Burke talks about art


No matter what Debbie Burke paints, her pictures have a quiet solitude about them that welcomes the viewer into a peaceful meditation. Whether it is the emptiness of a house with streams of warm morning sunlight coming through doors and windows or a cat relaxing, they all have a sense of calm. The key is using and shadows to convey certain moods and Burke has learned to manipulate them well in her work.

She was a psychology major at a college in New England when she discovered her interest in art in her junior year.

“I took an art class for non-art majors, got interested in graphics and black and white photography, and found my passion.” She continued to study art and teach herself techniques and skills. Her career took her in many directions, includ- ing advertising design and graphics and then architectural design and construc- tion contracting.

In her 40s she began to think about color and painting.

“I went to museums and studied paint- ings and how color worked. When I was about 50 I took an intro to a painting class at a local community college and found a new passion. I take classes on and off when I find art instructors that inspire me. Painting as much as you can, can be the best teacher.”

She echoes the same mantra as many artists who delve so deep into their work that it becomes meditative, calming the mind and lifting the spirit.

“I find painting to be very challenging and is a meditation at the same time. I believe anyone can become a good artist if they have the desire. A strong desire is the motivation you need.”

She finds it comfortable to draw and work in pencil or charcoal but her favorite is oils which she said is challenging. Of all the painting mediums, oils are the most forgiving and can be mastered in many ways to create an artist’s unique style.

Burke is not focused on one subject but tries her hand at an array of subjects, from still life to animals to architecture.

“I’m still in the process of finding and trying new subjects but I always come back to flowers. Recently I’ve been study- ing skies and dramatic clouds and want to start trying to paint them.”

She said what inspires her is the secret to creating mood in her work.

“I find dramatic lighting with contrast and reflections exciting and compelling. I’m also drawn to repeating patterns.”

When asked if she wanted to meet one of her favorite artists and why? She replied, “I’m not as interested in meeting my favorite artists as much as I would just like to watch them work. That fascinates me.”

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