• Deborah "Debbie" Marsh

The Painted Ladies Collection: The 5 Hidden Elements

Updated: Oct 28, 2018

What makes the Painted Ladies collection so alluring?


The bold bright colors, the sensuous female forms, the exaggerated features, and the fluid flow of strokes on paper.


That’s what makes these 20 original and unique art pieces so alluring!

Painted Ladies Collection Trio: Passion, Embrace, and Shadow, by Deborah Marsh

The Painted Ladies started out as a study of forms. My plan was to create about five to six over-sized canvas paintings – which I did. Little did I know that the 20 full-colored sketches I created would be perceived as great works of art, far more appealing than the over-sized paintings.


What makes these sketches such great works of art? We can break it down to 5 hidden elements. These elements include:


1. Medium and Materials


2. Style and Subject Focus


3. Color Selection and Combination


4. Inner Feelings and Desires


5. Fluid Strokes and Techniques



1. Medium and Materials


I chose standard 9 X 12 Vellum art paper, medium weight, from my favorite paper brand Strathmore. Instead of using graphite pencil or charcoal to draw the subjects, I chose to use a standard ballpoint ink pen. For the color enhancement of the pieces, I chose water color markers with varying tips and hues. Prismacolor is always my first choice for both markers and for colored pencils.


Water color markers are fluid and transparent, which is why I used them to layer color. The ink pen was used like a pencil as I sketched out the subjects, paying no mind to clean edges or rounded corners.


2. Style and Subject Focus


My style is a mix of Patrick Nagel, Art Deco, and Pablo Picasso’s Cubism and Blue periods; however, none were a deliberate or direct influence over my style!


I’ve always admired the female form for high fashion and celebrity influence, so it’s no surprise that my focus would be the same.


3. Color Selection and Combination


The use of color in an artist's work tells a lot about what the mood should be. An artist intentionally chooses colors in order to create either a negative or positive emotion for the viewer to feel.


As an artist, I tend to want to create a feeling of excitement, beauty, passion, mystery, and liberation, yet sophistication and assurance. To create this type of mood, there needs to be a palette of contrasting, but complimentary, colors of varying tones.


Colors should compliment one another, forming warmth or coolness, light or shade, depending on the mood the artist wants to portray. Contrasting colors offer excitement and mystery. Much like the infamous Victorian and Edwardian styled homes in San Francisco, best known as the Painted Ladies, my Painted Ladies are a mixture of cool and warm contrasting colors.


Many of the famous houses in San Francisco are painted red or blue, but with yellow, orange, and brown trim. Some are even painted with greens, reds, and purple for a more modernistic style.


The color selection and combination that I used for my Painted Ladies is similar. In some ways, several of the pieces within the 20-sketch collection are reminiscent of Latin and European colors and culture.


Most of my sketches within the series are of women, with thick purple colored hair; yellow or light-tan skin tones; red, orange, or yellow clothing; with backgrounds of contrasting red, blue, yellow, green, and purple shapes. These colors together create the sophisticated, yet exciting, passionate, beautiful and alluring images I call my Painted Ladies.


4. Inner Feelings and Desires


The work of an artist is usually a reflection of their inner soul, their inner most desires, or of things they truly admire. My paintings have always been influenced by those things which I love, feel, and or desire. The Painted Ladies are no exception.


Selecting the subjects for my sketches was based on several criteria. A single female was the subject for each painting. Each subject had to have an intriguing pose or action. They needed strong reflections of light and shade, as if under a spotlight. Lastly, each subject provided an opportunity to highlight various shapes through color.


As a woman, I have an inner desire to be viewed upon as beautiful, sensual, alluring. The Painted Ladies collection displays this passion and influence over its visual captures.


The bold contrasting colors and shapes draw you in to the mood of the paintings, and act as a form of stimuli which is pleasing and somewhat exciting. The poses of my subjects appear to be somewhat staged, like models in a photograph.


My inner childhood dream was to someday be well known for my creative endeavors, whether those be in art, performance, cooking, or something else - wherever my talent would take me. More reason for my art to imitate my most inner aspirations!

Painted Ladies Collection: Island, by Deborah Marsh

5. Fluid Strokes and Techniques


The truth of the matter is, I have no real rhyme or reason for the strokes I used to create these beautiful, full-colored sketches.


What I did was outline the areas of my subjects where I wanted light or shade to hit. These areas were then painted in as solid colors, making them appear more linear instead of blended. This gave the pieces personality, uniqueness, and standout.


In some ways this style is reminiscent of the Art Deco style from years past. The paintings are sleek, symmetrical, geometric, and somewhat simple in design yet very pleasing to the eye. Just like Art Deco, my Painted Ladies symbolize elegance, sophistication, and glamour.


When you look closely at my work you can see where I possibly made a change to the perspective of my subject and painted over it or where I worked the area into another sketched piece within the painting.


These works are basically a study of paint strokes, linear strokes, cross hatches, and layers of colors. Simple and fluid. Natural and accidental. Yet it all perfectly gels together to create these beautiful, originally designed pieces I call the Painted Ladies.


In Closing...


The Painted Ladies is a study of color, shape, and emotion. Emotions and desires that I, as a young woman at that time, felt and experienced. I used paper and marker to share my passion through these expressions of my art. The Painted Ladies Collection will forever be for me, one of my most personal and successful works ever produced to date.


If you’re interested in owning part of the Painted Ladies Collection, please visit the Store.


To learn more about my Painted Ladies Collection, check out future posts from Debbie’s Living Canvas. You also learn more about me, by visiting my About page.




Gilbert, Arizona USA

debbieslivingcanvas@gmail.com

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© 2018 by Deborah Marsh