Debra Cortese
Debra Cortese was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in a somewhat remote and rural Catskill Mountain area near the town of Narrowsburg. She learned from a very young age to entertain herself with artistic play. A major element of that was derived from nature - she delighted in tending her own small flower garden; played from dawn til dusk throughout the summers along the banks of ponds, streams and fields surrounding her childhood home. She instinctively knew, from the feel of the joyous energies, of the presence of nature spirits long before she would be able to share their existence thru imagery.

Cortese, now an accomplished artist/photo/graphic designer, has been publishing commercial design work since the early 70's. It is however, her innate fascination with gardening, nature and spirituality that has spawned the unusual and suprprising photo/graphic images of Plant and Nature Spirits. Her work has been exhibited at galleries throughout Vermont's beautiful Northeast Kingdom , in the Catskill/Hudson Valley Regions of NY with the Woodstock Artist's Guild, the Arts Society of Kingston, and at many privately owned galleries throughout the Hudson Valley Region. Cortese is now residing in and showing her work in the Miami area. See Show Dates and Locations at: http://www.plant-spirits.com/shows.html

An art critic from the Hudson Valley, describes Cortese's work in an article for the Kingston Daily Freeman: "What you see is not what you get - at least in the case of Debra Cortese's photographic interpretation of nature in the Plant Spirit Images exhibit at UPAC's Broadway Café in Kingston (NY)." "...one feels the impact of these magnificent, larger-than-life photographs: the rich, glorious colors and the attention to detail and composition, pulling the viewer into the heart of a flower, or up close to a red hawk perched in a birch tree." "...but Cortese is not content with this..." " It is Cortese's desire to commune with these plant spirits; to see beyond natural vision and then to reproduce the personal vision that she sees..." For her, it's a spiritual journey into something deeper. Whether or not one accepts Cortese's ability to glimpse the magical world; whether or not one accepts the value of working faces into visions already so magnificent, Cortese does a service to the viewer. By presenting her own visions, she encourages imaginativeness. Haven't we all looked for faces in the clouds?"

Cortese works primarily from her home studio where she shares her life with her inspiring young daughter, a spunky dalmatian, and as of the most recent count, 3 adopted kitties. She continues to photograph and learn more about her surroundings and to create new images which share her personal beliefs in the energy and spirit of all nature. Watch for news regarding her latest collaboration with other artists, friends and business associates in the exciting "Art for the Animals" project. And as always check back often to see the latest Plant and Nature Spirit images and products.

Have you ever seen an iris gnome?
or lettuce devas? or an orchid angel?
Fairies, devas, sprites and gnomes reveal themselves in Plant Spirit Images.

Cortese captures these illusive spirits with a combination of macro-photography, computer artistry and a reverence for the "spirit" in all of nature. The photos are taken during twilight hours-when the light and shadows allow a glimpse of the magical - a fleeting moment when a deva might pause, let down its protective shield and allow itself to be seen. Cortese then carefully reviews the original photos and scans only the selected few into her computer where she makes some minor contrast adjustments and very, very intently meditates on the shadow and light areas of the images until the plant spirits allow themselves to be more fully observed. She then works with the images and further attunes the contrast of light, colors and shadows to reveal the enchanting and sometimes surprising images of the cooperating spirits.

"It's a meditative process. I totally lose track of time and everyday reality when I'm working with the plant life images. I feel privileged to be able to see them and am certain my job is to share these special beings."

All Plant Spirit Images are original photo/graphic works created
by Debra Cortese specifically for the giclée method of reproduction as
open and limited edition fine art prints.

last revised January 2005
All images copyright D. Cortese. All rights reserved.
No reproduction without written permission.