About Deb Van Poolen
Deb Van Poolen has been a painter for 25 years, exhibiting her work in Washington D.C., Oregon, Montana, Michigan and occupied Palestine.
When Van Poolen began painting in 1995, veteran artist Harriet Rex Smith gave Deb a table to use for five months in her large mountain studio of Southern Oregon. Harriet’s mentoring of Deb jump started her early art career of creating and marketing landscape, floral and portrait paintings.
Deb’s most recent works have integrated science and art with the aim to help people grasp the global significance of the biodiversity present in this northwest region where the Cascade, Siskiyou and Klamath mountains converge. She makes large paintings illustrating profound diversity in species.
Deb teaches at the Ashland Art Center and at The Greensprings Clearing, a home studio located directly East of the Greensprings Inn on Hwy 66, 17 miles from Ashland. The property allows for nature excursions, biological and artistic investigation, and also has an indoor art studio.
"Deb's teaching style is consistently positive, encouraging and eye-opening. I love the tranquil atmosphere and the results of my efforts under her guidance have been surprising! I'm a more confident artist thanks to Deb."
- TUULA, ART STUDENT, ASHLAND OREGON
"I enjoyed your class very much! So out of my body-of-knowledge and yet you were an excellent teacher!!! I was able to create and understand all the how to’s of realistic application."
- DAYA, ART STUDENT, ASHLAND OREGON
“Mom, these are the two most relaxing hours of my whole week.”
- REED, ART STUDENT, ASHLAND OREGON
“Hi Deb, Thought I would show you the painting framed and hung. It looks great. Really enjoying it.”
- DARLENE, ART PATRON, ASHLAND OREGON
“I love this class so much. I always learn new things. You’re such a fun teacher. I always feel comfortable asking you questions and you are always so helpful. I’m so excited for the next session.”
- OLIVIA, AGE 12, ART STUDENT, ASHLAND OREGON
“Deb, thank you for a rewarding class. I enjoyed the format of each class: starting with warm-ups and exercises to place our perception in the liberated right brain.”
- ANONYMOUS ART STUDENT, ASHLAND OREGON
“Thank you again for your warmth and emotional generosity in class. Excellent instruction.”
- ANONYMOUS ART STUDENT, ASHLAND OREGON
A Passion for Social Justice
In the years following 9/11, Van Poolen paid close attention as the US waged war in Afghanistan and Iraq. She took a break from art and sought answers to questions such as how to live peacefully with others and the earth. She traveled to the subsistence farming cultures of Ladakh, India and northern Guatemala. In US she lived in intentional communities as studied communal living, farming and permaculture.
When Deb returned to making art in 2013 she chose to highlight social, environmental, and foreign policy matters which the US mainstream media egregiously neglects or misrepresents.
In 2013 Deb received a grant to make art about life under occupation. She traveled to Palestine’s occupied West Bank and painted what she saw for one month. In January 2015, Deb exhibited her watercolors from Palestine in Washington, DC at The Jerusalem Fund’s Al Quds gallery. The one month show was titled “Natural History of Palestine”. Natural History Watercolors by Debra Van Poolen and Natural History Under Siege Learn more about Deb’s Palestine work.
Also in 2013, Van Poolen made courtroom sketches each day of Chelsea Manning’s summer-long court martial in Ft. Meade, Maryland. Debra’s court drawings were utilized by several media outlets, including the The Guardian, Russia Today, Long Island Press, Chelsea Manning Support Network, and Popular Resistance. In 2014 Debra’s Artprize entry of six drawings from the Chelsea Manning trial was chosen for the Juror’s Shortlist of the top five entries from a field of 900 two-dimensional entries in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn more about Deb’s work at the Manning trial.
View Deb’s Political Art or read more about her political work in Articles.
Manning watercolor by Deb Van Poolen
Palestine watercolor by Deb Van Poolen