Debra Dee Tonge

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Debra Dee Tonge

United States


British born and educated, now residing in California

Debra considers herself to be a self taught artist, influenced by many of todays living contemporary realist painters . Her creative journey has spanned a life time, in her youth she became  entranced by the technical skills of the Pre Raphaelites and French realists from the 19th century such as Bouguereau and Jules Baisten.

Relocating  to Cornwall gave her the delightful opportunity to frequent the Penlee House Museum,  which exhibits the Newlyn School artists, founded by artist Stanhope Forbes in the late 19th century. Debra was amongst a group of artists that took day-trips to the quaint fishing port to both, soak up some spectacular Cornish coastlines and gain inspiration from the captivating realism depicted in the paintings of everyday Cornish habour life.

In 1998 Debra graduated with a BA Hons degree in illustration in Falmouth Art University  .
During these studies she was introduced to oil painting, although the majority of her technical skills were developed through exploration post college, she did learn some valuable lessons on how to tackle unique visual projects conceptually and meet tight deadlines.
Today, private commissioned portraits and classic car scenes make up the bulk of Debra’s portfolio, she has developed wonderful relationships with her clients who marvel in the authentic likeness she is able to capture.

Sitting with her thoughts and grief during the pandemic was the catalyst for a new artistic direction. Inspired by feminine narratives she began to focus her attention towards visual story telling in an attempt to celebrate valiant women she adored in her community.

“My goal is to paint sensitive & honest depictions of empowered women illustrating their beauty through purpose, strength and to portray a story of vision . I hope to cultivate strong emotional connections and celebrate cherished friendships”

* This statement has been provided directly by the artist in association to their 16th International ARC Salon entries. This content has not been edited for typos or grammatical errors and has not been vetted for accuracy.