O’Keeffe credited with creation of Peekskill arts district 

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 while she visits the United States. A welcome-home reception and art exhibit will be held at the Quiet Man Public House, in Peekskill, on Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. O’Keeffe’s artwork will be on display during the reception and will move to a public exhibit at H Gallery from Feb. 7-14.

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 1990s 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. After years in Peekskill she relocated to Cold Spring.

During her Peekskill days, O’Keeffe, known then as Deborah Hyatt, primarily worked in pen and ink. Her detailed drawings of the historic buildings of Peekskill still dot the local walls of homes and businesses today. She created 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.

In 1995 Deborah Moved to Ireland where she met 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’Keeffe left her job as a weaver, started an art school in her home 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’Keeffe opened the Back Lane Gallery on New Market Lane in Killarney, a place where local artists from around County Kerry can exhibit and sell their art at affordable prices.  In addition, O’Keeffe is currently exhibiting at the Frida Gallery in Youghal, County Cork, and the Boat House gallery in Kinsale, County Cork.

The Quiet Man Public House is located at 13 North Division St. Admission to the reception is free with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and cash bar.   O’Keeffe’s artwork can be viewed and purchased at the reception and online on her websiteThe H Gallery is located at 1 South Division St.

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