Creativity – In the Studio with Artist Deann Hebert

Aug 5 2015

by Whitney Long

In this series on The Southern C, I am thrilled to introduce our readers to some of the interesting and creative Southern entrepreneurs we meet online through our social network and also in “real life” at The Southern C Summits.  These individuals are the CEO’s, founders, creative directors, artists, designers, makers and doers that are shaping our landscape with their vision and ingenuity.  Take a peek into their day to day life, find out what they are working on, discover the path that led them to this moment and gain insight into what motivates and inspires their work and lives.

The subjects and their niche may vary but many share the paradoxical traits of creative individuals – they daydream, observe, ask big questions, people watch, seek new experiences, view life as an opportunity for self-expression, take risks and bounce back all while following their true passions.  We hope you will be inspired as we spotlight the creativity that abounds in our region.  According to Einstein, “Creativity is contagious”, and this is one thing we are happy to spread.

This week, I would like to introduce Deann Hebert a painter who traded in her corporate high heels for paint brushes several years ago and has never looked back.   Formally trained at Auburn University and The Chelsea School of Art & Design, she uses layer upon layer of palette knife texture that is reminiscent of tree bark and peeling barn paint.  The result is exquisite artwork produced in an open working studio located in a once abandoned stove and mattress factory in Franklin, Tennessee, just south of Nashville.  Deann’s work reflects her Southern background and tells the stories of our collective past and the rich history of the South.  Sounds like a Southern creative to me!


Deann Designs

Describe your art and process:

Over the last decade, I’ve honed in on a particular artistic style that makes my art unique: I utilize a form of impasto, and primarily work with a palette knife across acrylic paint to create layer upon layer of painted texture reminiscent of tree bark and peeling barn paint. Inspired by the colors and textures of the countryside, I have learned to channel those characteristics in my paintings to extract nostalgic elements, a sense of cozy and the familiar, and of the country life I love and live!


 Describe a typical day in your studio:

 After morning egg gathering, I drop my two daughters off at school and then head to her studio located in the Factory at Franklin. What once was an abandoned stove and mattress factory now serves as an inspirational creative space for artists. I have been creating artwork out of my Factory studio for 12 years, feeling right at home among the old barnwood walls and cement floors. While the girls are in school, I paint furiously, getting in as much studio time as possible before their day ends and life at Hillbound, our late 19th century farmhouse, can begin again.


 What did you want to be when you grew up and how has your background influenced your work?

 Growing up on my family’s farm in rural Alabama, where we raised horses and cows, I gained a love and respect for country life. A quarter horse named Boss became my first love, (dont’ tell my husband) as I competed in local horse shows, riding western pleasure style. As I grew, I would eventually become a teenage girl who would give up riding horses to ride in cars with friends but the ways of farm life had become deeply ingrained in me something I wouldn’t realize until the thrills of life away from the farm lost their luster. Now, I am returning to my roots, and painting the things I truly love about the South.


 Any “a-ha” moment that made you take the leap?

 Yes! Right about the same time I quit my graphic design job, the studio space at the Factory became available! I took that as a sign for sure!


 Favorite biz tool, apps, artists or business books?

 The Artist’s Way is my absolute favorite book for living the artists life… it’s a must for any artist!


 Where do you find inspiration? Any blogs, magazines or person?

 I find inspiration from my surroundings and this beautiful land we live on at our farm in Brentwood, TN.


 The rare day off – what do you do to unwind?

 My family and I love to spend summer weekends at the lake.


 Best business advice you ever received?

 The point is that you learn how to make your work by MAKING your work– and a great many pieces you make along the way will never stand out as finished art.  The best you can do is make art you care about–and lots of it! The rest is largely a matter of perseverance.

 Whitney Wise Long, co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit, loves to connect with Southern entrepreneurs and learn more about their creative endeavors.

This series – “In the Studio With” – offers her the perfect opportunity to do soFor more of Whitney’s Southern Creatives Q&A’s click the names below:

Katherine Frankstone

Caroline Reehl Boykin

Vaughn Dorrian

Emily Stroud

Jordan Jarvis Hughes

Heather Lancaster

Suzanne LeRoux

Sarah Schell Swinson

Julianne Taylor

Whitney Herndon

Barbara Cobb 

Andrea Gray Harper

Emily Bargeron

Katherine Mullins McDonald

Erin Gregory

Harrison Blackford

Amy Kinslow

Twine & Twig

Meredith Anne Sutton


Whitney Long View More Blog Posts from this Author

Whitney Long is co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit. Mama x 4, wife x 1. Entrepreneur, thinker, doer, writer, researcher, believer. Enjoys working alongside creative entrepreneurs to build community while supporting established and upcoming brands. Hobbies include travel, reading, bike rides and clever craft cocktails.

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