Plundering In My Pajamas
Oh yes, I have many books! Shelves and bookcases in various rooms area all pretty much stuffed full and yet there is always a used or new treasure that comes my way by chance, flea market, gift or loan that finds its way in a spare crack. Last year I did cull a few for an auction that I deemed too “crafty”. The winners loved them!
As I consider my shelf and the evidence of life around it, I see that it reflects my interest in travel. The book about Egon Scheile is a result of seeing his work in person in Salzburg in the 1970’s while in college there. The one on Klimt is from a field trip to Vienna. Schones Deutschland a gift from my host family when I lived with them for a summer in Schweinfurt. Giselbert Hoke is also an Austrian artist whose work I discovered while taking a workshop in a convent on the Millstadter Sea. He has only one arm. Paul Klee has been a personal favorite since I came to know his work from an Asian printmaker named Yoshi Takahashi who had several books about him that he referred to frequently while my teacher.
I simply had to buy the coffee table book about Joan Mitchell after I saw her exhibition in New York City at one of those galleries that are huge, sterile and have concrete floors that echo. I crave juicy blue color when I leaf through that book!
The book I have loaned out and toted around the most is the one by Ross and Romano about printmaking. It has many good examples and steps clearly illustrated. Printmaking technique is difficult for many people to grasp without a visual. I love my new silk-screening texts and I believe they are the most recent additions to this shelf.
Other important parts of my life are on the shelf below the books. The snow globe from Vienna is a gag gift from a former work colleague. I simply could not resist the intricate hand-decorated eggs of various sizes bid on at a fund raising event. Photos of our children as babies remind me of days of much messier floors. They also relate to the book about planning children’s birthday parties that is above. I love parties.
I grew up just thirty miles from Garrison Keillor’s hometown. I have his book on my shelf because it contains memories that are familiar to me. Putting a humorous spin on a childhood that was a bit behind the rest of the country has served him well. I have found that storytelling and humor come easily to me. Creating art that embodies these two traits is what I strive for as I think it reflects my most authentic self. I have learned that if I am honest what comes out will touch someone else.
Bio: Debra Arter earned her MFA in Visual Arts from Vermont College in 2008. She also holds an a MA in International Relations from Boston University. Presently she teaches non- toxic monotype printmaking at the Midcoast Printmakers studio in Damariscotta.
She is interested in memory, women’s roles and artifacts. Articulated surfaces, layering, whimsy and bold colors are her hallmarks. She frequently works with acrylic paint, and collage. She sells her handmade-collaged cards at various galleries in the Midcoast area. In addition to painting and printmaking, she enjoys writing poetry and short stories.
Her work is in the collection of the Farnsworth Art Museum, The Boston Public Library and the James N. Jarvie Commonweal Service, in New York among others. The Dana Farber Holiday Card program, which raises funds for cancer research, has used her illustrations for over a decade. She is a member of the Monotype Guild of New England, and a signature member of the National Collage society. In 2010, her image was chosen as the team card for the Boston Red Sox. She can be reached at email@example.com.