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The Artist

Debbie Blackburn

My artistic style, or genre is Expressive Figurative. The subjects that I paint are depicted in terms of my emotions and personal perspectives, rather than a realistic representation thereof. The goal of my art is to stimulate the viewer to think, feel and be curious about a subject, rather than to simply observe it. To achieve this, I create artworks that connect with people on a deep and personal level. For example, my portraits and life paintings evoke a strong emotion or social statement. My landscapes, seascapes, and floral paintings capture the beauty and interconnectedness of man with nature.

As a British artist, residing in South Africa, my paintings are informed by a unique combination of experiences that set them apart. While my subjects tend to speak to global and universal themes, my incorporation of the vibrant hues and tactile qualities of the Southern African landscape offer viewers a fresh perspective on familiar themes.

My preferred medium is mixed-media.  My painting process is an organic one, driven by intuition and experimentation with different mediums and techniques. Watercolour is a beautiful but challenging medium. I also enjoy working with the strong pigments of other mediums, such as water and alcohol-based inks. Their fluidity and unpredictability add a level of excitement to my work. Graphite and charcoal add depth and light to my subjects.

My small, but well organised studio is my “happy space”.  When I am working in my studio, with its many shelves and drawers of art materials, the sun filtering in through the windows and my adoring Biewer Terrier in his basket at my feet, I move into a “creative zone” in which I become totally focused on the artwork I am busy with.

I am proud of the accolades that my art has received, the international awards that I have won and the exhibitions that I have been part of. All these have given me more exposure and the value of my paintings have increased, for which I am grateful.

The process of creative expression through art has been a healer for me and has bought balance into my life. It also gives me deep satisfaction to know that some of my paintings have spoken so loudly to someone that they were driven to buy it and put it in a permanent place in their own environment.

Biography

Debbie Blackburn is a professional British artist and resides in South Africa. Her mixed-media artworks painted with an Expressive Figurative style, have achieved international acclaim.

 

After matriculating with a distinction in art, Debbie attended the Johannesburg College of Art. In the early 1980’s she continued her formal studies at the Johannesburg Art Foundation. Here she had the privilege of being tutored in a number of subjects by the late well-known artist Bill Ainsley, as well as in etching and printmaking by a young William Kentridge. During this time, she and a few other female artists, including Lorraine Campbell and Donna White, formed a small art group. The group’s small exhibitions were well received. later, after formal studies in photography, she established her own commercial and fine art photographic studio. During this period, she exhibited her work in two well-acclaimed photographic exhibitions.

 

During the early 2000’s Debbie started painting large acrylic canvas’s, on a part-time basis. Her block-colour series on Nguni cattle, “Beautiful Men” and “Powerful South African Woman” received wide accolades and gave her some commercial success. Her minimalist “Sleeping” series in charcoal on large white canvases depicted subjects peacefully sleeping. The topic and style was not only eye-catching, but also broke away from the traditional artists’ tendency to only capture subjects in a state of wakefulness.

In 2013 Debbie became a full-time practising artist. When Debbie and her husband downsized in 2021, her new studio was too small to accommodate large canvases. She quickly embraced the “challenge” of switching to another medium and soon developed a reputation as a watercolour artist with considerable talent.

 

Determined to push the boundaries of her art and create more texture and depth, Debbie began incorporating other mediums, such as water-based ink, alcohol ink, water-based colour pencil, wax crayon, pencil, and graphite into her artworks. This experimentation has led to a unique and dynamic body of mixed-media work that showcases Debbie’s artistic vision and skill.

Aside from commissions, Debbie’s preferred subjects are landscapes, seascapes, people, flowers and wild animals. She also loves the expressive freedom of abstract painting.

 

Debbie has exhibited her artworks in South African and international galleries. Her more recent exploration into international art competitions has resulted in a number of awards.

 

In line with global art industry trends, Debbie is currently putting systems in place to sell limited edition prints online.

Awards

Since turning professional, Debbie Blackburn has won numerous awards, including:

 

2022

Finalist, South African Watercolour Artist Landscape Artist

 

2023

Finalist, Africa Wildlife Artist of the Year

Finalist, International Masters Watercolor Alliance “Flowers” Exhibition

Finalist, Top Art Awards

Finalist, Camelback “Shades of Red”

Finalist, Camelback “Shades of Green”

Award of Excellence, Top Art Awards

Bronze Award, Camelback “Amazing Animals”

Bronze Award, Camelback “Flower Power”

Honourable Prize Award, Tera Varna 6th Flower International Juried Art Competition

Certificate of Appreciation, Global Art Network, 23rd Global Watercolour Day Celebration

Exhibitions

2021

Victoria Yards, Johannesburg, South Africa - “Yards of Art”, 2022

 

2022

Victoria Yards, Johannesburg, South Africa - “Yards of Art” 2023

The Gallery, Ballito, KZN, South Africa – South African Watercolour Artist, Landscapes

 

2023

Fine Art Gallery, Swartkopmund, Namibia – African Wildlife Artist of the Year 2023

Associations

Watercolour Art Southern Africa

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