What I Do

I am a Mixed Media artists which means I am willing and love to explore all possible media, anything that will make the image emerge stronger and obtain the voice it is meant to have. My favorite thing is to vacillate between media and observe how the image can transform and mature as it is manifested in different clothes, so to speak.
Tobersonstudios is home to a broad range of spirited images by Debra Ripp in various media. Toberson is the doghead figure on the home page; he is an original insignia character in Debra’s work, the guide to all of her imagery. ~ Tobersonstudios, 2242 University Ave. W. #201B, St. Paul. MN 55114
Mixed Media Gallery:
Explorations in the art of collage, photography, painting, drawing and scratchboard etching and everything in between.
Mural Gallery:
Debra has a blossoming practice in custom interior and exterior mural design. She incorporates age-old fresco practices in her large-scale images ranging from animal portraits to renaissance characters, not to mention keys.
Process Narrative for Murals:
When I considered painting a mural for the first time, I wanted to create a memorable gift for my family. Our favorite place to gather and unwind is at our cottage at Duck Lake. Another favorite place is across the lake in a little hollow, close to a huge rock shaped like a nut, this is where herons like to hide, it’s out of the wind and it’s quiet. So, Heron at the Nut was created. It was soon after that I was commissioned to paint the Tortuga mural and six months later, the banner for the Women’s Drum Circle, which travels with them on their numerous tours around the Midwest. I have also painted sandwich boards for the “Baron of Bubble” and created theater props for Mindless Mirth Productions and the Vintage Players. My mural techniques are acquired from simple age-old practices. The process starts when I survey the desired surface for size and scale, I clean or sand as needed before applying two coats of gesso, an acrylic preparation solution that most painters use. If the surface is an exterior I will evaluate if it needs more than two coats of gesso. I consult with the client about the image, I ask about elements or characters and create 5-10 sketches; I have also let the client look through my sketchbook if they wish. It is not unusual for the client to change their original plan if they see an image they like more. I am flexible to changes as I view this project as collaboration between the client and myself. After the image is determined, I transfer the image to a large piece of heavy trade butchers paper. After I cut the paper to the scale of the final mural size. I poke holes through the along the lines of the image with an awl tool. I then apply a “pounce” method. The “pounce:” method involves a bundle of finely powdered charcoal wrapped in a cheesecloth bundle about the size of my fist. I dab the bundle along the lines and it lightly transfers the charcoal through the holes that I have poked in the paper. It is a simple age-old technique used by fresco painters. I enjoy using this method and it has proved to be reliable in my process. You can see how this works if you take a look at the prep photo’s of the Tortuga mural on the Murals page. The next step is for me to simply start painting. I use reference photos for specific details as you can see in the process photos for “Heron at the Nut”. If the client would like a title or “legend” applied to the mural that can be done as well. If it is an exterior mural, I use spar varnish to finish both sides of the surface. If you have an idea or favorite image that you would like applied to one of your walls or doors, please don’t hesitate to fill out the form on the contact page of this website. I will be checking this page frequently and will respond to any inquiries within 48 hours.
Novelties Gallery:
Novelties are Debra’s way of keeping her hands busy. When she is not in the big idea mode she creates fridge magnets, small-scale collage works, scratchboard storyboard images and also hand paints switchplates to perk up your electric outlets at home. Give her an image or some colors and she will be more than happy to create a custom design for two or three of your outlets.