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Art Status Raised!

                     " Beyond talent lie all the usual; words : discipline, love, luck-but. most of all, endurance."- James Baldwin


I'm proud to announce that I am now a member of the Oil Painters of America!

This is the notice that I received.


Thank you for applying for membership in Oil Painters of America. Your images have been reviewed and we are pleased to advise that you have been accepted as an Associate member in OPA for 2015. You will be receiving your new membership card and other material in the mail in the next few weeks. Congratulations, and welcome to OPA.



It is going to be interesting swimming in a bigger fish tank! I think the challenges is what makes us grow! 


Thanks for reading my blog,


Debra Snyder Heard





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"Painting Small Country Churches" by Debra Snyder Heard


"Sunday Morning"      and    "Only In The South"         by Debra Snyder Heard


"I could never have done what I've done without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time."  By Charles Dickens



Dear Readers,

I recently attended a professional oil painting workshop in Frederiksberg Texas. On the first day we were told to pick one subject to paint for a year, and on the last day we were to announce in front of the class our choice and why. Artists in the class announced  their themes:  trees, cityscapes, mountains, etc. My new art friends were from the western and northern states, even one from Canada. They picked things that they were familiar with, and what they see everyday.


I was the only artist from Louisiana. My first thought was birds ( north Louisiana has a huge, if not the largest variety of birds in our area).

I have lived in the "Bible Belt" for most of my life. When traveling through the southern states to visit family or going to art workshops, I always find myself looking for the small, old country churches that I pass by. So my choice became small churches.


For the passed few months my husband and I  have been traveling around the southern states taking tons of pictures of old rural and small churches for me to work from. It kind of like a treasure hunt with maps and driving down back roads.


My goal is to make the landscape around the churches just as important as the buildings itself.


What I hope to communicate to people who look at my paintings, is to see these treasures that we have now  from the past, and to see what I see, the  humble or noble small buildings in their local environment.

 They are not the huge ugly buildings made of tin and slapped together quickly, but beautiful small buildings that represented for a lot of us, memories of our past, being with our family on Sunday mornings.


If you would like to keep up with my journey on "Painting Small Churches" please send me your e-mail address and I will add you to my e-mail list. I will  try to post once a month.


P.S. If you know where a wonderful small church is, I would be grateful for you to give me directions. so I can take pictures and add it to my painting list.


Thank you,

Debra Snyder Heard




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2014 Goals

2014 Goals by Debra Snyder Heard


By Debra Snyder Heard

A friend of my  in body pump class that I go to.


2014 Resolutions


Art Resolutions/Day


1.    Paint 5 days a week.

2.   Draw 2 days a week.

3.   Enter 2-3 National Art Competitions.

4.    Paint from still life and nature. Photos only for reference.

5.    Attend at least 2 professional workshops a year.

6.    Carry sketchbook around all the time and start doing quick sketches.

7.    Spend 30 to 60 minutes a day reading books/blogs that have good information on oil painting/ drawing.



Health Goals/ Evening


1.    Body Pump 3 times a week. Increase weight after 1 month.

2.    Walk 2 to 3 times a week for 45 minutes.

3.    Zumba 2 or more times weekly.

4.    Cut back on sugar/candy.


Life is good!  I'm very grateful to be able to do the art work that I love,  and exercise to keep my health.


Thank you for reading my blog,


Debra Snyder Heard



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Won Best Of Show Ribbon

Won “Best Of  Show” in Ruston Louisiana's 26th Annual Peach Festival Art Exhibit, with my pencil
drawing called “The Perfect Model”.

I also won “Third Place” with my oil painting called “The Green Jar”.

I’m very happy that I won!!!!


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Waiting For Romance


"There are always flowers for those who want to see them."  By Henri Matisse 1869-1954


A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man can not live without love.
- Max Muller


 Composition - The act of organizing the elements of an artwork into a harmoniously unified whole.


"Waiting for Romance" is a beautiful reminder that everyone wants true love and romance.


Art jobs in my younger years included being a display manager for high quality retail stores. My work was to arranged merchandise in a way to attract customers to want to buy and be excited by what they see. I also worked with retail market buyers drawing their layout ads to show/instruct their company photographers how the merchandise was to be displayed for newspaper ads.  


Now when I arrange still life for my paintings I see how my past experiences has benefited me.


Planning my painting composition takes one or two days to arrange, and to decide how I want everything to look. Color, lighting, theme, unity, harmony,  variety, dominance, balance (asymmmetical or symetrical), and sizes of everything are taken into consideration. I also have to really like it!


Next I take pictures of my still life many times at different angles. I upload the photos on my computer to see if I like the way everything looks. Using the computer and camera gives me a different viewpoint angle of looking at everything. If I don’t like the way things look, I go back and change things up in my still life arrangement. Then I take lots photos again ( I do this many times). If I have to go to photoshop to crop or enlarge I do.  Finally I print out my selected photo just for reference. I get everything exactly the way I want so I won’t run into problems later. After I do the under painting, I put the photo away and work from the still life only.


I see a lot of beautifully still life paintings from artists that show wonderful skills, but the composition is weak. It destroys the power of the painting.



Life has a really neat way of connecting everything from the past to the present. 


Thank you for reading my blog,


Debra Snyder Heard


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"The Perfect Model"

“The Perfect Model” by Debra Snyder Heard

Pencil on Gray Paper, 10 ½ x 13 inches


"Talent takes long patience." by Gustive Flaubert


Several months ago I attend an art workshop in Frederiksberg Texas. On the third day a model was due that morning to pose for us to paint. She walked into the door all flustered because her water pipe was being repaired, and she had no water in her home that morning to wash her hair, and to clean up, so she came as she was. No makeup and wild hair. I liked the honest real look!


What made her such a good model was that she could get into the exact same position/pose after rest breaks. Few people can do this. She used her eyes looking at all angles to measure where she was before moving. She had a positive and charming personality too.


It is very frustrating as an artist painting or drawing, and the model never gets into the exact pose after breaks. It means EVERYTHING changes! A fraction off and the perspective is in another angle. Lots of times I just start over, for the practice, and never have a finished product.


Thank you for reading my blog!


Debra Snyder Heard



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Working With Charcoal

Natchez Angel by Debra Snyder Heard

"If i could have had my own way, I would have confined myself to black and white."  By Edgar Degas 1834-1917


I have resisted working in charcoal for a long time because I felt it was too messy and hard to control.


I’m in the process of taking an Anatomy Drawing Class at a close by university. We work mostly in charcoal. My pencil drawings tend to be light handed, and charcoal helps me to get a darker contrasts/values.

Pencil also takes longer to build up dark contrasts/values. We usually finish three large figure drawings within a 3 ½ hour period (I always feel rushed).


I have enjoyed reading a beautiful book called “Lessons in Classical Drawing” by Juliette Aristides. This book includes a disk that demonstrates Juliette drawing in charcoal, which is really helpful.

I have also attended two of J.D. Hillberry’s drawing workshops. His book “Textures in Pencil” is a wonderful book to read. In his workshops he demonstrates his methods of charcoal drawing, and he is a wonderful teacher.


A lot of Old Masters and new ones use colored papers to draw on which I find makes the drawings interesting.


Our homework assignments each week for class is to copy a master drawing. I have been working on charcoal drawings with colored paper to enhance my skills.

Here is my latest homework project.

 "Female Nude" by Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre 1740-1760

Copy by Debra Snyder Heard


Thank you for reading my blog,

Debra Snyder Heard



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Learning to Let Go

      "The vulgar wil see nothing but chaos, disorder , and incorrectness."   By James Ensor


My painting has been put aside for a short time, while I’m taking an advance college anatomy drawing class. I have about five weeks left (Thank you Jesus). The homework keeps me very busy.


My style of drawing and painting is very tight and detailed (I want to say Classical) rendering which turns out to be beautiful work.


I forgotten how a lot of art college professors love ABSTRACT works.


I’m very much out of my comfort zone, which can be good (or bad). While my art professor is making other students work smaller, tighter, more detailed, she is having me work LARGER, LOOSER, GEOMETRIC and less detailed.  I really have to control myself from running out of the room.


There are good days and bad days for me in this class. I’m open to learning new things, but being older and doing things a certain way for a long time makes it hard to make changes. It takes practice and I’m doing the work. I'm learning a lot and really like the teacher and students in the class.


I wonder how this class is going affect my future drawings and paintings.  I have gotten some new ideas of how I want to render some of my future art works, so it going to be a good thing.


    "Lacy" by Debra Snyder Heard

      A quick 40 minute pose drawing


The model for Thursday night open studio sessions (not part of my college class) did not show up this past week, so another artist posed  for us.  It's a 3 hour session and local artists meet every week meet at this studio to draw/paint models. It gives me a chance to practice what I have learned in class and combine drawing the way I like. I'm also meeting new artists and it is fun looking at each others artistic style of the same model when we finish.



Thank you for reading my blog,

Debra Snyder Heard


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Red Roses

I finally finished my painting of “Red Roses”.


                                   "For a long time I limit myself to one color-as a form of discipline." By Pablo Picasso


On a recent traveling trip through Texas on my way home from a still life art workshop, I had made a wrong turn, and was trying to make it back to the main highway. After traveling for eight hours, I was exhausted, strung out on coffee, and needed a break from driving. On this country road I saw a huge antique barn, and stopped there to stretch my legs and shop. It was one of the best antique stores I have ever walked into! One of the items I found was this perfect white pitcher. Everything happens for a reason!

I did research on red roses and this is what I found:


Red roses symbolize love and passion. True red is for lovers, fiery red mean passion, cardinal red symbolizes desire. Fully bloomed means I still love you while the buds mean first love.


Thank you for reading my blog,

Debra Snyder Heard


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Licking The Canvas

                 "Between each fruitful phase are long periods of exploration, faltering, learning, and working things out." By Kenneth Noland


From nine to two today I licked the canvas! I saw myself drawing and trying to get everything perfect as I was painting. I was getting very stressed out and not making progress!

 It was the same feeling as housework. Clean the kitchen; leave the room, next five minutes no one can’t tell that I was ever in there cleaning. It was a never ending, unrewarding cycle of not accomplishing anything (like housework living with a house full of guys).

 I stopped, fixed myself some hot tea and looked up art blogs on licking canvases. Guilty as hell!

 An hour later I was back to my painting. This time I layered  more paint on my brushes. I placed only one stroke for each part of the canvas. I painted each stroke as the one only and last time I would touch that canvas area. When I finished I stepped back and looked at my painting. IT WORKED!


 Orange Lilies by Debra Snyder Heard

 I am about half way through with this painting. Still have a lot of work to do.

 Thank you for reading my blog,

Debra Snyder Heard


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Attended A Oil Painting Workshop



I just finished a 4 day Still Life/Figure Oil Painting Workshop from the artist Robert Johnson, in Fredericksburg Texas.

I feel like I learned a lot, and also learned I have a lot of work to do.

Even though I just started back into painting, my drawing skills really helped me tremendously. 

  Meeting other artists that have a lot of the same goals is a wonderful way to keep motivated. Learning from a more experienced artist is even better!


 The timing was perfect because Friday night was the monthly art crawl to visit the open art galleries.


It was a long drive to and back, about 12 hours each way. Driving in heavy rains, having a flat tire, being strung out on coffee, was part of my travel experience.

My husband asked me if I would do it again and did I think it was worth it?

I told him yes, because it takes a lot to be committed to improve. Other people in the workshop drove for 2 days to get there, and lived farther than I did.


Thank you for reading my blog,

Debra Snyder Heard

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Pencil Drawing Completed of Two Labrador Retrivers

Two Labrador Retrivers by Debra Snyder Heard

"We learn by  doing it. There is no other way." -By John Holt



I just finished a commission pencil drawing of two old golden retrievers.  It was a pleasure seeing the difference in each dog, both in personality and in structural features.

Drawing and painting  helps me understand and connect to my environment. I enjoy seeing the progress in my artwork, to be able to look back and to have something to show.

 If you wish to commission a drawing, please contact me through "Contact the Artist page on my website".

 Thank you for reading my blog,

 Debra Snyder Heard

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Eyes Are The Window Into The Soul!

      Two Labs by Debra Snyder Heard

My starting point in a painting or drawing of a person or animal is their eyes.

The eyes tell a lot about that person or animal. They are the window into the soul! They tell you a lot about everything, even things you don’t want to know.

I was in the veterinary clinic the other day, buying my Boston terrier dog food. While I was in there standing in line, a man rushed in carrying his big dog (it looked like a Shepherd). The atmosphere changed quickly, because it was bad. The doctors’ doors opened quickly to let them in.  The dog was breathing hard and looked hurt bad. I made the mistake of looking into the dog’s eyes as they passed me. They were cloudy, with the glazed look of dying.

When I look at paintings and drawings that are done of the figure of women done in the nude, I notice that the male artist spends a lot of time painting and drawing the private parts. The faces of the women are hardly done, or not done at all. Where are the eyes? Why is the face distorted when everything else is done with detail?  

My drawing of “Two Labs” is still coming along nicely! Still have a lot of work to do. Hope you enjoy watching the progress of this drawing!


Thank you for reading my blog!

Debra Snyder Heard


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Pencil Drawing of Two Labrador Retrievers / Beginning Stage


"Without good drawing, the foundation of a painting will collapse". By Ken Danby


I have started on a commission pencil drawings of two labradors.  They are two, sweet old dogs, with a lot of blond and gray hair.

I will post the final drawing when it's finish. This picture is the beginning stage of the first lab.


My goal is to have a painting and pencil project going at the same time. I want to keep up my drawing skills.



 Two Labs by Debra Snyder Heard



Thank you for reading my blog!


Debra Snyder Heard




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Gypsy Belly Dancer

Gypsy Belly Dancer By Debra Snyder Heard




I took a picture of this dancer at a recent Texas Renaissance Festival. She was a little older than the other dancers. Her costume was more complicated, more layered, down to earth and a little worn, and not as flashy as the younger dancers. Her dancing style was graceful and lovely to watch. The same way mature women are in real life!


Thank you for reading my blog!

 Debra Snyder Heard


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"Body Pump Friend" That Time Of Year Again!

                 Body Pump Friend by Debra Snyder Heard


It’s that time of the year again when people join the gym and exercise classes!  

I am an avid Body Pump and Zumba enthusiast three to four times a week.  It keeps health problems and depression away! I draw and paint in the daylight hours and workout in the gym in the evenings.


Discipline is the key to being successful in art and in working out! Keep doing it everyday, no excuses!


This drawing is of a friend of mine that is in the same body pump class that I go to. She always has a smile for everyone and is a pleasure to be around!


Thank you for reading my blog!


Debra Snyder Heard

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Art Competition


I attend the 42nd River Road Show in Baton Rouge Louisiana, which was a national juried competition. 153 artists entered 479 works of art. Sixty-one of these artists were from out-of state. The exhibit selected 80 paintings from 51 artists, of which 23 were out of state (mine made it in).

I did not win a ribbon this time, but just wait until next year! Getting into the competition was a reward in itself! I met a lot of nice people and had a good time!



Thank you for reading my blog and hope you are having a wonderful New Year!


Debra Snyder Heard

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Talent Needs Passion!

Renaissance Belly Dancer by Debra Snyder Heard





When I watch and listen certain singers like Janis Joplin, Ry Cooder, and Andrea Bocelli, I see and hear strong emotions they are expressing while singing. I want to be able to do the same with my art!


Talent without passion is just bland! It’s hard to connect to!


One way I show passion in my art work is to create something that I love doing. One example is dancing! I have always loved dancing, but never had the chance or time for it until a few years ago. I have been going to Zumba classes, 4 times a week (for 3 years), and Belly dancing once a week (for 2 years)' and I enjoy them both.


I draw and paint Belly dancers because I’m one too (only I don’t dance for the public)! When I create a dance to a song, it becomes mine. When I draw or paint a belly dancer I know exactly what she is feeling and doing.


This theme connects with my artwork of “Women Enjoying Life”!




Yes, this is me having fun dancing! Life is too short not to have fun!


Thank you for reading my blog!


Debra Snyder Heard

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