Artist Biography

Born in North Central Vermont, Deb (Philip) Marvin began drawing before she was 5 and has never stopped. Her earliest memories include doing the exercises in the John Nagy "Learn to Draw" set her older sister received for Christmas. Her drawings were almost always of animals and her love of animals has been the fuel for her passion.

“I would sit for hours and draw animals, especially when the weather kept me in. I don’t know which came first really, my observation skills or the drawing. I was never satisfied with my drawings and would always study the animals over and over to see what I needed to do differently. I just know that I need both to create work that I am satisfied with and which lets the animal’s personality talk to the person seeing it.”

Deb’s strength in creating a drawing or painting comes from a personal connection with her subject. It doesn’t matter what it is – rock, tree, flower, dog, or cat – the relationship has to be there or the work is shallow; just pretty picture. She is drawn to a variety of visual stimuli, enjoying the interplay of light and dark, rough and smooth, natural and manmade. Her animal pieces reflect a deep love and respect for the subjects, and she feels that a work is successful only when the viewer sees the animal as a living being and can feel its personality. She has actually heard that comment applied to her paintings of non-animal subjects.

“I don’t know how I do it. I certainly couldn’t teach this to anyone. I think we all have to find a personal connection to our environment and that connection is probably different for each of us. Trying to mimic another person’s connection is limiting for an artist. Think of trying to create a Mona Lisa using paint-by-numbers. It just doesn’t work.”

Largely self-taught, Deb has worked with a number of artists from different styles and mediums, has taught art classes and developed a course teaching art to non-artists. Currently employed as an IT consultant while she establishes herself as a professional artist, Deb has done a wide range of things from coordinating a hiking club to running her own business. Wherever she ends up, her art seems to slip in as a natural part of her work. Some of her commissions have included work for Harvard University, a Karate Dojo, and pieces for a wide variety of pet owners, breeders and businesses. She lives in Independence, Kentucky with her husband, Dwight, devoted German Shepherd, Emma, and one very happy-go-lucky Golden Retriever, Holly.