3 Questions Digital Series

Deborah Lazar

An interview from Art in Embassies 3 Questions Digital Series with Deborah Lazar, who speaks about her creative process and artwork at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

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Full Transcript

My name is Deborah Lazar and I live in Vermont and I’m an artist I’ve been an artist my entire life I’ve always devoted some part of my time to my own art making and it has been a journey through many different mediums I’ve worked in fabric I’ve worked in oil paint I’ve worked in video and photography I’m now somewhat retired but working for myself as a full-time oil painter.

I would call what I do impressionist realism because there’s an element of trying to make something look the way it is but to do it in a way in which the brush work actually creates the image so if you look at it close up you won’t see anything but blurry brush strokes but the farther back you get the more it congeals and and becomes the image and I work from life primarily. I really prefer to work from from life and I find that my paintings which are little vignettes of all the places that I’ve been so they’re very different from taking a photograph because you spend at least an hour or more doing a painting so you really get a sense of this place and that comes with you it becomes part of your photographic memory you know of being in that place and I also find that for me being outdoors and doing a painting of something that I’m looking at a representational or impressionist or however you want to label it um it’s kind of a religious experience it’s very spiritual to be there and be absorbing the energy of the place and then trying to represent that on canvas.

That was always my my goal was to be able to go outdoors and paint in natural light I don’t particularly care to paint in the studio but there are times when it can’t be avoided if you have an idea and you have to create it and it’s just not practical to be outside water is a theme that seems to come up in my work a lot waterfalls I like painting water enjoy that and flowers and then large vista landscapes so this this seems to be a theme of those three things and I usually get inspired when i go to a new place I just find whatever gives me inspiration and then try to work with it and i’m pretty portable because with the the tripod easel and then the canvas I’m pretty good to go.

If you’re working outdoors and the sun is out you really have a window of about three hours where it’s not going to change that much right because you’re trying to paint a moment at a time so with with sunlight because the sun moves I usually give myself about a three hour window and I discovered somewhere on my cell phone I found an application that actually tells you where the sun track is tracking so if I’m outside and painting i can look on that little application and find where the sun’s gonna be when I start and when I end and it’s usually about a three hour window.

I’ve been an artist my entire life you know doing some form of artwork and it’s wonderful to be recognized and to be able to share my work with the rest of the world in that way what I think is really interesting about the work that he chose is that they are three entirely different ways of actually creating art one of them was painted outdoors on location and the other one was painted from a photograph of a building in downtown Brattleboro which is near where I live so so we have one that’s a photograph one that’s from a photo and another one that’s painted plein air and the plein air one it took me four years to do that painting it’s rather large and there’s it’s a little garden next door to my where I live and I went out there every year and just worked a little bit more on the painting so it was a labor of love.