Deborah Bays Biography
Deborah Bays has been blessed with a life in the Arts. She was born in
Nashville, Tennessee, in 1951 and spent her early years in the formal study
of music, playing violin and viola. In college, her focus shifted to her
first love, that of making visual art. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in
Costume Design for the Theater at the University of Texas at Austin then
went on to complete a Master of Arts in Scenography at Purdue University.
She settled in Denver and for two and a half decades designed costumes and
sets for Regional Repertory Theater, The Hong Kong Repertory Theater, The
Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Harrah's, Off Broadway and Public
After so many years of making art as a member of a team, she longed for
a more personal expression. This led her to study drawing and painting with
many fine artists and teachers at the Art Student's League of Denver. While
she still has a passion for both theater and music, nothing has proved as
profound a challenge or as rewarding as painting. Her favorite medium is
pastel and her favorite subject is light revealing form and conversely,
form revealing light.
Bay's work has been featured in Southwest Art, Colorado Expression and
The Pastel Journal where she received The Pastel Journal Grand Prize Award
in the 2004 Pastel 100. One of her paintings will also be included in a new
book published by North Light Books, Pure Color: The Best of Pastel.
Deborah Bays has been compared to Edgar Degas, in an article written by
Tricia Ware in Southwest Art magazine. Ware says of both master pastel
artists they have much in common from theatre to ballet. Bays' took center
stage receiving the Pastel Journal's Grand Prize in 2004. Deborah
communicates a masterful knowledge of dramatic light revealing form and
dramatic use of lost edges. Her imagery can be described as romantic with
soft complexities. Paintings of secret treasures such as favorite
childhood dolls, vintage shoes, ballet slippers, or heirloom tea sets are
among Deborah's most desired works.
Bays' grandfather, Clarence Armour, her mother's father, was a
self-taught landscape painter. Her first set of oil paints came from him
and he became her first painting teacher. She loved to look at his
paintings that adorned almost every wall in her grandparent's simple home.
On the other side of the family, her father's brother, Joshua Bays, was a
very gifted painter and art teacher. He was very good at portraiture and
Deb can still recall a painting of a Kansas wheat field that hung in her
Grandparents' home. She loved that painting.
"I suppose all of this painting heritage just caught up with me in
midlife. I began to study painting just for the joy of it ...and the
challenge! I have never tackled anything so difficult or so rewarding. The
rewards are those enigmatic understandings. I feel that I actually
understand music and theater better for this study of painting. I'm not
looking back! I spent about six years pursuing drawing and painting at the
periphery of my life. I didn't give it much energy."
Deborah says. . . . . I do love it...and at times despair of it. While
it is only reasonable to desire that others like your work, the only person
that I really need to please is myself. The only way that I can judge my
work is by improvement. My quest is to paint better, to understand more
today than I did yesterday."
«Return to Artist List