Friday, August 22, 2014


What is your name?

Debby Bird

Where are you from?

I grew up in Pippa Passes, KY a city with an official population of 532 (2012), Yes it was that small!!

Where do you live? 

I now live in Northern VA, near Washington DC

When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist? 

I have always loved art but did not consider it seriously as a career. I studied Architecture in college and worked as an Architect for 6 years, but when my children were born I did not want to continue working in an office setting with an inflexible schedule. I took up painting as a hobby but quickly knew that I wanted to make it into a career. I am very thankful that for now my husband’s job is allowing me to stay home with the kids and work to build my career. I have only been focusing on my art for about two years 

Who influenced you as an artist? 

I have been very influenced by several wonderful teachers, Tricia Ratliff and Jonathan Linton. But probably most influential was my mother who dabbled in art and was extremely talented but did not focus on it; she instead put her time and energy into raising four children. She taught me to love art from a very early age.

"What is your story?"

My sister discovered she had breast cancer when she was 32 years old and still nursing her youngest child. She battled it for 6 years before she went to meet her maker. She fought with grace, love and determination to be there for her children as long as possible. Her life and death remind me that we never know how long we have here on Earth and give me the determination to seize every day.
I want to pour as much love and energy into my children and into my art as I can. Many ask me how I manage to make time for Art with three young children or encourage me to focus on my art later when there will be more time for it.

There may never be more time.

I know that loving my children and creating beautiful art can make an enduring change in the world that no temporarily clean house or folded laundry ever could.
Those things manage to make their way into my days but my attention has been focused and narrowed by first hand experience with the richness and shortness of the time we have.
My story is one that continues to grow every day. I hope it involves helping to provide for my family with my art but it will certainly include art.

What is your favorite medium?


Do you have a studio? Where is it?

My studio is a spare bedroom in our house, right next to kid’s room, they like to pop in and check on my painting when they are supposed to be in bed.

When did you become a mother? 

I became a mother 5 and half years ago and now have three children. 5,4, and almost 2. 

What are your challenges as a mother artist? 

It can be hard to schedule some art opportunities when I am also the full time childcare provider. It is also hard to afford classes and show entry fees because we live off of one income and painting is not a money maker for me yet. Also housework and meal planning get less attention than my art so they are constantly behind. But I get more satisfaction out of working on a painting and having a final project than I do out of cleaning the house and finding it messy again moments later. I do mostly paint after they are all in bed so that can also be exhausting.

What has been the driving force behind keeping a balance between being a mother and an artist?

My children are a huge priority and I want be an Artist both because I love it and because it would afford a more flexible schedule to be there for them.


  When do you spend time making art?
  I do mostly paint after they are all in bed, usually from 7 or 8 at night until midnight.


 How many children do you have?  

  I have three children who are 5, 4, and 2 Do you want more? I may want another child and am open to that possibility but for now I am happy for a break. 

Have you ever considered giving up art in order to be a mother?

No, I do not think there is any need to give it up. I can always find some moments to fit it in. Even if it is only a few minutes at a time there should always be something I can do to practice and grow as an artist.

Do you have support from your family and friends to keep making art? 

I have support from most of my family. But it is hard when I am not making money yet from it to justify it as a career choice to some.

Do you feel like you are taken
seriously as a mother artist?
I am not sure, I think 
people’s immediate reaction 
is to look at me as just a 
mom but when they see my 
work maybe that changes?

Has becoming a mother influenced your art?

I am not sure I would have had the opportunity to consider art seriously without the break from office work that having children provided. They also inspire my work and are so encouraging.

Do you think mother artists are taken seriously in society?

I think that there are some disadvantages to being a mother with primary childcare responsibilities that make being taken seriously more difficult. But in general I think mother artists are taken seriously.

What do you say when someone asks “what does your husband do for a living?” are you offended by such a question?

I just tell them what he does; it is usually said with a good nature. I really appreciate his willingness to support us while I build my career into being profitable.

What have you learned about balancing motherhood and your passions?

I have learned that mostly they can combine to create a beautiful whole, some things get set aside for now but I try to get the most important things done.

What advice can you offer other mother artists about pursuing their passions regardless of their situation?

Make time for what you love in whatever moments you have.

What do you want to be remembered for as an artist?

I want to be remembered for making beautiful paintings of family life and relationships.

To learn more please visit:

And follow her blog at :

* All photos were submitted and belong to the artist. 

No comments:

Post a Comment