Painting and animals have been a part of Samantha’s life for as long as she can remember, she is equally passionate about both. As a child she volunteered at local stables just to be close to the horses. “Creativity has always been a form of relaxation and meditation for me I cannot imagine a life without painting”.
Born in London, now living in Southport in the North West of England, Samantha’s longstanding dream of becoming a professional wildlife artist has come true.
“It is wonderful to spend hours and hours gazing into the eyes of a tiger without either of us feeling threatened”
When she paints it is her aim to capture the sheer awe that she feels whenever she looks at nature. “In my opinion no animal is without beauty, I am constantly amazed and inspired by nature’s pure genius in giving each animal the tools and adaptations to survive in such diverse climates and habitats. I try to depict the very soul and essence of every animal that I paint, as I see them. It is my opinion that they feel as deeply as humans, and I want to respect and pay my own personal homage to each of them, letting each speak to the viewer and tell their own tale”
Over the years Samantha has painted and drawn in many mediums until she discovered pastels and was totally smitten. “Having always been obsessed with colour and the way light affects it, I recognised that pastels gave the highest concentration of pigment of all the mediums. It is this sumptuous saturation of colour that I adore, allowing me to recreate the depth of colours and tones that I want. With their softness and blending properties enabling me to describe the many different textures and lighting effects needed to depict the wide variety of animals that I want to paint. They are a pure delight to work with and I know that the colours will not change as the painting ages. I find the longevity of pastel painting particularly relevant and satisfying when portraying endangered wildlife”
Samantha uses meticulously chosen photographs to produce her highly detailed work and spends many hours searching for the perfect image.
Once inspired by a photograph Samantha makes some sketches to confirm her composition ideas before drawing it onto her board. “It’s hard to put my finger on what inspires me about a particular photograph, usually I just know when I’ve found ‘the one’, it can be a look in the animals eyes, the light, posture or usually a mix of all these, and sometimes it can be a combination of several images”
Next she makes an under painting to get all of the tones and light correct to provide a “road map” from which the many layers of details emerge. Mostly working from dark to light she builds up the layers to create as much depth and realism to the animal’s fur, feathers and hair textures as possible. She is always experimenting with different tools to create more varied mark making and is constantly striving to improve upon her work and the visual and emotional impact that it creates.
A dedicated conservationist Samantha has produced many pieces for charity, one of which is about to go on display at the Museum of Ulaangom City in the Uvs province in Western Mongolia helping to raise awareness and funds for the Snow Leopard Trust. Along with donating paintings she also regularly donates a percentage of her earnings to wildlife charities across the globe. “Through my painting I want to encourage others to take a close up and personal look at the amazing wildlife of our planet and to feel a deeper connection with them. It’s not always possible, desirable or sensible to get so close to a wild animal, but if through my art I can narrow the gap between human and animal then I am a happy artist.