“I feel like it’s something I have to do. If my art speaks to somebody or reminds them of a memory, how can I ask for more than that?”
Debbie Hughbanks was recently invited to display three of her animal artwork pieces at the Moses Lake Museum & Art Center’s Best in Show – a pet-themed juried exhibition featuring 31 artists from 21 cities across Washington and Oregon. The museum invited only 50 pieces of art to the show, reflecting a diverse collection of living creatures that humans keep as pets.
“I’ve always been interested in art,” said Debbie, who recalls working on art projects with her kids when they were little. After that, she managed a travel agency and stopped painting for a while. It was at her husband’s prompting that she finally decided to sell the agency and pursue art professionally. One day, a gal came into the agency looking for a job, and when Debbie told her she was planning to sell the agency, the woman said she’d buy it. It was one of those meant-to-be moments.
Born in Colorado, Debbie moved to Spokane in 1967 where she met her husband. They purchased their cabin at Deer Lake in 1997 and knew they would love it here. She said it is the perfect place to inspire her artwork, as she is surrounded by woods and wildlife, and she has no plans to ever move again.
Debbie’s passion is painting animals. Starting with wildlife, she used acrylic paint, and then explored using other mediums such as pastels for fur and feathers, and recently started using scratchboard to incorporate textures. Occasionally, she’ll paint Westerns and enjoys painting pet portraits.
Her advice to other aspiring artists is to realize it is something that is important to you and to work on your craft a little each day – whatever time you have. Join a local art organization where you are surrounded with like-minded people – generally a very positive experience and place to be encouraged and get ideas.
Debbie Hughbanks’ artwork is available for sale on her website https://hughbanksart.com/, at Spokane Gallery, and at the Indian Trail Library, 4909 W. Barnes Road, Spokane throughout the month of March.
Debbie believes in giving back and has donated several paintings to animal-related organizations. This year, she will be donating a loon portrait to Loon Lake Loon Association.