Deb Van Poolen


About the Artist

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 in 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.

Connect with the Artist


Artist Statement

My latest series of paintings live in a land somewhere between fine art, illustration, and journalism.  Each of the paintings revolve around the realistic depiction of many species that live in our region where the Cascade, Siskiyou, and Klamath mountains converge. Although the biodiversity of this region is globally significant, (ranking in the top twelve of world’s areas of biodiversity), this region is not widely known for its biodiversity. In these times, when global warming is doing massive and widespread damage to earth’s ecosystems, healthy places of biodiversity–a key factor in ecosystem resilience–are more important than ever. Thus, it seems logical to me that spreading news of some of our region’s most clear symbols of biodiversity with tantalizing, lively images is a worthy endeavor.  Any increased awareness of this region’s biodiversity will most likely not harm conservation efforts and might help them.

In order to get each big image of dozens of species out to the public efficiently, I feature each biodiversity painting in an affordable, informative poster for easy access to all ages of the general public.  Hundreds of the posters have been donated to schools and teachers of the Rogue Valley and beyond. Giclee’ prints of each image are also available to anyone who prefers this option.

I work with local biologists to create each of these paintings. The biologists generously donate their photographs of species, as well as their advice about which species are most important to include in the paintings and why. The biologists consult with me throughout the painting process to ensure I am painting each species correctly. After each painting is finished and I am preparing the graphic design for the poster, the biologists help with the writing of the poster’s prose as well as the scientific and common spellings of each species.

I am also the grateful recipient of financial contributions from the sponsors of each poster. Numerous local and regional nonprofits, individuals, and businesses have partnered with me in order to make each of the poster projects happen.

In summary, these biodiversity paintings are a community effort, starting with the amazing butterflies, birds, fish, plants and fungi which present themselves as the focus of our attention.

Related Events

June 11th – June 13th, 1-3pm
What is Plein Air?
Site: Mt. Ashland

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