2021 Emerging Artist: Debbie Mueller
On a rainy day visiting her parents in Sarasota, Florida, Debbie Mueller picked up a paintbrush and created her first painting—a dock at sunset. Flash forward five years, and Mueller is a passionate, skilled oil painter who continues to find inspiration painting plein air throughout New England. “That day in Florida, my mom suggested I paint. I immediately recognized the way it made me feel, which was peaceful, focused, and meditative. I had something at the end that didn’t exist before. We got home from the trip and I thought, I would like to do this more,” she reflects.
Mueller has spent her career as an OB/GYN, and now practices her art alongside her medical profession. Though it may seem quite the dichotomy, Mueller says the two pursuits inspire similar emotions. “The act of painting and creating often times will put me in this very focused place where time just goes by. It’s actually similar to doing surgery, because it’s that same type of intense focus when you don’t know if it’s been twenty minutes or two hours. You’re in this other head space,” she describes.
Soon in her painting journey, Mueller enrolled in community art classes and workshops. With her gracious and bright spirit, she has made connections with talented artists, like Timothy Horn, who have continued to inspire her artistic pursuit.
Currently a New Hampshire resident, Mueller has deep Cape roots and a true love for the region; her parents lived in Eastham for over twenty years, and she has vacationed on the Cape since she was a child. This landscape is some of her inspiration and subject matter for her paintings. Thanks to her true affinity for historic coastal scenes on Monhegan Island and across Cape Cod, inspiration is continually unfolding.
As she has expanded her portfolio, many viewers have noticed a similarity to Edward Hopper. For this reason, Mueller has begun developing a body of work fully inspired by Hopper, often painting the same location as one of his paintings. Still in the midst of this journey, Mueller expects it will come to be twenty or thirty paintings in total. “Even though I don’t have the lonely mood that Hopper did, I thought, I am going to embrace this comparison. I took Hopper driving tours around Truro and Wellfleet with Beth Chapman to get inspiration. The body of work will include Cape Cod locations, as well as Monhegan Island, Portland, Maine, and the Cape Ann area,” Mueller says.
Debbie Mueller is represented by the Kennedy Gallery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the Mast Cove Gallery in Kennebunkport, Maine, and most recently, the esteemed Cortile Gallery in Provincetown. In 2018, she won first place in the Student Category of Artist’s Magazine’s annual art competition for her signature painting of the lighthouse keeper’s house on Monhegan.
As an enthusiastic light and shadow oil painter, the sunlight in her paintings is an emblem of her optimistic spirit. Her artistic future, in addition to her spirit, is bright, with thoughtful and evocative bodies of work on the horizon.
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