Deb Hunter-Whitlock was born and raised in Auckland, attended art school in Nelson and now resides in Waipu Cove. With over 20 years experience within the Arts as part-time Artist, Gallery Manager and Curator, Deb is now painting full-time from her art studio in Waipu Cove.
Painting has been a strong passion since the 90’s when as a student Deb attended a watercolour class with Judith Moore Judith taught her students to never use black in the paintings, and to mix colours using a limited palette to get a vast range of colours.
Deb says “I started to view landscapes and objects differently and found myself really observing everything, for instance the shadows and clouds were no longer just grey but various shades of violet, mauve, and blue. These classes reignited the spark I had as a teenager and a desire to learn more about art and specifically painting techniques’
After moving to Nelson, Deb enrolled at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology in 1999 graduating in 2001 with a Diploma of Vsual Arts, majoring in painting.
Deb predominantly paints landscapes and still life using her preferred medium of oil on canvas board or paper. Deb‘s landscapes are inspired by the natural beauty and the atmospheric effects that create, often surreal moments, when clouds wrap around the hills, the mist settles in a valley, or the setting sun. shines through a stand of trees casting shadows across a paddock.
The creative process for each painting usually begins from a series of drawings and photographs a larger drawing to get the compositional elements and size of the finished work. These are used as reference points during the painting process along with intuition and memory. The intention is to create a painting that has a sense of place rather than record an actual place in time.
Current environmental issues also have an influence on Deb’s work. Extreme weather patterns causing erosion and farming practices are silting and polluting our waterways. There are subtle references within titles of some paintings as in ‘Waterways’ or ‘Veil of Rain’ and the painting ‘Rust Hills’ refers to the drought-stricken hills.
‘Keeping it in Perspective’ Exhibition at the Mangawhai Artists Gallery 3 to 15 June 2020
The landscapes, still life, and botanical paintings in this exhibition were created over a period of 15 months from 2020 to 2021.
The still life and botanical paintings began during New Zealand’s first major lockdown due to Covid-19. This was a reflective time, a time to keep things in perspective despite the major changes occurring throughout the world.
Deb has exhibited in Nelson, Wellington and Auckland