On Being an Artist – Deborah Keiller (part one)

by Geoff Hall on March 28, 2012

Part OneThere is much talk of ‘doing stuff’ as an artist, about projects, about locking yourself away in your studio till the deadline. I’d like you to focus on this thing called ‘being’ an artist. Tell us how you see the world, how you experience it and how you make sense of your own story within the bigger story. Do you struggle with this? (This is about who you are, your identity.)

'Untitled' by Deborah Keiller



I was brought up believing my identity & worth were inextricably linked to what I did rather than who I was. I have been on a long journey dismantling that lie and establishing a more Scriptural paradigm for me to live within! Consequently I am a healthier, more balanced person now I don’t have to perform or prove myself to anyone!

I am an artist and I wear that badge with pride, however my identity ultimately has to come from knowing that first and foremost I am a child of God. If I start from the premise that I am nothing & can do nothing without Him then I find myself liberated from the pressure of having to please people or achieve certain things!

‘An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one’ Charles Horton Cooley.

I love this quote because it sums up the paradigm I am learning to live in…that God sees me as a success…before I do anything!

It’s interesting how we attempt to fill ourselves up (I’m talking about our sense of self worth & identity here) with a CV full of what we have done, who we have sold work to, where we have exhibited, what qualifications we have; but still can remain empty. Whereas Jesus emptied himself yet paradoxically was full. I am learning to follow His example & not base my worth on what I have done or can do but simply on who I am! That allows me to be filled by Him!

Within all that I am so grateful that I am an artist; the words of Van Gogh resonate with me ‘The only time I feel alive is when I’m painting’. For me it’s not just painting, there are a few other things I would put in that box! However I do feel a very real sense of being connected to something much bigger & more timeless than just myself when I’m doing my art and I never grow tired of the ecstatic feeling of having created something that didn’t exist & now does! For me that’s what being made in the Creator’s image is all about!

Deborah Keiller – www.deborahkeiller.co.uk



What I’ve learned to love from Deborah’s work is that in her abstract pieces, as seen above, there is this passion for colour – an expressiveness of the Wild Goose Chaser; free, passionate, joyous, gritty!

Later in the week we’ll see some of her life drawing which exude sensuality and spirituality in one fair charcoal mark ! There is a joy in bodily form, usually ignored or covered up like the Renaissance fig-leaf painters, hiding our pudenda, a Latin word  for ‘shameful parts’!! Now that’s got your attention, hasn’t it.










One comment

So true, Deborah. Before anyone else sees our work God has the first sneak preview and smiles!

by Clive Garrett on March 29, 2012 at 11:55 am. Reply #

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