A bit about me…
I was told I could draw by my teacher (Miss Treleven) when I was just seven: she had entered my ‘Fairy Queen’ painting into a children’s local art competition and I remember winning a big box of paints and brushes; and, at age eleven, whilst on holiday in Italy, I was asked to paint a picture on a huge arched canvas to replace a wooden wall painting of Madonna and Child which had burned during street celebrations—I spent my six weeks’ holiday, in my Aunty’s ‘best’ room, painting. I left school at 15 with no qualifications, and after a string of secretarial jobs, I married in 1967 at the tender age of 17, having become engaged on my sixteenth birthday. In order to keep up with the needs of my husband and three sons, I elected to work self-employed from home.
Over the next 38 years I periodically purchased publishing equipment and computer programmes to produce camera-ready artwork for local publishers and organisations. In late 2004, I decided to ‘retire’ from the publishing world and spent my life savings to buy equipment, including a large format professional printer, so that I could produce limited edition prints of my artwork and other saleable products in my own studio. My secret desire had always been to paint professionally, so, though self-taught, at 55 I changed career and turned professional artist in March 2005. My favourite subjects are natural history and botanical illustration. Following a course in 2008-2009 at the University of Cambridge, I learned the art of illuminated lettering, using gesso and gold leaf to produce stunning effects on highly decorated lettering, following designs from the old craftsmen as far back as the sixth century AD.
My childhood love of nature has been re-kindled since planting in 2004 a small ‘wild’ garden (20ft x 20ft) to provide live subjects. The little garden has been most successful with visits from many birds, frogs, newts, toads and all manner of insects, including a grass snake and lesser stag beetles (2009). We have a resident hedgehog and wood mice. Black and grey squirrels also visit and ‘nick’ the birdseed. Whenever possible, I paint life-size using live specimens, compose pictures from photographs I have taken myself or those kindly supplied by family and friends, as well as from ‘delights’ experienced during field trips—always aiming to compose and paint realistic images to capture the characteristics and nuances of flora and fauna. In February 2008 and February 2009, I submitted five paintings to the Society of Botanical Artists (SBA) Open Exhibition. All ten paintings were selected, and I was elected an Associate member of the SBA (AssocSBA) in April 2009. I am also a member of the Marwell International Wildlife Art Society (MIWAS), the Natural World Art Group (NWAG, Banham Zoo), the Society of All Artists (SAA), the Cambridge Natural History Society (CNHS), the Cambridge City Group of the Wildlife Trust and the RSPB; I have an exhibition page at www.birdingart.com. In 2007 and 2008, selected works were sold at the National Exhibition of Wildlife Art (NEWA). My first entry in the MIWAS 2008 10th Anniversary Exhibition was sold.
I am still building up my portfolio as a professional artist, but have been fortunate enough to be interviewed by local radio and press, who described my work as ‘nature immortalised in print’ and ‘exquisite botanicals’. As well as printing my own limited edition prints, I design and produce calendars based on my work, usually printed in limited editions of 300. I also design and print my own range of cards, notebooks and bookmarks.