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Art & Life with Debbi Smith Rourke

Today we’d like to introduce you to Debbi Smith Rourke.

Debbi, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I’m a native Texan and have always been inspired by the beauty of nature, from our verdant Texas Hill Country to the shores of South Padre Island. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in advertising. I was trained in school for an entry-level art director position, combining my love of art with the creative flair of advertising. However, after interviewing in Chicago for art director positions, I was hired as a writer. Thus, began the yin and yang of my creative efforts – writing and drawing / painting. I love it all.

Whether working in a freelance or full-time capacity, nothing has stopped me from my artistic endeavors. I started with ceramics, then pastel, then came the adventure oil painting. I have explored everything from traditional still life, figurative and landscape approaches to full abstraction, taking courses and workshops from accomplished artists such as Dianne Grammer, Laurel Daniel, Sandy Ostrau, Carole Marine, Gordon Fowler and other inspiring artists. I continue to explore new artistic directions and learn new techniques.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
Influenced by the natural world, I paint simplified landscapes, breaking elements down into their basic shapes and forms. Exploring forms in their simplified state has led to new works of full abstraction. Artists such as Wayne Thiebaud, Richard Diebenkorn, Henri Matisse, Mark Rothko, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt and Pierre Bonnard continue to inspire me.

Today, I mostly paint abstracted or simplified landscapes, as well as full abstractions — all using a combination of brushwork and palette knife application. I sometimes enjoy capturing different perspectives in a single view, creating depth, then flattening it with line. Whether painting large or small, abstract or representational, I focus on design, balance, contrast, value, movement, texture, rhythm, energy and of course color! I love the phrase: “Contrast does all the work. Color gets all the credit.” So true.

I hope my viewers are drawn to the vibrancy that inspires me and that my works bring continuous joy and newfound interest over time.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
Keep your art interests fueled, whether you are able to pursue them 100% of the time, or after working hours. Life can certainly be a huge balancing act. Regardless of financial concerns and working schedules, be sure to keep your artistic passion alive and fueled. Surround yourself with other artists if that is helpful. It has always helped me.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My works are available on my art website: In addition, I recently started an online art gallery called Artful Galleries ( that offers works from established and emerging artists across the U.S. The works are organized into city collections and 14% of every sale benefits a charity in that city, selected by the collector. The Austin Collection is now live and the Houston Collection will by live July 1, 2018. I hope you will visit soon to see my works and those I curate from other inspiring artists.

You’ll find a range of contemporary works including fused glass, bold abstracts, contemporary impressionist paintings, realism, even photography and printmaking. In the world of art, life is always an exciting adventure. You never know what intriguing discovery awaits you.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Debbi Smith Rourke (photographs of my works) and Lexi Rourke (took my family pic with my husband and grand daughters: Jim Rourke, Jr, holding Ivy Rourke, Wren Rourke [lower left[] and Charlotte Rourke [lower right]).

Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


  1. Ann Newman

    June 20, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    Great article! Debbi deserves the exposure!

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