Deborah Cavenaugh is a self-taught artist, an outsider, an autodidact. She began painting on Mother’s Day in 1992, after her children presented her with a box of watercolors they bought in a toy store. And then, well, she just didn’t stop.
Deborah enjoys the freedom that being outside of the trained art world gives her. “Art school is art teachers teaching other artists to be art teachers and has little to do with what it takes to be an artist in the world. So no, I never feel like I have missed out or am missing anything that I need in order to paint what is in my heart and mind,” says Cavenaugh.
Painting daily for the last 20+ years, her work is a visual diary of where she is/was, what concerns/concerned her, what she can’t understand and what she loves. “Beingan untrained artist is great – it means that no one’s list of right or wrong or do’s or do nots is ever in my head – in my art, I do only what I want to do. It is the one place I am truly free,” she says.
Born into poverty in 1952, Cavenaugh lived until age 40 in Washington, DC, which she calls home. She began to work at 13, put herself through the University of Virginia and married the day before she graduated. At 40, after she ended the almost 20-year marriage, Cavenaugh moved herself and her two young children to the coast of North Carolina where her life and her self were reinvented by a trip to a local frame shop. Her thought was to frame a couple of her fledgling art works for her new home. A gallery owner happened to be in the frame shop where she "discovered" Cavenaugh, sent her home for all her other paintings and put her under contract right then and there. Three paintings sold the first week, and Cavenaugh's new life as an artist began.
Remaining in North Carolina for twenty years, Cavenaugh built a substantial and successful art career before returning at 60 to Washington, DC, the home she never stopped missing. Deborah Cavenaugh Gallery and Deborah Cavenaugh Art School were among the entities she established during her sojourn in NC. She created an international greeting card and print line and licensed her art images internationally. Her writings and art are published in books and magazines. She is a popular keynote speaker and has developed many charitable drives.
Cavenaugh works constantly. Her life is her work, and she says she can no longer separate herself from her art. Her success includes more than 100 showings of her work and representations by galleries from Maine to Florida. Her website, DeborahCavenaugh.com, has received praise and been called “one of the most beautiful sites on the web.” Her Print Collection, numbering over 400 images, sells worldwide. Her Original Art has sold to private collections across the country and around the world. Interviewed over 100 times by the press, she has been called a “visionary,” a “community activist,” and “a role model for children.”
Cavenaugh lectures on business, inspirational subjects as well as the art business. A published writer, she also illustrates and creates images for licensing. Her fine art works run the gambit from painting to sculpture to jewelry, and a host of other fine art products.