Meet Debbie! Debbie grew up in Marietta and has lived in Athens, Alpharetta, Tucker, and Ellenwood before moving to Woodstock in 1996. Debbie graduated from UGA with a fine arts degree, where she majored in graphic design, and she has owned a studio in downtown Woodstock since 2004. Debbie has won awards in illustration, portraiture, landscapes, and decorative design, and has been teaching oil painting and art since 2002. Debbie has three children, five grandchildren, and her Woodstock-famous dog Morgan! Debbie is very active with the Elm Street Cultural Arts Village, and you can see her Greetings from Woodstock mural on the side of J. Christophers, which was a partner work between Debbie and artist Shawn Mcleod! Talking with Debbie was so inspiring as her passion for Woodstock is evident, as is her dedication to the art community here. Debbie is an incredibly kind and joyful person, and we are honored to feature her story!
Thank you so much for your time, Debbie!! Give our love to Morgan the Elm Street dog!
Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: I’ve always loved art since I was a kid. I went to the University of Georgia for graphics, which at that time was still done by hand. I was an illustrator. But when graphics became much more driven by computers, it was not the same to me. I fell in love with oil painting when a friend invited me to attend a class with her. I could still do illustrations, but it was just with a new product! From then on, I started painting portraits and doing some decorative pieces. Later on, my friend Kathy Pecue who had a frame shop encouraged me to start teaching- so I used a back room of her shop and I started with four people. Now I have 36 students, some who have been with me for 18 years! It is such a supportive and wonderful community!
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Woodstock, and what do you love there?
A: I’d say Ipp’s because they are so dog-friendly and they’ve very supportive of Elm Street. I love all their salads.
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Woodstock?
A: I moved here in 1996 from south Dekalb!
Q: Who would you like to see nominated as a Face of Woodstock?
A: Shannon Murphy. He is really working hard to bring artists together, which is kind of like herding cats. He’s started a group called the Artist Guild where they share information about where you can do shows, where you can put your artwork, etc.- he’s really helping a lot of fledgling artists!
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: I have two places- on my bucket list is to live for a summer in Cortona, Italy. I’d also love to visit the south of France- all the art I’ve seen from the area is wonderful and I’d love to be able to visit Paris!
Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
A: The first movie I ever saw was with my aunt when she was babysitting my brother and me. She sat us down in some seats while she was working at the movie theatre and we watched Mary Poppins about five times in a row!
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: The golden rule- do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Whether you’re religious or not, we could all live peacefully if we just lived by that! That is one of my mottos.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: To visit the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay.
Q: What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: Americana is what speaks to me most- it’s storytelling and people’s life experiences. I love John Hiatt and Brandi Carlile and I’ve seen them both live!
Q: What current/former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Woodstock?
A: The Neon Zone was just about all there was in downtown Woodstock back in the day so in 1997, I started working there drawing patterns for them. It was a quirky building and it was fascinating all the stuff they had in there, and it was well known for a long time! It’s where the Red Barn is now, that was the building.
Q: Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Woodstock would you have lunch?
A: Jimmy Carter because he embodies the “do unto others” motto. I’d take him to the Century House Tavern because I know the history of it. I have a student whose grandparents’ home it was!
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Woodstock?
A: I feel so at home here. I truly live, work, and play here! It’s a small town where I know people in the businesses, or in the restaurants, and I know what’s going on in their lives! It’s so connected! I’ve also loved being a part of Elm Street Arts from the very beginning and seeing it grow
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
A: I can’t wait to get the visual arts building built at Elm Street. I know that teaching there will be so wonderful and finally having a place to showcase more artists. I’m so excited about the future of that!
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: I’ve seen Elvis twice! Plus, I have an autograph from him! I’m from Memphis and my grandmother knew a security guard who worked for Elvis and so she was able to get me an autograph from him that says “Dear Deborah, Hope someday you can become as happy as I am. Love, Elvis”
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: Heart, serenity, and Morgan the Elm Street dog (my dog!)
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: He’s too young, but Sam Heughan from Outlander!
Q: If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A: A chef- I love to eat, I love great food, but I’m not very creative at cooking.
It was painfully difficult to choose only a few of Debbie’s breathtaking pieces to include in this post, so we encourage you to check out more of Debbie’s wonderful work here!