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.
Debra works both en plein air and in the studio. Her figurative work, landscapes, and still life paintings focus on capturing the light, color, and visual sensations present in a scene, striving to portray the “look” of her subject through carefully observed shapes, value and color relationships, and edge qualities. When working en plein air, she returns regularly to the same location at the same time of day and season until a painting is completed.
A native Californian, she has painted en plein air throughout the region, including Eaton Canyon, Arroyo Seco, the Huntington Library, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens, The Getty, San Luis Obispo/Central Coast, Malibu, and other inland and beach locations throughout the region. She currently teaches plein air workshops in these and other locations throughout Southern California. Debra is an artist member of the California Art Club, a founding member of Studio2310 (an artist’s co-op in Duarte, CA), and a charter member of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.