DEBORAH MAKLOWSKI – ELLICOTT CITY PASTEL ARTIST
Education and Training:
Deborah studied drawing and painting between the ages of 12 and 16 with a series of private instructors in Florida, Maryland, and Virginia; studied fine art, art history, and painting conservation at Virginia Commonwealth University, graduating summa cum laude in 1975; has taken colored pencil workshops with Bonnie Auten, and has taken pastel workshops with Terri Ford, Rosalie Nadeau, Susan Ogilvie, Richard McKinley, Maggie Price, Albert Handel, Anita Louise West, Doug Dawson, Bob Rohm, Diane Tesler, and Jack Pardue.
Deborah is the President of the Maryland Pastel Society as well as a Signature Member. She is a Signature Member of the Colored Pencil Society of America, (CPSA) and CPSA District Chapter 109 (Metro Washington, D.C.). She is also a member of the Pastel Society of America, the Mid–Altlantic Plein Air Painters Association, and the International Guild of Realism.
Honors & Awards
Her prize-winning work has been juried into national-level shows, is included in private collections on the East and WestCoasts, and has been featured in numerous exhibitions across the continental U.S.
Deborah’s work is also included in “Strokes of Genius: The Best of Drawing,” published by North Light Books in 2007.
Deborah retired in 2009 after 30 years in Federal Service, beginning with a 4-year tour in the U.S. Army that took her to (West) Berlinfrom 1978 to 1982.
As a life-long artist, I am emotionally drawn to those spaces, both tiny and vast, where light meets shadow, where air takes on meaning in its embrace of objects, where form is at once revealed and obscured. As a life-long student, I have trained myself to use compelling compositional design, rich and powerful color, and accurate rendering of both form and light to evoke for the viewer the experience of a specific place and a specific moment: the sounds of birdsong and the lapping of water, the soft touch of a breeze, the smell of mown grass and damp earth, the warmth of late afternoon sun on a gently rolling field.
My mediums are pastel, colored pencil, and graphite. Pastel – and sometimes colored pencil – is usually applied over an underpainting of watercolor, watercolor pencil, or liquid acrylic. The surfaces I most often use are Stonehenge paper, illustration board, and 300lb watercolor paper for colored pencil and graphite, and Wallis sanded paper for pastel. I generally have work in all mediums under way at any given time in the studio.
Colored pencil and graphite satisfy my deep compulsion to draw, draw, draw and to focus on the micro-cosmology of small details; they are wonderfully capable of both sensitive, emotive linework as well as the massing of larger, soft-edged color/value shapes. Overall my pencil work is more deliberate, detailed, and exploratory than my pastel work, which is more emphatic, instinctive, and unstructured.
My goals over the next three years – now that I’m happily retired and can focus on painting full time – are to better balance my studio time with plein air painting, to explore the abstraction of landscape motifs, to seek training opportunities that will help me achieve greater spontaneity and truth in my pastel work, and to continue the exploration of mixed media applications in my colored pencil work.