chemeketa students

Instructor Debbie Hornibrook is Keizer Iris Festival poster artist

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

“Purple Iris” by Debbie Hornibrook

For many, the ideal retirement is full of relaxation and leisure.

But Debbie Hornibrook, Chemeketa professor of communication and Renaissance woman personified, may have a more difficult time juggling her ambitious post-professional schedule. When she’s not teaching, taking her motorcycle for joyrides or raising ragdoll cats, she’s honing her artistic skills— taking advantage of every learning opportunity she can so one day she may live a life filled with travel and painting.

Like many things for Debbie, her strengths and passions were not born overnight but through years of persistence. Taking her first art lessons as a kid then again in the late ‘70s, Debbie was disappointed by the hands-off approach her early teachers took to art making. “They sat us down and told us to draw. That didn’t work for me.”

It wasn’t until 2005 when she started teaching at Chemeketa that her love affair with art was reignited. Since then, she’s taken advantage of our tuition benefits, completing courses in figure drawing, design, art history, painting and more.

“I’ve been amazed by our art faculty’s’ strong, guided instruction,” Debbie delights. “Come to find out, many of them had also been taught with the same hands-off methodologies popular in the ‘70s. They also didn’t like it and vowed to dedicate themselves to providing strong art instruction.”

Debbie has paid special attention to developing her watercolor skills, taking additional classes and workshops though downtown Salem’s Art Department and the artist guild Women of Watercolor.

This fall, her watercolor “Purple Iris” was juried into Watercolor Society of Oregon’s exhibition in Medford, and the Keizer Art Association has selected it as the 2015 poster artwork for the Keizer Iris Festival.

“I felt blessed and delighted! I just love flowers and we have such beautiful gardens in our community. It is such an honor to have one of my paintings chosen to represent the Keizer Iris Festival.”

Debbie’s words of advice for other aspiring artists? “Learn all you can. Take advantage of the classes here at Chemeketa and in the community and get connected to instructors and artist groups for guidance and support.”

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