Debbie Cole, CDA
Started Teaching: 1991
Joined SDP: Early 1990’s
Debbie Cole, the third teacher in our “Meet the Teachers” series, has loved art since she was a child. However, she didn’t start painting until after her own children were born. She had just reenrolled in college to continue her education and was advised she needed to take hands-on art classes. She started with drawing and from there pursued painting. Debbie’s fascination with the medium began to blossom as she sought out books on how to paint from Pricilla Hauser to Pat Olsen. It’s from these books that she learned about Tole Painting, and a new passion was born.
What do you love most about painting?
Oh my, what don’t I love about painting? Painting is more than what I do, it is a part of who I am. I feel alive when I have a paintbrush in my hand. I enjoy the fact that I have learned to paint proficiently in any medium and yet I am still able to explore new techniques with the same excitement and enthusiasm as when I first began painting. It will never get old to me. I also love to be able to interpret the world around me with my paintbrush. When I see things in nature and I am able to reproduce them with painting, it just seems to be what I was meant to do.
What do you love most about teaching?
I believe I love teaching as much as I love painting. It is just so fulfilling to be able to help my students step outside their comfort zone and accomplish something they never thought they could do. I truly value when someone says to me, I remember taking your class and I learned so much from you. I also love the friends I have made from my students over the years. There is no greater compliment a teacher can have than to have the same students take from them over and over again.
What are the top takeaways that students will learn by taking your class?
I am teaching three different classes at SDP this year and I must say that they will learn something different from each class. As a teacher, they will learn that I encourage questions and that I am there to help them. I truly want them to enjoy my classes, too. Every class I teach has an educational focus, yet I try to do something a little different in every class so they always have something new to learn.
What value would you place on attending the classes at the Society of Decorative Painters Conference?
I am a visual learner, but I am also the type of student who loves to ask questions. I value the ability to watch what someone is doing and ask questions face to face. I like having my students gather around me so they can see what I am doing with my hands. They learn more from that than anything.
Do you find it important for yourself to still attend classes here or there to learn a new skill or freshen up on an old one?
Absolutely, I find that it is so important for me to continue to learn new and exciting techniques so that I can pass that knowledge onto my students. My students are evolving and if I do not evolve, they will not be able to learn from me. I have never been a black and white thinker when it comes to painting, and there are many ways to approach painting. It is so much fun learning new techniques and then interpreting them with my own unique style.
When you’re not painting or teaching, what can we find you doing?
You will find me on social media. I spend a lot of time writing my blog articles, maintaining my Facebook Page for Debbie Cole Designs, and enjoying the members of my Facebook Group, Innovative Creations. I also love jewelry design and create fun jewelry with my artwork.
Coming up next week on “Meet the Teachers”… meet Mark Polomchak:
Did you know that when Mark is not painting, you can find him tinkering on the piano and trying to work on his golf game?