Artist Interview: Debra Wadlington

Learn More About Our Represented Artist

Q&A With The Artist

What are your ear­li­est mem­o­ries relat­ed to art?
When I was in the first grade, I knew I want­ed to be an artist. When I was a junior in high school I received a schol­ar­ship to KU (Uni­ver­si­ty of Kansas). So, I majored in art in college.

How and when did you start becom­ing an artist your­self?
In Col­lege.

What was the evo­lu­tion like toward find­ing your cur­rent voice and visu­al vocab­u­lary?
Excit­ing! That’s the feel­ing of dis­cov­ery and won­der­ment I felt and con­tin­ue to feel as I explore more tech­niques. Tri­al and error is true, as well. Find­ing the sub­jects that I love to paint devel­oped, in part, from my ear­ly child­hood, grow­ing up on a farm in New Mex­i­co. My real­ism is pret­ty emo­tion­al some­times in that I use a lot of col­or. I like to paint any­thing as long as I’m doing it with shad­ing. Yet, of all my sub­jects, dancers are my favorite.

I like the move­ment in danc­ing, so I con­cen­trate on try­ing to paint move­ment. I’ve always loved to dance, since I was a lit­tle girl.

My favorite paint­ing is a 2008 acrylic of a cow­boy and cow­girl danc­ing. The paint­ing, “First Embrace,” won best in show in a Carls­bad, New Mex­i­co, art show and also at the Noel-Wag­n­er Muse­um spring show in Odessa.

In this paint­ing, the young woman is wear­ing a big col­or­ful skirt. That’s how I got into paint­ing — paint­ing the Span­ish dancers, the Mex­i­can dancers. I loved the col­or­ful skirts the cow­girls wore so I start­ed paint­ing the Mex­i­can girls because their dress­es show so much move­ment. I became known for my abil­i­ty to cap­ture move­ment with col­or and shading.

What is your process like?
Com­plex! How do I explain an idea that becomes a vision, and then a vision that becomes a paint­ing? Of course, I have influ­ences: My love of the South­west and Amer­i­can West. The var­i­ous cul­tures and the his­to­ry of this region, their tra­di­tions, beliefs and lifestyle…all of these com­po­nents of life in the region gath­er in my spir­it and find a voice through my paint­ings. I try to hon­or the peo­ple, their lives and tra­di­tions in how I por­tray them. Once I have a ‘vision’ of what I want to cap­ture on can­vas, I study the sub­ject, the his­to­ry and the back­ground, much in the way a nov­el­ist does research before writ­ing a book. Then I sketch, then I paint.

Is there any­thing from your artist state­ment that you wish to expound on, that you nor­mal­ly don’t have the chance to dis­cuss?
To be continued…

What do you try to con­trol in your sur­faces, and what do you leave to chance?
I don’t leave any­thing to chance…I am too pas­sion­ate about my subject(s) to do that. I can’t say I have per­fec­tion in every paint­ing, but I make every effort to con­trol tex­ture, depth, col­or, details, pro­por­tion, and light­ing… all of these need to be in har­mo­ny with each oth­er in order for the paint­ing to be fin­ished, (though maybe not perfect).

Where do you see your work going from here?
I would love for my paint­ings to be as rec­og­nized here in my new home of Texas as they were in New Mex­i­co. Texas is an inspi­ra­tion to me, I am dis­cov­er­ing numer­ous sub­jects I want to paint!

Artist Interview- Debra Wadlington, First Embrace
Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive updates, promotions, and sneak peaks of upcoming products.

Promotion nulla vitae elit libero a pharetra augue