Debra Krakow is a artist and architect whose luminous abstract paintings in acrylic and mixed-media evoke the light-infused landscape of the Thousand Islands region of Ontario, particularly the views from her idyllic home studio on Wolfe Island, and the less knowable, multi-layered landscapes of the mind.
Debra has exhibited in her native city of Montreal, as well as in Ottawa, Kingston, Halifax and New York State. Her works are held in public and private collections throughout North America.Debra Krakow is an artist and architect. She works out of her Wolfe Island studio, looking out over farmers’ fields and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Her luminous and evocative paintings express her deeply felt connection to the natural world, seen through the lens of an architect and former urbanite. Debra has developed her artistic practice through explorations in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, fibre arts and ceramics. Debra is represented by galleries in Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston and Prince Edward County.
My artwork is a quest for a new aesthetic that melds our deeply rooted notions of beauty with our modern, urbanized sensibilities. I tend to work in series, with many pieces in progress at one time, each informing the other.
I’m continuing my exploration of spontaneous abstract painting, but moving into larger formats. With a big canvas, there’s just more room for interesting things to happen. Beginning with an underpainting of luminous glazes, I build my paintings layer by layer, selectively revealing and obscuring the intent of the layer below. This creates a richly textured finished piece that is evocative and intriguing, and invites interpretation without imposing an overt meaning.
I also work on a smaller scale, creating more playful mixed-media works on canvas and paper, and incorporating my forays into textile art, handmade paper, and collage. These pieces are inspired by nature, yet still, for the most part, completely non-representational. The infusion of fibre and paper crafts into these paintings gives them a three-dimensional, tactile quality which I love.
I paint in layers, selectively revealing or obscuring the underpainting to create an evocative surface. Just as a landscape or weathered surface bears hints of its evolution, my painted surfaces reveal a complex history or underlying colour and texture. The canvases go back and forth from the floor to the easel as they evolve. On the floor I move quickly around the canvas, working from all sides, pouring paint with abandon and moving it around with wide brushes, scrapers and sometimes my hands. When the work is on the easel I take more time to consider and contemplate, still working but intuitively but with greater control. It’s the push and pull between these two ways of working that gives the paintings their energy- that delicate balance between fluidity and structure, softness and vibrancy, transparency and solidity, mystery and clarity.