A few photo fragments of my life…

Photo top left: Up close detail, the ground/ under layers of a triptych painting in process that’s all about freedom of creative expression. I had so much fun with this last night I left my dinner unfinished to go play – rather be painting. Cannot wait to share with you the final piece. You’ll see little pieces of this background in it!

Photo top right: Went on a solo Sunday walk last weekend, the tide was out fully, Jericho beach, came across a hand-drawn labyrinth in the sand!

Photo bottom right: My little girl Ruthie with creatively colourful pastel covered hands.

The Secret to Happiness…


As I was making this quote/art image my 12-year-old daughter read the quote over my shoulder and then asked me; “Well then, what’s the secret to courage?” I said; “The secret to courage is doing the thing(s) that scare you, despite the fear/voices in your head telling you that you can’t.” And she said; “Well, what if that’s really hard?” And I said; “Well, that is why we practice again and again and again. And that practice makes being courageous easier.”

Incidentally, the background art for this quote is a little 5″ x 7″ Deb Chaney original that is available for purchase@debchaney.com.  And if you are looking for a great way to safely practice being courageous, may I suggest an abstract painting workshop?  I’ve got 4 coming up this year. Workshop Schedule is at http://www.IlluminateTheArtistWithin.com

Here we go! Workshops for 2016!


I’ve had so many inquiries over the past month for ‘when is the next workshop?’ I really appreciate this enthusiasm, thank you! I also had a very fervent request for an advanced workshop – students really want to get into those thick layers with all the assorted mixed medias there are available – so that’s going to be coming up in September 2016. Here’s the workshop low down:

Layers and Process Foundation Workshop – 2 days
June 2016. Saturday & Sunday June 18 & 19th, 10 am – 4pm, 2016 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Registration $375. Early Bird Registration Discount $325 Available Until Friday June 3rd. register@debchaney.com (604) 736-511 Please email for materials list.

Layers and Process II – Advanced Workshop – 3 days
September 2016. Friday, Saturday, & Sunday September 16, 17 & 18th, 10 am – 4pm each day, 2016 in Vancouver, BC, Canada Registration $475. Early Bird Registration  $425 Discount Available Until Friday July 1st. register@debchaney.com  (604) 736-511 Please email for materials list. Pre-requisite: Layers and Process Foundation Workshop.

Layers and Process Workshop Acrylics with Mixed Media – 3 days
August 2016. Wednesday,Thursday & Friday, August 24, 25 & 26th 9 am – 4 pm each day.  2016. Pacific Northwest Art Institute, Coupeville, WA on Whidbey Island, USA. Registration $395. Register  (866) 678-3396. karen@pacificnorthwestartschool.org. Scholarships available please inquire with the school.

Layers and Process Foundation Workshop – 2 days
November 2016. Saturday & Sunday November 26 & 27th, 10 am – 4pm, 2016 in Vancouver, BC. Canada. Registration $375. Early Bird Registration $325 Discount Available Until Thursday November 10th. register@debchaney.com  (604) 736-511 Please email for materials list.

Workshop Descriptions

Layers & Process: A 2-Day Foundation Workshop Journey in Abstract Painting in Acrylics

A 2-day hands-on abstract painting workshop with acrylics with a focus on play, experimentation, and creative process.

– Learn the basics of abstract painting: The 3 C’s and The 3 WOW’s.
– Dive into the process by watching demonstrations and then working on multiple paintings of your own.
– Create in layers by applying and removing paint using lifting, staining wash & glazing techniques.
– Learn tinting & shading by mechanical mixing with heavy body paints.
– Learn how to create depth, intrigue, and add energy into your paintings.
– Learn how to critique and complete your own  painting.
This workshop will allow for lots of painting time, with a focus on process and  the opportunity to explore your own creative freedom

Includes digital workbook & handouts.

Layers and Process II: An Advanced Workshop in Abstract Painting with Acrylics & Mixed Media

A 3-day hands-on advanced abstract painting workshop with acrylics & mixed media with a focus on experimentation with various liquid and gel acrylic mediums as well as the opportunity to work on your own large abstract painting from start to finish.

– Review the basics of abstract painting: The 3 C’s and The 3 WOW’s.
– Dive into the process  of building thick and multi-layered works by watching demonstrations and then working a single large piece and on multiple paintings of your own.
– Thinking in three dimensions as we build up our surfaces and textures using gel medium, modelling paste, heavy gesso, sand gel, gold mica flakes, and more.
– Create intriguing effects by removing paint using hand/electric sanding, scraping, & etching techniques.
– Integrating mixed media into your dry acrylic painting such as; collage elements, pencils, conte, pastels, spray paint, found objects, gold leaf, mirror leaf, and more.
– Building tinted translucent watery-looking multi layers of liquid acrylics with water based polymer mediums.
– Creating clear glossy and glass-like finishes using acrylic water based polymer mediums.
– Finishing  & overall integration techniques.
– Receive support in final critique and completion of your  painting.
This workshop will allow for lots of painting time, with a focus on the creative process and participants receiving the support the start, process, and complete your own large abstract painting.

Includes digital workbook & handouts.

Pre-requisite: Deb Chaney’s Layers and Process: A Foundation Workshop in Abstract Painting with Acrylics

What students have said about taking these workshop:

” There was a wealth of information given as well as lot of support during the creative process.” – Martine Fox, North Vancouver, S.E.A Yoga Instructor

” [Taking this workshop] was really awakening of my  senses
 and helped me to move forward with new ideas.”  – Manola Borrayo, Vancouver, Artist

“After I took Deb Chaney’s workshop my painting foundation improved like never before in any other class I had taken in all my years. If your thinking you want to hunker down for a weekend and take a great lesson in art. This is the class to take. ” – Jude Kuztner, Founder Beaumont Studios, Vancouver BC
“ Deb’s class was great, very inspiring. I loved the inspirational talks, the sharing and absolutely everything!! The theme on developing a body of work helped me to focus and get my act together and helped me to create many new ‘masterpieces’.” – Patria Grey, Interior Designer, Vancouver http://www.patriciagrayinc.com/

“What I would tell other people about this workshop is an opportunity to “play” in a safe supportive environment. Deb exhibited fantastic energy while teaching and a well thought out pace. There was time to reflect and learn, as well as work. Lots of opportunities to experiment. Deb is such a generous spirit.  Her desire to share her knowledge is simply a joy to be around.” Jillian Moore, Interior Decorator, West Van, BC

“[This workshop was] fun, instructive and [allowed for] lots of painting time. [I really appreciated] how supportive the environment was. “Way cool!”.  Deb is incredibly open and so generous is sharing her considerable knowledge.” – Keltie Harris, Realtor, Vancouver, BC



The Power of Creating – Lindsay Clark Blog Interview Deb Chaney


I am so touched and honored to be featured in Lindsay Clark’s Coaching Blog on empowering and inspiring women. Lindsay is one of the most openly vulnerable and inspiring healers and coaches I know. If you are familiar with Brenee Brown’s work on vulnerability, Lindsay would be considered be the poster child. She lives by example of sharing the real and the rawness of her life while moving forward with a sense of hope, with courage, and inspiring us all to be positive despite life challenges. Lindsay, thank you for interviewing me. I am inspired to go, move, and create! Thank you.

Meet Deb Chaney

Deb Chaney is in a word: Fabulous. She is a contemporary abstract artist with an incredible collection of work, whom I still credit for helping me to reconnect with my inner painter and meet some life-long friends at her workshop Layers & Process: A Journey In Mixed Media Abstract Painting after I finished grad school. Thank goodness that Deb was living and teaching for her passion because it cracked upon my creative potential and helped it to grow over the last 6 years. Thank you Deb for being a total bad ass.

Q: Deb, thanks for writing an interview for us! First up, how did you discover your love of painting and artistic creation? Was it always your life work?

Hi Lindsay, my pleasure to be here with you online. Thank you for interviewing me.  To answer your questions…. I was very creative and artistic as a child, and in both 6th and 7th grade won awards at elementary school for outstanding achievement in fine arts.  In high school I would collect leaves and dry them in my text books, I was always making something. I was swayed away from this natural calling at university where I pursued science and obtained a B.Sc. in Earth and Ocean Sciences. At that time I held the belief that I needed to follow a ‘practical path’ and that a life in arts would not be a ‘real’ career. After working in Environmental Geology, drilling, and hydrogeology during and after my degree I felt more and more unhappy doing this work. I would make art and paint in my free time. The turning point was during a six month trip as crew on various sailboats, sailing from Vancouver, Canada to Mexico. As I travelled and sailed I read a book by SARK ‘Wild Succulent Women’ that really shifted what I thought was possible. I saw a woman hand-writing her books and speaking from her heart about her life and journey in creativity. I remember thinking: If she could do it, so could I.  When I ended my trip I started and painting and writing and have not stopped since then.

Q: What do you love most about your craft? What inspires you most?

What I love most is being in creative process and as I grow and mature in life I realize that I can attain this feeling and state in more than one way, which is very satisfying.  For example, If I meet someone new and they ask what I do, I let them know that “ I inspire people, and I do this  in several different ways”. I write and give inspirational talks about creative process, being an artist, and living an empowered life. I have written several books and I am currrently writing a new book. And I am, as per the last fifteen years now, working on layered mixed media art pieces in my studio. What inspires me the most is being in creative process – whether I am writing a speech or giving it, writing a book, or making art all, these things satisfy me and make me feel on purpose, excited, and empowered.

Q: We both loved Lady Gaga’s interview where she talked about unconsciously telling lies and saying no to that shit! What message would you have for our readers today about being authentic?

What I am learning currently in my life is that being authentic is really about honouring yourself and what is true for you, and what serves you most to thrive, feel good, and be healthy. It can be challenging because there are so  many pre-disposed beliefs, rituals, and unconscious behaviours running our culture that have been in place for a very long time, that we often do not stop and reflect; “Is doing this thing that everyone else is doing  in my very best interest and for the highest good for others?”.

In Lady Gaga’s talk about herself and the music industry, she stated that she has no interest in taking selfie’s because feels strongly her time/image/talent could be used to serve in greater ways. When we continue to violate what is true for us – in this case for her its doing selfie’s – we drain our energy and create dis-ease within ourselves. In my own case as a fine artist producer of paintings, something I  and many artist do, and I am asked for frequently, is to donate for my art for charity. Many artists do this and I have donated more pieces than I can count in the past. But these days I’ve been asking myself, does this really mean that its in my best interest and highest good to continually give away original hand created artworks for no compensation? This past year I have been questioning this, just as Lady Gaga is questioning things she has been doing.

I believe, we would all be so much happier and healthier if we could simply take a moment, stop and think: What is really true for me in this situation? Does this thing I am considering doing make me truly feel alive? Am I feeling honoured, appreciated, respected? Am I being motivated by ‘what will they think?’ aka by fear, or am I inspired, motivated, and excited to do this thing I am choosing?

My message for readers about being authentic is to step back and get clear on what is motivating you to do the things you are doing. If you are being motivated by fear; stop, and re-think this thing you are about to do. If you are being motivated by joy, peace, love, compassion, excitement, go forth and make the world a better place by contributing these positive feelings and your passion to us all!

Q: As a last word of encouragement for our readers, if you could go back in time and give yourself some loving advice during a difficult moment of uncertainty, what would you say to yourself?

When I read this question, I imagine myself at 80 years old. My art is selling around the world for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Celebrities, dignitaries, and wealthy collectors own and appreciate my artwork.   I have a beautiful home near a forest with my loving husband. My daughter is grown and healthy with beautiful grand children who visit regularly. Love, laughter, friendships, music,  art and the feelings of peace and safety  fill my home. I am scheduled to give a talk next week to a group of ten thousand people about living your dream, being in creative process, and how to stay inspired at 80. And, as I write this, I am in my beautiful art studio, cat on my lap purring away, and gazing at a bookshelf lined with books I have written and created. I transport myself now back in time to my 26 year old self on that sail boat, sailing down the coast, sky full of stars, a heart full of dreams. I sit next to her. Deb, don’t be alarmed. Look at me closely. It’s me! I am you! I am you at 80 years old, and I want to share some loving advice for you. My intention is to give you hope, to empower you, to inspire you to trust. You are going to go through some extremely challenging circumstances in the next 10 years. You are going to get through it. When you are 40 the tides will turn and life will be getting better and better. All your dreams and aspirations will come true. Deep breathe, trust, when you look at the stars you will remember our talk, relax, trust and know its all working out that the hard and challenging times will serve you into the future. You will help and inspire many on their journeys. You will have a great and beautiful life. You are here for a magnificent  purpose. I love you, I believe in you, and I am here to let you know everything works out!

*Background music: “Look at the Stars… Look how they Shine for you…” Cold Play, Yellow.

More Tidbits about Deb

My life’s work is to inspire people. I do this in a variety of ways ; I give talks to groups, I write books, and I facilitate workshops.  I also passionately create contemporary abstract paintings which add beauty and healing energy to people’s work and living spaces. What I deeply believe in, is that we are all artists, and that  each of us are in the process of creating our own masterpiece – our life. With the work I do, I inspire and empower people on that creative journey.

Her artworks can be seen at www.debchaney.com  her teaching/speaking endeavours at www.IlluminateTheArtistWithin.com

Deb Chaney – social media

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/debchaney/

WordPress blog:  https://debchaneyartist.wordpress.com/debchaneyartist.wordpress.com/

Tumblr blog:  debchaney.tumblr.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/debchaneyartist

Linked In:  http://ca.linkedin.com/in/debchaney

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/deborahchaney

Saatchi online: http://www.saatchiart.com/debchaney

google +  : https://plus.google.com/115303412261140975770/posts

instagram: instagram.com/debchaneyartist

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DebChaneyArtist


Inside the Studio this week

Today I’m sharing some photos of me working on a painting I’ve been in process with lately. This is my way of inviting you into my studio and seeing behind that scenes in my creative painting process. Yup, I’m being vulnerable.

I’m still working on  this painting and had the opportunity to bring it into the most recent Layers & Process workshop I taught in April where I shared with the group what this painting is about. It’s about finding the balance between connecting with people we love and setting boundaries with them. Something I am learning myself.

I had recently watched a really inspirational video of Brenee Brown being interviewed and sharing that some of the most empathetic, kind, and compassionate people in the world are REALLY great at setting boundaries.This really inspired me. I am continuing to explore this concept through my art making.

This painting is part of my Fragments of Life Series in which each painting in this series is a visual, textural, three-dimensional exploration of something going on in my life personal to me that I often use paint and collage to process.

All the photos posted here are by Ruthie Firefly, my beautiful 12-year-old girl. She did a great job and I am grateful to her for this.