Creative Pagosa: Debra Ferrari

Photo courtesy Debra Ferrari MAKERS artist Debra Ferrari labels herself to be a “Western Oil Painter,” focusing her arts on horses and, more recently, Longhorn steers. Ferrari lists her inspiration for delving into equine art as a Paint horse named Montana.

Photo courtesy Debra Ferrari
MAKERS artist Debra Ferrari labels herself to be a “Western Oil Painter,” focusing her arts on horses and, more recently, Longhorn steers. Ferrari lists her inspiration for delving into equine art as a Paint horse named Montana.

The Pagosa Arts & Culture Project is building a web-based directory of all the creative people and businesses in the community. By creating this website, it will make these MAKERS more easy to find in online search engines and help share the wealth of innovative and talented individuals that call our small town home.

This sort of database is called “cultural mapping” and is being done by communities around the country in order to realize and recognize the value of their creative assets.

The Pagosa Arts & Culture Project is establishing the groundwork for continued collaboration and cooperation and promotional efforts of the combined community. The goal of the project is to establish a solid foundation of cultural and creative individuals and businesses, to create a viable plan for promoting these assets and to promote the Pagosa area as a worthy place of residence for creative people, a productive place for creative business ventures and a desirable destination for arts tourism.

At present, the PACP is also planning an event for fall 2013. The event, the MAKERS Expo and Tour, is set for Oct. 12-13.

To register and be listed in the database, go to

In order to highlight the MAKERS in Pagosa, the PACP will profile its members, giving readers of The PREVIEW a sense of the depth and breadth of the creative community.

This week’s MAKER is Debra Ferrari.

Q: Tell us a little about who you are, where you were born, educated, your family, growing up and how you came to be doing your creative work?

DF: I was born and raised in Stow, Ohio. My mother was artistic and inspired me to paint, draw, sew, hike, garden and participate in craft projects while I was growing up. My mother always encouraged me artistically throughout my life.

I was always painting or drawing ever since I can remember. I won my first art award for an abstract painting when I was 5. I attended the School of Fine Art at Kent State University and majored in Graphic Design. I loved college and enjoyed my classes but I am self taught.

I owned a business in Southwest Florida painting fine art murals and paintings for some of the top interior designers and architects from 1997-2011. There are hundreds of my paintings adorning walls and ceilings in private residences in Naples, Port Royal, Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, Fort Myers and Bonita Springs.

Our friends, Bob and Bonnie Hite introduced us to Pagosa Springs when they invited us to their ranch off 84 (U.S. 84). We fell in love with the area and I knew I wanted to leave Florida and move to Colorado. It took a few years to make the move possible but my husband and I packed up and moved to Pagosa Springs in 2011. There is a positive energy here that is very inspiring to us as artists and the views of the mountains on a daily basis is not bad either. We also love living close to Santa Fe, New Mexico because it is the second largest art market in the US.

Q: Describe the objects you make or the creative work you do.

DF: I now title myself as a “Western Oil Painter”.

I bought one of my sisters beautiful Paint horses named Montana a few years ago. I give him all the credit for inspiring me to start painting horses. He is the coolest horse with a wonderful funny personality. I did just recently add Longhorn steers to my forte in addition to my equine art. I had never seen a Longhorn until I moved to Colorado. I am never without my camera in our truck in case I see a horse to photograph while driving around Pagosa Springs or attending a stock show, rodeo or equine event. I am always looking for new horses to paint. If I find out you have a cool horse you may get an e-mail from me asking you to allow me to take a few pictures for future equine painting.

Q: What is your favorite tool or material used in making your work? Why?

DF: This is a tough question. I have some favorite brushes that I like to use and I often have to replace them because I wear them out.

Q: Do you have a regular routine or schedule?

DF: I paint everyday.

Q: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

DF: To live in the “now”.

Q: When you’re not making art, what is your favorite thing to do in Pagosa country?

DF: Go hiking with my friends and husband.

Q: What are your goals for the coming year?

DF: My husband, James Ferrari who is an award winning sculptor and myself are showing together in Creede at the CRT Art Exhibit from July 26-August 2013. Everyone is invited.

I also have goals to show my art at the: Coors Western Art Exhibit in Denver, American Quarter Horse Museum, Ex Arte Equinus, Prix De West, Cowgirl Up, Buffalo Bill Art Show & National Museum of Wildlife Art. I will be making giclee prints starting in April and some of my original equine paintings and a coffee table book of my equine collections (2011-2013) by the fall. Just in time for Christmas.

Q: What is your dream project?

DF: I was inspired last year to paint a new collection of oil paintings after one of my Florida girlfriends sent me a picture of a Friesian horse with an American flag around his neck. The horse is a symbol of the “Darkhorse” battalion. One of my goals is to photograph and paint a series of horses with the American flag around their necks and publish a book featuring these paintings titled, “God, Country, and Horses” in 2015.

Debra and her husband James Ferrari own Ferrari Studios in Pagosa Springs. For more information, visit

This story was posted on March 14, 2013.