I live in an area in Northeast England where there has been heavy industry from steel making, petrochem, nuclear and ship building. It had devastating effects on the natural world. Our river is the River Tees, it was so polluted that there were no longer fish living in it. The Grey seal colony left, and many species of sea bird that fed at the river mouth left too.
My art is a documentation of the wildlife that live and thrive in our area, that includes Tees mouth (North Gare). It’s wonderful seeing the Grey Seal colony. Each year it increases as they add to their numbers, testament to the health of the River Tees and the return of the Salmon and other species. The industry has changed dramatically in recent years, beneficial to the environment, not so much our economy.
Further up the river there are Kingfishers, and as each year passes there are different birds visiting my garden.
It’s not all good news, there are species, I haven’t seen in the last 2 years which is worrying such as the humble hedgehog and a number of fungi species.
I have so much more to do because there is so much around me. It takes me around 8 weeks to complete an average piece. There is more to Teesside than its industry, in case you didn’t know, Ridley Scott is from this area and took inspiration from the industry for some of his films, such as Blade Runner. I once took my post 16 students to see the blast furnace at Corus. As soon as we walked in we all shouted ALIEN!! There was so much about it that reminded us of the Ridley Scott Alien Films.
I currently work in a spare room, and I look out onto the back of someone house…its a bit uninspiring! However we are moving in June and my studio will look out onto woodland. I’m so excited and will be setting up cameras to see who visits us. I’m keen to build a pond to encourage even more wildlife especially frogs and toads.
I used to draw just the animal or bird on ingres paper that gave a natural background. I used coloured pencils, which allowed me control and high detail. My theory was that if you had never seen this species you would know exactly what it looked like. Similar to the Victorians creating botanical illustrations before cameras. If I’m honest I was nervous about creating an entire background. However I experimented with different media and became very comfortable with pastel. I still love my coloured pencils and I’ve tried different papers to get varying results to get to where I am now.
I sell limited edition prints that are double mounted with white mount card, securely wrapped and includes a certificate of authenticity. I have sold work in the USA, Norway, South Africa, Singapore and Canada and I have work in a London outlet for British Artisans.
I exhibit my original work around the country as it is very good for raising my profile, however I do sell it when the exhibitions are over. I am a member of the Association of Animal Artists.