Gibson Award Winner 2023!
The Gibson Award was set up at the request of Gladys Gibson and each year we ask our group leaders to nominate a member who has shown particular achievement during the previous year. It is a great way to hear about our members’ journeys and how Conquest Art is enriching their lives in some way or another.
From the nominations, one is selected, and the trophy then presented.
This year Debbie Deal from the Ewell group was chosen for the award.
Debbie’s story is one of courage and determination, following a particularly difficult year for her in 2022.
Many of you know Debbie Deal as a long standing member of the Ewell Group. Debbie first joined Conquest Art in 2004 and soon established herself as a talented artist. Sadly, two years prior to joining, Debbie suffered a stroke which left her paralysed down her right side. Not allowing this to deter her, she worked hard to regain her strength and focused on the positive fact that she was left handed, which enabled her to continue to enjoy her art.
Debbie has exhibited and sold several exceptional pieces of artwork during her 19 years with CA and her exhibition pieces at Bourne Hall have been testament to her skill. Being an animal lover, she especially enjoys drawing and painting them, which she is able to do with sensitivity and humour.
Sadly, during the past year and a half, Debbie has endured some serious health setbacks, culminating in two major operations at the end of 2022. Debbie explained that her health issues made it extremely difficult for her to concentrate as she was in constant pain. Inevitably she lost confidence and became demoralised. In addition to this, the pandemic had not helped her motivation and had a negative effect on her mental health. By the time we re-opened in the Summer of 2022, she was unsure about rejoining the group. She had even begun giving away her art materials which saddened her greatly as her art had always been her joy and passion.
However, despite serious health setbacks and two major operations, Debbie has shown incredible strength of character. Since the Ewell group opened for the new year, she has gradually regained her motivation and desire to paint. Following successful opthalmic surgery to remove a brain tumour, her eyesight is clearer now and she told me that she is looking at everything with fresh eyes. She has regained her enthusiasm and love of nature and frequently stands at her back door watching the birds feeding or photographing the vibrant colours as the sun sets behind the silhouette of the houses.
We are all extremely proud of Debbie and delighted that she is back on track with her art. We’re sure that she will see her way towards producing some wonderful new works of art during 2023.
Julie Foard, Ewell group volunteer