ART

Oxford artist is ‘tuned into the world differently’

Oxford Artists' Guild (Mission 2) - Rhylan Hillis

Oxford Artists’ Guild’s logo. Photo by Rhylan Hillis.

Rhylan Hillis
Oxford Stories
rhillis@go.olemiss.edu

The art field is competitive. One must be talented and creative to design original art and driven and ambitious to find a job they want, need and truly enjoy.

Debbie Myers grew up with a mother who is a professional artist and six other siblings. She said her mother “always provided the tools for her seven children to explore the art world.” Five of the seven siblings now work in the professional art field.

After graduating from Jonesboro High School in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Myers followed her passion to Arkansas State University, where she studied graphic design. This was a smart career move for Myers, who “thought it would be easier to get a job and still be in the art field.”

Myers began to sell her work independently “to support her ‘habit’ [because] art supplies are not cheap,” and she needed a way to support what she loves most – painting. She said it’s a “great confidence booster” when someone wants to purchase her work. This is why she continues to do what she loves.

Myers paints many subjects, from portraits to landscapes. Her favorite subjects are portraits of animals and sunflowers, but she is beginning to paint more outdoor landscapes that she calls “Plein Air Painting.”

Painting (Mission 2) - Rhylan Hillis

One of Debbie Myers’ landscape paintings. Photo by Rhylan Hillis.

One of her favorite mediums is watercolor. She recently finished a challenge she calls “31 Watercolors in 31 Days.”

Bob Myers, Debbie’s husband, said her paintings are special and different because they “reveal how she sees things.” He said Myers “loves to create art by the way she views our world.” He said she is “tuned into our world differently,” and that she can see shapes and color in things no one else sees. He said Myers sees things in clouds, buildings, and landscapes, and that she must point them out to him.

When the two retired, Bob Myers thought about his college days at Ole Miss. He said his “perfect idea of retirement would be able to go to every football game, basketball game, and baseball game.”

So, the couple moved from Overland Park, Kansas, to retire in Oxford in the fall of 2009, where they continue to live out Myers’ dream. The two believe it was a good decision, and they have “never regretted it.”

Paintings (Mission 2) - Rhylan Hillis

Oxford Artists’ Guild’s paintings displayed at Sugar Magnolia. Photo by Rhylan Hillis.

Myers still needed a way to support her “habit,” so she teamed up with the Oxford Artists’ Guild. This is a place where she promotes her artwork. While it’s “enjoyable work,” she said she can also become tired when she has to paint several commissioned pieces.

Bob Myers said when his wife is in the middle of a painting, she gets into a zone and focuses on what she is creating. “She often hits a wall on [a] painting and has to walk away for a while,” he said. “Then when the inspiration hits, she returns to them, and they always turn out great.”

When the Oxford Artists’ Guild was looking for a place to display art, Sugar Magnolia, located in “old” Oxford, offered a space, and they jumped at the opportunity. Debbie Myers said “it has been a profitable partnership” for the both. The work of the guild’s artists, including Debbie Myers’, are still there.

While Debbie Myers sells her artwork through the guild, she continues to promote her work on Facebook where friends and family members see her progress and purchase her creations.

Myers has achieved her lifelong goal, and continues to do so in the heart of Oxford.

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