Deborah James- Local Artist

Deborah James, a local artist, will be displaying some of her work in our offices from Autumn 2012.

Read the Artist’s biography below:


Deborah worked as a designer and calligrapher in Cambridge after leaving Swansea college of Art in 1978

Moved to East Northamptonshire in 1993

TEACHING: Adult Calligraphy Classes for Nene Valley Adult Education 1994-2002

BEGAN PAINTING: Full Time 2005

GROUPS: * ‘The Rutland 7’. We paint together regularly, a like-minded group of artists who came together in 2007 and continue to work and experiment painting loose impressionistic  light, dappled shade and vibrant colour.

‘The Oundle Art Group’: A mix of people, workshops and demonstrations, which gives access to a range of techniques and discussions.

‘The Welland Valley Art Society’: The Stamford Art Centre where the twice yearly exhibitions are opportunities to show my work alongside some very exciting artists from the region.

LIVE/WORK: A village called Warmington in East Northamptonshire, which a truly warm and lovely place to live. The surrounding peaceful countryside continues to give me inspiration to develop my work.

STUDIO: In my garden is a glorified hut or ‘garden/office studio’ as it was called in the showroom. It is a paint splattered place of creativity, and sometimes bad language (very bad), which gets too hot and for some reason is an attraction to wasps in summer. The smart decking outside is getting less smart, the 12’ x 10’ shed is compact and not at all tidy, but it is where it all happens. I am out there most days and often till late. It continues to be my own creative space and a very good place to be.

EXHIBITIONS: I open my untidy studio and my tidier gallery space to the public for ‘Open Studios’ each year both in June and September, details of these and other events and exhibitions are here on my website


The Impressionists (they broke the rules) and The Post Impressionists (they continued to do the same)

Graphic Art Student Seeing the Light: At 18 years old I saw Van Gogh’s ‘Irises’ in London. The memory has stayed with me. It was at the moment- I realised I wanted to paint.

All My Own Work: Maybe eventually I will settle, concentrating on one medium, but I currently work in THREE at various times.

WATERCOLOURS ~ Because the accidental splodges, drips, runs and droplets of water mean you never quite know what will happen.

OILS ~ Because the creamy, buttery texture and slightly subtler colours seem to dictate subjects for me which are peaceful.

ACRYLICS ~ Because of their startling vibrant colours and fast drying time; acrylics enable me to layer thin washes which build into areas of opaque density.

RULES: I seem to let each painting rule me, I feel one step behind step behind most of the time, I like to see where it takes me.

OUT OF CONTROL: I am not sure if that it is a good thing, but whenever I try to control the painting , it seems to feel dead and lifeless and lack a certain joyfulness. I must admit to finding each painting a bit of a surprise, which is how I like to work. I think if I felt in total control of a painting it would lose some of its appeal. It would feel formulaic and monotonous. I wonder if this is because I spent many years as a calligrapher and designer, using gouache and small brushes, painting with millimetre margins, that I have rebelled! A splodge, a run or a smudge of colour now IS allowed to stay, and often enhances the final piece. You cannot plan for that.

MAKING A MARK: It is often with a brush, sometimes a knife, paint smeared on with a rag, in fact just about any utensil will do. Scraping and scratching out is sometimes need to rediscover what I did well and managed to cover up- I have ruined many kitchen utensils this way! Very rarely do I use a small brush. My standard brush is a size 20 or the equivalent; it gives immediacy and no option to fiddle.

FUSSY: The dashes, dabs and squiggles of the impressionist painters are my reference point for loosening up if I start to get prissy.

END RESULT: When starting on a commission, I am pretty sure, after discussion with the client, how the finished work will look; however when starting on a new subject, I am not sure how it will end up. I do love the uncertainty and the surprise at the end. I tend to work quickly, and put it aside to make finishing touches to it maybe the following day. I have heard that I should ‘see’ the finished picture and know what it will look like before I start……….. When that happens I will let you know.

FINISHED: I hope to let the view do some of the work by interpreting what they see. Finishing just before the end is the final challenge.

*I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Rutland based artist Alan Oliver, tutor and friend who taught me first how to paint and then to develop my own style.

‘There are no rules’. Thank you Alan.

For more about Deborah, click here to visit her website.


If you would like to arrange of viewing of Deborah’s work at The Rural Business Community, please call Charlotte on 01572 338001 or email