When Deborah graduated high school in 1975, the youngest of five daughters with a stay at home mom, her parents were not prepared to send her to art school. As many in the day and time, most ladies were expected to be secretaries or hairdressers, hence Deborah’s beginning as a secretary. It was only after much success and while in her 30’s that her dad sat down with her one day and told her “Deb if I had known that you were going to do this I would have sent you to school”. Deborah describes this as an illuminating moment for her that day, they finally get it. This is one of many reasons you will find James H. Ankrom name on the sign out front. He was always her biggest fan, encouraging while admiring her as a fine artist who worked very hard to get where she is today. In the front room of the gallery, you will find a large portrait of her father, who has since passed, to remind her of her roots and where she learned her work ethic.
Talent vs hard work. Deborah will tell you if ever you tell her how talented she is, the difference in these two. As she tells it when a parent tells her their son/daughter is very talented while not correcting them she tries to explain by stating “I don’t believe in the word talented”. To say someone is talented sometimes seems to imply to the student there is no discipline or study needed or involved. When in fact, success only comes, like most professions, with hard work and years of study. Her view is that if the everyday guy on the street had any idea what it takes to be an artist they would better understand why she feels this way. It is not something where you take a class and now you know everything you need to know. You are constantly going to school, get home and work on and learn the needed skill sets and continuing to explore new ways to properly express yourself through your art. Art is an ongoing learning experience because art is not what you do, it is who you are! Deborah will tell you that she can teach anyone to draw, but she can’t give them the desire to want to learn it.
“Carole Townsend”, 24″ x 20″ Oil on Linen 2015
On Deb’s wall hangs pictures of the world renowned mentors she has admired or studied with over the years. Most of the master painters work sells between $25,000 – 50,000.
Beginning with Jamie Adams www.jamieadamsart.com/biography/, she studied under him for five years in Pittsburgh, PA. He received his BFA with honors from Carnegie Mellon University, his MFA from Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and is now a Professor of Art at the University of Washington, in St. Louis. While Deb didn’t take the usual road through the university, she received an education rarely attained in the world of art.
Additionally, on her wall hang the photos of Christine Egnoski Jonas, Director and her husband, Edward Jonas, Chairman of the Portrait Society of America, also a Sculptor and Master Painter. Deb was mentored by Ed Jonas in 2007 and was the first Georgia State Goodwill Ambassador for the PSOA. She was also the recipient of the Mentor Program which gave her access to studying with Calvin Goodman, author of seven books on Art Marketing. The PSOA awarded her numerous Incentive Awards for her efforts in promoting the traditions of fine art portraiture.
Among the Advisory Board Members, Gordon Wetmore, Former Co-Chairman, and Co-founder of the PSOA. Mr. Wetmore is well known for his portrait of President Nixon which hangs in the White House. His paintings of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco and their royal family hang in the royal palace.
Daniel Greene, master portrait artist and instructor. A workshop with Mr. Greene can run as high as $1500 for 4 days.
Burt Silverman, Master American Realist Painter, located in New York, NY.
And last but not least, Master Everett Raymond Kinstler a congenial man that is well known for his portraits of government, corporate, and celebrity portraits. www.everettraymondkinstler.com/pages/
Mr. Kinstler has painted numerous Presidential portraits that are hanging either in the White House, the National Portrait Gallery, or the Smithsonian Museum of Art. His best friend is Tony Bennett (they grew up together in Brooklyn). Tony Bennett is a good artist himself and has studied art from his good friend Ray. Mr. Kinstler over the years has painted many of the movie industries actresses and actors, such as Katheryn Hepburn, Liv Ullmann, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and John Wayne.