Debra Joy Groesser Fine Art Gallery
Find Your Inner Artist!
By Janette Calabro
The beauty of visual art can transform us, appealing both to our creativity and our personal human experience. While art of any kind can be a source of joy and comfort, original works of art have a special place in the heart of local artist Debra Joy Groesser. She finds art to be a deeply spiritual experience, and she wants to share this experience with the public. To that end, she opened Debra Joy Groesser Fine Art Gallery in downtown Ralston.
“Art is not about money; it’s about inspiring people,” Debra shares. “I think a lot of my artist friends would agree.” Though the gallery is currently closed to walk-in traffic, you can still schedule an appointment to view the gallery in person. “I love the gallery space. There’s just a cool energy in there,” says Debra. “We have about 40 paintings in our main gallery and another 30 in the classroom area. I call those my ‘retired paintings’ because they’re marked down 25 percent to 50 percent. They’re great paintings, but they just haven’t found the right home yet.”
You can also peruse the gallery pieces (and even make a purchase) online at debrajoygroesser.com and debrajoygroesserfineart.com. Check out the wide range of original paintings, decorative pieces, and fascinating woodworking. Many of the wooden pieces are created by Debra’s husband, Don. He’s not only the Ralston mayor—he’s also a talented woodworker!
To Debra, classroom time is a very important part of being an artist. Her goal is to educate the public on all aspects of art and help them see it from the artist’s point of view. She wants people to be able to distinguish the difference between original art and the kinds of prints you might buy at a mass retail chain. Original art is one of a kind, she says. It’s what the artist has actually touched. It’s what the artist has dared to pour heart and soul into.
“Some paintings become a metaphor,” she gracefully offers. “When people relate to a piece, it becomes really special. They feel the emotion coming from it. I’ve seen people brought to tears.” She cites a painting of hers that she’ll never part with, a painting called “Faith, Strength, and Perseverance.” She painted the piece while her dad was fighting cancer, and it holds a forever place in her heart. Her point? Works of art can hold something special and significant to anyone and everyone.
Growing up, Debra entertained her siblings by drawing. At age three years, she drew a special deer that was presented on Romper Room. From there, her future as an artist was clear. After she graduated with an art degree from Bellevue College, she found her place as a commercial artist. Following that, she learned a great deal about marketing during a short stint as a realtor, especially when colleagues started requesting portraits of houses. Now, she’s made her name on a national level as a full-time artist. Among other accomplishments, Debra is President and CEO of the American Impressionist Society and and is a Master Signature Member of Plein Air Artists Colorado and a Signature Member of Laguna Plein Air Painters and is an American Plain Artists.
Plein air (that’s French for “open air or full air”) paintings are created outdoors on location. This way of painting became popular in the 19th century with the French Impressionists, capturing the effects of light on their subjects, and is a popular way of painting for artists today. This type of open-air painting captures the subtle nuances of color, light, and atmosphere—something achieved only by painting outside in nature. No two are alike. “All plein-air paintings are done on location,” says Debra, “to capture color, mood, and lighting.” These landscapes emote a one-of-a-kind wonderment with colors and shading.
Debra is best known for impressionist landscapes, but she is also known for portraiture. In 2011, Omaha Performing Arts asked her to paint a portrait of Richard and Mary Holland. The portrait beautifully captures the close connection between the two of them, and it still hangs in a place of honor at the Holland Performing Arts Center. Debra is in love with the idea of painting all portraits, yours included.
Her next project will be a showcase of the natural landscapes and scenery of Nebraska, called “Yes, this is Nebraska.” Her hope is to quash future presumptions from those around the nation who may think of Nebraska as flyover country or a boring drive.
If you’re in the mood for some peace and beauty, look up Debra Joy Groesser online at debrajoygroesser.com and debrajoygroesserfineart.com. To visit the gallery in person by appointment, please call 402-592-6552. Let Debra help you explore your inner artist and your need to connect.
Debra Joy Groesser