The Hill Rag Magazine, Washington, DC, The Hill Center, Art Show Review

Art and the City

"tell this the story or the dream?" 

"tell this the story or the dream?" 


Artist Profile: Deborah Cavenaugh



This is a story about flying – the rhythms of migration, leaving home to go home. Deborah Cavenaugh is soaring above the hard trials of life. You can see it in the bright, playful watercolors with the happy field plants and the happier birds always taking to wing. You hear it in the titles: “I Kept Hoping I Could Fly” and “At Daybreak I Go.” You feel it in the red/green and orange/violet harmonies.

For Deborah it’s all part of the theme of her show, now at The Hill Center on Capitol Hill: “Leaving Home-Going Home.” After 20 years in North Carolina she is coming home.

Deborah turned to art with a toy watercolor set, a gift from her young daughters, at a difficult timin her life. It became a way to cope, “to turn hard times into truth and beauty.” She is also a life- coach to preteens and teens, using art to explore the same chance to fly, to lift off, to explore the life story that leaves the hand and finds itself on the paper, fashioning a new spirit from shy dreams.

That is another important element in her work: the hand that physically connects the mind to the surface and actually enters the picture plane. You will see original pencil drawings under the watercolors and other media – the painting within the painting. It’s the understory, the imprint of the artist’s hand.

Also in the show are new works, torn paper mosaics. In these energetic larger pieces the images play hide and seek, creating new perspectives. The overall patterns introduce your eyes to Cavenaugh’s stories, pictures with which to fly.