About my art practice.


I am a collector of animal encounters and have a rule for myself when painting - I can only depict creatures I’ve seen for myself in their natural habitat. To this end, I walk every day in beautiful countryside, almost always with my dog, a pair of binoculars and my head on a swivel! I’m looking out for birds, interesting insects and animals going about their business. I want to experience something of their lives, take home a souvenir of their wildness. I want to commit the encounter to memory and then commit it to paint. Walking quietly, I tread carefully. Some of my most joyful moments have been when I’ve seen a creature and s/he has looked back at me without any surprise or fear. A recent painting of a barn owl (Luna, Large Artworks) captures one such moment. Looking out onto a meadow in Wales, I watched this ghostly female owl patiently hunting over the long grasses. When she alighted on a fence post, she turned and looked straight at me. Hers was a look of calm acceptance and trust. I walked away to leave her to her business but the look in her eyes stayed with me. I was over the moon to later translate that look and my feelings towards it, into a painting.

Sometimes I like to imagine new animal behaviours, move them along their evolutionary journey if you like, by taking a natural history ‘truth’ and weaving a narrative around it. My painting Dogfight (Large Artworks) for example, started with my seeing sweet-looking bluetits snatching at newly emerged butterflies in my North Somerset garden. It was surprising behaviour. But what would happen if the butterflies got organised and fought back? Dogfight, an aerial battle between birds and butterflies is this imagined scene.

Process and materials: I usually start by sketching out an idea, draw it onto paper or board and put down watercolour bases. I then use acrylic paints to build up layers. Detail is added with watercolour pencil, ink, fineliner art pen and sometimes enamel paint (if I want very shiny wing-casings for example). Detail is very important to me. I want a viewer to feel they can reach around and physically take hold of the subjects in my paintings; that they feel like living forms with lives and emotions. Large paintings can take weeks or months to complete. My smaller artworks are detailed sketches taking a day or so to complete in acrylic, watercolour, pencil and pen. These are like a journal of special creatures I’ve seen and loved. Never much larger than A5, they are some of my most favourite pieces.

Other works: I want my art to be affordable. As well as giclee art prints and cards, I’ve recently added collectibles to my portfolio. Wearable totemic pieces of birds and insects connect their owner to the natural world. They feel good to wear. Bringing the wildness outside, back in, I have produced a number of small painted bees and set them with my carefully (and environmentally) collected, preserved botanicals in beautiful frames ready to hang.

I’m fortunate to have won awards for my art. I’ve been given residencies, projects and opportunities to pass my skills on. It’s a privilege to think that people have my art in their homes. My wish is that they feel a connection to the creatures I’ve seen and loved and in doing so, reconnect to their own wildness within.

My day to day work is shown on my Instagram and Facebook feeds. Follow me to see what I’m up to, to connect with my art practice or ask me anything about my work.