Debbie Beauchamp is the VAST Artist of the Year for 2020-21. Her watercolor painting “Sea Turtle Habitat” received the most votes among the winning artworks from the monthly mini-shows for September 2020 – May 2021.

Debbie’s Artist Statement:

“I am very humbled and grateful to receive this recognition from VAST members.
The inspiration for the subject of this watercolor painting, Sea Turtle Habitat (aka Close Encounters of the Turtle Kind), came from my niece. She is a supporter of an organization that cares for rescued and injured sea turtles.
My artistic background has included occasional painting classes as a hobby (oils and acrylics) while continuing my career as a cosmetologist. Being the spouse of an Air Force pilot meant frequent moves for our family; after my husband’s military retirement in 1988, we moved to North Texas. While attending an art show, I met Dallas watercolor artist Jane E. Jones, whose work fascinated me. After two attempts at Jones’ beginner class and a not-so-successful Plein Aire adventure, I was convinced I lacked the skills to become an artist. Jane recommended I contact Jo Williams. Thanks to Jane and Jo, their patience, gifts for teaching, and guidance, I continued working on my watercolor skills. I returned to UNT and TWU to study art history and painting, receiving my degree in 2000.
I continue my love for painting. An additional reward for me has been wonderful friendships, travels, and opportunities to study with many masterful painters. Painting is a continuous journey of discovery best described by Michelangelo at age 87 years: “Acora imparo” (I am still learning).”