Art with Ms. Deborah

Miss DeborahMs. Deborah was born and raised in Montana along with 3 brothers and 2 sisters. For those of us raised in the 70’s she would be Jan in The Brady Bunch lineup where she also developed a sense of humor which is a necessary skill for a teacher. As a child she was always drawing, reading and playing school which she still does today.

Deborah practices what she preaches in the classroom and explores all avenues of artistic media including marker, pastel, paint, clay and collage in varied styles of expression. Ranging from children’s books to abstract paintings to collage landscapes and portraits made of marker Deborah’s curiosity and desire to try new things makes her work a continuous surprise.

Deborah received her BFA in Drawing at MSU Bozeman where she created The Split Pea Festival with fellow students. Her work is in collections throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. She has taught Art to both children and adults in a variety of settings including a one room school house in Montana and a small high school in Malibu and of course Kenter Canyon. This is her seventh year as the Art Teacher at Kenter and Deborah enjoys seeing when Art clicks for a student. It may take time but the reward is oh so sweet.

Deborah has travelled extensively throughout the US, Europe and the Caribbean where she developed a deep fondness for tropical weather. She has been inspired equally by the ancient city of Rome and the natural beauty of Stanley, Idaho, the paintings of Francis Bacon and the incomparable Dr. Seuss. She showcases her work throughout town on a somewhat regular basis.

Currently when not in the classroom Deborah is creating The Collected Writings of A. Morkus Dog a children’s book series featuring her beloved dog Mork, a rescue from the streets of Los Angeles.


When I walk into a classroom I see a room full of artists before me and a great deal of history behind. My task as the Art Teacher at Kenter is to foster the creative potential of each student as an individual in an environment that is nurturing, encouraging, informative and within the guidelines of a standards based curriculum.

Each grade level touches on the standards with a twist. For example, Fifth grade will explore mixing primary colors by looking at the work of Judith Liebe, an LA based artist who makes sky heavy landscapes with just the primary colors. Fourth grade has a challenge in the clay department making fruit or vegetable musical shakers that actually work. Third grade takes a look at Leonardo Da Vinci as we make our “Mona Lisa Smile” paintings with a little touch of glow in the dark paint. Each grade level has at least one portrait making class and Second grade will take a look at the awe inspiring fingerprint portraits of Chuck Close. In First grade we get to incorporate Art, Literature and Health in one session as we make our “No, David” (by David Shannon) portraits with our mouths full of healthy foods. A few years back the Blob Fish was named the ugliest animal in the world. I like to share this with Kindergarten as we make the  Blob Fish feel beautiful with our tributes in line, color and shape.

This is just a taste of what your child will learn and discover in this year round program.

My program is rooted in empathy. I believe everyone has a creative bone in their body and it is important to me that my curriculum be diverse in exploration of materials, techniques, artistic styles, language and perspective to cultivate that unique voice. When the arts are well implemented in a school curriculum all other areas of learning are enhanced as the arts are filled with opportunities to make decisions, solve problems and cultivate courage, compassion, inner strength and wisdom.

Taking risks with a blank piece of paper may not always result in a pretty picture but taking that risk is never a mistake. I encourage you to ask questions about your child’s artwork and maybe even ask that they show you how to make it. Let them become the teacher. It could be a fun way to spend an afternoon. Like I always say “Making Art once a day helps keep the Doctor away.”

“To be an Artist is to believe in life” ~ Henry Moore


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