We had the good fortune of connecting with Debra Hintz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Debra, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
Being a landscape painter who loves trees, one of my favorite quotes is by poet Rainer Maria Rilke because it truly captures what my art is about. The quote is this: “Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come.” This quote speaks to me as both an artist and an anxiety sufferer. Painting is where I seek healing from my struggles and Rilke’s words remind me to be patient not only in my creative process and development as an artist but also as I try to manage my anxiety. Concepts of resilience and hope amongst struggle are underlying themes in my work. At its core, my art is about finding refuge and strength through my storms and celebrating the light when it comes.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My story began in Ann Arbor, Michigan where I was born and raised and discovered my affinity for art in early childhood. I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Western Michigan University and moved to Los Angeles two years later to pursue a career in graphic design. While building my design career, I continued my fine art education for another five years at Mission: Renaissance where I gained a strong traditional foundation in drawing and painting. During this time, I also discovered my love for painting landscapes. After studying the Renaissance methods of underpainting and glazing along with the color sensibilities and impasto techniques of the Impressionists, my own voice has innately evolved as I combine aspects of both disciplines into my process. I work in oils using strictly palette knives and build up many layers of paint on the canvas. I love texture and the luminosity created from overlaying color upon color. It’s important to me that I stay truthful as an artist. I consider myself an “Internal Impressionist” because I’m interested in how I can interpret and translate the external world around me to authentically express the internal state I’m in, so I can create places on the canvas that help heal my anxiety and bring me respite. People have told me they can really feel my landscapes. To know that I’ve connected to the viewer on that deep of a level or perhaps have brought a bit of refuge, hope and positivity to someone when they look at my art is the best reward. My strongest influences are Van Gogh, Courbet, Inness, Monet, and Rothko. I am a member of several art groups: California Art League, California Art Club, Oil Painters of America, and Women Painters West which provide me with exhibit opportunities and camaraderie with other artists. Plus I still have a strong graphic design career going so along with my fine art I have a very full and busy creative life. I feel blessed and grateful for it every day.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I have a strong love for both art and music, so a lot of activities would revolve around that. I would take them to the Norton Simon Museum, Getty Center, LACMA, Grammy Museum, The Huntington and the galleries at Bergamot Station. Hopefully we could catch a couple concerts perhaps at the Troubadour, The Orpheum Theatre or the El Rey. If they visit in the summer, The Greek Theater and The Hollywood Bowl would be an absolute must. Santa Monica through Malibu would be on the itinerary for a fun beach day. I would take them to some touristy places like Disneyland, Universal Studios, Griffith Observatory, Rodeo Drive, the Sunset Strip and Hollywood to name a few. For dining, Casa Vega or Ernie’s for Mexican food and Ye Olde King’s Head in Santa Monica for fish & chips and/or afternoon tea. I would splurge and take them to Dan Tana’s for Italian food. I love the old Hollywood vibe there. The Reel Inn and The Sunset Restaurant in Malibu are other top choices. We would do some day tripping to Ventura, Santa Barbara, Solvang or Ojai. I have a lot of energy so my friend would probably leave exhausted but hopefully happy they got to see and do a lot!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First I want to thank God for this creative, artistic life that I get to live. I never take it for granted. I’m thankful to my family for always supporting and encouraging my artistic endeavors since childhood. Likewise, I feel blessed for the encouragement from my friends and for all the other artists in my life who inspire me every day to be a better painter. Specifically I want to mention my mentor and friend Joe Severino who I studied with at Mission: Renaissance because he was instrumental in my early artistic development. He’s a fantastic artist and a brilliant teacher who has the unique ability to convey the technical information needed, as well as inspire artists to find their own voices. I’m the painter I am today truly because of him. My next shoutout is to my friend John Paul Thornton, an extraordinary artist, educator, speaker and author who has been incredibly generous in providing opportunities for me that have helped me grow as an artist beyond my easel. He encouraged me to do my first painting demo many years ago and more recently invited me to be his guest artist for his lectures on art and healing for the Calabasas Senior Center and the Skirball Cultural Center. He’s great at pushing me out of my comfort zone and then making me feel comfortable in it. Lastly I want to acknowledge my wonderful collectors who have invited my art into their homes. I am humbly honored and forever grateful for their patronage.