We had the good fortune of connecting with Debbi Green and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Debbi, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Pursing a dream (or taking a risk) means to move in that direction. I have never had any expectations of being famous or grand successes but I trusted my instincts that my ideas were good and could work. It was a matter of making a decision and going forward. I could see the end result and I had the willingness to make adjustments and learn, along the way. I have been self-employed most of my life. It seemed to be the simplest way to enjoy ‘working for a living’. I was told at a young age, ‘if you set your mind to it, you can do it’. I believed I would be an artist. That road was not so straight but always with an artistic flair in mind, I got there. I made the decision to open my first business when I was 21 years old. I knew what women wanted and I could help them achieve it. When I became a full time artist, at 50, I wanted help people feel better, encourage a sense of whimsy and what is possible.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The last sentence of my bio reads, “Excellence, beauty and humor is what she aspires to in her paintings and in her life.” When I finish a painting and stand back, and I have to make sure that I smile at it. After all, it is a reflection of me. From a new blade of grass, on my front lawn to the sky above, I see the beauty of this world and it is a colorful one. I have always had favorite artists, that I followed from gallery to gallery. Most were ‘Signature Artists’ from California Art Club and Los Angeles Art Academy. I took their workshops, practiced, learned the basics in oil painting, practiced some more. Today, I still take workshops (even over Zoom), so that I can keep learning. Right in the beginning, I came upon a Co-op Gallery, owned an operated by the artists. That was Topanga Canyon Gallery (by the way, that is where I met Sophie Pegrum). Some of the greatest gifts I learned, were there. Curating a show, creating events, heading committees, sales and developing a fabulous community of fellow artists. These are very important tools to have and then I got to pass them on, to the new in-coming artists. That is my gift back to them. I keep painting everyday and I keep learning everyday. My paintings have evolved, changed, evolved again as I change and adapt with my world. I do challenge myself with every painting, it is a big white canvas. But it is the joy of the process is why I do it everyday. If it sells, through social media or in a gallery, that is just one of the perks, of being an painter.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
(Lets say this is post-Covid.) I would start with where I live , which is on the lake in Westlake Village. I boat ride to the Landing and have lunch at any one of the 5 restaurants there, while sitting in our boat. Into the car and a quick drive through Hidden Valley and it is. 40 acre ranches with horses and cows. It’s where I go to photograph them, for my paintings. A daring ride through Decker Canyon and onto Pacific Coast Hwy. Nothing specific here, but to jump in the ocean, bare feet in the sand and game of frisbee or volley ball, in the sun. It’s California, we’re not in a hurry and it’s always sunny, so sit back, put the top down on the car and stop when something looks interesting. The Old
Place in Malibu…. Planetarium on a Wednesday night. Downtown art scene, Thursday nights, between 4th Street and 10th. Then to Standard Hotel, on the roof and listen to jazz or watch the projected movies against the other buildings. (I’m waiting to find that friend that will go with me to the outside slide of 8th St. building, on the 10th floor, down to the 9th floor.) Ojai for hiking, vegan foods and hidden artists studios. Carpenteria, Summerland and Monteceito for the beautiful coast, hotels, spiritual hide aways, mom-and-pop owned stores, and of course, the galleries. I’m not a foodie but we would have to do the Honor Bar, in Monteceito, and share the chicken sandwich. A day trip to Catalina and take a golf cart to the other side of the island, to find the wild buffalo. Drive Mullholland Drive from the south towards the north, just before sunset. And then dinner at The Old Place, to enjoy macaroni and cheese in your own skillet. That’s a good start!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am blessed to have a great group of cheerleaders. My parents, who have passed over 35 years ago, but certainly gave me a sound foundation. Then there is the love from a close knit group of friends, my man and his family, and my artist community. How lucky am I. I certainly want to mention Kelly Morgan. She is a writer, teacher and all round good person. Kelly has helped thousands of people with her course in ‘The Artist Way’ and “How To’ … write your own story, your book and so much more. And she’s a fabulous tango dancer!