DEBBIE TRACEY

My art is inspired by many of life experiences and those I am still to have. I am stimulated by the variety of colors and see now that bold color brings me joy. I love the fluid movement of my work which becomes a “dance” with the canvas. I am always excited to see the end product of my painting. Many paintings become an association with island life.

When I begin a painting, I have no preconceived idea of what image will appear on my canvas as this develops through the process of flow. I work with my canvas setting flat on a table so I can view it from all angles. I pour the paint with an added medium and move the canvas to a point where I then use a pallet knife or brush to complete that part of the painting. The painting evolves with new colors or layers added to the canvas. Each painting is open to the viewer’s introspection. The end result always creates an emotion of surprise and delight.

People that see my art are moved by the fluid nature of my piece and bright colors. Many say it brightens their lives and home and often takes them back to the islands where they can feel the warmth, breezes, and smells of the islands.

Many of us look back on the places where we grew up with fondness and nostalgia, but acrylic and mixed media painter Debbie Tracey takes this a step further, drawing on her childhood memories as a source of inspiration for her bright, colorful abstracts. Tracey was born in San Francisco but moved to Hawaii when she was eight years old. She spent most of her youth on the south shore of Kauai, enjoying the vibrant beauty of the island and playing on the beach with her friends. She was a member
of a local yacht club and had the opportunity to participate in athletics from playing tennis to sailing to swimming and bodysurfing. Naturally, being exposed to all of the unique and lively terrains of Kauai inspired Tracey, who always had a creative inclination, to express the beauty around her through art. As she was growing up, she took a variety of classes in different visual art forms, including pottery, stained glass, and watercolor.

In college, Tracey continued taking art classes and eventually earned a degree in fine arts from Pacific University in Oregon. Later, she returned to school and completed a MA in education. She was always looking to expand her artistic skill through college classes and workshops, but it wasn’t until her retirement that she finally had the time to really delve into doing what she loved: painting.


Even though her studio is on the Puget Sound in Olympia, Washington, Tracey finds inspiration in her island upbringing. The vibrancy of island life works its way into each of her abstracts. “My joy comes from bold color!” Tracey explains. “I also love the fluid movement of my work, which becomes a ‘dance’ with my creative soul.” This fluidity comes from her loose painting process, which involves pouring paint onto the canvas, moving and sculpting it with a pallet knife, and adding layers. Her combined use of color and texture creates a unique flow that evokes the natural beauty of Kauai. While she doesn’t always start with a particular subject in mind, many of Tracey’s paintings morph into abstract depictions of nature. “Each painting is an experiment with color and movement, which
creates a unique and dynamic piece,” she says. “I usually start with choosing colors and go from there, mixing and moving them around the canvas. I work with my canvas laying flat on a table so I can view it from many angles. The painting evolves with new colors or layers added to the canvas.”

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