Carlsbad artist finally frames the life of her dreams

70-year-old artist launches new career and turns her first painting into a profit.

CARLSBAD, Calif. — Most people have a dream of something they wanted to do with their life but never got around to it.

In this Zevely Zone, I went to Carlsbad to profile the brand-new career of a 70-year-old artist. 

“Anybody can learn to do this. I just go bit by bit,” said Debby Fleming, while painting at her kitchen table. 

When Debby was a child, she won a statewide art contest, but then life got in the way of her dream to paint for a living.

“It went by the wayside with family and work,” said Debby. 

It’s ironic that Debby’s passion to paint crashed and burned because she went on to become an insurance claims adjuster.  

“I knew about ten years ago that was not what she really wanted to do in life,” said Debby’s husband Myles Mellor. 

He is one of the top crossword puzzle writers in the world. 

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When Myles was first figuring out his career, Debby supported him and now it’s his turn to return the favor.  

“I couldn’t have a more supportive partner,” said Debby. 

She started taking fine art classes and rediscovered her talent for painting. Debby likes to take a picture of something beautiful and then paint it. 

“That is exactly what I do,” said Debby, while showing us her favorite pieces. 

Wherever she travels, she sees art. 

“This is a little town in France. This is Bar Harbor, Maine,” said Debby, while showing us the beautiful artwork hanging in her house.  

Now, the same famous name of Mellor that appears on crossword puzzles appears on Debby’s art. 

Instead of signing her artwork Debby Fleming, she prefers the name Debby Mellor. When Debby was invited to her first art show, she couldn’t believe it when she made her first sale. 

“Because somebody wanted to buy what I created. I am going to cry,” said Debby, with her eyes full of tears.  

“You look alive,” I said.  

“I am alive, it absolutely makes me alive,” said Debby with a big smile. 

At seventy years old, she just turned her first painting profit. 

“Not a big one, but I sold enough art to cover my expenses,” said Debby.

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Her advice for anyone harboring a secret passion. 

“Go for it, you just have to go for it,” said Debby. 

It’s never too late to frame the life you always wanted. 

“It’s amazing. This is a lifelong dream,” said Debby.

Debby and Myles have been married for sixteen years. They plan on traveling often to inspire Debby to keep on painting.

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