bright, colourful, modern and contemporary are just a few words to describe the beautiful artworks created by local talents deb and reggie d.
What is your style of artworks?
R: We basically do very abstract paintings with lots of colour.
D: It is modern, contemporary, abstract art based on colour.
How did you get into creating such bright and colourful abstract art?
R: I have been wanting to do art for a long long time, and I had always been very good at art and music in school. So the first thing I ever bought when I moved to Australia in the mid ’70s was an easel. I never used it for anything, although I always admired art in different ways and forms. Then I met Deb about three years ago, and all of a sudden her experiments and experience with art and photography brought us together, and we started creating things.
I had to wait all of those years to be able to actually show my artistic side. Combined with Deb’s artistic strength, we work together, and most of the time Deb does the right hand side of the painting, and I do the left. I’m not sure why; it just tends to work out that way.
D: It’s definitely teamwork. Reg makes the frames and primes them, then we paint them together. The last process, the gloss, is a pretty tricky process that has to be done together. You couldn’t really do them the size we do on your own; you wouldn’t be able to work quickly enough.
The reason we do such bright and colourful pieces is because it is a reflection of where we are in our lives: happy and carefree – just a really good place in our lives. So I guess our pieces show the happiness bursting out of us.
What gives you inspiration for many of your pieces?
R: What we see around us, because we live in such a beautiful place; it’s always very inspirational.
D: The happiness that we share in our lives and the beautiful surroundings that we live in. Often we grab a glass of wine or beer, we set up and turn the music up really loud and just bop along, creating and painting. It is a really fun thing; it doesn’t feel like work at all.
What materials and types of paints do you use?
R: We use canvas for our smaller works, but for our larger works we make our own Tasmanian Oak frames – for the simple reason they will last longer, they are stronger, and there is less chance of damaging the finish on the piece.
D: We use acrylic paints and a gloss that we apply over the top to create a hard, glossy finish.
How did you come to combine your talent for creating artworks?
R: We met, and that was really a good enough reason. Because we both have time to do the things we like and to do the things we don’t really have to retire from.
D: When we first met, I was already painting and had a style and a way of doing things. Since we have been together, we have developed our own new style and way, which is totally separate from what I used to do. So it’s really nice that we have created something different together, rather than Reg just taking on what I used to do.
How long does it usually take to finish a piece?
D: It depends on the size, but it has to happen in stages. Reg builds the frame, then we prime and prepare them to paint; it only takes a couple of hours to paint, but takes days to dry.
Then we have to wait another week or more before we can apply the final gloss coat, which takes another week or so to dry. So it’s quite a long process.
R: If you sometimes get only 3 weeks to finish a big order, everything tends to take over our home: it’s lucky we have tiles on the floor!
What keeps you passionate about art in general?
R: The fact that we enjoy doing it, and the great reaction of people when they see our work. We started this only as a hobby, creating things for ourselves to put on our walls at home, or making a birthday or Christmas present for friends and family. There is no better encouragement than praise and reward by being able to sell our pieces.
I think the reason we sell more than we can keep up with is because I don’t think we are too expensive as far as art goes. We love what we do and are not really doing it to become millionaires; we are doing it because we love it.
D: It always feels good to see people’s positive reactions to our art.
What are some of the favourite pieces you have created, and why?
D: Some of my favourites are the ones hanging in the new Fig Restaurant. We have just completed some works using really bright, in your face pinks and purples, and we have also started using metallic paints. Probably the brightest ones are some of my favourites.
R: There have been some paintings we have done where we thought we would never part with them. We use our home as our gallery and have such positive reactions from people who have seen our works there, that we ended up selling our favourite ones.
D: We do sell off our walls. People often see us at the Artist Markets and tell us they have seen our work and would like to see more. They view them at our home and we sell them straight from our walls.
Are you involved in any other creative ventures?
R: I think music is a creative venture and also a form of art which I have been involved in for many years, and Deb does a few other things like mosaic artworks.
D: I also do Fashion Design and Technology at TAFE and make a lot of my own clothes now, and again, people are asking where I got the piece and can I make them one. So what started as a hobby could turn into a whole new venture.
R: The other thing which is really taking off at the moment is our Latin American Salsa Dance Parties. We are bringing that type of music that is exploding all over the world to the small town of Port Macquarie. We hold the Dance Parties at TG’s, and they are proving very popular; we all have a lot of fun.
Where are your artworks displayed in Port Macquarie?
D: The Fig is probably the most public place, also the Executive Penthouse at Rydges. All the work up there is ours, which is really exciting. We see pictures of the parties held up there in the newspapers and you can see a piece of our art in the background; it’s really great.
R: There are obviously a lot of homes around Port and Sydney that have our artworks, also up and down the coast.
D: We also have quite a few people that collect our work now. When they come through from Sydney, they call to ask us what we have that is new. We have one young man that comes to us and collects our art.
Every time we paint something new, he wants to see it, because he thinks we are going to be famous. We just hope it’s before we’re dead! It’s very flattering to have people come back because they love your work.
How long have you been attending the Artist Markets, and why do you enjoy it?
D: We have probably been involved for a year or so with our stall. It is a great way to showcase our work.
R: It’s like a little outlet for us to say to people, “Look, this is what we do”. A lot of people take our card and come back asking if we can make a piece bigger or smaller, or customise it just to suit their tastes.
D: We have quite a few customers that love a certain piece but are unsure if it will fit in the space they want it for or if the colours are just right for their decor, so we offer a special service where we go to their homes with a half a dozen chosen artworks, and we see what fits and what looks good.
I think people really appreciate that personalised service – we have become friends with many and built a certain rapport with those people.
Thank you Reggie and Deb.
See all of Deb and Reggie D’s beautiful artworks at their new website