Bodies of Work

In 2006 I created a body of work I called "Emerging". The work was inspired by my studio lessons with Adolfo Girala, whom I had met at an art fair in 2001. Adolfo taught me so much - both in art and on a personal level.

"Earth and Sky" Deb CHaney 2006. Polyptic, series of four 16" x 20" ea. $2200. Mastercard and Visa. (805) 403-9870 Prints at

I am so grateful to have met someone whose style and techniques I so admired and who was willing to share. His generosity has further enthused me to share with you - my techniques, stories, habits and secrets. Adolfo - thank you!

So, in puttering around and experimenting in my studio from 2001- 2006 I created this "Emerging" body of work. Most of the works were flops, experiments. A lot of the work didn't work out. But I learned and played and grew as an artist. And then with the help of my graphic artist we put together this brochure, and I thought I was done.

(for PDF brochure download for Emerging series of paintings pls visit

Honestly I was tired of trying to imitate Adolfo's work. He is such a master at his style. It was emotionally draining trying to emulate something that seemed so illusive. All his paintings seemed to work out...mine did not. I held his work as my standard and fell short every time. It became ever more frustrating!

I stopped focusing on these Emerging works and took workshops with a number of artists whom I admired... Bob Burrdige, Anne Baldwin, Nancy Reyner and Lana Grow.

The Raw Expression series came from after learning new ways from new teachers. I created work that was totally my own. I was working on 300 lb paper on not on canvas. I was using paper in my paintings and only doing a few layers, not 20 - 30. I was breaking the rules I had learned with Adolfo. I was liberating myself with this series.

So, last week, I was downtown with my husband and wondering through the Spirit in STone Galleriy and ogled Wosene's work, not for the first time. This time the sales lady at the desk handed me his artist statement, but it was more like a "history of the artist" because the narrative described his work and bodies of work over the last 20+ years. It was fascinating how he had worked on various bodies of work for 5, 6, 7 years each and then evolved into what he grouped as a different series, a new focus, another 5-10 years.

I have so much admiration for Wosene. I love his work but what I truly admire is his dedication and focus to his work. To paint for more than 20 years. With 3 paintings in the Smithsonian. But above all that, what intrigues me and captivates me is his dedication to his native Ethiopian language; " Amharic ".I feel like he is so lucky to have that rich heritage, the intrigue and playful beauty of the written words to incorporate into his art, to call his own. It makes me wonder what my language and focus is….but that is another blog entry.

So, for now, what did I learn? Well, I learned that a body of work can span years. And I went back to my study, newly enthused, and pulled out some of those old not-finished Emerging paintings. So I am excited to share with you some of the new Emerging pieces. I will link you to them as they get posted on the website. And to see how I progress with Adolfo's teaching and everything else I've learned and see what evolves and emerges in the next few years.

The journey continued, as I continue to emerge. Thank you for being here with me. Take care, Deb