Debra’s art career began at age two when she painted on the belly of her cooperative dog with her mother’s red lipstick followed by a crayon wall mural unsuccessfully hidden behind a chest of drawers. After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Advertising Design, she moved to New York City where she studied portrait and figure painting in oils for six years at the Art Student’s League of New York with Hilary H. Holmes. Debra served as his class monitor for nearly four years during that time. In addition, she studied en plein air with Curtis Hansen for three summers in Central Park. Both instructors had studied in the Boston atelier under R.H. Ives Gammell. Debra painted regularly en plein air in Prosect Park, Brooklyn until returning to Southern California in 1996.