Monday, November 9, 2015

STUDIO SPACE: Deborah Ridgley

Artist Deborah Ridgley specializes in fine art oil paintings and commissioned portraits, and works in a traditional method based on painting techniques handed down by the old masters. She works with the highest quality paints and linen canvases to create heirloom quality works of art that will last for generations. A graduate of the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Deborah is based in the Cincinnati area and her work is locally and nationally recognized.
On the Drawing Table:  A figurative piece, a commission of a girl at the piano
Coming out soon:  A portrait for a child for the “Portraits of a Soul”  project,  portraits of children that have had Cranial Facial Surgery.

How did you get your start as a professional artist?
After graduating from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, I was a graphic designer for the first part of my career.  For the last 20 years I have been concentrating on portraiture and gallery works of art.

Describe your work.
I am a figurative, landscape and portrait painter pursuing the great tradition of representational painting that has been handed down from the old master painters.  I love the variety of subject matter which everyday life has to offer and capturing those moments on canvas. I believe mastering different subjects and disciplines of art greatly contributes to being a successful artist.

Figurative -  ' Angela '

Figurative - Model Repose


Still Life - Silver and Roses

Tell about your workspace.
My studio is located inside the Woman’s Art Club Cultural Center in Mariemont, Ohio.  The WACC is a restored barn that was built in 1926 by Marie Emery, a philanthropist and founding member of the city of Mariemont.  In the studio, there are two walls of framed art for the “gallery area of my studio”, and a working area with an easel and shelves with equipment and supplies. There is also a model stand for live model sittings. Most of the figurative, portraiture and still life paintings are created in my studio. The plein air landscape paintings are painted outside on location. 

What are your favorite materials digital and traditional?   
I like my digital camera.  However, for traditional materials I like my new Rosemary Sable Brushes from England.

What’s your typical workday/work session like?
Most days are the same with returning emails, marketing for the first few hours of the day, followed by painting in the afternoon.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated as you work?  
To keep motivated while I work, I enjoy having about 2 or 3 pieces of art in process at the same time. Taking breaks from each piece helps to see drawing errors, composition problems, and much more. Your eyes stay fresh each time you start again. I also listen to artists videos while working. In addition, I paint with other artists a few times a month, either with the live model or plein air painting.

What is your dream job?
I would have to say I am living my dream job. I feel totally blessed that I get to do what I love each day. My dream portrait would be receiving the commission to paint the official portrait of Pope Francis. I would also like to illustrate and write a children’s book.

Do you keep a sketchbook?  
Not as regularly as I should. However, I just returned from a 2 day painting workshop and there was a huge discussion on artists keeping a daily sketchbook!  I plan on being more regular at this valuable practice. I do write in a daily journal before I begin my work day. A habit I started after reading the book “ The Artist Way”, by Julia Cameron.

What do you listen to while you work?
Classical music or an audio book.

What are you reading/listening to on Audible?
“Big Magic”, Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Who are your artistic influences?
Historically the past artists I admire are John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla, Nicolai Fechin, Anders Zorn. For contemporary artists living today I admire the works of Tibor Nagy, Richard Schmid, Everett Raymond Kinstler to name a few.

What do you do that is not art related that inspires you?
Take a long walks, swim, bike, read a book or go to the movies.

What was the best advice you got in your career so far?
“Never give up, no matter what”.

What is your favorite color?
That’s a hard question. I love all colors. But I do favor blues and greens.

How can we get best follow your art online/on social media?

Website –
Plein air - The Exemplar

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