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Like mother, like daughter

Deborah and Abigail Marble share family talent for creating art


STAFF PHOTOS:  - Artists Abigail, left, and Deborah Marble take a moment in Deborahs Lake Oswego art studio.

Like mother, like daughter.

It seems Abigail Marble had little choice to become anything but an artist. While still in elementary school the daughter of Lake Oswego artist Deborah Marble tagged along with her mom to painting groups. Abigail dove right into the activities; the artists never gave any hints that the confidence with which she created her art was decades beyond her young age.

“They treated her with respect,” Deborah said. “She never had any fear and was too young to recognize that what she was doing would intimidate most adults.”

Deborah is known for her distinctive watercolor paintings.

Best known for her distinctly styled watercolor paintings, Deborah Marble shows her art at the Portland Art Museum Rental Sales Gallery and in local shows. One of her pieces, “Splash” is part of the permanent collection of the City of Lake Oswego, and it hangs in City Hall. A participant in the popular Portland Open Studios program, Deborah came to art as an avocation; her primary career was that of a physical therapist.

“I preferred working for a known wage,” she said. But she still found time to do art, including drawing and painting courtroom scenes for the past three decades. That skill is one that Abigail has honed too.

Abigail is an illustrator of childrens books. Does Grandma have a Mustache is a book of poems and Two for Joy is the first chapter book she has illustrated.

Abigail studied studio arts in college and dreamed of becoming an illustrator. She has worked as a freelance graphic artist for many years and has slowly built a portfolio of illustrated books.

The first, “My Secret Bully,” written by Trudy Ludwig, is an educational trade book on bullying. Intended for use by teachers and school administrators, the book has been published in English and Spanish.

“That book has had a great life,” Abigail said.

Books her work also has been featured in include:

Abigail Marble illustrated Tim McGraws picture book Love Your Heart.

  • Singer/songwriter Tim McGraw’s “Love Your Heart,” a children’s book about precocious Katie and her dad. Katie has many talents, but she wonders which one will win her school’s talent show. With the help of her dad and faithful dog Palio, Katie finally chooses one talent that includes Palio. But at the talent show, Katie drops out to help her friend, showing kindness is the best talent of all.

  • “Does Grandma Have a Mustache?” is a collection of poetry for children by obstetrician Rita Fleming. Fleming gets her inspiration for writing funny poems from life lessons learned from her four children and 11 grandchildren, as well as the 7,000 or so babies she has delivered.

    Two for Joy is the first chapter book Abigail has illustrated.

  • “Two for Joy” by Gigi Amateau is the first chapter book Abigail has illustrated. The book is about a girl, her mother and an elderly relative and the dynamics of their family life. “The hardest part of the illustration process is probably keeping the characters consist throughout the book,” Abigail said. “My work tends to be more photo-realistic, rather than cartoons. Emotion and expressions are important, here and in courtroom drawings.”

    She said faces show it all — even small lifts of the eyebrows or subtle frowns can speak volumes.

    “If you get eye movements or facial expressions wrong, children won’t relate,” she said.

    Though still tied to a timeline, her illustration work is more relaxed than courtroom drawing. She was recently hired to draw the proceedings of the federal case against Cliven, Ryan and Ammon Bundy regarding their standoff at Malheur County National Wildlife Refuge.

    This is a courtroom drawing Abigail did of Clive Bundy.

    “These were all made very quickly,” said Abigail of the drawings. “Typically I make an extremely quick gesture drawing and try to capture the defendant’s demeanor and expression right of the bat. ... In the case of the Malheur folks, most of the defendants had very little time to meet with their court-appointed attorneys before the initial hearings. This was lucky for us artists as the attorneys often asked for a little time to review documents with their clients. That gave us a few extra minutes to draw, which was helpful as the actual hearings lasted no more than five to 10 minutes.”

    She says she often stays in the courtroom or lobby for another few minutes after the proceedings end to finish her work.

    “But the reporters are always waiting with baited breath, so the finish is far more raw than it would be in other circumstances,” she said. “That’s the challenge!”

    The books Abigail has illustrated are available online at Amazon.com. To view her work and read her blog visit abigailmarble.com.

    Deborah Marble’s work will be included in the Lake Area Artists show and sale to take place April 22 through 24 at Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State St. Visit lakeareaartists.com for more information on the show and Marble’s work.

    Contact Barb Randall at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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