She Never Did Sell Wash Rags — The Oil Painting of Deborah Krupp

Bowls and Onions, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp
Bowls and Onions, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

When painter Deborah Krupp was a child, she proclaimed to the world in general that her goal, as an adult, was to sell wash rags and towels.

“Art and color and decorating and architecture have been a part of me from as early as I can remember,” Krupp, who eventually pursued a successful career in teaching, explains. “My mother would take us shopping in the department stores, and I remember holding her hand while we looked at the beautiful items, especially those in the linen department where there were red and blue and orange towels.

Impressionist Roses, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist, Deborah Krupp.
Impressionist Roses, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist, Deborah Krupp

“So I announced that when I grew up I was going to sell washrags and towels. It was a story that followed me through my life as my mother enjoyed telling it.”

Even though Krupp’s initial avocation declaration underwent significant change, her love for beauty, color, and artistry did not. During the years that she taught K-12, or served as fulltime librarian in the Nine Mile Falls School District outside of Spokane, Krupp lived, and taught, the internal skills that she would later draw upon in her painting.

“As an English teacher, I had the students sit and think before they started writing, and I instructed that they put their pencils down for ten minutes and just think about what they were going to do next,” Krupp remembers.

“As the year went on, the kids naturally started to put the pencils down themselves, and the classroom — which normally has its share of noise — was very quiet.

Beachy Dream, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp
Beachy Dream, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

“I rather believe that this is the same need we have in art. I think much of it is a matter of thinking to get into the feel, and that you have a peace by the time you get to putting color on the paper. It’s a slow process.”

For Krupp, who began actively pursuing a dream to paint after her retirement in 2009, this process of peaceful contemplation doesn’t always run smoothly, most significantly because her “studio” is a mobile one, which she sets up in the corner of the kitchen, family room, or den.

Golden Palms, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp
Golden Palms, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

“I make an announcement that I need to be uninterrupted for a time, although that rarely happens,” Krupp says. “My ideal is that I have a separate studio where I don’t feel guilty about not baking cookies or getting dinner on the table.

“I’m probably not as indispensable as I think I am, but everyone likes my cookies!”

Despite any clamor, however, the cookies must wait, as Krupp, in a burst of enthusiasm echoing the voice of her childhood, explains that she loves to “paint, and paint, and paint!” With an initial background in drawing from architecture and drafting classes that she took at WSU, Krupp advances her skills through a combination of reading and studying art and the masters, analyzing the properties of paint, and transferring what she learns intellectually to paint or canvas.

She has taken workshops with David Riedel (still life oil painting), Carl Purcell (nature in watercolor), and Diane McClary (oil impressionism) and draws upon, for subject matter, the whole wide world around her.

Wenaha Morning Mist, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp
Wenaha Morning Mist, original oil painting by Wenaha Gallery guest artist Deborah Krupp

“There are so many colors out there and so much beauty that I don’t have enough time in the day to take it on,” Krupp says. She sets up still lifes and studies the way the light reflects off surfaces. Other times, she paints landscapes, both from photo references and memories, but always she is seeking to capture that ethereal synthesis of light with color.

“As young as I can remember, I recall staying with my grandmother, whose shades were amber. In the morning, when the sun shone through, it turned the room gold, and that early memory has influenced my life ever since — from the colors that I put into my house to the paintings that I do now.

“There is a glow and a life that I want in the painting.”

Recently moved to Dayton, Krupp is still in the process of unpacking, and though she has connected with the Blue Mountain Artist Guild, she hasn’t yet set up her painting space.

“It’s like withdrawal and I find myself a little edgy not being able to paint. I think I’m going to have to work in the kitchen again, although I hope to set up a shed we have in back, into some kind of studio.”

She just needs time, place, and a space, but the one thing that’s always there is the love for, and appreciation of, color.

“I’m always striving for that natural glow that takes you beyond reality.”

Wenaha GalleryDeborah Krupp is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery, 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA from Monday, July 27 through Friday, August 21.

Contact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional customized framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton, WA.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

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