait “In Search of Self” by Deborah Chapin

While the snow was a full-time occupation digging out and trying to keep things from getting damaged  I worked on a charcoal idea during breaks.   This piece is a Self Portrait , the idea behind this drawing is the woman confronting the changes she sees in the mirror. Entitled “In Search of Self I” in that common reality of the changes in our lives and the search we make to find our new selves as we grow older and change.  Part of series, sold unframed.

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New Works, New Year, “Book of Water”

Women painting women, portrait of women, under water portrait painting , female portait, Sky's the Limit by Deborah Chapin

Women painting women, portrait of women, under water portrait painting , female portrait, Sky’s the Limit by Deborah Chapin

I’ve been working on several pieces since November, not sure if it is the way to do things but now I’m finally rounding the corner of the finishing touches on a couple of pieces.  It was a good thing to start several paintings in the Fall because the canvases will carry me through the winter.  Although they have also been there pushing me to finish them all at once which I think was almost counter productive, so next time maybe just a couple at a time.

I’ve been working on my preferences in grounds and technique or procedure and think that after a lot of experimentation I am arriving at my particular modus operandi.  I have also discovered some things about presenting work.  Having been in the business for a while I’m not quite comfortable with exposing everything to everyone all at once… Not to say anything about other’s choices but I’m more of the mindset of the capillary wave effect.   So this is the first pebble hitting the surface of the new year in 2016.

My first piece coming down to the finishing touches is “The Sky’s the Limit” a 24×34 oil on linen canvas.  With this piece I wanted to capture the way it feels to see that big blue sky, on a clear day when you feel like there are no boundaries on what you can do.  Inspired by both our common experience of nature and the model herself who’s dynamic presence and energetic ideas are every bit the depiction of the modern woman where the “Sky is the Limit” of possibilities.  The two seemed to go naturally together.

With pieces starting to accumulate towards my “Book of Water” project I thought I should begin to layout the book project in the publishing software.  The trick is to start the layout in the preferred format at the beginning since once you begin it is an enormous task to switch sizes.    The consensus seems to be the 12×12 layout with an iPad version and PDF version.

I appreciate your comments.

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The New Age of being an artist, the advantages of RSS for artists

It is a new age of technology for an artist and I am really glad that I have evolved my skills and gadget (albeit reluctantly) as I went along. I usually spend January tying up all the strangling work (paperwork) in January clearing the deck for the new year. This year I decided that I would do the same with the technology and processes which have grown like an invasive mold on my brain.  One of the ways I have decided to do this is to go back to a very effective method of organizing who and what I want to read.   Rather than being inundated with a host of things like cat videos and pictures of what someone was eating early in the morning I decided to selectively pick those artist’s who speak to me to be my reading.   To do this I’ve been going through various lists of active blogs and putting the websites and blogs into an RSS news reader.  This eliminates the constant mayhem visited upon me by the stream of text messages or emails and organizes it all under one reader.    This allows me to see the work and preserve my peace of mind thus protecting my creative spirit.    So yesterday I put on my list Kate Stone, Linda Tracey Brandon,  the Realistic Art Resource, etc.  I also have the Metropolitan, the National Gallery UK among others.    I have the shows feeds, entry deadlines, Facebook follows, twitter news, washington post and other selective art publications and some friend’s newsletters.  I was somewhat shocked to find so many artist’s however who publish a blog on their websites who haven’t bothered to created a RSS feed.   There is a reason the big museums do it guys.  When it is so easy to do on either Blogspot or WordPress I am wondering if it is just a lack of awareness that it is not only valuable for people like me who want to create their own newsfeed but also raises the SEO for a website by making it searchable by robots thus increasing visibility.   So I decided to do a short explanation of how to make an RSS feed link in WordPress since that is what I use and it may give you a hint of how to do it on your site.


Say you want to make newsfeed out of a website page on your site like I did for new works which I added to my portfolio. This means anytime I post new work to my portfolio a collector will see the news notice of the piece in his/her newsfeed and have a direct link to the page of the newest entry.  For me the page that I wanted to make into a news feed was the portfolio page. Since WordPress is a database site what actually happens is it runs a database query.

So simply put you are going to tell the server to:

?post_type=border_portfolio or ?post_type=news or ?post_type=whateverpageyouhave

this will be tagged onto the end of your website address with a feed ending in WordPress in my case

So the RSS link to place on your website for collectors to use would be something like:

You can place a link such as this in a widget on your blog and you readers of your blog can see the news feed as well such as I have on the channels to the right of this article for the various projects that I have going. This is just one way to simplify your life sorting out what you want to cover in your reading and maximizing your learning and inspirations.


Happy New Year


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The journey of finding the painting groove. Happy New Year

Well in between dodging the Christmas Holiday cooking, making gifts for other people and doing tax reports, catching up on paper work taking care of an elderly parent, among other things…. I worked on my painting of Josie.  It started out innocently enough, and the first lay ins went like a dream but then the holiday distracted me and this is where I took a left turn and had to battle my way back.  At one point I was almost deciding to repaint the piece from scratch …. so I contacted someone who knows a thing or two about portrait painting and she said “just keep picking at it”.  I waited a day then looked at it again and wondered how I could solve the problem I was having… at any rate, I knew I had some work ahead of me to recapture what I had at the beginning back in that prehistoric time when painting just seemed to  click into place.   So I wandered around and around on this painting and finally seemed to turn the corner.  All to do with the eyes really.  One eye squinting just a bit more due to the reflected light off of the reflective cloth.  Reflections everywhere.   At any rate, I learned a lot on my journey and feel that I accomplished what I wanted to with this painting and I also learned how I would do it differently approaching the next painting.  Coming down to the finish line so hoping finish up the tweaking in 2015.  Happy New Year everyone.

Women painting women, portrait of women, underwater portrait painting , female portait, Sky's the Limit by Deborah Chapin

Women painting women, portrait of women, underwater portrait painting , female portrait, Sky’s the Limit by Deborah Chapin

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See the #fireworks I created by blogging on #WordPressDotCom. My 2015 annual report.

See the fireworks Chapin’s Fine Art created by blogging on Check out their 2015 annual report.

Source: See the #fireworks I created by blogging on #WordPressDotCom. My 2015 annual report.

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The process of discovery in oil painting

I think that failing to get the painting right the first go through is part of the development of the multi-layered rich color process. A development of line and form. Even when painting en plein air and time is a factor in the development of a piece when you either get it or you don’t there is a process of development and discovery which takes place. It is precisely this process which separates the oil painters from all others and the reason I love painting in oil. In all the other arts the final piece has eliminated the drafts the first evaluations of the subject and the subsequent trial an error process. Oil painting builds upon this and shows this process of discovery of the mind and once you have enough experience your accuracy increases but you mind still shows the viewer its thought process. This depiction in paint of the mind at work in the hands of a skilled artist is what separates oil painting from the rest and allows we who paint in oil a chance to tell our personal journey in a way like no other.

I have been on such a journey with my current piece. I started out well then I lost it then it seems to be coming back. Who knows where it will go from here or if I will have to start all over but along the way you learn so much and that is part of it too.

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The solutions work when you figure out the right problem.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving I’m just getting back out from under the holiday’s and have a to do list a mile long.   This is a good thing but …. Part of my new year’s resolutions will be to control the urge to create more projects before finishing the ones I am currently working on.  I’ve had a load of other things to finish up besides the artwork which has slowed the painting progress down but regardless the paintings stare at me challenging me to finish the hand and arm today, to evolve my work into what I want for color and light and so I’m feeling good about going into 2016 with paintings currently in the mix.

One of the most important things I’ve learned this year is that Keystone habits are powerful tools.  If you can figure out what your mind has set up as a defence against the unsolved problems in your life pretty soon the solutions to the problem appears.  The 2ND half of that is if you’ve tried everything to solve a problem and it isn’t working perhaps you are trying to solve the wrong problem.   You’ll know you’ve solved the right problem when the solutions work.   This is all very heavy stuff I realize for early in the morning and a lot of people don’t want to delve too deeply into why they are doing something but if you do I promise that the solutions will appear.

In the mean time I keep working on those projects which I’ve started,   here’s the piece that has been staring at me challenging me to finish… More later…

Sky's The Limit, by Deborah Chapin.

Sky’s The Limit, by Deborah Chapin.

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Happy Thanksgiving, Seize the Day

As you might have gathered I’ve been working on lots of projects.  I have been finalizing the printing of my large limited edition archival print of Invincible and managing just a quick clean up before starting several more pieces.  Then of course there are the basic 101s of life, like having your car in the shop for two weeks, and trying to resign up for healthcare ugh (there are two days of my life I’ll never get back)  But back to the easel after Thanksgiving Holiday and this holiday I’m particularly thankful.

Every year I have shared my Thanksgiving with a friend and her family for I can’t remember how long, 20 years?  We’ve know each other since 1970s when I first moved into the area.  We were roommates for a year in college and then afterwards I got married and then she did so we were out of touch for a while then sometime around 1990s we reconnected.  She modeled for my portrait practice and on and on.  At any rate she’s retiring and moving out of the area so this is the last Thanksgiving, the end of an era.   Another good friend is also moving out of the region so… So upon reflection “seize the day” is particularly appropriate.  You just never know where life will take you.  Look for the new adventures but appreciate the treasures you have while you do and enjoy the moment you are in right Now!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.



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MAKING A MARK: A Guide to Art Dealers, Art Galleries – and Vanity Galleries

Source: MAKING A MARK: A Guide to Art Dealers, Art Galleries – and Vanity Galleries

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Which social media to use to expose your artwork

Well if you are like me you and you have been deciding which social media you to get word out on your shows and new works this might prove to be interesting .   If you know where your collectors are then you know where to promote.  I suspect that Instagram has progressed since this article’s stats in relationship to the arts.

I have found that the WordPress blog is the best way to rank for SEO if you are trying to do that and it is also an excellent way to distribute your first round of promotions.  Ideally it should be in conjunction with your promotions on your website and the new work should be linked, hash tagged with key phrased. It can also bridge your private email mailing lists from collectors (who don’t want to use modern social media and still would prefer that you mail them a card in the mail)  with the other distribution of social media news using their share api.  Undoubtedly it is wonderful if you can have an article written up on someone’s else’s blog or news site but those aren’t always easy to come by and the important thing is to do consistent distribution of news every week without spending your studio time on social media.   This is why I try to write-up something with my coffee before I go to work in the studio at 8am and distribute later in the day. Some weeks you have a lot of news so then you can pick up the pace but you should be mindful of the adage of crying wolf.   If you harass your collectors with a constant barrage of emails and social media it had better be for a good reason for it is easy as pie to stop viewing your feed or subscribing to your news.

While I’m on that topic. Spamming your news feed in Facebook or Instagram with tons of individual photos from an event is one of my pet peeves.  It is inconsiderate because while you hog the news feed with 30-40 individual photos others are doing so as well and so it makes it virtually impossible for someone else to have any time on the newsfeed.  Let’s just call that a road hog of the news highway. Google and other search engines do not give you credit for such spamming for a reason.  A better and more considerate practice is to save up you photos to put into an album and then all at once so that you album appears in the newsfeed.  Also. No one is really that interested in seeing all your clubbing photos.  That is just an exercise of narcissism and I seriously doubt that it makes you more professional or interesting to either collectors or galleries.  I’m so glad that I haven’t posted my personal party pics online because once they are online they are never gone…

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