Artist Profile: Debbie Tidwell Art Driven Community By Tina Morris As a little girl, Debbie Tidwell took boat rides on Little River past Woodstock, but never imagined that her future would take shape there. Today, she resides and works in Woodstock, GA, making her living as an artist and art teacher. From a young age, Debbie enjoyed drawing and doodling. She went to UGA for graphic design. After working in the graphic design industry for several years, in 1996, a friend convinced her to take an oil painting class. Though she wasnt originally interested, Debbie walked away with a newfound love of oil painting. Debbie enjoys painting decorative arts and detailed portraits. Her paintings possess beautiful clarity and detail. Her portfolio includes works such as Boys of Summer, a life-size portrait of her son, abstract pieces, and her newest project, which she describes as funky pet portraits. In her pet portraits, the details are accurate, but the subtle blues and purples she includes bring a uniqueness to the project. For many years, Debbie worked as an artist selling her pieces. However, raising three children on her own required additional income. Debbie began teaching art classes to just four students in the storage room of her friend Kathy Pescues frame shop. Now, Debbie teaches at the Elm Street Cultural Arts Center. She currently instructs over thirty students, but she has educated hundreds over the years. Adults comprise most of her classes, however, she has mentored several Etowah and Woodstock High School students who are working on their senior projects. Recently, Debbie participated in a local condo crawl, where community members displayed personal art collections for one another. Debbie displays over one-hundred pieces of art by over fifty artists, mostly local, in her condo. Debbies advice to artists? Connect with your local area. Get involved, and get to know people. Take pride in your hometown. She states that a connection with ones community is special and a must for an artist. It helps an artist to feel like shes a part of something bigger. Debbie is proud to be a part of the Elm Street Cultural Arts Center. She feels that it is an asset to the community. Debbie is available for commissions and art classes. For more information, visit ElmStreetArts.org/dtidwellart/ or DTidwellArt on Facebook.