Featured Artist: Debbie Tearle
What is your name or the name you go by for your art?
Debbie Tearle Art
Where do you live?
Fetcham, Surrey, UK
What is your background?
I worked as a primary school teacher for over 20 years and loved how young children create with an attitude of freedom and play.
Which media do you prefer to work with?
I work with different media as I like to choose whichever I feel best expresses what I am aiming for in any given painting or series of paintings. Having said that I am currently enjoying using oil and cold wax and discovering all the many applications of this medium.
How did you learn your craft i.e. college, self-taught and what did that entail?
I am self-taught but over the years I have taken workshops with artists I admire and most recently completed various online courses. Some of these have lasted for several months which has given me time to delve deeper and extend my practice.
What does your work aim to say?
Through the process of creating both my art and I go on a journey of discovery and awareness. I invite my viewers to be curious and experience their own adventure through my artwork.
Does your work comment on current social or political issues?
I wouldn’t call myself a political artist, but social issues have found their way into my work. For example, I produced several paintings expressing the experience of communication during the Covid-19 lockdowns when we felt extremely isolated and in our bubbles and were learning how to make Zoom or Teams calls, as well as use Facetime, TikTok, Instagram and other social media. Another series of paintings considered how we “read” the word after I experienced loss of vision. These incorporated braille words in the design of blurred and sharp edges, saturated and transparent layers of paint. My River Mole paintings record the sounds heard whilst walking a stretch of the river beneath Box Hill in Surrey during Covid lockdown walks. So, I guess my work does comment on, or maybe a better word is describes social issues that have affected me.
Who are your biggest influences?
I’m influenced by many artists such as Barbara Hepworth as I love the shapes and textures of her sculptures, Tracey Emin for her honest portrayal of emotion in her work, David Hockney for the breadth of his use of materials and subject matter to name just a few. I’m also inspired by the freedom I feel in the landscape. Even when my art is not about the landscape, I find it is where my mind wanders and ideas start to brew which later develop in the studio.
How have you developed your career?
My art career is in its infancy having only become a full-time artist just over a year ago. Having said that I have connected with various groups such as Ginger Cactus Art, Wildwood Art group, Connected Artists, and Art Café with the aim of developing my community, which is so important as artists tend to work alone. It has also provided opportunities to exhibit my work in group shows.
Building a relationship with galleries is something I’m beginning to do, and I have been delighted to show my work at Adam’s Gallery in Reigate and Wildwood Gallery in Bookham, Surrey.
How do you seek out opportunities?
I have been very lucky to meet some amazing artists who have helped me on my art journey so far. One thing I try to maintain is a positive attitude and say yes to things that push me out of my comfort zone so I can learn and grow, whether that be entering an open call, participating in a group exhibition, or taking a workshop to learn a technique.
How do you cultivate a collector base?
As I am still very new to showing my work, this is something I hope to develop more this year by inviting past customers to upcoming shows and keeping in touch with new visitors. I am also beginning to take on commissions.
Which current art world trends are you following?
I don’t know if this can be called a trend or not, but many artists have been producing their own podcasts over the last couple of years. There’s so much information to be gleaned from them and it’s been enlightening hearing about other artists’ experiences.
Do you know where you are heading career wise? What are your hopes for your future?
A bespoke studio space would be fabulous to get me out of the house! One day I’d really love to have a solo show. Until then I just want to keep developing my practice and create paintings I’m proud of.
Do you have any tips for young artists just starting out?
Be open and curious and learn how to be critical of your work.
Do you have any exhibitions coming up?
During the month of June, I am participating in Surrey Artists Open Studios for the second time this year. I’m in the Central area and part of the Leatherhead Art Trail. Go to the link below to check which days I will be open – https://surreyopenstudios.org.uk/open-studio/debbie-tearle/
Some of my work will also be show at West Horsley Place, near Guildford, between the 13th – 19th June as part of the In My Mind’s Eye exhibition.
I am delighted to have had two pieces of work accepted in the Surrey Wildlife Trust Art and Photography competition. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one might even win its category!
Where can you be found on social media?
I post regularly on Instagram, which is the main platform I use at the moment.
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