Colors of Lake Tahoe mixed media works by Deborah Lawrence Schafer

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"Colors of Lake Tahoe" is a collaboration of Bay Area artist Deborah Lawrence Schafer and the Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC).

Upon noticing unmistakable changes to the area when the snowpack on the surrounding mountains all but disappeared in 2015, Schafer became curious about how the drought was affecting the color of the Lake and contacted the team of scientists with the Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) at the University of California, Davis.

“My primary interest is in the capacity for weather and environmental conditions to transform landscape and its relationship to time—and how this reflects life’s transience,” says Schafer.

Scientists with UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (TERC) began regularly measuring the Lake’s color in May 2012 having tethered hyperspectral radiometers to the NASA-JPL Buoy TB3 (39°06’37”N 120°04’31”W) which were anchored 500 meters deep. Until storms damaged the equipment in 2016, spectral measurements were made at 12 meters and 5 meters during daylight hours.

Schafer created the artworks, a celebration of the Lake’s color, and the area’s scenery, flora and fauna, using spectral measurements of Lake Tahoe taken by TERC scientists.

Reflecting the shifting ecology and conditions experienced by the planet at large, each artwork is overlaid with an original handmade graphite sketch.



1407271200, (NASA-JPL Buoy TB3) with black bear, Colors of Lake Tahoe series, graphite, and oil over archival digital print on cotton paper, 48" x 48", 2018


1507141345, (Emerald Bay) with Castilleja, Colors of Lake Tahoe series, graphite, and oil over archival digital print on cotton paper, 48" x 48", 2019



Born in 1970 in San Antonio, Texas, Deborah Schafer has a BA in Visual Arts from Princeton University, worked at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  She also curated exhibitions of Latino and Latin American artwork at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art in Sonoma, California, and El Museo del Barrio, in New York City.  After more than a decade, she left her career in the arts in 2005 around the time when her son and parents met untimely deaths.  These events solidified her interest in the ethereal, but broadened her interest to include biotechnology.  Thereafter, she began helping a doctor-inventor bring new medical devices to market and eventually began painting once again.  Today she continues working on both art and biotech projects.  She is a Mexican National and U.S. citizen and currently lives and works in the Bay Area and coastal Maine.

"Colors of Lake Tahoe"
Deborah Lawrence Schafer
February 14, 2019 – March 22, 2019
Sierra Nevada College
Incline Village, Nevada


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Profile: 101
Type: Standard Gallery Frame
Wood & Finish: maple frame with pickled white finish
Purchasing Option: joined wood frame with matching splines
Custom Wood Spacer: 1/2" wood frame spacer
Custom Wood Strainer: 3/4" wood frame strainer
Custom Frame Backing Board: 1/8" archival coroplast cut to size