“Growing up in southern California in the 1950's and 1960's gave me an idyllic childhood. I grew up running free in the orange and avocado groves, climbing walnut trees and backyard fences. I had a lovely and free childhood, surrounded and sheltered by family and friends.
There was never a time in my life that I was not drawing or painting. I have had many art instructors over the past 20 years who had a profound influence on my love of art. Susan Blackwood of Bozeman was one of those first instructors, and since then I have studied with artists such as Howard Friedman, Quang Ho, Scott Burdick, Susan Lyons, Dan Gerhartz, and Carolyn Anderson, all of whom instilled tremendous inspiration in me.
My first formal art instruction with Susan Blackwood was in watercolor art. I painted as often as possible, finding that it relieved the stress of owning and operating a local business in Bozeman. Upon retiring in 2006, I began painting in oils. With my new freedom, I made a conscious decision to devote myself to learning portraiture and the techniques of oil painting.” – Deborah McKenna