Artist of Texas Interview With Debbie Lincoln

How old were you when you realized you were an “artist”? 

My grandmother must have told me when I was 4 or 5. She was an art teacher and she put the first brush in my hand.

Who or what inspired you as you to make art in the beginning? 

My mother’s mother was the first, but my mother is quite artistic, too, although she won’t admit it. Her love of design was nurtured in college.

What is your background in art?

I studied art at Texas Tech, but my majors were Math and English.  All my electives were art courses, though, and I continued to take every kind of art-related class after I married and moved away. I have always had a passion for pottery, and throwing pots on a wheel, but the equipment to pursue that interest was always beyond my reach. Paints were easier to transport!

What role do you feel an artist has in society?

I believe that artists possess a talent to soften the heart of a society that seems to be slowing losing its soul. I am a very literal painter, but as I paint I always construct stories – not only about the painting itself, but also about the type of person who may like it or be attracted or touched by it. Art has a way of making people feel not so alone in the universe. “Yes! I feel the same way about that subject!” or “I have been in that same place/mood/situation, too!” It’s a way of connecting.

Do you have a vision or a reason for the art you create?

I simply paint what I love and admire – and in my case, since I am surrounded by farm and ranch land, and the people who care for the earth and many of God’s animals, that’s what I paint.

I have also recently been donating a number of pieces to charity organizations. I have always done this, but the donation requests have increased, and I rarely tell anyone “no”. In fact, I have given paintings to several charities more than 15 years. They get my better, work, too – not just the stuff that’s been hidden in a closet for 10 years!

What part of you do you see in your artwork?

I am a wanna-be-veterinarian, so I am fascinated by and have a deep love for animals – especially horses and cows. 

How do you know when your art if complete or finished?

I am never satisfied that a painting is finished. Never. But I do get tired of it – that’s when I am ready to let go. A very good artist-friend once told me “Your best work should be hanging on someone else’s wall”, and that’s very true of my work. I hold on to none of them and most of the best of them are gone – or given away – or donated.

Today, who has had the greatest influence on your work? 

Whoever in the latest American Art Collector who is using color in a unique fashion.  I get bored with the same old palette and I find myself wanting to break away from routine. I also like any artist who can boldly lose their edges and still maintain a highly identifiable subject….

Name three artists you would like to be compared to.

Frederic Remington, G. Harvey and William R. Leigh. I paint nothing like any of them, yet I love their work. And I have to mention Mian Situ simply because I love his enormous works of perfect composition representing history. He is almost uncanny in his perfection…. 

What is your artistic medium of choice? Why?

Oil on a fine weave linen. I like to mush the paint around and get soft edges. I just can’t seem to do that with acrylic.

Whose work do you relate to most? Who inspires you?

Tom Browning is an artist who paints the exact subjects I love – cowboys and their horses and the cows they care for.

Kenneth Wyatt inspires me. He is a former circuit-riding-Methodist preacher and must be nearly 90. He’s been “pushing paint around” for “only” 40 years, and has built a very nice business founded on his beliefs. I wish I could know him better. 

What food, drink or song inspires you or gets your creative juices flowing?

I love listening to PBS radio. Some of my favorite shows are “A Prairie Home Companion” and “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me”. Old time radio shows are another favorite. I love 60’s and 70’s Rock and Roll, but I cannot paint with it playing in the background – my feet move too much!

Has your art evolved or changed in the past ten years? If so, how?

What are your strengths and weakness?

It has definitely evolved – I pay attention less to detail and more to composition and values. I still need a lot more practice with brush work, even though I consider it my strong point.

Do you have a favorite piece of art? (Please include image for the article.)

Most of my favorite pieces are in someone else’s house! One I still have is called “Future Fear”, depicting an American Indian on a paint horse with flames on the horizon. I acquired the image of the boy on a trip through Wyoming one summer. It is a strong composition with abundant movement and color.

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Do you find the artistic Life lonely? How do you counteract the solitude? 

It can be lonely, but I have a very supportive family that understands when I say “I’m going to the studio” that I need that time for me. I live on a farm, though, with very demanding animals and a huge garden. So I’m rarely alone long! 

If you could picture yourself 5 or 10 years from now, where would you be and what would you be doing?

I will probably still be doing what I am doing now and planning to scale down (sell the farm). I don’t foresee stopping painting, but I do see a limit being placed on my ability to farm as well. Lightening the load will be difficult, but as long as I can paint, it will be welcomed.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to an artist just getting started?


  Getting to know you Q&A

     How long have you lived in Texas?

Since 1960

     Where in Texas do you live now?

A little rural community called Morgan Mill in Erath County

     What is your favorite restaurant in Texas?

Dairy Queen!

     What color is your bedroom?

Warm browns

What book are you reading this week?

“Captured” – a true story of abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier

Do you have a favorite television show or movie?

“Big Bang Theory” – I relate to nerdy lovers of science

What is your favorite color?  What color do you avoid?

Peacock Blue is my favorite for me, but I don’t use it much in paintings. Orange looks horrible on me, but I use it a lot in my paintings.

What are you most proud of in your life?

My children. They left the nest on time and have been independent, moral adults ever since.

What has been your most embarrassing moment?

I accidently sent an e-mail to the wrong person – talking ABOUT that person. I have since been very careful about my judgement and criticism of people. My grandma used to say “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.”

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

Horse trainer, artificial inseminator of cows, proof reader, typesetter/paste up artist, automobile oil changer/minor mechanic, farmer, rancher.

Do you have a passion or hobby other than painting? What is it?

Farming – nothing better than being close to the earth in all its forms.

Who would you love to portray in Mixed Media or in paint?

I love female comedians. I think laughter is one key to living healthy and I think Jeanne Robinson is hysterically funny. I have more belly laughs listening to her routines than any other comedian – and it’s all family friendly and loving. I love HER!

If you were stranded on the Texas Prairie and could only take three things, what would they be?

A knife, box of matches, and something to carry water in.  I am a very practical person. You WANT me on your team if you are on the TV show “Survivor”!

If you could live anywhere in Texas, where would you live?

Somewhere on the Louisiana/Texas border (Texas side) halfway between Oklahoma and the Gulf. The town doesn’t matter, but that part of Texas has had rain lately and I SO miss rain!

 Share something with us that few people know about you.

I have agoraphobia and periodically have anxiety attacks that I have learned to control with my thinking and breathing (and biofeedback exercises).

Name something you love and why.

Day old baby anythings, because they represent innocence and promise.

Describe yourself in one word.


What is the one thing you would like to be remembered for?

I was happy not trying to change the world, but took good care of the space allotted to me and hopefully left it in better shape than I found it.

Nathalie Kelley1 Comment