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Debra first painted in watercolor for many years, but never felt a strong connection to the medium. There was always a need to connect, more hands on, with the medium. Pastels were a natural step in that direction. She was president of Southeastern Pastel Society for 7 years and came into contact with some wonderful and talented painters. Painting en plein air offered an opportunity to paint in oils outside, reserving pastels for studio work. This ongoing journey caused her to put aside pastels while learning to work in oils. She found that each medium has its own special qualities and has been able to use all three to enhance her work. Although Debra no longer paints in watercolor, her understanding of watercolor techniques has given her tools to use in her oils and pastels. She has found her passion painting the landscape, particularly anything coastal or with water. There is a spiritual connection to the land as she paints, intuitively reacting to what she sees and feels, hoping to carry home more than a technically correct painting. Through the use of field studies and photos, Debra easily recalls the light, sounds and smells of the day which helps to create a sense of place in larger paintings. There never seems to be an end to her education. Weekly life drawing and painting on location continue to challenge Debra.
In 2019, Debra was accepted as a Signature Member of the American Impressionist Society. She has had paintings accepted into OPA 2016 Salon, ASMA 17th National, the OPA 25th National Juried Exhibition, Southeastern Pastel Society 17th International, American Impressionist Society 16th National Exhibition, WPSE 5th Annual Exhibition 2016, American Society of Marine Artists Regional and National, the American Women Artists 2015 National Juried Exhibition and the OPA Juried Salon Show of Traditional Oils at Beverly McNeil Gallery in Birmingham, AL. She was an invited artist in the Olmstead Plein Air Paintout in Atlanta, GA and was invited to participate in the Door County Plein Air Festival. Debra was an exhibiting artist at Southeastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston, SC in 2014, 2015 and 2016. She was awarded Artist in Residence (AIR) in Acadia National Park in 2012 and painted in the park for 2 weeks in the fall. She is a Signature member of ASMA, as well as a member of Oil Painters of America, American Women Artists, a master signature member of Women Painters of the Southeast and signature member of Southeastern Pastel Society. She has recently achieved Signature Status in the American Society of Marine Artists. Debra teaches weekly classes at Chastain Art Center and conducts her own workshops a few times a year locally and along the coast.