Deborah Kennedy is an artist, poet, college lecturer emeritus, and workshop presenter. She is the author and illustrator of Nature Speaks: Art and Poetry for the Earth, published by White Cloud Press. Nature Speaks features her earth-toned ink illustrations, ecopoetry, and essays. Nature Speaks is recognized with six book awards including the 2017 Silver Nautilus and the 2017 Eric Hoffer Poetry Book Award. An independent reviewer described Nature Speaks as “fascinating, thought-provoking, and soul-stirring.” Her poetry won a first place award in the Maggi H. Meyer Memorial Contest hosted by the Bay Area Poets Coalition, and appears in The Midwest Quarterly: A Journal of Contemporary Thought, Canary: A Literary Journal of the Environmental Crisis, great weather for MEDIA, Unlikely Stories, and Leaping Clear among others.
She earned her BFA from U.C. Berkeley, Phi Beta Kappa and her MFA from San Jose State University. Her work has garnered numerous grants, awards, articles and reviews including an Arts Council Silicon Valley Artist Fellowship and a California Arts Council grant. Recently, her eco installation, Sanctuary, was exhibited at Gallery Route One in Point Reyes, CA and a broadside featuring her artwork and poetry was displayed in Shanghai, China. Kennedy lives in San Jose, California, where she teaches workshops and presents poetry readings with her artwork to student, literary and ecology groups. She often hikes in a riparian corridor, spotting osprey, hawks and herons. In the evening she watches for moon bows, earthshine and other modern miracles.
As an eco artist and author, I create multi-disciplinary artworks—paintings, drawings, art books and installations—exhibited in galleries, museums and public spaces. My illustrated book, Nature Speaks: Art and Poetry for the Earth (White Cloud Press), is a recipient of the Silver Nautilus and Eric Hoffer Poetry book awards. I began Nature Speaks by writing eco poetry, then I illustrated each poem with detailed earth-toned ink drawings. My book is an investigation into the challenging relationship between ourselves and the larger natural world. An independent reviewer described it as “fascinating, thought-provoking, and soul-stirring.”
This book and my work in general, reflects my conceptually-based creative process. I begin with essential questions, including: What new ways of thinking can help us solve our environmental problems?How can art help us understand our deep connections to the web of life? This questioning leads to the ideas that inform my choice of images, materials, and methods. In my artworks and writing, I explore a range of topics, from how endocrine disruptors impact our genetic materials, to the perilous state of bird populations, as well as, models of holistic thinking and the often unrecognized power of natural regenerative forces. These three essential elements—a concern with environmental themes, a research-based creative process, and a strong emphasis on both concept and form—define and unify my creative process and my work.