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Painter Deborah Holmes returns with watercolor creations

MIDDLEBURY — The distinguished watercolor painter Deborah Holmes is planning a return to Addison County this summer, after a five-year relocation to Greensboro, in the Northeast Kingdom.
The move north was inspired by a longing to produce a collection of work documenting family farms in Vermont. Holmes, who lived in Weybridge for more than two decades before moving to Orleans County, worked on more than 60 paintings of 12 farms in the Northeast Kingdom, inspired by the buildings, animals and pastoral landscapes.
“I love the farming history in Vermont and it remains intact in the Kingdom in a way that it isn’t anymore in the Champlain Valley,” she said.
In 2009 Holmes moved to Greensboro with her husband, Tim Short, and two youngest sons, excited to get to know a different part of the state. They initially planned to be there for just one year, but ended up extending their stay.
“It’s been a great time, we’ve met a lot of wonderful people and have enjoyed being in a new place,” Holmes said. “But now it’s time to come home.”
As a child, Holmes’ family spent summers in Shoreham at Larrabee’s Point, so when they found a charming old farmhouse in Shoreham the deal was sealed to move back.
This year marks the 25th year that Holmes has considered herself an artist by trade. “Actually, I have been painting ever since I was a kid,” she said, “but I never really intended to be an artist.”
It started back in 1989 when Holmes took 15 prints she had made to the Frog Hollow Vermont State Craft Center in Middlebury. She sold them all.
From there, she branched out and began displaying her work at studios and galleries all over Vermont and the Northeast. Her work can still be found at Frog Hollow, which has relocated to Burlington, as well as in many gift shops, galleries, restaurants and homes.
“Painting for me now is like breathing,” she said. “I paint just about every day, so there isn’t a lot of guesswork anymore, the formula is pretty clear.”
But Holmes’ collections continue to change and vary, with inspirations from cross-country road trips to the Southwest and from the constantly changing seasons, landscapes and characters within her frames.
Holmes is most well known for her detailed watercolors that show quaint and peaceful scenes in nature. She says she wants her paintings to make people feel peaceful and calm, evoking an easy and light emotional happiness.
So, with the imminent move, what’s Holmes’ next project?
“I’m not sure, exactly,” the artist said.
“I have been experimenting with a new medium called acryligouache that I paint on birch panels that I gesso. The colors are vivid and it is really fun to do,” Holmes continued.
“But actually, I am just really looking forward to moving home and painting the Champlain Valley again, particularly Lake Champlain and the view from Mt. Philo.”
Holmes’ work will be on display at her new permanent studio in the Conley & Foote Office Building on 135 South Pleasant St. in Middlebury. As with the rest of artists’ workspaces during Open Studios Weekend, the doors will be open on May 24-25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

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