Tracy Whitbread SWAc

About the artist

Tracy Whitbread SWAc
Tracy Whitbread SWAc
Tracy Whitbread SWAc


United Kingdom


    360 Degree Gallery, Devon
    Broomhill Art Hotel, Barnstaple
    Gloss Gallery, Exeter


    My work is about giving form to internally felt shapes colours and moods often echoing those of the environment around me here in Devon - the iron red of the earth or the changing blues of the sea. I am particularly inspired by the coastline, and the experience of being near or in the sea. It is where I most strongly feel a sense of Spirit curving into matter - where the sublime permeates the elements. I enjoy the interplay between the natural world and the manmade, the chaotic with the ordered. In my painting process I often find myself  working from a chaotic layered base then eliminating details to create clarity and space. I also feel a very physical relationship with the canvas - the texture of the surface and the sensuality of the paint, as if I am working with a living thing. I find that the paintings have a life of their own and even though I have some idea of what I want to achieve, it all happens through the process of working in relationship with the materials on the canvas. I feel that my paintings are of the stuff of life itself rather than a painting of it.


    11 March 1960
    Born in Yorkshire

    "After leaving High School in 1978, I trained as a Graphic Designer and spent many years in the packaging industry, working on both drawing boards and computers. I gained a management qualification and organised a busy Graphics department. I also trained in Ghent, Belgium on the latest computerised packaging graphics technology, and won several awards for my ‘Design for Print’ designs. After becoming interested in Counselling and holistic healing, I had a change of career in 1992 and studied Art Therapy at Sheffield University. After gaining my post graduate diploma I worked as a part-time Art Therapist in Mental Health hospitals and day centres in East Yorkshire. I also organised creative workshops for Special needs groups in colleges and schools. In 1995 I travelled to Canada and eventually settled in Calgary in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. I stayed in Canada for one and a half years and during this time regularly exhibited paintings and other pieces of work. Upon my return to the UK I took part-time work in Graphics and the rest of the time I spent painting and exhibiting. At the end of November 2000 I moved to Devon to concentrate more on painting, and to live a life that brought me more into contact with nature. I also began working as an Art Therapist at a local rehabilitation centre for addictions. In 2012 I joined The South West Academy of Arts as an Academician. Presently I spend most of my time painting and exhibiting."


    Tracy was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer in October 2017 after complaining of digestive troubles over the previous summer. She lived out her final month spending quality time with her son Finlay.


    Tracy peacefully Journeyed into Satcitānanda in the early hours of Friday December 8th 2017. 


     "I'm friendly but not tame, so please know the difference.

      My feet tread too deeply in the forest mulch to walk your path of expectation.

      I dive too often in the river beneath rivers to sit quietly in that chair.

      I prefer the rhythm of a skin drum so I cannot dance to your tune.

      My heart beats heavy with grief and love, so don't expect me not to cry.

      My eyes seek the infinite starry sky so I may not see what you see.

      I prefer a crackling fire so do not fill my space with your endless cackle.

      I am friendly but not tame, so please understand the difference.”


    Tracy Whitbread 1960 - 2017


    Mother, sister, lover, friend … sage.





    Exhibition History

    2017 Jan 14th - Feb 28th  Thelma Hulbert Gallery SWAc Academicians show
    2016 Sept  SWAc Open Exhibition, The Castle Exeter
    2016 30th April - 31st May  Delamore Arts. SWAc Academicians exhibition.
    2016 Jan - Feb  Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton. Work shown as part of SWAc Academicians Show.
    2015 Sept  RAMM - Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Garden Gallery. SWAc Academicians show.
    2015 Sept  Porthmeor Studios, St Ives. Work shown as part of Spot the Artist competition.
    2012 18th Oct - 10th Nov  Exhibiting work as part of the SWAc Open at Gloss Gallery, Exeter
    2012 April 13th-May4th  Exhibited at SWAc academicians exhibition at Gloss Gallery, Exeter
    2011 12th-20thOctober  Exhibited paintings at South West Academy Open, Exeter Castle
    2011 June/July  Exhibited at Redearth Gallery, Summer Show, Bickleigh, Devon
    2011 March -  Work exhibited at Broomhill Art Hotel Nr Barnstaple
    2011 Feb/March  North Devon Arts - New Year New Work. Broomhill art Hotel
    2010 December  Exhibition of paintings at 512 Beech Lane, Brownshill, Stroud, Glos
    2010 Sept/Oct  Exibited at South West Academy Open - Exeter Castle
    2010 September  Work shown at the 'Renewal and Regeneration' exhibition - Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton
    2009 September  Work at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton
    2009 September  Shared exhibition at the 360 Degree Gallery South Molton, Devon
    2009 July  Through the Rawness and in the Search. Exhibition with Andy White. Chulmleigh, Devon
    2009 April  Paintings at Paragon Gallery Exeter. Artist in Residence for May 2/3 & 9/10th.
    2008  Solo exhibition, Nolias gallery, Southwark, London
    1991-1994  Exhibited regularly with Hull Artists as part of their women's art group
    1995  'Seeds of Vision' Paintings of flowers and seeds at Michaelangelos Cafe Bar and Gallery. Calgary, Canada
    1995  'Liquid Flame' Paintings of flowers, seeds and papier mache sculpures at joint exhibition of art, sculpture, music and dance at the Mewata Armoury, Calgary, Canada
    1996  'Voices of Hope' conference, Victoria BC. Group exhibition of paintings and papier mache sculptures
    1997  'Power Flowers & Abstract Skins'. Joint exhibition of flower paintings at The Green Room, England
    1997  'Power Flowers II'. Solo exhibition at the Green Room, Hull, England
    1998/99  'Sacred Places'. Touring exhibition of paintings of sacred sites within nature. Worked with musician Gary Burroughs. Included ambient music. Various churches in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Cornwall
    2000  'Blooming Gorgeous!' Exhibition of flower paintings and sculpture at The Zoo Cafe, Hull
    2000  Three large oil paintings of opening lilies, commissioned by a new Bistro Bar in Hull, called 'Ambika', meaning 'Little Mother' in Hindu. Each represented the three stages of the Goddess - Maiden, Mother and Crone
    2000  Flower paintings at Burton Agnes Hall as part of my Artist in Residence there. East Yorkshire
    2001  'Ravish the Eye, Enchant the Soul'. Flower paintings at The Ivy restaurant, Devon
    2001  'On the Edge' Joint exhibition of paintings as part of the Devon & Cornwall Open Studios initiative. Nr. Crediton, Devon
    2001  Flower paintings at 'Rosemoor', an RHS garden open to the public, Great Torrington, Devon. Solo to the end of October in the assembly rooms
    2001  Artist in Residence at Burton Agnes Hall, East Yorkshire during October. The walled garden was my inspiration
    2001  'An Overcrowded Christmas'. Group exhibition of paintings at Hind Street Gallery, Ottery St Mary, Devon
    2002  Flower paintings exhibited at 'East', Berkenhamsted, Hertfordshire
    2002  My paintings featured in a book by Pamela Woods, 'Gardens for the Soul', published by Conran - Octopus
    2002  'Artists Garden' art exhibition at RHS Rosemoor Gardens, Torrington
    2003  'Red Shed' open studio at my garden studio
    2003  'Artists Garden' art exhibition at RHS Rosemoor Gardens, Torrington
    2004  Oil and watercolour paintings at joint exhibition with 'plant spirit' theme, Matara Centre, Kinscoate, Stroud
    2004  'Artists Garden' art exhibition at RHS Rosemoor Gardens, Torrington
    2004  Gallery 22, Ashburton, Devon for Christmas exhibition
    2005  Combined exhibition of paintings, dance and poetry in Garden Studio, Stroud as part of the Stroud Valley Arts Festival
    2006  Artists Garden exhibition RHS Rosemoor Devon
    2007  Solo exhibition, Natural Healing Centre, Gandy St Exeter Devon
    2007  Gallery 86 crediton - Christmas show
    2008  RHS Rosemoor, Devon
    2008  Gallery 86, Crediton, Devon. Christmas exhibition.