Born and raised just outside West Calder I was always fascinated by the flora and fauna of the surrounding countryside and farmland. I would spend hours exploring and observing everything from frog spawn to frost patterns and developed a deep interest in nature. This love of wildlife has always stayed with me and now forms the basis of almost all my artwork. The majority of my work depicts native British wildlife or farm animals, species that we are surrounded by everyday, but no matter how often I see them I still always see something new, some fresh inspiration, in them.
My first formal art education was at Manchester Metropolitan University where I did a foundation course in Art and Design. I then went on to specialize in illustration and completed my degree at Edinburgh College of Art. Initially after graduating I did some freelance illustration work. This included work for the Sunday Herald after winning their Political Portraits competition with a portrait of the then first minister Alex Salmond. I have also worked with Wynstones Press on a number of projects including producing a series of 40 greetings cards. I continue to do illustration work however what I really love is the freedom that comes with doing my own freelance artwork. To be able to combine my love of wildlife and my love of art makes me really happy.
I like to show variety in my work in terms of subject, style and medium. I collect reference material and inspiration from a wide range of sources including taking photographs and sketching at farms and fish markets, zoos, wildlife parks, butterfly farms, aquariums and many other places, as well as of course in the wild. I spend increasing amounts of time outdoors, observing and recording the wildlife in its natural state and nothing beats the feeling of painting straight from life.
Variation in style is also something that comes naturally in my work. In some cases this is a deliberate attempt to capture some of the qualities of my subject by varying the brush and pencil marks to suit the subjects physical appearance or behaviour. In other cases it seems to happen almost by accident, perhaps influenced by my own mood or the weather or just a reaction to the medium I am using that day. I like to work with a range of media including watercolour, pencil, pen and ink, monoprint, wax crayon and collage. I enjoy combining and playing with these various media to try and capture just a fraction of the beauty of my subjects. Unlike many artists who’s subject is wildlife, I do not attempt to document the birds and animals in exact realism, but more to just express some of the qualities and energy of the amazing natural world around us.