Deborah (1953- ) is a landscape, portrait and figure painter, who came from a family of artists and musicians and began her studies with classical painter German expatriate Peter Blos (1903-1986) in the San Francisco Bay Area. At age nineteen she traveled and painted extensively throughout Europe and in 1973, won a full scholarship to attend the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, where she studied with Lorser Feitelson, Harry Carmean, Eugene Fleury and Bernyce Polifka. She continued her studies at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, with Ralph Borge. After her marriage to Robert Veldkamp she attended Long Beach State University where just short of attaining her BFA they left for Skagway AK.  She exhibited with the Alaska State Council on the ARTS in Anchorage, where her piece won a purchase award and is in the Art For Alaskans Contemporary Art Bank. They returned now a family with a small child to San Luis Obispo, California.

Deborah has exhibited widely on the West Coast and in Europe, and her work is in private collections in the United States, England, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

While compiling a monograph of Peter Blos, Deborah met Ray Strong, California landscape painter (1905-2006), in Santa Barbara where Ray was the patriarch and founder of the Oak Group.  Peter Blos & Ray Strong knew each other in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1940s-1960s where Ray was one of the founders of the Art Students League of San Francisco, along with Maynard Dixon, Dorothea Lange, and Imogen Cunningham, and Ansel Adams.  When Deborah met Ray, she had become primarily a landscape painter.  She credits Ray’s influence in focusing again on figure and portrait painting. Ray himself sat willingly several times for her; of which she has painted five portraits of Ray who once called her the ‘Headhuntress’. One portrait is in the permanent collection of the Wildling Art Museum of Los Olivos. Upon seeing his portrait in the exhibit STRONG INFLUENCE the year before Ray died, Ray remarked heartily, ‘That’s the closest I’ll ever get to Monet!’

Ray Strong


Deborah teaches portrait and figure painting at the San Luis Obispo Art Center. Her work is registered in the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC and is a member of the California Art Club. Deborah has illustrated and written several children’s pictures books of which several are published.


My garden is an evolving canvas.



The light in my house.