Featured Artist Debbie Patrick


‘Flights of Imagination’ and Other Stories in Pastel

By Debbie Patrick, Golden Gate-Marin Branch

Debbie Patrick

Debbie Patrick


I was inspired to create “Flights of Imagination” after a trip to a pet store, where an area was devoted to budgies. I had never seen a budgie and I loved that each one had its own distinct coloring.

After taking some photos with my phone, I let the idea of painting them simmer for a while. I began with a pastel sketch of several birds lined up on a branch, which was colorful but lacked any real punch. On a


“Bingo at the Beach” pastel by Debbie Patrick

visit to a friend’s studio, I noticed paint pots of assorted colors on a shelf and decided to have my budgies each perch above a matching colored pot, with their tail feathers dripping paint.

But the painting still seemed too static. It lacked movement and excitement, so I changed the center bird, making him appear to be in transition. Once he spread his wings and decided to fly up to join the other budgies, I felt happier with the painting.

The main challenge, besides the composition, was to create the effect of wet, dripping paint when my medium was dry, chalk pastels. At some point, I may return to the subject to try a wet medium, letting the colors really fly.



“Flights of Imagination,” pastel by Debbie Patrick featured on the Summer 2017 cover of The Pen Woman


About the Artist

Debbie Patrick began studying pastels with Guy Bernardo at 14. After sketching and painting hundreds of Victorian homes for 25 years, she returned to her first love — portraits of humans and animals — in 2010.

Alternating between pastels and oils, she lets the subject, its texture, and the quality of light she wishes to achieve dictate which medium to use. She tries to capture subjects’ unique personality or mood, especially as reflected in their eyes.

A member of several art organizations, Patrick has exhibited and won awards in juried shows across the United States, including the Pastel Society of America, NLAPW Biennial, Pastel Society of West Coast, Richeson Gallery, and Marin Society of Artists.