Deborah O’Keeffe, a popular Peekskill artist in the early 1990s is returning to her artistic roots in the Hudson Valley from Ireland where she has spent the last 15 years teaching and creating art.
Considered a pioneer in the early days of the Peekskill Artist District’s development, O’Keeffe plans to exhibit her current artwork for the first time in 16 years while she is visiting the US.
Today’s artist community is planning a welcome home reception and art exhibit at the Quiet Man Public House, Peekskill’s authentic Irish pub and restaurant at 15 North Division Street on Monday, February 6, 2012 at 6pm. Admission to the reception is free with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cash bar. O’Keeffe’s artwork will be on display during the reception and will move to public exhibition at the H Gallery, Second Floor, One South Division Street, Peekskill, NY from February 7 – 12, 2012.
O’Keeffe grew up in New York and was taught to draw by her father, an artist at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. In the 1990’s she moved to Peekskill with the first wave of artists who helped to reinvent the city as an artists’ enclave. She joined the Peekskill Artists Association and its board of directors and is still thought of today as a pioneer in Peekskill’s Arts Community
During her Peekskill days, O’Keeffe, known then as Deborah Hyatt, primarily worked in pen and ink. Her detailed drawings and prints still dot the local walls of homes and businesses today. One of O’Keeffe’s proudest moments was when she was asked to create an original drawing of Pataki’s Farm Stand which was presented to George Pataki when he was elected Governor of the State of New York.
Among her other works, O’Keeffe’s pen and inks included the Peekskill train station (which appeared in the New York Times), the Commander on the Hudson (limited edition print), and the Wheelabrator plant (an anniversary print).
In 1995, O’Keeffe moved to Ireland where she met and married her husband Patrick. Her art career was put on hold while the couple renovated a barn on Patrick’s family’s farm. During that time, O’Keeffe worked as a weaver at Mucross House in Killarney. Once the house was built, O’Keefe left her job as a weaver, started an art school for children and resumed her art career.
“I discovered soft pastels and soon started painting the beautiful landscapes of Kerry. The sky and the landscapes are always changing and were a great inspiration for an artist used to working only in black and white pen and ink. After years painting in pastel, I recently switched to oils. The oils give me more flexibility and allow me to better capture the beauty and subtle colors of Ireland. While many think of Ireland as rainy, dull and cloudy, it‘s quite the opposite. You‘ll never see so many variations of green than in Ireland,” said O’Keeffe
In December 2010 O’Keefe opened the Back Lane Gallery on New Market Lane in Killarney. The gallery is a place where local artists from around County Kerry can exhibit and sell their art at affordable prices. In addition to having her own gallery, O’Keefe is currently exhibiting at the Frida Gallery in Yaull County Cork and the Boat House gallery in Kinsale County Cork.
Her artwork can be viewed and purchased at the reception and online at http://deborhokeeffe.blogspot.com.