Making A Mark: Moving Painting Forward

“You don’t know how paralyzing that is, that stare of a blank canvas…but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of `you can’t’ once and for all.” 

-Vincent van Gogh, 1884

Not sure what the disease is called, but I definitely have the bug. Like the kid who’s more interested in pebbles on the ground than animals at the zoo, I view life through art lenses, continually struck by cracks in the pavement, the way wires slice through the sky. Never wanting for ideas, I have an internal Roladex and flip through sketch after sketch in my head. 

You’d think starting a new painting, making that first mark, would be easy. But there’s just so much intrigue, insecurity, exhilaration, and doubt. Thankfully, I’m finally at the point where I realize the very best thing I can do is not care too much what anyone else thinks. The fact that I now work on several canvases at once, and feel free to literally rip them apart and start anew, has (pretty much) set me free.

Everyone refers to the whole “painting-is-dead” debate. But I find the whole matter pretty silly, like the teen who spews venom at her mom insisting she wants nothing to do with her. Years later, they’re as close as can be. Painting isn’t going away anymore than ice cream or pizza.  Yes, I no longer want vanilla and pepperoni; I want a scoop of hazelnut and a slice of caramelized onion.  

Get Comfortable In Your Own Skin, by Deb Lawrence, 2013

Get Comfortable In Your Own Skin, by Deb Lawrence, 2013

I want to be part of the inevitable move forward in painting, but it’s not so much an intellectual decision, as it is an emotional one.  I force myself to take risks at the very moment I’m most insecure, knowing that my very worst often pushes me to be my very best. I like to think there’s still a lot left to do in painting that isn’t entirely derivative and that my work can be part of the voice that moves painting forward.  

Eventually, I’d like to “make a mark,” but I also know many artists are not “discovered” until late in their lives (“Go Mary Heilmann!), or after they’ve died. Frustrating, but I’m not going to cut off an ear off over it.  

Deb Lawrence is represented by Posner Fine Art, Los Angeles

Inquire about available work, gallery representation, exhibition.


Deb Lawrence

1900 Superior Ave., #101

Cleveland, Ohio 44114


Insert photo with caption:Studio Shot, Deb Lawrence, 2013

Insert photo with caption: Get Comfortable In Your own Skin, Deb Lawrence, 2013