About the Artist
Debra Lee Valeri, born in 1960, grew up in Bridgewater, MA. She graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 1982 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration. At RISD she studied with illustrators Chris VanAllsburg, David Porter, Lester Abrams, and David McCauley; painters Tom Sgouros, and Trent Burleson; and color field theorist, Sy Sillman.
Her early career as an illustrator began with both freelance and staff positions at advertising agencies and manufacturers. In 1988 she acquired her MA Teacher’s Certification from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. In the next five years that followed she taught art at an area high school while teaching Illustration each summer at Rhode Island School of Design Summer Sessions.
Debbie, along with her husband and two children, moved to Westport, MA in 1999 where she soon discovered the rich local landscape that would become her passion and source of artistic inspiration. Adapting to the lifestyle changes and time constraints that go along with raising a young family her creative endeavors expanded into experimentation with various forms of digital media, such as digital photography, photomontage, and digital painting.
In 2007 she built a new studio in Westport where she now focuses on painting oil landscapes full time. Her work is always on view there at her Meadowbrook Studio gallery. Every summer she is a particiating member of the South Coast Artist Open Studio Tour and also added in 2015, the Art Drive.
Debra became an elected member of the Guild of Boston Artists of Newbury Street, Boston, in 2015, where her work is exhibited at all times. The Guild was founded in 1914 by the most prestigious traditional artists of the day, including Edmund Tarbell, William Paxton and Frank Benson.
In addition to the oils, she also offers Limited Edition Giclée prints of her digital landscapes as well as note cards featuring dozens of her oil paintings.
My artwork may concisely be described as realistic, atmospheric oil landscapes of coastal and rural scenes of the Massachusetts south coast area.
My paintings depict a fairly literal representation of the natural landscape, ranging from larger panoramic scenic views, to tighter, close-up views of a single subject (such as a tree or a wave). However, my deeper focus is on trying to achieve a "sense of place" through the lighting and atmospheric conditions of that particular place, at that moment in time. That is, my true subject is the light and atmosphere; and my true painting objective is to convey the essence of a place through an understanding of the color of its light, shadow, and atmosphere. I have always been very interested in many aspects of visual perception, including the science of light. As an artist, I try to apply to my artwork a combination of what I know about the science of light along with my direct observation.
At this point in my painting career I am mostly interested in painting natural landscapes, usually without figures. Most of these places are close to home; I visit them frequently and know them quite intimately. I search for subjects with interesting color and patterns of light, always hoping to come across the one that will just stop me in my tracks: A moment of exquisitely beautiful relationships of light and color. I am especially attracted to the intense, warm glow of the late day sun, or the last light just after sundown, or the hazy atmosphere of a hot, muggy summer day. The lighting is the initial concept, then I construct the scene around it. It could be any subject really, but for me, the natural landscape also provides an added timeless quality. My paintings depict quiet, restful places that are intended to be inviting, offering a respite for the mind and an invitation to the spirit. My personal challenge with each painting is to try to recreate the essence of the exact thing that stopped me in my tracks in the first place.