I feel a great sense of belonging to the unique island of Sark. From a very young age when my parents and grandparents would take me down to the rocks and beaches or out on the open sea to fish or just admire Sark’s 42 miles of rugged coastline, my love of being out in nature was always encouraged. I began painting at the age of about seven or eight and would copy the work of artists and illustrators while learning the basics of watercolour.
When I was a young teenager I attended school in Weymouth, returning home for holidays. Homesickness was always a part of being away from the island and the freedom it allowed. I then studied natural history illustration at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design and subsequently the Royal College of Art in London to gain a masters degree in natural history illustration and ecological studies. It was while studying in London that my work took a new direction and changed from being mainly studio-based to working on location. I visited Ramsey island off the Pembrokeshire coast in October 1996 along with a fellow RCA student Darren Woodhead (Birdwatch magazine artist of the year 2009) where we sketched the seals in their breeding season. At intervals I worked back home in Sark, producing large scale charcoal drawings of the magnificent caves, while writing my thesis on the Marine life of Sark. In 1997 I was awarded a bursary from the Society of Wildlife Artists to attend John Busby’s drawing course in Scotland which gave me a greater understanding of the complexities of drawing birds from life. Two years later I joined John on a painting expedition to the Galapagos Islands. (He has illustrated over 35 books on birds and was named Master Wildlife Artist of 2009 in the USA.)
On leaving the RCA in 1997 I travelled and painted in locations around the world such as India, Malaysia, New Zealand and South Africa. I have run a gallery on Sark in various locations since 1997. In 2002 I held a solo exhibition in Guernsey of fifty watercolour paintings of the Channel Islands and their natural history. Over the years I have built up a collection of sketchbooks, extracts from these were printed in ‘Sark Sketchbook-journal of a local artist’ which was published in 2004. The changing nature of island life means that as an artist here it is never dull, there are always new species to study and ‘surprises’ to be found in sometimes very exciting and challenging weather conditions. I hope that in the coming months through my blog I will be able to share with you some of these moments in time which are so unique to life on Sark.
In 2011/12 I organised a project in conjunction with the Artists for Nature Foundation to bring some of the world’s best wildlife and landscape artists to Sark. The aim of the project being to raise awareness of the incredible diversity of species to be found in and around the island and to work towards a sustainable future.
I hope you enjoy looking at my work on this website.