Debra Howard has been an artist and adventurer her entire life. She 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 art career in San Francisco, where she opened her first illustration studio. After 17 years as a successful illustrator, 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.” In response, she provisioned her Peterson 44 sailboat with art supplies, her old dog and her 4 year old daughter and began cruising. After almost 27 years of traveling, sailing and painting aboard, Ling Ling, she has come ashore and has turned her creative focus to painting the Eastern Shore and the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsula in northern Michigan.
Artist-in-Residence: Tangier Island, VA, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades, Florida
Debra has been juried into (and won) Plein Air competitions in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Maine, Delaware, New Jersey, Tennessee, Indiana, Texas, Louisiana and Virginia and is a Signature Member of the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association (MAPAPA).
Debra is a popular instructor at Crooked Tree - Traverse City, offering a variety of workshops and classes.
She is the founder and current host of Plein Air Crisfield, a painters plein air celebration held the first week of December.
She resides in Omena, Michigan and Crisfield, Maryland with her "plein air" dog Bella.