Deborah Ponder considers herself a storyteller, creating in her paintings narrative vignettes set in places and moments touched by the people who inhabit them. Her style is marked by bold composition, saturated pigment, and the application of paint with directness and vitality.
She is a Signature Member of the Baltimore Watercolor Society and the North East Watercolor Society, and holds associate memberships in the National Watercolor Society and the American Watercolor Society.
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Deborah Ponder earned her B.F.A. from the University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Architecture and Art, where she concentrated on drawing, design and oil painting. Naturally drawn to bold compositions and subject matter with human inferences, she was influenced by the paintings of Edward Hopper, the photographs of Robert Frank, and the ideology of Robert Henri.
She undertook graduate studies in painting and art history through Towson University, living and studying in Florence, Italy and painting the Tuscan countryside en plein air. This experience was a major turning point in the artist’s development in both spirit and practice. Seeking to respond more spontaneously to the Italian landscape with a medium that better lent itself to the portability and quick set-up needed for painting in Florence and the surrounding hills, she shifted her focus from painting in oils to the challenging medium of transparent watercolor.
Her newfound affinity for watercolor would became a lifelong passion. The artist subsequently undertook concentrated studies in watercolor at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and in workshops with nationally known watercolor painters. She found new influences in the watercolors of artist-travelers such as Prendergast, Homer and Sargent. As her painting evolved, a concurrent career in graphic design reinforced her innate preference for strong composition and clear statement, and teaching the principles of visual communication at Goucher College further clarified her approach to painting as a form of storytelling.
“It’s when a subject, a place, a certain kind of light and a strong, instinctive feeling converge in a moment of pure emotion that I find inspiration for my paintings. Most often, I respond to natural elements that are in counterpoint to architectural and man-made elements: a window, doorway or porch; a garden wall or fence; breeze-blown laundry on a line; a hastily abandoned table or chair. I see these as the unique, personal marks that people leave on the world. They are small glimpses into the stories of others’ lives and connections with my own."
Paintings by Deborah Ponder can be seen in international, national and regional invitational and juried exhibitions, as well as galleries in the Middle Atlantic region. Venues have included:
Her paintings are included in private collections across the U.S. Through art publications, such as "The Best of Worldwide Landscape Artists," international marketing of her fine art prints, and licensing of her images to home design product partners, the artist has reached a worldwide audience.
Deborah Ponder is currently represented by Highlandtown Gallery in Baltimore, MD. She accepts commissions for paintings on a limited, individual case basis. She teaches watercolor painting workshops in the Baltimore area.
Deborah Ponder, BWS, NEWS
"My art is an intimate expression of my personal vision of the world around me… reality subjected to my own creative interpretation, simplification, and beautification."