Local artist Debra Krakow lives with her family on Wolfe Island in a beautiful self-designed home. As an architect Krakow designed the house for her young family in the mid 90s. At the top of this tall, yellow structure sits a small, bright studio, tailor made by and for the artist who resides in it.
Walking through the family home I am bombarded with colour and texture filling all possible hanging space on the walls. I am charmed by the beautiful music floating from the piano in the living room, filling the whole house (not to mention the homemade cookies and peppermint tea I am offered upon arrival).
The art, though covering a spectrum of styles and mediums, is amazingly produced by the same artist. Krakow uses her home and personal space as a platform to display her art to her family and guests when it’s not being shown in galleries throughout Ontario.
While climbing the final stairs to reach the glowing room at the peak of the house I find myself entering a blooming garden of warm colours and textures just leaping off every wall and surface. Looking out the windows I can see a full one-hundred and eighty degrees along the shore of the island and up the road. The space is light and, though chilly in the winter, it’s warm in colour and more full of life than the view outside the windows.
The warm tones in Debra’s work draw me closer as I examine each piece in the room. She explains her process of adding quilting and sewing techniques to her paintings and shows me each of her tools and brushes in great detail.
In the far right corner of the room there are four pieces hanging together which perfectly demonstrate the techniques being described to me. On top of the 3-D brush strokes on the canvases hang gorgeous patterns of thread in even brighter and warmer tones.
One piece becomes reminiscent of a glistening yellow spider web hanging from small branches as the sun sets behind. Another is a garden with beautiful thread vines growing throughout. The textures created by the thread are wonderfully woven and sewn into the foreground, seemingly just sitting atop the canvas.
Each piece has a feeling unique to itself but together Krakow’s work flows into a common theme. Her body of work feels natural, growing, and full of life.
Not all of the pieces are abstractions of nature, though. Many of the works consist of massive, sweeping brush strokes which carry your eye from each corner of the canvas. The artist talks me through the very process of creating these pieces; moving large, wet globs of paint onto a canvas spread on the floor of her studio.
The paint spattered floor shows a history of her process, a timeline of the works created there.
The house, the studio and the artistic family within it were all created by the very same artist. Debra Krakow’s body of work is ever expanding past the walls of her home and her beautiful space.