Deborah Shaer: Contemporary Artist, Mixed Media

Deborah, 13 November 2016, London


Background, education and therapy practice

I was born in London and moved to Los Angeles where I worked in the music and film industry.  I then travelled for about ten years, living and working in various countries including India and Africa, involved in community work connected with meditation, creativity and mindfulness practice.

BA (Hons) in Humanities with Creative Writing, a Diploma in Arts Psychotherapeutic Counselling for Adolescents and a Level 3 Certificate in the understanding and responding to the practice of Female Genital Mutilation. I worked in several secondary schools starting as placements and then as an independent contractor. Currently I am about to complete my first year of my Masters in Child, Adolescent, and Family psychotherapy.  I use the arts, play and integrative drama therapy and counselling in my work with children in a primary school setting.  I also use dry and wet sand play work, a powerfully creative intervention. I have seen immense positive changes in my work with adolescents and I very much miss working with this client base; hopefully I will find the time to work with these young people again. I am concentrating on primary school age children and infant (home environment) and young child (nursery environment) to integrate my study of child development, followed by the interpersonal-social aspects. I am constantly fascinated.

My paintings

When it comes to my own artwork the process is somewhat like an unknowable journey. I don't do preliminary sketches or any planning, and I may not even intend to do anything beyond a doodling, which I find therapeutic. So, when I do begin to work on something it can start out as a scribble using pencil, pen or ink or splashing paint on a canvas.  I experiment with the space and juxtapositions of shape, colour and texture to find the expression and emotional temperature of my subject as it emerges in the moment.  I usually work in layers and whatever mistakes arise become a part of this process.  I tend not to use a ruler to make straight lines unless the intention of the image is to appear sharp.  I prefer things to be non-symmetrical, like people and nature.  I consider the effect of underlying texture or colour seeping through as a parallel process, such as a person’s past experiences building character and depth in the way that may shape some aspect of their personality.