About Deborah Maklowski

Ellicott City artist Deborah Maklowski has been following her own creative path since she was a toddler, embellishing her parents’ books with unsolicited illustrations. Her mother, an amateur artist herself and the daughter of an amateur artist, took the hint and arranged for Deborah to take private art lessons, starting at the age of 9. Her parents also enrolled her in the Famous Artists School, a Connecticut-based art correspondence course founded in 1948 by Norman Rockwell, Albert Dorne, and other well-known professional illustrators. That course and the incredibly talented faculty teaching there in the early 1960’s gave Deborah an excellent grounding in the principles of design and greatly improved her observation and rendering skills.

Following college, Deborah put her artistic development on hold during a 30-year career with the U.S. Department of Defense, but after her 2009 retirement, she began studying and working again as a full time artist, initially inspired by the gift of a 60-year-old set of Grumbacher pastels that once belonged to her mother.

Today Deborah maintains an active and thriving art practice, both in the studio and in plein air. She works in a variety of media and genres, including impressionist landscapes in acrylic, colored pencil, and pastel, representational drawings in graphite and ink, and landscape-inspired abstracts in colored pencil and mixed media. With a focus on excellence in composition, her primary goal is to manipulate color, value, line, and edges to draw the viewer into and around the picture plane, to create the illusion of atmosphere, mood, and depth, and to provide an engaging mental space where the viewer is invited to find his or her own compelling story in the work. Deborah never has a “message”: she creates art for the deep fulfillment she finds in overcoming the challenges inherent in the art-making process, for the satisfaction of learning to master the materials, for the fun of occasional happy accidents, and for the sheer visual and physical joy of it, seeking to share with the viewer the sublime beauty she finds in the world all around her, in forms both natural and man-made.

Artist Statement

Best known for her representational work—primarily landscapes in pastel, colored pencil, and acrylic—Maryland artist Deborah Maklowski began exploring acrylic mixed media abstracts in 2010, in designs that reference and reflect her deep love of the landscape and the inspiration she finds in painting outdoors. 

In her mixed media works, Deborah applies acrylics, papers, markers, metal leaf, stones, beads, and found objects to develop a strong composition, establish an emotive color harmony, and manipulate value, line, texture and edges to set a mood and create depth. Each painting develops organically from an intuitive start, and some may undergo many iterations over several years before reaching their final form. Deborah never paints with a “message.” Her goal instead is always and only to provide an engaging and uplifting visual space where the viewer is invited to find his or her own compelling story in the work. She creates art for the deep fulfillment she finds in overcoming the challenges inherent in the art-making process; for the satisfaction of learning to master the materials; and for the fun of occasional happy accidents. But mainly she creates for the sheer joy of it, seeking to share with the viewer the sublime beauty she finds in the world all around her, in forms both natural and man-made. 


Virginia Commonwealth University, Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art, Art History, History), 1975 

Workshops in pastel (studio and plein air) with Albert Handel, Richard McKinley, Bob Rohm, Doug Dawson, Susan Ogilvy, Terri Ford, Lorenzo Chavez, Liz Haywood-Sullivan, Tony Alain, and others (2003-2019) 

Workshops in colored pencil with Eileen Sorg, John Smolko, Jeffery Baisden, Cecile Baird, Ester Roi, Bonnie Auten, Allan Servoss, and others (2004-2012) 

Workshops in acrylic with Walt Bartman and Kim Richards (2020-2021) 

Professional Associations 

Colored Pencil Society of America (dual signature member; President 2018-present; Product Research Director 2016-2018, Ways & Means Director, 2015-2016)  

Maryland Pastel Society (signature member and past President) 

Pastel Society of America (juried member) 

Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society (MPSGS) of Washington D.C.  

Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association 

Maryland Federation of Art 

Cider Painters of America 

International Guild of Realism (2006-2015) 


“Strokes of Genius 12,” Best of Drawing, Nov 2020 

Featured Artist, Colored Pencil Magazine, Feb 2020 

“Colored Pencil Comes of Age in the International Art World,” International Artist, Oct/Nov 2018 

“CP Treasures, Vol V,” Ann Kullberg, 2017 

“CP Hidden Treasures,” Ann Kullberg, 2013 

“Realist Tradition,” American Art Collector, September 2012 

“Strokes of Genius: The Best of Drawing,” North Light Books, 2007 

New Brunswick Art Salon 2021 Fall Watercolor and Mixed Media Exhibition

Selected National & International Exhibitions and Awards 

  • CPSA International Exhibitions (2006-2021): Award for Excellence, 2018; Award for Distinction, 2020 
  • CPSA “Explore This!” International Online Exhibitions (2013-2019): Awards for Excellence, 2014 and 2019 
  • MAPAPA Small Plein Air Works Exhibition, Havre de Grace, MD (2019): 1st Place 
  • Sister Cities Exhibition, Chateau Grouchy, Cergy-Pontoise, France (2018) 
  • Philadelphia Watercolor Society, Works on Paper Exhibitions (2016-2018): awards in 2016, 2017 
  • MPSGS International Exhibitions (2011 – 2021): Landscape Category awards: 1st Place (1x); Drawing Category awards: 1st Place (3x), 2nd Place (3x), 3rd Place (1x) & Honorable Mention (1x) 
  • Miniature Art Society of Florida, Dunedin, FL (2018): Best Work by 1st Time Entrant 
  • Cider Painters of America International Exhibit, Kingston, PA (2017): Scott Award 
  • Maryland Federation of Art’s “Small Wonders,” Annapolis (2016): Juror’s Choice Award 
  • “Connection” Invitational Exhibition, Atlantic Gallery, New York, NY (2016) 
  • International Guild of Realism 10th Annual International Juried Exhibition, Principle Gallery, Alexandria, VA (2015) 
  • “Pastel Unleashed,” a pastel + mixed media show, Bethesda, MD (2014): Honorable Mention 
  • “Paint the Town” Plein Air Competition, Chestertown, MD (2013-2019): Best in Show, 2013 
  • International Guild of Realism 7th Annual International Juried Exhibition, Carmel, CA (2012) 
  • International Guild of Realism “Leading Masters of Contemporary Realism,” Cape Cod, MA, (2007)