Birds of a Feather by Deborah Bentley | 2022 Art Contest Winner

Want to be our 2023 Festival Artist?

Every year Friends of Bosque del Apache hosts an art contest as part of Festival of the Cranes. This art is featured as one of the faces of our event and will be released on apparel, notecards and much more! The original artwork can be any medium: paintings, digital, printmaking, mixed media, two or three-dimensional art, photography, as well as any other. Photographs can be unaltered originals or edited. Friends also offers a free Expo booth or table during Festival (possible COVID-19 restrictions allowing), where the featured artist of the year can sell their artwork, from postcards to originals.



Learn about the 2022 Festival of the Cranes Artist

Deborah Bentley has explored and experimented with art across a wide variety of mediums her entire adult life but her signature mediums are watercolor and silk painting. A Wisconsin native, Deborah grew up enjoying nature in the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge and she and her husband moved to New Mexico in 2014. Deborah says that the Land of Enchantment has influenced her painting in many ways; notably, the most impactful influence has been in her own backyard – a beautiful view of the Sandia Mountains!

Educated in mathematics and science, Deborah’s professional career included tenures as a high school mathematics teacher, computer programmer, corporate training manager and an instructional design consultant for many of the largest corporations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Mostly self-taught, Deborah had the good fortune to be introduced to a group of women in the New Mexico Silk Painters Guild. She also joined a group of watercolor artists. The friendship of these creative and talented artists, along with their willingness to share ideas and techniques have strengthened her skills and helped Deborah’s painting style to evolve.

Most recently Deborah started exploring ways to really make her paintings “joyous,” which led to her newest technique – Color Pops. This unique painting approach was born out of Deborah’s boundless love of bright colors, boredom with her tried-and-true painting style, and an ever-growing inventory of never-used supplies.

There are many steps involved in each Color Pop; other than having its roots in a general idea (like birds, butterflies, or hollyhocks), there is often little to no preplanning with this technique.

When needed, Deborah will often do a watercolor as a study for her silk paintings. Deborah sells many of her Color Pops with a custom frame made by her talented husband.

Congratulations Deborah!






















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