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The Making of a Taboret ~ Debbie’s Folly Part I

Ok I decided since I am doing a portfolio of studio paintings as well as the plein air paintings and a combination there of I wanted to upgrade and organize my minuscule studio space with a Taboret workbench.   So I went about shopping to see what I could find.  The price tag sort of put me into a deep funk for a minute or two until I started really looking at them and saying “hey I built my own workbench so I can do this too” .  Now granted my Taboret is going to be more of the functional front line type rather than the Thomas Moser fine furniture variety.  I decided that I could use 8 set of sterile drawers for the drawers for supplies under the palette area and create storage and a very functional piece for my use with just a little time and effort on my part and 2×4’s, 3/4 ” plywood etc.  I can stain the end results and hand rub with  Minwax wipe on Poly  and maybe I wouldn’t win a furniture exhibition award but I would have a very functional and strong work table/taboret for my purpose.  This is the beginning of a series on this construction project.

The first step is to come up with a plan of construction.  Using my existing workbench as a guide I decided to basically construct it at the same height of 33″ since that works well for me.  I also decided that the strength and stability which my workbench has is largely due to the platform base that it is built on rather than putting annoying brackets to brace the bench.  Also since I’ll want to move this Taboret,  the platform has to be removable so that the table can be moved separately to go out the door.

Taboret Construction - Layout and Start of Project

Taboret Construction – Layout and Start of Project

The top of the Taboret is basically like building a crate but with legs and accounting for the drop for the various compartments, then putting in two braces into the box so that you can mount a platform on top for a palette area and then building a base to add stability then plopping in all the various dividers etc for storage.  You can always attach a drop leaf out of nice wood that you could cover over the work area in case you have clients into your studio later.  So I’m drafting up and outline:

Taboret draft outline - Deborah Chapin

Taboret draft outline – Deborah Chapin

I have a few things that I have to correct on the measurements but that I’ll do on my printout i.e. the interior height of the studs will be 25″ length  instead of 23″  so there will be other modifications along the way, also this drawing was done free hand on my computer so don’t hold that against me, I’ve not used that tool much.


Business Card ~ Deborah Chapin



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New Canvas Print, Tranquility

I’m adding a new canvas print to the repertoire of landscape paintings.  This piece exhibited in the Arts for the Parks top 200 in Jackson Hole WY and the SEWE exhibition in Charleston, SC  The original is sold but the life-size print would make a spectacular focus wall in any home.  Tranquility, 16×34 archival inks on museum canvas.   Depicting the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge on the Chesapeake as scene on PBS.

Tranquility, 16x24 canvas print by Deborah Chapin

Tranquility, 16×24 canvas print by Deborah Chapin

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New Portfolio getting there, show deadlines coming up …

Been working on a new portfolio of paintings, it is slow going and I feel good about the work so far.  I have several pieces completed and loads more to reach my goal, I keep looking and checking out the work to be sure I’m not deluding myself …  it is challenging, lots to learn refine and develop.    I’ve been through this before having evolved my career through 3 different phases before.  When I started out in marine art I remember one of the primary things that I was searching for was a unique vision for the subject I had chosen to do, then I had to learn how to depict it, composition, perspective, my particular painting quality of style etc…  Once I had that I evolved it into plein air painting, I again had to hunt out the subject matter focus but also conquer the hurdle of going from a studio painter to a painter on location and the timing of that, overcoming the certain mental resistance inherent in doing so and keeping all that I had learned before…. When I evolved into a wildlife and plein air painter I combined the two world together and sought to keep a unique vision through both…. Now I again am evolving and have chosen a subject matter which summons all that I learned before and the rest is a matter of working out with each piece.  Although I have considerably more tools at my disposal than I did when I was 26 there are still the challenges that were there at the beginning and the discovery of new things.    It is a sheer delight to keep discovering new levels of ability and the exploration of what it can do.   That is why I wanted to be a painter in the first place, it wasn’t a 9-5 job from which I would retire, it is something that I can do throughout my life.

I remember with the first national show that I entered back in 1982 the ASMA exhibition at Grand Central galleries in NYC.  I had already tried to enter a number of local art shows and because they were mostly water colorist I was never accepted.  I’d tried regional shows with much the same result.  When I entered the ASMA exhibit, my then husband told me “don’t plan on being accepted and if you do get one in, it will probably be only one. ”  Well I entered three and three paintings were accepted and from there a number of opportunities arose.  I’m getting ready to enter my first show with this new portfolio of work and maybe the work will be accepted perhaps it won’t but just like the lotto you can’t win if you don’t enter.  The truth is however that I’m already a winner because I am happy with the work, I’m actually a little amazed myself, and I’m still learning.  I really feel at this point that is the best part of working as an artist, the exploration and discovery,  so it is just a matter of finding the right moment and right way to reveal.

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New Paintings ~ New Life ~ New Experience

I have been working on a new series of paintings for the past couple of years and scraping down, starting over and over and over.   I didn’t want mediocre, I wanted something uniquely beautiful, I didn’t know whether or not it would be successful, and like any new venture we are always full of self doubts.    I mentally revisited my firsts of the past where the unknown truly had no boundaries.  Everything was an unknown.   The mental game an artist plays is really quite something.  I remembered painting three pieces for my very first national show and wondering was it good enough, did I miss something? what if… but I screwed up my courage and scraped my entry fee together and lo and behold all three works were accepted.     That was the beginning of my first incarnation as an artist.  I have since metamorphosed myself several more times.    I realized while painting this new work that I was having a deja vous experience.     A fresh start but with all the experiences of the past.   Art is really a journey into the possibilities of self discovery, what are the limit? are there any limits to your imagination? what next?   For those who have been painting a particular subject for a while you know that you gain confidence that the public will like your work, an assurance that you are in the flow of the work and that the subjects are worthy of paint.  That collectors will come knocking at your door and want what you have created and that you will ultimately succeed.    Whenever, you are venturing out of your comfort zone you know that your gut is responding to the risks of failure (this is your lizard brain talking).   Despite this, fear of failure is NO reason not to risk it.   It is death to a creative spirit to stop poking your talent into new venues,  to quit exploring what you can do, finding limits or discovering none.  You must see if you can, when all the evidence is on the side of “you can’t”.   A creative mind will create no matter what and it is a waste of abilities NOT to explore every aspect of it.

I have been painting on the edge between realistic and abstract for a long time.   That and the subject of water seem to by the common thread throughout my 30+ years of painting,  whether painting meander of the sea pieces, or florals abstracted from their background, or marsh landscapes or painting reflections with gliding wildlife or kids on a beach, all these experiences have been incorporated into this new subject matter.    I am very proud of myself (can I say that?) that I have taken the journey to this point, and not flinched from the rocky road.  I am also pleased that despite a lot of obstacles that I am still working on me, tweaking abilities, honing skills and refining my thinking.  Trying to go beyond what I’ve done before stretch myself.    This is what I wanted my life to be.   I didn’t want to settle and fortunately the “times” wouldn’t allow me to either, it kept pushing me on to the next thing.   Since I can’t travel at the moment what I chose to do with my time has become a perfect subject to challenge myself.    I’m busy working on a series of pieces getting ready for the next opportunity, seeing new things and challenge my mind with new puzzles to solve.   After all I’m not dead yet, I still have time to discover what else I can do.




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The Woods and other things

Moonlight in the Woods, 24x34 oil on linen canvas by Deborah Chapin

Moonlight in the Woods, 24×34 oil on linen canvas by Deborah Chapin

As I was biking through the woods today, just after it had rained with a cool breeze rustling the trees, I was reminded of all the walks and treks I’d made through the woods.  Woods in Minnesota, and Montana, France and Australia.  As I breathed in that cool moist air cleansed by the rain with wet wood scents of pine and oak my mind shuffled through all the woods I’d known.    The memory of those woods brought me to all I had known, places I’d seen, people I’d meant and I wondered where the next path would lead.   We are the journey that we make, so far my path had taken me down many trails and many different woods with  many different friends and I loved it all.   While I am taking care of my mum, and preparing for my next journey, I enjoyed this simple little bike through my neighboring woods and charged my batteries thinking about the next woods I would come to know.

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New Gallery Demo for use of new Website


Just did a new Gallery demonstration of the website it is coming along and archives are being rebuilt along with new books etc.

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Gallery getting spruced up, Roses in Bloom


Working on my site, and have a client project to do but have almost conquered all the quirks of the new layout, just one more thing we are trying to do, in the meantime I am working on the paintings….and  sharing my rose garden…. which is in full bloom, these roses are sooo hard to paint at least en plein air.

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Latest incarnation of the gallery site back on track…

Front Page Gallery Site Deborah Chapin

Front Page Gallery Site Deborah Chapin

ok finally getting back on track.  The latest incarnation of the gallery site is back on track and we’ll get things sorted and dusted out soon.  This group of designers has been very good and they have excellent support,  a number of options to try out and really pleased with how it is going.  I am sure that this will be much better for the work and development of project files since it was designed for just that.   Have to give it some time to finish loading existing files then I can resume with new work.

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Spring and Sprung and a good morning read

Don’t usually do a recommended reading but since Spring is finally here, and I’ve been working on project right and left I thought it would be a good time for a read on those things that bring you back to a center. I found this article this morning and thought I’d share. Doesn’t seem to be a way to do it directly from their site but the title of the read is “25 Things You Should Never Stop Doing for Yourself” by Marc and Angela

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From Out of the Blue, Client Loses Painting

Had a client from out of the blue contact me with a request of a canvas print of his painting. He’d lost the original painting in a fire several years ago so I will be printing a canvas print for him to hang in his new home. Isn’t it great that you can do such a thing these days. Think of all the master works lost through floods, fire, wars and just age that could now be at least remembered through this means.

Other than that I am working like a demon refurbishing the workshop/studio and have been trying to upgrade things as I go. So purchasing a new scanner for this purpose and proceeding on the massive project of creating my archives in digital format. I sometimes think that people contact you just to remind you to do something NOW rather than later down the line. More soon.

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