Hi – I’m Debra, an enthusiastic artist and painting teacher. I love experimenting with techniques, often combining media and methods, with a passion for colour strongly evident in my artwork. I trained as a textile designer and worked in design for many years – vibrant colour, pattern and composition now shining through in my paintings and a variety of subject matter!
Cars began to infiltrate my paintings long ago and I first exhibited motoring artwork at an Ulster Automobile Club event in the late 1980s. I have completed many commissions for classic and vintage car enthusiasts and my own fascination and involvement with vintage vehicles has been growing keenly ever since!
Eventually, rather than vehicles being the sole focus, people began to make their way into my paintings. I relished painting motor racing scenes that featured characterful competitors and the faces and forms of spectators and I realised that I love to observe faces and figures just as much as the cars.
Painting the past has become a means of “time travel” for me – I become so engrossed through my paintings that I almost feel I remember the 1920s and 30s, impossible though that is! My historic paintings seek to capture the moment in as-it-happened colourful certainty, and occasional wanderings into a more sepia toned past are always punctuated with a spot of here-and-now colour somewhere. Living in Northern Ireland for nearly two decades now, my compulsion to depict my adopted home in its most positive light is a strong force!
I’ve had three solo exhibitions showing my paintings of historic motorsport – two hosted by Ards Arts Centre where I displayed my collections of paintings of the legendary Ards Tourist Trophy races. In 2003 the exhibition also marked the launch of my limited edition book “Campari and Soda Bread – paintings of the Ards TT”.
Another exhibition in Dublin’s Phoenix Park focused on the Irish Grand Prix race series of 1929 to 1931 and was a sell-out success! A collection of these paintings were purchased and further commissioned, as a permanent celebration of the races for the Irish State.
Three of my paintings were shown at “Velocity: The Art of Motion” the largest automotive fine art exhibition in the United States at Hopkins Center for the Arts, Minnesota. The invitational exhibition included paintings, sculpture, photography, illustration and collage by an international roster of motoring artists.
Examples of my work also reside in the permanent collections of the National Museums of Northern Ireland, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum – as well as examples of design work for backdrops, display panels and sign-writing.
In 2006 I took part in “the Art of Motoring” exhibition at the Gascoigne Gallery in Harrogate. I have also exhibited in group exhibitions at The Alex Reade Motorsport Gallery in London, Goodwood Festival of Speed & Goodwood Revival, Donington Park and The British Museum of Road Transport. My paintings hang in the homes of collectors in Ireland, UK, Europe, Canada, USA and New Zealand.
Guild of Motoring Artists link
I am a Member of the Guild of Motoring Artists.
My wee Fiat “Topolino”
Great name for a car isn’t it! Formally a 1937 Fiat 500A – Topolino is an Italian word for “little mouse” and also, I believe, is the name for Mickey Mouse in Italy. Originally used as a nickname, or a term of endearment for the car, it stuck – with Fiat’s blessing.
It is tiny – there are just two seats, but plenty of room for hats and a big picnic!