Debra Howard spent her childhood in Miami, Florida, where she first discovered her love affair with color, light, painting, and sailing. She studied at Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, and began her career in San Francisco, where she opened her first illustration studio. After 17 years as a successful illustrator in various cities, she closed her studio to concentrate on fine art painting. "I realized that the career I had found so satisfying was being taken over by the computer. I missed the feel of the brush on canvas."
"My landscape paintings begin out of doors and on location, where I record the bare bones of the scene before me. From there they quickly move to the arena of how I felt in that place, what the weather was like, how the air felt on my skin, what emotions surfaced as I sat quietly before the view."
"I take to my studio the emerging painting and then I begin to fill in what was before me. I paint the drama of the sunrise, the magnitude of a starlit night, the clear crisp calm of a winter evening trust as the sun disappears and the wind dies to a whisper. I paint heat and deep cool shadows. I paint skies that have overwhelmed everything else before me and dark lonely nights where I felt I was the only person for miles around."
"I use distinctive and rich colour palate and a variety of brush strokes and techniques to achieve this. I paint on gessoed Masonite board when I am trying to convey a strong and adventurous landscape. I use linen canvas for a softer, quieter image and subtle light variances. I paint with oils because of the endless range of techniques it affords me. Oils allow a fluid way to blend colors by painting wet on wet or a dry brush for texture and softness and transparent glazes for luminosity."
Debra is the 2006 winner of the Cooper River Bridge Run competition - the first T-shirt and poster design celebrating the opening of the new Arthur Ravenal Bridge in Charleston, S.C. She was also voted "Best Visual Artist in Charleston -- 2007" by the people of Charleston. She lived and traveled aboard her 44 foot sailboat, Ling-Ling, with her husband, David and their dogs Amber and Swab until her sabbatical to Tangier Island a few years ago as resident artist. Debra was the poster artist for the 2014 Solomons Plein Air Festival. She now resides in Crisfield, Maryland.