deborah gwinn's Profile

About

Hi there I'm Deborah, and I live, paint and run a small design studio from my Wintergarden in Duvall with a wonderful view of my garden and the always unpredictable weather that passes over my glass ceiling each day.

About 12 years ago I was happily downsized out of my art director position and left my comfy corner office overlooking Elliot Bay after 20 years of various design jobs in Visual Merchandising and Graphic Design. I thought what a wonderful and freeing experience it was going be to be, starting a family finally and working from home while raising my children. I was delusional. Thank you to all of those wonderful people who smiled and patted me on the back when I told them of my glorious plan. I thought I heard you laughing as I left the office.

Not that it hasn't been great to work in my pajamas and slippers if I want, but my “as…

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  • Female
  • Born on December 24
  • Joined September 3, 2006

Favorite materials

bleach, pencil, canson, wood, oils, stains

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FromtheWintergarden
deborah gwinn . bleach + photography + etc

About

Hi there I'm Deborah, and I live, paint and run a small design studio from my Wintergarden in Duvall with a wonderful view of my garden and the always unpredictable weather that passes over my glass ceiling each day.

About 12 years ago I was happily downsized out of my art director position and left my comfy corner office overlooking Elliot Bay after 20 years of various design jobs in Visual Merchandising and Graphic Design. I thought what a wonderful and freeing experience it was going be to be, starting a family finally and working from home while raising my children. I was delusional. Thank you to all of those wonderful people who smiled and patted me on the back when I told them of my glorious plan. I thought I heard you laughing as I left the office.

Not that it hasn't been great to work in my pajamas and slippers if I want, but my “assistants”, that are now 10 and 12, are less than cooperative and much more demanding than I had imagined they would be. When they were small they did not follow orders well, talked incessantly and completely off topic during client meetings, and threw grapes and other snack foods at me if ignored for too long. In more recent years the situation has evolved and they have become a little more understanding and less 'snuggle' driven, but the food flinging has been replaced with loud electronic games, music and a constant stream of friends cutting through my studio to the back yard. I have written them both up on numerous occasions but I don’t think they are grasping the full severity of the situation. Firing them is out of the question. transferring them to a daycare division at this age is not an option, so looking towards an eventual move to a collegiate housing facility is probably the best option for us all.

It is a daily challenge but I am definitely happier than I was in the confines of the corporate world.

BLEACH PAINTING: A WORK IN PROGRESS

THE TECHNIQUE . . .
All images are created by applying household bleach in different strengths and leaving it on for varying amounts of time to discharge the color from the paper or board. Bleaches are incredibly unpredictable and difficult to control but it makes for a such a great challenge. This process takes a lot of time and patience that I lack, but the finished piece is well worth the effort, and the headache that is inevitable even in a well ventilated room.

I look forward to each new piece and the ultimate surprise at the end. As I paint I see only wet areas, and it isn't until the bleach finishes its process and the paper is completely dry that I am able to see what the result is. And there are no fixing mistakes, unless it can be turned into a happy accident somehow. When I began doing these I made many not so happy accidents with drips as I brought my brush across the paper. I ended up with a lot of landscapes and oddly placed "moons" back then.

The Materials: Unfortunately, I have found very few papers that will give the desired effect. More and more papers are being produced to be colorfast so they will not fade or lighten in sunlight. This is not a good development for my needs. I recently ordered samples from 6 different companies and out of the hundreds of colors and weights I tested, only 3 of them would lighten to the degree you see in my pieces. Some would not react at all, no matter how long the bleach was left on. Some would lighten but only to a muddy, pinkish grey color giving no room to create any depth.

The Tools: Application tools are another challenge. Because bleach will dissolve a brush in less that an hour of use, it was necessary to find alternate methods of application. Q-tips, cotton balls, and wooden sticks are all tools used to achieve various effects. Lately I have been experimenting with metals, but that's a secret method so I will leave it to your imagination. You will notice small particles of rust embedded in some pieces. The Lace Wing Moths and Torn Wing Dragonfly are examples. You can actually watch the rust grow into a thick layer on the metal application tools I use. By the end of one painting both my bleach and water are red with it. Most metal tools only make it through three or four paintings before they begin to fall apart or disintegrate.

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