Meet Me Here

Debbie-Viola-at-Robert-Allen-602x1024Hi, I’m Debbie, and I appreciate the visit.  As an artist, I help tell your story with my paintbrush, and keep your memories alive forever.  Art is personal and says so much about who a person is or where they’ve been, and I derive great pleasure conveying your message.

I find myself drawn to texture, and marvel at how the use of a palette knife can reveal the painting under the painting that was meant to emerge.  I feel like my life has been a lot like those paintings — with the knife scraping away at the superficial, clearing away clutter, letting my light shine freely.

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Palette knife art

Like many of us, I knew who I wanted to be as a little one, although it took me 40 years to get there.  When I was sick and missed a day in kindergarten, I sobbed inconsolably because I knew we were doing finger painting that day and didn’t want to miss out!

I finally picked up a paintbrush as an adult in 1998, and fell completely in love.  You see, I had convinced my husband to let me create a faux finish on the walls of our new bathroom.  I had zero experience, and no clue of what to do.  However, I managed to create something beautiful.  In fact, the contractors who were still working in my home told me I should quit my day job, because they could not believe it was the first thing I had ever done; they said I was better than any professionals they had seen!!!  I couldn’t contain my elation that I was good at something besides typing!   My newfound passion remained a hobby for a few years, except for the occasional room I would do for family and their friends.  But September 11, 2001 changed that for me.  What a moment of clarity I had,  working in New York City, and witnessing the Towers come crashing down. And having my boss tell me to bring work with me, because I was leaving early that day!!!!!  I realized in that moment that life was both precious and fragile, and I could not work in that toxic environment any longer.   I needed to let my inner emerging artist spread her beautiful wings.  Can I tell you that I am so thankful I found the courage to change my life?  In fact, all these years later, I still pinch myself.  All I had was an insatiable passion for my new hobby, and an urgent desire to exit from the rat race that was my life, running a nine-attorney law firm for more than two decades, and spending three hours a day commuting.  Let there be no mistake, I didn’t choose an easy path, but the rewards are immeasurable.  And I show my gratitude by sharing my talent in ways where it can bring joy and hope to others, such as donating murals in foster agencies, schools, childrens’ hospitals, or wherever there might be a need.  I have also donated tens of thousands of dollars of paintings to important causes.

These days, I like to focus on tranquility and being in the “now”.  Just give me some soft jazz and paint, and I’m golden.  I am passionate about all the beauty life has to offer, and the heavenly landscapes of Long Island, New York provide never-ending inspiration. After a walk on the beach, you will likely find me painting nothing but soft, serene seascape abstractions.


Debbie Viola Getting Inspired in The Hamptons

When stormy winter days prevent a trip to the shore, I can only find that same inner peace and calm at  my easel.  I just can’t wait to get the colors onto my canvas.  With each brushstroke, I capture the tranquility that pours from within, and again I am transformed to a warm summer’s day.  As one painting is being completed, another is being composed in my mind.  There are times when my need to paint is as strong as my need to breathe, and I gladly sacrifice sleep to quench that desire (although I may regret it the next morning).

I am continually inspired by design, textiles and color.  I especially love corroborating with the creative mind of an interior designer to create the piece of art that will serve as the perfect backdrop to tie in all elements of their beautifully designed space.  I have been told that what sets me apart is my ability to create art that is liveable and enjoyable, and that a whole room can be designed around my “sophisticated, elegant” work of art.


“Storm on the Horizon”, seascape abstraction fine art

Debbie’s intuitive paintings are a natural extension of being an award-winning fine finish painter and surface designer.  Her refreshing use of color captivates and pulls you in, whether it’s soft and blended, or determined and bold.”

I love the wonder of what will happen next at my own hand, and I’ve always been fascinated when someone can start with nothing, and turn it into something — whether it be yarn into a blanket, or wood into a house, or an idea into a sustainable business.  Or, more importantly, that two people can take a 13 month-old that was not their own, and with unconditional love and nurturing, turn her into the person she is today, almost six decades later.  You see, my parents adopted me, so I was their blank canvas (and I think they did a pretty darn good job!).   Being adopted, I look at the world differently; I don’t take anything for granted, and am so thankful for the life I was given, rather than the one I was saved from living.  So I try to live my life in gratitude, and find joy and happiness in everything around me.  And I try to share those same emotions through my art.  Turning your vision into reality brings me such indescribable joy.

I’ve always told my kids to think long and hard before they chose their career path, because it was something they would be doing for a long time.  I became a legal secretary straight out of high school because I was a great typist and stenographer.  It had nothing to do with choosing something that made me happy; I didn’t even know that was an option.  But I am so blessed that I took that giant leap of faith, and changed my destiny.   I never wanted to look back with regrets.  From my humble beginnings at a tiny gift shop/art studio I called “Something Different” (where NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani frequented), to growing a steady and loyal clientele for my decorative finishes and fine abstract art, there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.  Being voted Best Artist of Long Island for the past six years by readers of our regional newspaper has been the icing on the cake.  I am beyond humbled to be recognized for this distinguished honor time and time again.  I absolutely LOVE what I do, and its so heartwarming to see that it comes through in my work.

I take great pride in my ability to create custom art, whether it’s based on a two inch swatch of fabric a designer gives me, or an emotion that a collector wants to come through.  A painting is something that will remain, long after you tire of your furniture or carpet.  The way I see it, it’s a necessary investment.  Would you get all dressed up and not put on earrings or lipstick?  Or put on your suit, and forget about your tie?  Why would you treat your room any different?  Art is the final touch that brings it all together, and gives your space that finished look, the one that gets it noticed.

So let the fun begin — take care of those boring walls, and give me a call!  You’ll be happy you did.

Debbie’s creative solutions to the most challenging design dilemmas keep her at the top of her field.  Debbie’s ability to utilize the perfect blend of colors and organic texture, whether dimensional or visual, come into play whether she is designing a unique finish for walls and other surfaces, or creating custom fine art for you or your client’s space.  Her unique skill set of being a master in faux finishes gives her superior expertise in which to create art with the same unique attributes and qualities; her paintings are like taking a slice of a wall and putting it on canvas.


Sitting in my studio           Photo by Robin Joy Photography