Featured Artist Debra Spence

The pastel and colored pencil animal portraits of Debra Spence show the love she has for her subjects, and her amazing ability to bring them to life. Please visit her website to see more of her art.



“Swanlight” pastel, 42cm x 30cm


I have been drawing since I was a child, and, whether I knew it then or not, my style has always been realism. I can remember meticulously copying the illustrations from storybooks, obsessing over every detail and infuriated if I couldn’t achieve a perfect reproduction.



“Howling” pastel, 30cm x 42cm


In 2012, many years later, and after a busy career a million miles away from art, I decided to pick up a paintbrush for the first time. Starting with acrylics I began painting from my own photographs. I was soon getting positive feedback from family and friends and this encouraged me to develop my skills further. I moved on to experimenting with other media like soft pastels, graphite, tinted charcoal and colored pencils. I also started posting my pictures online; I set up a website to promote my work, joined several online art sites, started a Facebook page and joined Twitter.



“Contemplating” Pastel


In 2013, a little over a year later, I felt confident enough to enter my first gallery competition, The Lane Cove Art Awards. I was amazed and thrilled that my work “Contemplating” was awarded the People’s Choice Award.



“Rose” Pastel and Colored Pencil, 42cm x 30cm


I work mainly from reference photos. I have met some amazing wildlife photographers online who, as well as being extremely generous with their talent and time, are amazing artists in their own right.



“Dolly” Pastel on Velour, 42cm x 30cm


Although I am still obsessed with detail, I like to think I’m not just reproducing a photo, but that I add another dimension. I try hard to achieve a realistic resemblance because I respect not only the subject, but the photographer’s skill in capturing the image.


Golden Eye

“Golden Eye” Pastel, 40cm x 32cm


Like many other who draw or paint wildlife, I love animals and I am constantly in awe of nature. I see inspiration everywhere and I have an almost endless wish list of potential subjects. My favourites are the primates, especially chimps and the great apes. I am drawn to their wonderfully expressive features, their eyes are especially mesmerizing.



“Hope” Pastel, 30cm x 42cm


My work is known for being emotive. I like to create pieces that move the viewer, stir some emotional response, and hopefully create empathy and awareness.



“Morlai” Pastel, 30cm x 42cm


Looking to the future, I hope to be able to continue developing my skills by experimenting and practising my craft. I am a long way from earning a living from my art, but I am making the most of every day that I get to draw!


In the Light

“In the Light” Pastel, 42cm x 30cm


To have people choose to hang my work in their homes has given me the most amazing sense of achievement and pride.

Debra Spence invites you to follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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  1. Debra I have been following you for quite some time on FB…I absolutely love your work, your love of animals shines through your beautiful drawings!! I wish you much, much continued success with your art!!!

    • Debra Spence says

      Hi Kathryn, thanks so much for your continued support…I really appreciate it and (as you know) I am a big fan of your work too!

  2. You are my favorite artist. I love your subject choices, your style, medium and most of all how they come to life. The colors you choose are perfect. I can’t believe you aren’t famous! I follow you on Facebook and am always struck by your drawings as soon as I see them on my newsfeed.

    • Debra Spence says

      Hi Chris, thanks so much for your comment…and what a lovely compliment! I try hard to create pieces that bring the subjects to life, so it is lovely to hear I have succeeded. Thankyou!! It is so nice to hear you follow my work.

    • Debra Spence says

      Hi Chris, Thanks so much for your comment…and what a lovely compliment. I try hard to create work that brings the subject to life, so it is nice to know I have succeeded! I really appreciate that you follow my work…Thankyou!

  3. Hi Debra

    Saw your feature and just wanted to say how beautiful and evocative I think your artwork is. I also paint animals, mostly wildlife these days so naturally always look for the life in other artists work. Yours has that special quality that lets me feel your animals are indeed alive with a character all their own.

    • Debra Spence says

      Thank you Cynthia, I appreciate your kind words! It is so nice to hear you like my work…I like to connect with other wildlife artists as well, so I shall visit your page too.
      thanks again!

  4. Fabulous feature Debra. It was wonderful to read your story so far. I’m looking forward to sharing in the journey with you. I love your work 🙂 xx

  5. Debra Spence says

    Thanks Louise, one of the best parts of this journey has been connecting with, and being inspired by, some brillant artists…thankyou for the continued inspiration! 🙂

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