Debora Stewart

Artist’s Statement

Drawing is the foundation of all I do. I love the act of drawing and making marks on paper. I have always drawn flowers and plants and continue to keep sketchbooks of garden drawings. I use these drawings in my abstract pastels and paintings on canvas. Inspiration for color often comes from walks through a park, garden or neighborhood. 

I travel a lot and am inspired by the various environments that I see. What I see and experience creates an impact, which later comes out in lines and colors. Much of my process involves journaling, visualizing, recording ideas into a sketchbook and creating small studies before I begin a larger piece. I work with both soft pastel and acrylic mixed media on canvas. I am very passionate about the medium of soft pastel. Pastel has allowed me to work quickly and intuitively which has helped me develop an abstract style. Soft pastel is a brilliant medium that creates a luminous appearance. 

Painting on canvas brings another dimension to my work. I love working large with various brushes and mark making tools. I often begin an acrylic painting after finishing a pastel. The colors and mark making of the pastel often inspire the painting on canvas. Most of my work reflects nature and gardens. The garden is symbolic of emergence, growth, change and the fleeting beauty of life.



Debora L. Stewart is a Master Pastelist of the Pastel Society of America and a member of the Master’s Circle of the International Association of Pastel Societies. Her pastels have won awards from Pastel Journal Magazine, International Artist Magazine, and the Pastel Society of America. Her work has been included in many national and international juried exhibitions. She exhibited in the pastel invitational exhibit Pastel en Perigord, St. Aulaye, France, July of 2016. She has also been a featured artist in the French magazine Pratique des Artes July 2018. 

Debora has also taught abstract workshops extensively throughout the U.S. She is a sought after instructor by pastel societies, art guilds, and schools. She is the author of Abstract Art Painting: Expressions in Mixed Media published by Northlight Books in 2015 in addition to a series of teaching videos. She has served as a judge for artist competitions in Pastel Journal Magazine and pastel societies in the U.S. 

Stewart has a Bachelor in Art Education from the University of Iowa and an M.S. Ed. in Counseling from Western Illinois University. She lives in Clinton, Iowa with her husband Doug and miniature schnauzer Fiona.