Top 5 Animal Artists
30 June, 2017
30 June, 2017
Animal portraiture comes in all styles, shapes and sizes as demonstrated by our top 5 animal artists picks. Being a wildlife artist can bring enormous satisfaction often stemming from a true love for the animals which are the star subject of the painting. From the quirky and colourful portraits by Carol Gillan to the almost impossibly precise work of artists such as Richard Symonds, you don’t have to search for long before you fall in love with animal portraiture.
Our first pick in our top 5 animal artists is Stephen Park who depicts the majesty of some of the ‘big 5’ as well as wildlife closer to home in the UK. Stephen, once a landscape artist, decided to extend his art to wildlife in 1980. It wasn’t until a trip to Kenya a few years later that his passion was awakened to the true beauty of this subject. “There is a very special feeling when you actually experience these animals in their natural habitat”, and so it was that Stephen embarked upon painting these magnificent creatures. Below, are a few examples of some animal portraits a little closer to home with the hares always being a popular subject.
Carol Gillan specialises in friendly and sometimes humorous animal and pet portraits aiming to achieve an informal, composed painting which is both a realistic likeness and a uniquely distinctive interpretation. “It’s my aim to bring the viewer face to face with a living, breathing animal, to make you smile as co-conspirators, want to ruffle their hair, laugh and take them home!” Carol employs a plain background to save from any distractions from the animal be it a curious cow, loving labrador or beady eyed owl. We love the playful yet sincere nature of these original paintings and Carol’s commissions often prove to be a touching gift.
Richard Symonds is our third top pick whose passion and commitment to wildlife spans back over 20 years. He has been actively involved with raising large sums of money and awareness for wildlife through the sale and auction of his original paintings, drawings and limited edition prints. It’s this level of dedication and love for the animals which is key to capturing the magic unique to each animal. In 2006 Richard hit the headlines when he completed his first life-size oil painting of an African bull elephant called “Tembo”. It sold for a staggering $100,000.00 to a private collector with a large donation from the sale going directly to The Born Free Foundation. Below is a stunning coloured pencil drawing titled ‘Brutus’ whose intense gaze has been capturing passers by in the gallery recently.
Our penultimate pick is talented sculptor Suzie Marsh. Suzie’s work reflects her fascination with animal character and form and inspiration is taken from life whenever possible through constant observation of her own animals. At her Cornish studio, Suzie now produces a large and ever changing range of cat sculptures which are avidly sought by collectors of her work. In recognition of the cat’s role in her success, Suzie donates a percentage of each sale to the Cats Protection League.
The hand built sculptures are made in stoneware clays and fired at 1220 or 1280 degrees Celsius in gas and electric kilns making them suitable for inside and outside use. Glazes are used sparingly as Suzie prefers the texture and detail of the clay. Instead she prefers to use oxides and matt ceramic pigments to colour her work.
Our final pick in our top animal artists is Wayne Westwood. A keen ‘twitcher’ or birdwatcher it seems he has the patience required to capture these beautiful birds in all their glory. Wayne Westwood developed an interest in painting at the age of ten when he received a book by the internationally known wildlife artist Raymond Harris Ching and the AA British Book of Birds. It was during his time working as a farm labourer that he saved enough money to buy his first bird of prey. Working so closely with numerous “raptors” Wayne has now become a devoted painter of all birds. He uses the reference from his own photographic library to compose stunning paintings that come from his studio.
Wayne suffered a serious heart attack at the age of 27 which completely changed his life. After he recovered, painting consumed his time and energy to develop his artistic talent. As a full time professional artist he quickly became a leading wildlife painter with sell out exhibitions. His subjects have included all African Wildlife, U.K Native Birds and British Farming Livestock. Wayne Westwood has had work published and had various articles in wildlife and art magazines including Birds Illustrated and Countryman’s Weekly.
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