About Deb Van Poolen
Deb Van Poolen has been a landscape painter for thirty years, exhibiting her work in Washington DC, Oregon, Montana, Michigan and the West Bank of Palestine. Deb became an artist so that she could spend time focusing on the beauty of nature.
Deb’s recent series of large paintings integrate science and art. They feature the globally significant biodiversity present in this region where the Cascade, Siskiyou and Klamath mountains converge. Our local Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was designated in order to protect the hotspot of biodiversity present here. Deb has used this artwork to make prints, posters, cards and puzzles which pleasurably educate about our local ecology.
Deb grew up in various midwestern cities, all within a couple hours driving time from Lake Michigan. She was introduced to life in the Pacific Northwest when she spent her final semester of college at a program on the Green Springs mountain east of Ashland. She has continued to thrive through living in mountain communities throughout her adult life.
Deb’s passion for the outdoors led to work as a canoe guide in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters and a wilderness therapy field guide in Montana’s backcountry. She later served as Ladakh Coordinator for the International Society of Ecology and Culture, and as Director of the Biodiversity Arts Outdoor School in Southern Oregon.
In the News
Artist Helps Save Local Species…
Ashland Daily Tidings | January 2019
Ashland Daily Tidings | September 2017
Paint, Photography, and Nature
Rogue Valley Messenger | March 2017
Rogue Valley Messenger | April 2017
Teaching & Classes
Deb is available for private drawing and painting lessons.
Contact Deb for more information.
"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