Painting for Emotional Survival

Deborah Alastra | October 21, 2020 | Leave a Comment

Deborah Alastra “Fall” (detail)- Photo courtesy Deborah Alastra © 2020

While the world witnesses unbelievably rapid climate change due to global warming, I am becoming more aware of the inescapable ‘impermanence’ of things as a painter.

The usual artist anxieties due to lack of functional studio space, dry storage, expenses, art supplies; all seem to recede. The 100s of canvases, portfolios of prints, watercolors, and drawings: all could burn or drown in minutes. I am considering an alternative, more durable media such as stone and ceramic. However, arthritic hands could make this problematic. All that felt steady, sure, stable, is now questionable. As so many in the world are losing their homes to fires, floods, severe weather, the artist who loses their studio, artwork, and/or home is no different, just perhaps more extreme. One can only envy the permanence of the writer’s art; words can survive. 

I’ve never had much to say about my work. I have been described as village naive, impressionistic, outsider, folk. My surroundings have the upmost somewhat obsessive importance. While walking, driving, gardening, traveling, I am often finding beauty in the most mundane subject matters. Having lived and traveled in Mexico as a child and my teenage years in small towns outside of London, my love of antiquated villages and the life I fantasize within slants my perspective, forever searching for that ’safe utopian beautiful cozy spot in the universe’.  Now all the more with the rapidity of climate change, political upheaval, the unearthing of racial injustice, and the growing fight against Covid19 and sheltering in place, I continue to paint for emotional survival. I am perhaps creating a ’safe’ place where I might hide and, most hopefully, providing some nourishment and emotional shelter for the viewer.

Portland Oregon, 2020

A painter of many years, Deborah Alastra graduated with a BA in Painting and Printmaking from the University of California at Santa Cruz, after studying and painting for several years at the Bellas Artes, Guanajuato Mexico. International living as a teenager in England and Mexico and extensive travel throughout her life strongly influences her work, as does her current residence in the US’s beautiful Pacific NW. For 18 years, she was the Program Director under the Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County. She founded the North Coast Children’s Art Program, which offered free after school and summer art classes for farmworker children living in the rurally isolated agricultural area on the North Coast of Santa Cruz County. For the last 14 years, equipped with studio space in her house, she paints full time and travels for inspiration.
Deborah's Portfolio here.

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