Original New Orleans Art by Debbie Ainsworth

Debbie’s Process – Artistic Evolution or Finding My Own Style

The more I paint the more I evolve into my own, unique style. It’s been a wild ride, since I like so many painting genres I wanted to take a whack at all of them! NOLA Night was my first foray back into painting. I loved the bright colors and the curves! I loved the loose curves; they were so freeing. My next painting was my first Little Jewel … Sunday Smile. The Picasso influence is pretty clear in that one, but I came by it in a round about fashion. A classmate of mine in college used Picasso as her inspiration for her two “Little Jewels” assignment. I don’t even remember what my own paintings were, but I loved her little jewels so much that they both inspired my Sunday Smile as well as the title of the “Little Jewels” collection. Of course I was a poor art student, so I knew I couldn’t afford it, but I asked anyway. She said that she wanted to keep one and the other she sold to someone in her family, I believe. As a matter of fact that was the first time I ever asked about purchasing the art of someone I knew personally. The second time was a guy who made a shadowbox inspired by The Sandman comic WAY before either it or shadowboxes were cool. I offered to buy it, but he wouldn’t sell and I couldn’t blame him. It was amazing. I’m so sad that age has robbed me of the name of both of those artists.

My next painting was Green Eyes, which has a clear Modigliani influence. Initially she had just blank green eyes, but I got so many questions about just the eyes. I started to ask myself why I hadn’t filled in the eyes. Was it a stylistic choice, or was I afraid of the challenge of painting the eyes? So, as I so often do, I went back to Green Eyes and worked on the details. Blue Eyes came about, because I thought Green Eyes needed company. They reminded me of those abstract wall sculptures I saw in my grandparents home on Summer vacations. Always a couple or a pair. A set. I would love to see them eventually go to the same home, perhaps a young couple who resemble the pair. I think they’d make a great wedding gift.

It was my fourth Little Jewel that was my first step into my own style of painting. The inspiration came from a photograph of a pink bike leaning against a turquoise wall with yellow window frames and red doorframes. I adored the colors and signage, but more importantly I enjoyed imagining what it might look like on the inside of a place like that. It’s a kind of voyeuristic interior decorating fantasy that I think a lot of people share. It’s the I don’t care what you’re wearing, I just want to know if you have original built-ins, kind of voyeurism. I love the symmetry of architecture and I love decorating the interiors that I’ll never see. I imagine the people who live there both past and present. Or maybe imagine someone sitting in a cafe across the street, taking in this lovely sidewalk scene and wondering about what it might look like inside.  That painting was Victorian Lodgings, and it was also the first one I sold.

Since my primary motivation is the wonderfully vibrant and quirky, yet elegant architecture of New Orleans, I like to make my interiors a little on the vintage side as well. That’s obvious in both Days Gone By and Le’ Bistro.  But I also like to imagine what the person who lives in those houses might be like. For Patio Prose I wanted to focus on the well loved patio garden, but wondered what she does when she’s not gardening. So, I made her an avid reader with a cozy study.  One thing that I’m doing now, and I may always do, is adding a fleur de lis somewhere in every painting. Sometimes it’s prominent, sometimes not so much. Okay, so why do I do this? New Orleans is the greatest inspiration for my work, at least as it stands right now. Adding the fleur de lis is my way of paying homage to my muse.