Londonderry resident Debbie Curtin said she’s been an artist all of her life and can’t remember not creating art. Her work is currently on display until March 1 at the Leach Library. The soft spoken woman paints with an unusual medium, house paint. While other artists are squeezing tubes of pigment purchased at art supply stores, Curtin is buying and mixing colors on her palette from quart containers of paint normally used for the side of a house.
“It works just fine and in the long run, it’s a little cheaper. So what I do is I buy my primary colors, green, yellow, white andso on, and mix them to the colors I need when I’m painting,” Curtin said. Curtin said another nice thing about the paint she uses is that she can save it in empty yogurt containers in case she needs a particular shade to touch up a painting. “It started when I was doing outdoor murals. It paints on wood, brick, everything, and I took it inside. It’s the same paint,” Curtin said.
Curtin’s paintings are on the large side and are painted on wood, the type used for subflooring. Instead of using an easel that holds the surface upright that is being painted, she paints on a large table made for her by a family friend, with the painting surface lying
Curtin gets the inspiration for some of her paintings from internet photographs that stimulate her imagination. “I look for drama,” she said. “There doesn’t have to be much but the drama is what gets my attention. One time I painted the buckets on our maple trees and it took me two years to finish it.”
Curtin paints in her cellar, where she can be creative and not worry about paint spills. Her background is in graphic art, and she said she did a lot of lettering.
“The sign out in front of Promises to Keep (in Derry), that’s my sign,” Curtin said. Curtin has also done a wordless children’s book called “Peril on the High Seas: A Two Tail Adventure.” It follows the exploits of two feline friends and their run-in with pirates. Her work will be shown in April at Coffeeberries in the Apple Tree Mall to help raise money for a chef who owns a restaurant in Amesbury, Mass., and is being treated for cancer.