Born in 1966, in rural Leicestershire, my love for the natural world began it’s journey at an early age. With a garden relatively undisturbed and therefore a wildlife haven, and a father eager to share his fascination for flora and fauna of all description, my introduction to the great outdoors was a destined one.
I don’t remember when it started, although my mum says it was around the age of 4, but I began to want to draw the things I was seeing in our garden. I can, however, remember laying in the grass and drawing a perched dragonfly that had landed on one of the bulrushes, many of which surrounded our ponds. So I’m guessing it’s here that my passion for wildlife and art came into being.
Long summer days, long summer months and meandering years brought with them time to practise my drawing skills. Our garden and the surrounding countryside providing a never-ending well of reference subjects, and my parents, bless them, providing a never-ending supply of art materials (and patience when on occasion one of of my wildlife subjects would find their way into our home. Bringing a snake down to breakfast was one such occasion – one my mum would rather forget lol).
By the age of 14 I’d begun taking on commissions. The first of these commissioned paintings being a pair of Bullfinches, followed in quick succession by a series of British Butterfly illustrations.
It wasn’t long after that I was offered a place at Loughborough Art College, but having been, as some would say, self-taught, I never felt the need or desire to pursue a more formal art education. I felt that nature patience and practise were all I needed.
My work as a commissioned artist was established – a background career that would continue through the coming years, with clients across the UK and further afield in Australia, America, Switzerland and Germany.
Following on from commissions came invitations to demonstrate for art material manufacturers. One such company being the world renowned Caran d’Ache.
An amazing relationship, with one of my commissioned paintings now hanging in their headquarters in Geneva. And if that wasn’t enough of an ego boost they invited me over to Geneva to be involved in the creation and resulting production of their fine art pastel pencil collection. A collaboration that continues to this day.
And the more I explored the world of demonstrating the more I realised how wonderful it is to encourage and inspire others too.
Love of the natural world often leads to a passion for conserving it, and it’s said a picture can paint a thousand words; so what better way of sharing my loves than by teaching others.
My workshops have ran since 2008 but I’ve actually been teaching for over 20 years in one form or another.
In 2011 I was invited to be one of the founding artists for Twycross Zoo in Warwickshire when they established a gallery there. I’ve since gone on to work with Chester Zoo and Knowsley Safari Park here in Cheshire, running successful workshops at all.
I’ve many plans for the future with projects here in the UK and abroad.
I’ll carry on doing what I love the most, spontaneously creating when inspired and enjoying the journey for as long as it lasts.
Life is a privilege and a life spent creating is a blessing x