Artist Debra Rhoads of Port Charlotte did early paintings on rain barrels and furniture before showcasing her love for birds, fish and flowers on canvas. The transition has delighted many art enthusiasts who appreciate Debra’s sensitive style and use of bright acrylic colors. A late bloomer, she took up art full-time after moving to Port Charlotte from Pennsylvania in 2009.
“I was interested in drawing and painting as a young child growing up in Orlando, but I didn’t pursue painting seriously until I turned 50,” she noted. “In addition to my Mother, one of my early mentors when I was 11 was a neighbor who was a retired art professor. Years later, I took classes in Winter Park to learn various techniques.”
Debra notes a more recent inspiration for painting birds.
“One year, I painted a bright red cardinal for my Mother and each of my Sisters as a Christmas present. I enjoyed the challenge of making the bird feathers as realistic as possible. I’ve been hooked on painting birds ever since.”
“I love painting because it gives me a sense of feeling free,” added Debra. “One of my joys in painting birds and other living things is the hope that my paintings encourage more people to respect nature and protect wildlife.”
Debra’s art has been displayed at the Englewood Art Center, Venice Art Center and Art Center Sarasota. She created the logo for the Friends of Stump Pass Beach State Park, a division of the nonprofit Barrier Island Parks Society. The logo is shaped like a shark tooth and it features Debra’s painting of a green turtle.
Debra also appreciates living near the water and the boating lifestyle. She and her husband Charlie owned a boat which they kept in Baltimore when they lived in Hamburg, Pennsylvania.
See more of Debra’s art here. Learn about Friends of Stump Pass on Facebook.