Deborah Elmquist, painter of Classical-Realism and Contemporary Realism fine art in oils, is both self taught and classically trained, with 30 years experience as an artist to her credit, and more recently as art educator . She is always working to improve her painting techniques, adding to her knowledge base as an artist, and working to bring her art to the next higher level. Deborah is a native Floridian, born in the Florida Panhandle, but with deep family roots in the foothills of North Carolina. She is the Painter of Memories and Painter of Threads of Our Lives, both based upon her life experiences growing up in North Carolina on a small family farm.
She began her formal study of fine art early in her life while attending Orlando College with art teacher Professor Ralph L. Bagley (a long time Winter Park, FL resident, artist, and teacher), but she cannot remember a time in her life when she did not draw and paint working to become the artist she is today. Deborah received a Fine Art degree from Orlando College, a Bachelor of Art degree from the University of South Florida, a Masters degree from Rollins College (Winter Park, FL), and her Doctorate degree from the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL). In addition to her formal education, Deborah studied with noted artists Greg Kruetz, Joshua Fallik, and Michael Siegal. She also worked briefly with artists Susan Lyon, Jacob Collins, and Sherrie McGraw.
As a Contemporary Master, Deborah's work emphasizes the same underlying concepts of painting that has guided master artists for more than 500 years. Following in the traditions of Rembrandt, da Vinci, and Vermeer her use of transparent and semi-transparent glazes to produce image luminosity and depth that is not possible to achieve in the direct, opaque method. She paints with both the Sfumato and Chiaroscuro styles with skill and talent. Although Deborah specializes in the still life and portrait, she also draws and paints the landscape.
When describing her paintings, Deborah explains, "I paint from the places and things that I know; the places and things that I love. If home is where the heart is, then each of my painting tells a story of where my heart is and a little about where home is for me in one way or another. As a child growing up on a small farm in North Caroline, I learned early the basics of life and living, and I also learned to sew my own things from a very early age. Fabrics of all kinds were always a part of my life experience; the clay pots and other simple things too. It is the memory of those times, and places, and the simple things so necessary then, that inspire me today, to paint now what I do; it's a kind of calling that I must express through my art."
"Though the subject matter of my paintings is simple and homespun, the artistic focus of my work is strong light and shadow shapes that create drama for the viewer. My backgrounds are varied in tone and detail with attention to foreground design, and the use of negative space. I work to convey a special mood, thought, or feeling related to my subject matter. Ultimately, my goal is to create a painting that is meaningful for the viewer, beautiful to see, and still communicates what inspired me to paint in the first place. My works are narrative and emotional in nature and at the same time classical in composition, design, and painting technique."
Deborah's painting knowledge and application of technical skill along with her use of color and line elicit pleasure and interest in the eyes of both the novice and advanced viewer/collector. Collectors both national and international hold her works of Classical-Realism and Contemporary Realsim fine art. Her art work is also held by Volusia County Art in Public Places, and by the Museum of Art and Science of Daytona Beach for their permanent and loan collection. Deborah's fine art is also represented by selected prestigious fine art galleries (see the Gallery page for details).
In addition to painting fulltime, Deborah is a teacher/educator of Classical-Realism and Contemporary Realism with her own Atelier Soulworks. "I am dedicated to sharing information and my skills to help artist of all levels to realize their potentials. Through my workshops and painting lessons, I share information and painting techniques that artist can use to improve their work and create better paintings. In addition to teaching, I love to write about Classical-Realism and Contemporary Realism fine art. I am always personally rewarded when readers or students respond telling me how the advice and information I offered them made real differences in their artistic lives. I believe that in these ways I am making real differences in the lives of artists, helping them to gain new or improved skills and knowledge, and inspiring them to grow as artists achieving their artistic goals."
Deborah is an associate member of Oil Painters of America (OPA), an active member of Portrait Society of America (PSA), and Women Painters of the Southeast (WPSE), among other organizations.