About the Artist, Debra Henkener
I grew up in the small, German-Catholic town of Ottoville, Ohio (Go Big Green!), as Debra Elizabeth Stepleton...or “Debbie”. I married my love & best friend, Craig Henkener, in 1972. We moved to Wapakoneta in 1974, where we built our first home. In 1987, we moved to a log home we built ourselves. After almost 42 years of marriage, we realize how lucky we are to have a wonderful home, a beautiful family, and good enough health to enjoy all these blessings from God. We are proud of our three grown children: Kristina Soliday (Lance), Angela Elshoff, and Michael Henkener (Libby). Our family has grown to include: one granddaughter, Taylor Elshoff (21) and three grandsons - Gage Henkener (12), Emmitt Henkener (9), and Chase Soliday (9). Pets are always a big part of any family. We have two grand-dogs and one of our own named Abby. She is a Springer Spaniel, who enjoys pestering the rabbits and squirrels in the back yard.
The Log Cabin is both my art studio and our home. My studio is in the basement, but was wonderfully remodeled and furnished by Craig a few years ago. We live in rural Auglaize County, which is rich in Native American history. A woods stretches behind the cabin with a large herb garden nestled between. Our front yard is a large pond stocked with fresh water fish. We also own a mountain top in southern Adams County, called Sunshine Ridge. The valley below our mountain is called Moon Hollow, which is the title of my first decorative painting book. Inspiration for my art is centered in my family, friends, and this rustic setting.
At an early age, my art talent was recognized and encouraged by my parents and teachers. Craig and I met and majored in Commercial Art at The Ohio State University. I also graduated from Norman Rockwell's Famous Artists' School, which was based in Connecticut. In 1988, my best friend, Vera Collier and I began taking tole painting classes from a local artist, Linda Barry. Linda encouraged both of us to design our own projects and teach. Eventually, Vera and I started doing just that! We took classes from a diverse range of teachers, began designing packets and teaching, submitted magazine articles, and wrote decorative books. We co-authored a snowman book called "Shivering Heights". You can find Vera’s art work at Painter’s Creek Folk Art. Currently, I have designed and written three books, dozens of magazine articles, and over 300 pattern packets. I like so many different types of artwork, that I have never settled into one category. But, I work and teach in watercolors, acrylics, oils, charcoal, and pencil. I've received fine art awards in all!
My art affiliations include: Riverside Art Center, Society of Decorative Painters, Ohio Heirlooms of Tomorrow, Heart of Ohio Tole Chapter, Lima Area Watercolor Society, Ohio Watercolor Society, Wassenberg Art Center, Arts Place St. Marys, Gateway Arts Council, and Art Space Lima.
I was the Art Director for the 2004 HOOT convention. I have served as a Decorative Arts judge for the Ohio State Fair and a fine art, tole, and ceramics judge for the Auglaize County Fair.
I am a published artist/designer/demonstrator for the DecoArt Co. (maker of Americana Acrylic Paint), Chartpak, Inc. (maker of Grumbacher's Finest Watercolors), and Loew-Cornell, Inc. (maker of La Corneille Golden Taklon brushes). These companies provide incentive programs and product support for many designing artists. I am also affiliated with Cupboard Distributing & Cabin Crafters. Please consider giving all of these companies your support, when you shop for art supplies.
I hope you've enjoyed reading my bio and exploring the Log Cabin website. I love art and want to always encourage artists to use their creative licenses. I wish you the joy of art…this joy is found in the experience of doing the art and sharing knowledge with others. Be inspired!
Love & God Bless.......................Deb