In Our Gallery with Debra West

From drawing on the walls as a child to growing up with a love for acrylics and pastels, Debra West's passion for art has been a lifelong journey.

How long have you been an Artist and how did you get started?

As a child I was always interested in colours and drawing on something, even the walls.

It was in high school in north Rockhampton that a wonderful art teacher helped me progress my skills.

After having two children in my early 20s art was put on the back burner and it really wasn’t until I was much older that I continued sketching in graphite, coloured pencils and occasionally, oil pastels.

After moving to Bundaberg in 2002, I volunteered at Bundaberg Regional Galleries where my love of art was rekindled.

Workshops and sketching helped hone my skills and ideas about art.

I joined various art groups, mainly the Bundaberg Art Society and Baldwin Swamp Art Group.

The support and encouragement I received from the members of both groups during 2018 (after the loss of my husband) made me realise I could be proud and comfortable in exhibiting my work and call myself an artist.

Tell us about your artwork displayed in Bundaberg Regional Galleries as part of the Here + Now exhibition?

Cochon on Cushions is a vibrantly bright and playful painting which I hoped would make the viewers laugh firstly then ponder the relevance of a pig in these surroundings.

We are all different and not everyone can live in luxury or even find time to lounge around with wine and chocolates.

Everyday life, children and work get in the road of such things, so if my painting put a smile on your face or made you laugh, I am pleased.

What was the inspiration behind this piece?

The inspiration behind the piece came from seeing Elsa Sroka’s series of artworks titled 'The Unexpected' where cows are depicted comfortably reclining or lounging about in household settings.

Visualising a pig draped in rich fabrics propped up by lusciously thick tapestries came to mind and 'Cochon' became a reality.

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What medium was used and how does this reflect your usual practice?

Acrylic was the obvious choice to render the vibrancy of colour I wanted to achieve in this work.

A lot of my earlier works of native birds and animals have been painted with acrylic due to the quick drying nature of the medium but also the brightness I have always liked from childhood.

As my art journey progressed I have learned to use pastels as my other main medium.

What are some of your artistic highlights?

Selling my first charcoal painting of a group of zebras in exhibition to another artist, whose work I admired, has to be my first highlight.

Being selected by my peers to be hung at Here + Now 2022 is the culmination of my art journey, all of my recent years of learning through workshops and listening to other artists feedback have paid off.

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