Born and bred in Cumbria, I have had a fascination for drawing human and animal forms from a very early age. After studying three-dimensional design at Cumbria Institute of the Arts, I now concentrate on watercolour and ink paintings of hares and Herdwick sheep.
Why hares? Why Herdwicks? To me, they represent the spirit of the Cumbrian landscape, the overlap between the wildness of the mountains and the gentler lower fells. I’m lucky in that both hares and Herdwicks are right on my doorstep. I spend a lot of time wandering and exploring and there is no better way to study these creatures than by watching and observing. Both of these animals possess unique physical characteristics and certain facial expressions that I love trying to capture or emphasise – it’s about the movement, strength, speed and agility of a bounding hare; a curled lip, a flared nostril or a hint of a smile of a Herdwick!
My style is constantly evolving. I prefer working fairly large scale when painting with watercolours to give a looser and more impressionistic style but I also enjoy using pen and ink to enhance the finer detailing. I rarely paint from photographs, unless it’s to check on a particular anatomical feature like an ear or a nose, preferring to paint from my imagination. I only ever have a rough idea of what I’m aiming for when I paint, the end result is always a surprise and that’s what I love about painting!
Ideally I like to represent not just a physical representation of these animals but convey a sense of a quirky character and personality.