Monday, November 16, 2009


As a kid I always considered my parents old and anything 
they liked "old fashioned". 
Now I am at the half way point 
of this great life of mine 
and don't feel old yet. 
Heck the clothes I wore as a kid 
are hip now - 


Monday, September 07, 2009


I can do what I want “BECAUSE I’M THE BOSS OF ME.”

I remind myself of this often. When I am painting and pause to question a color choice I’ve made I remind myself that I can do what I want - CUZIMTHEBOSSAME. When I say it I love to run it all together like that. It feels good coming off my tongue and makes me smile. It reminds me how clever I am and that I am responsible for my life and my choices.


So, if I want to paint late into the wee hours of the morning I can – CUZIMTHEBOSSAME. And if I want to sleep in the next morning I can  - CUZIMTHEBOSSAME.

This morning while rummaging through the frig looking for good stuff to add to a breakfast burrito, I spied celery. Hmm, would celery be good in the burrito? I’ve never heard of anyone putting celery in their eggs but why not? I don’t see any reason it wouldn’t be good. I could sauté some celery with the onion, pepper, and bits of steak. Sounds good to me.

Sure, I can do whatever I want  - CUZIMTHEBOSSAME! Then I smiled a quirky little smile of satisfaction. What a clever girl am I.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I painted this for you

My husband poked his head in my studio checking up on me. “Is that painting for somebody or just a painting?” He inquired. My reply was quick and adamant. “Oh, it’s for somebody. We just don’t know who yet.” When I’m painting it’s not my concern where the painting will ultimately find it’s home. My task is to bring it into this world.

I believe more and more that each of the paintings I produce have their own destiny, a purpose for life beyond the walls of my studio. It’s as though I’m the medium or conduit for an idea that need expressing. These ideas seem to come through me and to me more than being of me. It’s exciting to think it’s all part of a grander scheme.
It’s the same for the way the names of the paintings come to me. Sometimes they are named during the painting process. I’ll find myself repeating a word or phrase over and over as I paint. “Delicious, delicious, delicious”, I murmur. My mouth watering over the vibrant magenta hues in the iris painting developing before me. Then as if someone has snapped their fingers I come out of my trance and say out loud “Why that’s your name, “Delicious!”
Other times, after the painting is complete I will stand back to take it in anew. Whatever comes to me, I go with. I don't argue or debate what I am given. I have too many paintings in my head yet to come to concern myself to long with or debate about titles. The really fun thing of it is I’ve found that these inspired names are part of the magic.

“Sunshine Grows In Kansas”, yeah, that’s your name. I told field of sunflowers just fresh from my easel. I had the perfect frame too, a heavy guy. It was a frame style closeout deal from my supplier. Only one left and I got it at a great price. The massive dark wood frame was much different than my typical frame choices, very stately one might say. Together it was a match made it heaven, but there is more to this story. more…

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Resolving versus Finishing

When I have resolved all the issues that bother me in a painting I am done. Note I say that “I am done”, not that the painting is finished.

As my artistic vision has matured I have come to the understanding that including too many well defined details makes for a boring work of art. I like each work to have an air of mystery and intrigue which invites the viewers involvement.

I liken this idea to the reading of a novel versus seeing the movie version of the same story. The reader of a story is required to be an active participant using their imagination to interpret what is suggested. The movie version of the same tale has been interpreted by the director so the viewer is just that, a viewer, not a participant.

So, as I continue to resolve my “art issues” I invite you to use your imagination as well. My hope is that you not tire of a work and call it done, that instead you will be drawn back to it and into it again and again. Each time adding a new twist to the story which is now yours to tell.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Wheat Free – Happy Me

Wheat Free - Happy Me

It’s the name of my other blog site where I EVANGILIZE about MY RETURN TO HEALTH! It is definitely a story worth telling and although I haven’t posted a lot, nor put much effort into promoting the blog, I have been contacted by and spoken with people all over the world whom have been touched and enlighten by my story. 

When I removed Gluten from my diet some five years ago my life changed in ways I had no way to imagine. I say that because before that point I was literally crippled by and living with constant whole body pain. NO ONE EVER TOLD ME what I am telling others. It seem everyday I now find more and more scientific evidence supporting my personal findings.

EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION, which could possibly be the answer to the prayers they have put out for a healing. If you know anyone suffering from Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, TMJ. Carpel Tunnel, Interstitial Cystitis, Itchy Rashes, Restless Legs, Brain Fog, Depression, Headaches, Overall body pain, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome please pass this link on.




Created art,

gained insight,

knew truth.  Debra Clemente

Isn’t it interesting some of the places you can find yourself while web surfing? I find myself just where I need to be, when I need it. Like just now when found myself reading a challenge to create a 6 – word personal growth story. I took the challenge and let what flowed out be. I like it and wanted to share it with you.

Sunday, August 02, 2009



My good friend Judy Bauer asked me to create a painting of their family farm as she wished to as a surprise to her husband Gene with the painting for Father’s Day.

I don’t take such assignments lightly. No, I wrestle with them. Judy and I hadn’t been able to make a trip to their farm, which was a few hours drive away, but she had given me a few snap shots as reference. Arm in arm and all smiles, their family stood posing together beside a tidy row of cylindrical hay bales. A tall corn field, stately barn and clear blue sky completed the serene setting.

Studying the photos, I felt the pride this family had in this piece of land. I could see it and I could feel it but the vision that was having was drifting away from the reference photos I held. This is where commissions get tricky for me. Who’s vision am I painting? There is no easy answer. Is it my vision, their vision or my vision of their vision? See, it gets tricky.

A really safe way to handle the situation would be to paint the reference photo verbatim. B O R I N G ! Well, I just can’t go there. It’s not my nature but I still had issues within myself to resolve.

AND THEN IT CAME TO ME – (I just love revelations) by drawing (ha!) a comparison of visual works to works of words I could justify my interpretation to myself and the Bauer's. An artist’s goal is to create works that need no explanation but commission work is special deal and as Judy is a writer I knew she could relate to this twist.

Dry factual writing verses poetic.

I saw the reference photos as factual descriptions of the land as it might be listed for sale and in contrast I viewed the painting I was creating as a poem.

And so it is - ODE TO BAUER FARM.



The University of Kansas has chosen to feature my painting AT THE TOP OF THE HILL on the cover of the 2009-10 KU Directory. VERY COOL OF YOU - KU!


“Summing it all up, friends,
I’d say you’ll do best
by filling your minds
and meditating on things
            PHILLIPIANS 4:8


Technology can be fun.
I am making this post via e-mail.
We will return to regularly scheduled programing shortly.

The picture of the cute little girl on the porch is me. Little Debbie with big sis Donna.

Saturday, August 01, 2009



What really matters isn’t matter.

 Debra Brown Clemente (1959-)



"While I recognize the necessity for a basis of observed reality - true art lies in a reality that is felt" Odilon Redon (1840-1916)


Mr. Odilon Redon

37 Heavens Gate, Cloud Nine


August 1, 2009

Dear Mr. Redon,

Good evening kind sir. Though we have never met and as I was just introduced to your thoughts a few short minutes ago I feel as if we are soul mates. Kindred spirits for sure.

Your words quicken my soul. You know my heart. Do you read minds? No wait, your mind came before mine right? Maybe not, perhaps it’s part of THE GRAND PLAN that we are all of ONE MIND.

Whatever it is sir, I want you to know you that speak my truth. Though the work we have each created is our own, the driving force is the same.

Nice to meet you. Yes, it’s very nice to meet you. -

Your Souls Mate, -

Debra Clemente



Beatrice 1885 (180 Kb); Pastel over charcoal

I await joyous surprises while working, an awakening of the materials that I work with and that my spirit develops.
The Artist submits from day to day to the fatal rhythm of the impulses of the universal world which encloses him, continual centre of sensations, always pliant, hypnotized by the marvels of nature which he loves, he scrutinizes. His eyes, like his soul, are in perpetual communion with the most fortuitous of phenomena.
Artists who approach perfection do not have many ideas.
It is precisely from the regret left by the imperfect work that the next one can be born.
I have often, as an exercise and as a sustenance, painted before an object down to the smallest accidents of its visual appearance. But the day left me sad and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I let the other source run, that of imagination through the recollection of the forms and I was then reassured and appeased.
A title is justified only when it is vague and even aims confusedly at the elliptical. My drawings inspire, and are not to be defined. They determine nothing. They place us, as does music, in the ambiguous realm of the undetermined. They are a kind of metaphor...
* Odilon Redon (1840-1916)
Serious art collectors take note. Considering that Odilon Redon and Debra Clemente have companion artist souls and have both revealed remarkable powers as a colorists and that Redon’s work continues to garner much attention and value (see Christies Auction listing) it is certain that Debra Clemente’s work will follow a similar rise in notoriety and value.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


It’s hardly a new concept. It’s always been reality but not necessarily forefront in my reality. Of late I have been giving this phrase quite a bit more thought or attention.

I’ve become more mindful which in turn has made me more spiritual. I understand that I am a spiritual being having a human experience. I am a spiritual energy with a body. I feel the truth of this statement to the depths of my soul. My soul - my spirit - my truest essence.

Just recently, I had a realization. More than being limited by my body, I am limited by my mind. The opposite is also true. For when my mind is unlimited so is my body.

As a child is full of wonder so should we be. Drinking in each experience as it comes. Waking each day with excitement. Discovering our own truths, climbing as high as we can with out fear.

Don’t let your mind get in your way and hinder your opportunity to experience the joy and glory of life.

Monday, April 06, 2009

fun to look at

That’s what I decided today. Everyone of my paintings should be fun to look at. Looking back I believe most of them are, but today I proclaimed

fun to look at

to be a necessary ingredient of every Debra Clemente work of art.

That proclamation made out loud in my studio before God and two my cats, immediately changed the direction of an iris painting that I have been dancing with for two months. Two months? Yep, on and off. I can’t let it go. I keep thinking I almost have what I want then look back at it a few days later and I’m dissatisfied. In a short time I’ve worked back over every inch of the canvas (it has occurred to me I should charge for my paintings by weight – as this old gal is getting pretty heavy with layers of oil paint).

Well anyway, the news is that working with that insight breathed new life (a.k.a. fresh –vibrant -unexpected color) to the iris portrait. Yes, I really think she might be about done.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Look here

 Look here. Right here. EXCITING ISN’T IT? A little longer, l o n g e r .  Now notice over here, uh huh, pause a bit . . . then look up. Up here. I said UP HERE! Yes, that’s the way. No keep looking here. Yes, I know that’s interesting but let’s enjoy this part first, we’ll look at that later.”


I’m assuming we’re both in agreement that my yapping and pointing as you approach my work would be totally annoying. My mother taught me better manners than that and my Dad taught me to always have a few tricks up my sleeve. So I will trick you, a little hocus-pocus.

I will direct your eye to exactly where I want it go first. Then draw your attention up the canvas where you will want to pause for a millisecond before your eyes are pulled diagonally down to the right. Continuing to scan the painting you’re drawn in. Stepping closer, then closer as the painting begins reveals it’s self anew. A symphony of brilliant color textures the surface. Surprising and seemingly random, yet delightful the layered and mingled hues taunt you touch them, but as you extend your hand forward your body is pulled back to start. Where you once again rescan the entire image with a new eye and …

I said it was a trick didn’t I. A trick of the trade. I just might give you a few clues sometime soon but I’ve got more painting to do now. I make my living as an artist not a writer after all.

Later Gator - Artistdeb

Friday, March 06, 2009

My Artist Statement

Making art is a very solitary experience for me. My studio is my sanctuary where I escape the rush and noise of life and make myself whole again. I release my built up creative energy wielding a palette knife thick with oil paint across a canvas.

I was born this way. An artist. You can ask my parents. I always looked at life differently and noticed things others quickly passed over. I’ve been learning to see for almost fifty years now and at the same time learning to express my visions so I can share with others. These visual recollections continually dance in my head until I give them another place to live.

Just as I have never been able to follow a recipe while cooking, each painting experience is a new creative challenge I set for myself. Can I capture the brilliance of the color, the intensity of the light or the subtle details tucked in the shadows? Each painting is a lesson learned which is in turn applied to the ones after. It’s quite often not fun. It’s hard and I’m hard on myself. I won’t quit until I’ve been able to say what I intended to say. It’s funny isn’t it, that I speak as if my painting speaks? That’s the way I think. My mind says, “this is what I’m trying to say”, not what I am trying to make something look like.

“Where is that?” I’m often asked in reference to one of my paintings. I don’t mean to seem flippant but the reality is that it was here (pointing to my head) and now it’s here, (pointing to the canvas). More and more I paint that way. In fact, I start many paintings flat on my back. Lying quietly with my eyes closed, I design paintings in my head drawing upon my memories. Choosing to include just enough detail to express the scene.

Lately, I’ve decided that no painting leaves my studio until it “sings”. They don’t all have to sing the same song but each painting needs a strong voice and an enchanting melody. It always delights and interests me when someone is drawn to my work. It struck a chord within them and resonates true to some experience in their own life. The painting makes them smile, just as the process did for me. It’s a good thing to feel good. We each need to be reminded of all the good in life.

There was a time when I didn’t feel so good. Not good at all. But when I was painting all was right with my body and the world. My art is my therapy but I also believe it has a purpose and life beyond me. I believe I am put here as an artist to share the joy I feel and perhaps others will find themselves looking at the world around them a little differently and find themselves smiling.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Creative Comfort Quotes

I am very depressed and deeply disgusted with painting. It is really a continual torture.
(Claude Monet)

The creative person finds himself in a state of turmoil, restlessness, emptiness, and unbearable frustration unless he expresses his inner life in some creative way. (Silvano Arieti)

How difficult it is to be simple. (Vincent van Gogh)

I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. (Vincent Van Gogh)

Difficulties increase the nearer we approach our goal. (J.W. von Goethe)

Writing is so difficult that I often feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment hereafter. (Jessamyn West)

I have made some progress. Why so late and with such difficulty? Is art really a priesthood that demands the pure in heart who must belong to it entirely? (Paul Cezanne)

I haven't yet managed to capture the colour of this landscape; there are moments when I'm appalled at the colours I'm having to use, I'm afraid what I'm doing is just dreadful and yet I really am understating it; the light is simply terrifying. (Claude Monet in Bordighera, Italy)

In an artist's life, death is perhaps not the most difficult thing. (Vincent van Gogh)

Anyone that witnesses my agitation and frustration in the final hour of a painting would wonder why I even bother. (David Oleski)

I had gotten to the point where I was either going to play the violin much better or I was going to break it over my knee. (Ellen Taaffe Zwilich)

I've spent so long on some paintings that I no longer know what to think of them, and I am definitely getting harder to please; nothing satisfies me... (Claude Monet)

Unless your work gives you trouble, it is no good. (Pablo Picasso)

I have once more taken up things that can't be done: water with grasses weaving on the bottom. But I'm always tackling that sort of thing! (Claude Monet)

It is the artist who realizes that there is a supreme force above him and works gladly away as a small apprentice under God's heaven. (Alexander Solzhenitsyn)

It seems to me that when I see nature I see it ready-made, completely written -- but then, try to do it! (Claude Monet)

I am frequently out of control and, of course, run into lots of trouble. I think I like to create problems for the love of solving them. (Ann Zielinski)

If the path before you is clear, you're probably on someone else's. (Joseph Campbell)

Friday, February 13, 2009


I find painting and the act of making art exasperating.
It is such a lonely path and yet so totally fulfilling.
Shouldn’t all great art just happen and be a process of great joy and ease?

Until just recently these contradictory feelings have haunted my artist soul. My burdens were eased with the discovery of a catalog of art quotes, . I quickly went to the subject of frustration and found the writings of such noted masters as Monet and Piscassro like scripture before me.

The ideas expressed in these writings confirm that I am not alone in my frustration and hardship. Even the great and honored Michelangelo stated that his life might have been so much easier if he had taken a simpler path early in life. 

“Painting and sculpture, labour and good faith, have been my ruin and I continually go from bad to worse. Better it would have been for me if I had set myself to making matches in my youth. I should not be in such distress of mind.” (Buonarroti Michelangelo) 

There have been times that I have also secretly wished that this burden to create and express had not been laid on my heart. Often another will express how they wish that they had my talent and that they would give anything to be able to paint as I do. “Ha, I think to myself, you think this is all fun? It is agony!” Painting is a process of great problem solving. I am always struggling to express the idea in my head and heart, pushing into uncharted territory, not being able to step back and relax until all of the problems I have created are solved. I never had a special interest in math or science in school. In fact I hated them. I just wanted to draw and paint. Now, as I stand in front of a blank canvas I often rethink my choices. At least in math and science there are right and wrong answers along with certain commonly known formulas to achieve the solution. 

That is not the way in art. The artist must express his own ideas and forge his own path to resolution. The fact that there is no one right solution makes the path even more challenging, and mentally tasking. Even with all of the exasperation I just expressed, there is another side that is ultimately prevails in the heart of the dedicated artist. The deep need to create, to express unspoken thoughts, to release oneself from the daily reality of life and delve into a deeper reality almost on a spiritual level with ones ideas and chosen materials of expression. I live to create and I create to live. 

Although the process can be exasperating it can also be a Zen like experience, as if I am being used by some greater force as a means of expression and I am letting the idea into a new reality through my act of creation. When a painting flows like this it is an awesome magical experience. I had expected all my work to flow gracefully from my heart to the canvas, but alas it doesn’t and most paintings are struggles. 

After discovering the writings of other artists whose work I admire, and hearing the same thoughts of frustration and exasperation as well as the constant deep need for creation and expression, I felt great comfort. I felt a new closeness to those who walked this walk many years before me. I am not alone, this is they way it is supposed to be – not easy. Last week I had the joy of sharing my art and process with a new acquaintance. He had admired my work from afar for sometime. I also shared a bit about my trials and doubts. He was quick to admonish those thoughts in my head. “You have to paint! What a shame if a talent like this was wasted!” Those are the same thoughts I had after finding the quotes of Monet and Pissarro. Their persistence and determination has now become part of my inspiration. Alas, I can move on.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I really do learn from my mistakes, at least in my painting studio that is. My theory is “If it’s already screwed up there’s no risk left.”

At this point I don’t give up. I go beyond. I get bold and do things to the canvas I wouldn’t dare try on a “perfect painting”. In the process I’ve discovered many new techniques and most often the resulting finished painting has an amazing energy taking my art as a whole to a new level.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I want to eat them up. The globs of paint on my palette look delicious!

I’m in love with color just the same as a mother with her babe. Young mothers hunger for their children. They cannot get enough of their scent, their soft skin and beautiful smiles. Haven’t you ever nibbled on a baby’s toes? It’s just that kind of feeling for me.

The subjects or motifs I choose to paint are just excuses to play with color and explore all the wonderful possibilities that seem endless in my mind.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I don’t remember Julie, though my family has talked about her for years. Did I really have an imaginary friend at four or did my parents decide it sounded better to have an imaginative youngster than a crazy kid who talked to herself? Maybe it’s all one in the same.

You see I still do. I talk to myself a lot, and aloud. Most of these animated conversations play out in the privacy of my studio. I pose and answer questions and sometimes argue to defend a point. As most focused and self-directed artists I spend a lot of time alone developing my craft. Luckily, I’m quite good company.