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Supporting Wildlife Conservation

Rhino art, rhino paintings, rhino prints, colourful wildlife art, animal home decor

Raise the Baby Rhino with Hunter

Have you come across Hunter Mitchell yet?

Wildlife Conservation

Raise the Baby Rhino with Hunter is a charitable foundation in South Africa, which as the name suggests, works with baby rhinos. Money is raised to help to raise and rehabilitate orphaned rhinos, and to increase awareness of the plight of rhinos across South Africa. Hunter Mitchell has been hugely committed to saving these magnificent and ancient beasts since 2015 when he heard that a baby rhino had been abandoned by its mother.  Amazingly he has raised over £10,000 since then – and he’s only 11 years old!!

Hunter won 2nd place in the International Eco-Hero Youth Awards held by Action for Nature in September 2018. Very well-deserved, and as I love watching rhinos at conservation parks and painting them in unusual colours, I’m very pleased to be supporting wildlife conservation projects to help rehabilitate rhinos and preserve them in the wild for future generations. A proportion of all rhino painting and print sales from my website in 2019 will be going to this great cause.

You can find out more about Raise the Baby Rhino here.

 

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Art and Random Acts of Kindness

Sooty, childhood memories, puppet, bears, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2018
Last Friday I went to London to see the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition. I had seen some snippets on television and wanted to see how Grayson Perry had curated it. It was only my second visit to this famous art show, the last being about 10 years ago, and before I started selling my own art…
I nearly didn’t go that day. I’m not comfortable in really hot weather, and public transport isn’t a joy in the heat of summer. I’m so glad I made the effort to get there.

RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS

As I stood in the ticket queue, a woman approached me and asked if I was waiting to buy a ticket. I thought she wanted to know if she was in the right place, but she offered me a ticket. Her husband had changed his mind about the visit, so her family had decided to give their spare ticket away. They wanted to give it to someone who was by themself and looked like they might enjoy it!
I was going to pay by card and offered my kind benefactor some cash but she wouldn’t hear of it, so paying it forward is the name of the game (or maybe backwards, as I’ve recently run an art competition, and reunited someone with their belongings whilst stewarding as an Oxfam festival volunteer..).
If by some chance you recognise yourself as the kind person who gave me a free ticket, thank you so much for your random act of kindness!! I spent a couple of hours there and I loved the exhibition on several levels:
bear art, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2018, red rug

– There was some great art, and some that made me laugh, or think, or both!

Queen Elizabeth II, Great Britain, British art, Queen in art exhibition, RA Summer Exhibition 2018

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2018, Una Stubbs
– I enjoyed trying to spot artwork by Royal Academy members and celebrities (this one is by Una Stubbs;
art at Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2018, colourful art, art for the people
– My husband was at home (on crutches so he couldn’t come). I sent him a dozen or so photos of various works with quiz questions to entertain him e.g. Who painted this? How much is the price tag? What materials were used here?
– The exhibition made me reconsider my own art prices – I’m not charging enough for some of my wildlife and animal paintings! I won’t be increasing any prices just yet, as I need to do some recalculations first. Check out my shop if you’d like to take advantage of existing prices on my colourful and expressive wildlife paintings.
I may even enter some of my own work for the RA Summer Exhibition next year, so watch this space…..
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Where to See Art in Surrey

Surrey Artists' Open Studios, animal art, wildlife art, Merstham art studio

The short answer is : everywhere!

There are some very talented artists in Surrey and 273 of them are taking part in the Surrey Artists’ Open Studios (SAOS) between 2nd and 17th June 2018. I will be amongst them for the 2nd year running, opening my Merstham art studio on selected dates (listed on my website).

If you are not familiar with SAOS, the idea is that artists in Surrey open their doors to show their art processes and work areas, and discuss their work with anyone who is interested, making the art experience more personal and informal than your average art gallery. Some studios are running workshops, demonstrations or special offers during their opening hours. Entry is free, and there are some great art trails to follow, or you can collect a brochure from libraries across Surrey and pick out your favourite subjects, media or artists.  Whether you love 3D art such as ceramics, jewellery and sculpture, or you would rather see photography, drawings, or paintings  of landscapes, animals or abstract art in oils, acrylic or watercolour, you will find it all in Surrey.

During SAOS in 2017 really enjoyed meeting some great people and getting direct feedback about my wildlife and animal art, but some lessons have been learnt for this year – I’ll make sure I have enough stock of my most popular prints and cards in advance, and I won’t be opening my studio on the day that the London to Brighton cycle ride goes past my front door as no-one can get here!

Some photos from my Merstham studio during SAOS 2017:

 

 What can you expect if you visit my Merstham art studio on my open days?  I will be demonstrating my colourful acrylic painting style, hopefully in the garden (weather permitting). There will be new wildlife and animal paintings on display,  and you can see a display of how I develop my paintings and enjoy free refreshments.  Entry is free, and original artworks, giclee prints and cards will be on sale from £2.50 to £300. I like to support wildlife conservation projects, so on the launch day,  Saturday 2nd June 2018 I will be donating 20% of all wildlife art sales to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (10% on all other open dates).

Here are a few paintings from my new British Wildlife painting collection:

If you’re looking for something to do in Merstham this June, why not visit the All Saints Summer Fair on 10th June 2018 from 11.30am to 3pm, and pop into my art studio as well – look out for the large orange sign outside my house at 90 Nutfield Road, Merstham RH1 3HA. 

All of my opening dates and hours can be found on my website, with details of all of the Surrey Open Studios on the SAOS website, or you can pick up a brochure at Surrey libraries (my studio is number 40 on page 22).

If you visit 4 or more art studios and vote for your favourite artist you could win a £150 voucher to spend on SAOS artwork. Go and look at some art in Surrey this June!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Instagram Challenge #marchmeetthemaker 2018

marchmeetthemaker, creative challenge, Instagram

 

 

I’m joining in with Joanne Hawker’s third #marchmeetthemaker challenge on Instagram throughout this month.

The idea behind the challenge is for creative people to reveal a bit about themselves and their art processes by posting a different image each day that matches the daily theme.

I took part in this project last year, and it can be surprisingly difficult to post every day when you are busy. I’m keeping up at the moment (it’s only Day 2!) but I may need to play catch up at times. You can see my entries on my Instagram page – please feel free to comment on my posts, and if you are not already following me, please do!

Take some time to have a look at other #marchmeetthemaker posts too and comment on the creators’ posts – there is some great talent out there!

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How to get started as an animal artist

Dad's cat, childhood drawing, early sketches

ART INFLUENCES

Artists often get asked how they started painting and about their art influences. This seems like a good place to start my new art blog. My earliest influences were very close to home – I’ll talk about my favourite artists another time.

 

Dad's cat, childhood drawing, early sketches
Dad’s cat drawing

I’ve drawn and painted for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is of my Dad drawing a cat over and over for me and getting me to copy it. It was a great game, and Dad’s cat looked something like this:

 

Dad never claimed to be an artist, and I knew better than to ask about the missing legs!  But I learned to love drawing and fortunately we always had pets I could observe, so in time I learned about those missing legs …

 

IN MY BLOOD?

While I was growing up, my Mum told me that I was like her father who had been a sign writer. He was apparently a really good artist. Naturally I wanted to see his work, but sadly, he died before I was born. All of his artwork had been destroyed along with any photos, so I’ve never seen any of it. Encouraging and maddening at the same time! My young brain struggled to process these mixed messages about the value of art, and although I got a decent Art “O” Level,  I dropped formal art studies for more academic subjects. I spent most of my working life doing “proper” work, but art was in my blood so I kept coming back to it…

 

tabby cat painting, cat art, cat pet portrait, cat print
Tabby Cat

So, to get started as an animal artist, get some encouragement from your family, add in some mixed messages and a house full of pets, do other things for a living for 30+ years, but keep painting and drawing,  et voilà!

 

Oh and I hope you agree that my cat paintings have improved!

 

 

What are your earliest memories of painting or drawing? Did you have any art influences? Feel free to comment below: