Always determined to be an artist, wildlife painter, Debbie Stevens inspires with her realistic depictions of birds and water. She shares her deep appreciation for wildlife through her art, inviting her viewers to experience the beauty, joy, tranquility and peace of the natural world. "I believe we all desire beauty," Stevens states. The artist expertly employs glazes over abstract patterns to create textures that allow her to portray highly realistic scenes that pull the viewer into her world.
Stevens was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma and lived there until she was twelve years old, when her family relocated to Corpus Christi, Texas. As the third of eleven children, Stevens spent a lot of time trying to find solitude and took to drawing for peace and quiet. "I would often hide in the garden or on the top shelf of the closet to find alone time to draw," she explains. "If I wasn't making art or taking art in school I was not happy. I didn't spend a lot of time playing, but instead, was always involved with creative endeavors. I loved to do murals but my mother always made me wash them off her walls."
In high school, Stevens took a vocational course in commercial art that consisted of mostly black and white drawing, painting in pen and ink, markers and graphite. The budding artist also learned how to do page layouts. These courses led Stevens to take on many other creative endeavors through her higher education.
In 2004, Stevens graduated from the University of Texas in San Antonio with a BFA (concentration in painting). She finally felt at home and was able to concentrate on her own creative needs and found her own path. She began to develop her own style and technique that eventually blossomed into her present body of work.
"While studying painting at UTSA, I was always pushed to go towards abstract and leave realism," Stevens explains. "After several semesters of abstract or expressive painting, I had an epiphany. I began combining my love of graphic patterns, color, and abstract distorted twisting lines created by water in motion, along with a realistic depiction of the bird."
Stevens began taking chances and letting go of the planned results. She started experimenting with transparent glazing over opaque paint. "I realized early on that I had to lighten the value and grey down my first layer," she explains of developing her technique. "I played with many different tools to change the look of the glaze and make it more contemporary. I finally decided upon applying a glaze with a brush and then spraying turpentine over the wet glaze creating texture and patterns not possible with a brush."
By combining traditional realist techniques with a bit of contemporary abstraction, Stevens has created some truly unique pieces. This combination appears very realistic from a distance, but upon closer inspection, what appeared as highly realistic is actually abstract patterns. She achieves this design through her subject matter. She looks for subjects in nature, and especially enjoys studies of birds and the play of light on water; properties of texture, transparency, reflection, and color.