Deborah J. Haynes is a Professor Emerita of Art and Art History at the University of Colorado Boulder. With BFA and MFA degrees in ceramics from the University of Oregon, she also has a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a PhD from Harvard University in the Study of Religion and Art History. She has published seven books and more than fifty essays. Although she has worked as an artist for decades, most recently her art focuses on mixed media drawing and painting on paper and modest work with stone.

Deborah J. Haynes is a multi-disciplinary conceptual artist. Like her writing, her visual art is driven by ideas rather than commitment to particular subjects or media. Over the past few decades, she has created rituals, performances, installations, handbound books, mixed-media drawing and paintings, and marble sculpture, both hand-carved and sandblasted. Since 2006, she has worked on several mixed-media drawing series. “Marking Time” includes scrolls and drawings done over periods ranging from two weeks to twenty months, and they function simultaneously as both maps and calendars. Using both recognizable symbols, texts, and her own iconographic language, she literally gives form to the experiences of space, place, and time. “Meditations on Impermanence” includes larger drawings up to 38” x 68”, as well as small studies that explore daily experience, the dying process, and death itself. This work is inspired by yoga and meditation, volunteer work with hospice, and ongoing caregiving. Her “Dharma Art” has become more explicitly Buddhist in focus: it uses images and symbols drawn from Buddhist iconography and methods. Most generally, she has been working in a contemplative mode for a long time. Now, her art directly reflects meditative practices.

ESAI Interview:


Beginning Again
Cascade Books, 2018
This book is the fruition of my reflection and writing about art and creativity, and about contemplation and meditation.
Available from: Wipf and Stock, Amazon, and Apple Books

Spirituality and Growth on the Leadership Path: An Abecedary
Pickwick, 2012
Offers lessons not usually taught about leadership, lessons learned over thirty years in higher education and nonprofit organizations. The book’s themes are related to the inner moral and spiritual life.
Available from:
Wipf and Stock and Amazon

Book of This Place: The Land, Art, and Spirituality
Pickwick, 2009
​Explores how place can be the arena for investigating engagement with the land and nature, art and creativity, and spiritual life.
Available from: Wipf and Stock and Amazon

Art Lessons
Westview, 2003
​Written in the tradition of Robert Henri’s classic book The Art Spirit, Art Lessons is a sustained reflection on the question “what does it mean to become and work as an artist today?”
Available from: Amazon

Vocation of the Artist
Cambridge, 1997
​Examines the historical role of the artist and presents a particular perspective, grounded in the author’s experience as a practicing artist and scholar, on the contemporary function of the artist as prophetic critic and visionary.
Available from Cambridge University Press and Amazon

Bakhtin and the Visual Arts
Cambridge, 1995
​The first book to analyze the relevance of Bakhtin’s ideas for the visual arts. It focuses primarily on ideas from his early essays, especially answerability, outsideness, and unfinalizability.
Available from
Cambridge University Press and Amazon