The Wildlife Art Society International was founded in 1992 and has grown to be one of the leading Wildlife Art Societies in the UK and continues to grow in recognition internationally.
The basic aims of the Society are the promotion of the wildlife art genre in its own right, whilst providing a focus for the interests of all wildlife artists, painters, sculptors and photographers whether they are professional, serious amateur or leisure artists.
The Society offers members a wide and varied programme of events throughout the year, these include workshops to help members to advance their artistic skills. There are also opportunities to observe numerous species of animals, birds and other wildlife.
The Wildlife Art Society International is a company limited by guarantee and is managed by a Central Council which is appointed by the membership. The Council is responsible for the day to day management of the Society. Various ad hoc committees are responsible for the organisation of exhibitions and events, many of which are of a local nature.
Annual Exhibition Awards
The Wildlife Art Society International holds an Annual Exhibition of Wildlife Art and entry is open to all current and past members. Around 300 works are displayed publicly each year, and all work submitted for hanging is judged by a highly respected and independent panel of judges with a variety of awards being presented at the closing ceremony. This event is currently held in a large marquee on the front lawn at Nature in Art, Gloucestershire.
Nature in Art, Wallsworth Hall
Another of our key events is the ‘Members Weekend’. This is held at Nature in Art, Wallsworth Hall, Twigworth, Gloucestershire,
and gives members the opportunity to attend workshops and talks given by well known national and international artists, photographers and celebrities from the world of art and conservation. For more details on current and future events see our what’s on page.
As well as its pure art involvement, the Society is also firmly committed to wildlife conservation and actively encourages its members to be involved in all aspects of the protection and preservation of the natural world. Wildlife artists have an important role to play in raising public awareness of the need to conserve and protect our wildlife heritage.
The Wildlife Art Society International Patrons
Simon Trapnell FRSA helped establish ‘Nature in Art‘, the world’s first museum dedicated exclusively to fine, decorative and applied art inspired by nature.
For the last ten years Simon has been director of the museum and assisted in putting together an internationally important and still growing collection of works by more than 600 artists from over 60 different countries.
A keen conservationist and campaigner on development issues Simon holds directorships with several organisations including: – Speed to Need Fund (Raising funds for capital relief projects in the developing world) Global Dimension Ltd and The Gloucestershire Development Education Centre. He is also a Trustee of the International Centre for Conservation Education and with his wife, represents and assists The Environmental Agency of Ghana within the UK.
Hazel Soan is one of Britain’s most admired water colourists, well-known for her evocative watercolours of African Wildlife and People and through her role on Channel 4’s popular painting programme, “Watercolour Challenge” and her Anglia TV series “Splash of Colour”.
She began exhibiting her work at graduation, and travelling soon afterward, showing in London, UK, Africa, America, Asia and Europe, and establishing her own gallery in Fulham in the 1990s. Her ventures into the African bush created her direct wet-into-wet approach to watercolour.
Hazel has been involved with the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation for many years and is one of the judges of The Wildlife Artist of the Year (WAY) Competition. Her work is held in public collections, including the National Portrait Gallery, embassies, hospitals, hotels and corporate and private collections worldwide. She is the author of 15 books, mainly on watercolour, several DVDs and numerous articles for leading Art Magazines. Her talents as a communicator make her much in demand for tutorials, lectures, painting holidays and workshops, taking her round the world, to the Kalahari Desert, the QE2, Maasai chiefs and Royal Palaces. She has studios in London and Cape Town.
Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace is world renowned for her pioneering research on wild chimpanzees, and efforts today to inspire every individual to protect the environment we share.
For more information on Dr Goodall and the work of the Jane Goodall Institute, please visit www.janegoodall.org
Pauline Kidner is the Founder and Advisor for Secret World Wildlife Rescue.
This charity is nationally acclaimed for its work caring for over 5,000 wildlife casualties each year.
She is also the founder of Wildlife and Badger Care, a volunteer group that mans the telephone every night to give advice, and rescues animals in distress in the South West.
Whilst her work is to stop pain and suffering, she also believes that through education and showing their work, it is possible to inspire people to care about wildlife.
She is an author of four books about her life and often appears on television.
Pauline is proud to become patron of the Wildlife Art Society International, as she feels that the beauty of art depicting wildlife can make people aware of the splendour and fragility of the world around us.
Mandy Shepherd was born in 1960. Her Art education began with a foundation year at the Byamshaw, London, followed by three years at Brighton to complete an honours degree in Fine Art and Illustration. After her degree, she travelled to Africa to work in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. She gained valuable experience with a leading advertising agency in Harare during Independence, worked with a highly successful gallery in Johannesburg researching South African artists and managing to establish her own painting style at the same time.
The trip culminated in her first solo show in Zimbabwe in 1980 and this set the pace for an exciting career and a long established and continuing partnership with the Tryon Gallery in London, for over 30 years. She returned to London in 1982 to join a shared studio for a short while before moving to Chichester which has been her home since 1985.
Wildlife took her to the Falkland Islands in 1996 but opened the door to a new world of military subjects from which she has never looked back. Commissions came from the Parachute regiment, Royal Artillery, Royal Airforce of Oman, The Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy. She went on to work for the Special Forces recording international active deployment and has travelled widely to Brunei, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Her portfolio includes subjects both wildlife and domestic, military and portraiture. She has most recently painted esteemed portraits of the Masters of Livery Companies, and Judges upon retirement at The Old Bailey. Her book ‘The Falkland Islands – an Artist’s Portfolio’ was followed by substantial illustrative material for Flag Officer and Sea Training for the Royal Navy and by the commissioned book for HMS DARING. Her work also features in ‘The Shoot Lunch’ by J C Jeremy Hobson. Mandy is presently the acting art director of the book celebrating the Centenary of the RAF this year.
Her success has come from her open enthusiasm to paint all things with an expression in fine detail and this attention to accuracy is complimented by an interpretation of subject material which is unique to Mandy. The subject composition sets her apart from other wildlife and military painters.
Her ‘other’ life is her lifelong commitment to Wildlife Conservation and she supports the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation through her Art and taking safaris worldwide. She is delighted and honoured to be accepting the patronage of TWASI and is looking forward to making an active contribution to the Society.
Anna-Louise Pickering, the daughter of the late wildlife artist Pollyanna Pickering, is an acclaimed writer and photographer.
She began her career in theatre and television production. At the age of eighteen she was a founder member of the Leigh Kingston theatrical production company working on several successful London productions. She has also worked for the BBC and independent film companies.
In 1988 she joined Pollyanna as her personal assistant, and in 1990 became a partner in the business, and subsequently a director of Pollyanna Pickering Ltd. Working in collaboration with Pollyanna’s publishers Otter House Ltd, Anna-Louise specialised in licensing Pollyanna’s artwork, and her expertise helped Pollyanna to become the most published fine artist in the UK, with artwork selling in over 80 countries worldwide. In 2004 she was named ‘UK Personal Assistant of the Year’ and has since spoken about her work at international conferences in London and Dubai, as well at events for the Fine Art Trade Guild and The Wildlife Art Society International. In 2006 she was honoured with the Department of Trade and Investment’s Women in Business Achievement Award for her role in Pollyanna Pickering Ltd.
Pollyanna’s determination to paint only animals which she had observed in their natural habitats lead her into a remarkable and unique series of expeditions into some of the most inhospitable areas of the globe – all of which were organised by Anna-Louise. She also acted as official photographer to Pollyanna on all of these expeditions and her photographs have subsequently been reproduced in magazine articles and books as well as illustrating Pollyanna’s popular lectures. Anna-Louise was especially honoured to accompany Pollyanna on a landmark expedition into Bhutan in 2007, for which they were granted a fellowship from Canada based society Artists for Conservation. She has since spoken about these expeditions to societies throughout the UK and in Canada.
Anna-Louise was honoured to be a finalist in the 1998 Cosmopolitan Women of Achievement Awards when she was recognised for the photography and writing of her first book ‘Giant Pandas and Sleeping Dragons’. Since then she has collaborated on five further books with Pollyanna, winning critical acclaim for her writing. She is a regular contributor to Bare Essentials – an Australian eco-travel magazine – and has written features on wildlife art, travel and conservation for countless other publications.
An award winning photographer, her work has been used by publications as diverse as Hello! Magazine and the South China Morning Post, and her images have been exhibited throughout the UK and in Milan.
Anna-Louise has also appeared onscreen alongside Pollyanna in numerous programmes including documentaries broadcast on BBC1 and Channel 4. She is now a regular guest on the Create and Craft Channel, talking about the inspiration behind Pollyanna’s remarkable artwork.
She holds the post of Patron to North Derbyshire Animal Support and Parrotaid, and is Trustee of the Irish Asian/African Conservation Society. She was a member of the development board of the Derby Arts Centre QUAD and has acted as regional spokesperson for the World Society for the Protection of Animals. In 2016 she was one of twelve international conservation delegates to be invited to attend the first Artists for Conservation Wildlife Festival in China, where she met with government officials and took part in press conferences to highlight conservation issues in the country. Anna-Louise also acted as official photographer for the festival.
Pollyanna was passionate about wildlife and equally passionate about accurately interpreting her subjects. She was a champion of environmental conservation, both on the national and international stage, and an indefatigable campaigner for the welfare of endangered, sick and vulnerable creatures. Anna-Louise is committed to continuing her work through the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation as President and co-founder.
The Wildlife Art Society Honorary Fellows
Kent artist Paul Apps is a passionate wildlife artist and photographer. His work captures the unique character of the subject and interaction with its natural environment. While Paul creates images of wildlife from all over the world, he frequently returns to the expanse of the African landscape and fauna to inspire his grand canvases. Since his first visit to the continent in 1989, Paul has travelled there annually to collect reference and experience the thrilling game and panoramas.
Paul’s success and reputation as a wildlife, bird, dog and Landscape artist has flourished. As well as exhibitions in the UK, artworks have been displayed in Africa, Singapore, Europe and the USA, where his first solo show sold out on the opening night. Sotheby’s, Christies and Bonhams have all seen images sell for record prices. With over 60 fine art prints to his credit, originals are also keenly sought after by collectors around the globe.
Supporting wildlife conservation has always been of paramount importance to Paul. Sales of his work have helped raise thousands of pounds for various charities, including Tuskforce, The Born Free Foundation, The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and The Injured Jockey’s Fund.
Valerie Briggs joined The Wildlife Art Society in 1994 and first exhibited with them in the Westminster Hall galleries in 1995. She has exhibited with TWASI every year since and has been a council member and Hon. Membership secretary for the last 12 years. Valerie is probably well known to most society members as the bossy one who currently co ordinates the hanging of work at the annual exhibition and organises the members weekend at Nature in Art. Valerie believes that TWASI provides a wonderful platform form for professional and aspiring artists and is pleased to volunteer time to running of the society.
For the last 35 years Valerie has dedicated herself to recording the flora and fauna of the British countryside in the demanding and challenging medium of watercolour. Her favourite medium is graphite in which she finds complete relaxation; the subtle technique of creating a drawing is the perfect tonal exercise for her watercolours. Pastels are another favourite medium and she uses them regularly when sketching from life.
Valerie is a completely self taught artist.
Living in the city of Worcester she is surrounded by the beautiful Worcestershire countryside and its wild, and not so wild, inhabitants, which are her main inspiration. She is especially drawn to the natural and man-made waterways, which provide green corridors for a wildlife population under the constant threat of urbanisation. Throughout the year they provide much of the background material for her paintings.
Details of birds and animals are taken from dead specimens; usually found on the roadside, she then spends time to study her subjects in the flesh. Valerie says that watching animals and birds in the wild after all the detailed study is the most important and rewarding element to her work.
Valerie is in demand as a demonstrator and tutor around the country.
From childhood, Sarais Crawshaw was encouraged to be curious about the natural world, and spent her spare time in the Hertfordshire countryside, collecting and painting every type of animal and plant.
She took a Bachelor of Education degree specialising in Printmaking, and taught art in Coventry at secondary level.
In 1983 she began work as a full-time artist, painting with acrylic paint or pastel, and recently, she has been experimenting with a new challenge – paper cut and mixed media, to develop a more sculptural feel to her work.
She acts as Events Coordinator for The Wildlife Art Society International, and has won their top award, The Christopher Parsons Award for artistic excellence, in 2007 and 2009.
As a full member of The Society of Feline Artists, some of her work reflects her passion for cats of all sizes, but the majority is based on her love of British wildlife.
She spends time in the countryside surrounding her home in Warwickshire, or in the wild places of Wales, Scotland and Northumberland, making quick field sketches, using observation and photos, and combining these in the studio to create her work.
Sarais tries to make use of the landscape in her work, especially water, as part of the story of wildlife. She hopes that her pictures convey some of the thrill she gets from watching wildlife and encourages others to support conservation of our natural heritage.
Sarais exhibits regularly throughout the country from London to Gloucester & the Wirral, and locally with The Rugby & District Art Society.
John Horton has been an active member of The Wildlife Art Society International ever since joining and has been an invaluable council member for the last 10 years. As the general contact between the council and the society members and the Annual Exhibition Coordinator he is well known to all the membership for his friendly, enthusiastic and efficient manner.
Coming from a farming background John has always enjoyed drawing and painting the countryside he has lived and worked in throughout his life. He specialises in large watercolour paintings depicting birds in landscape. These are inspired from observation and field sketches and the picture is developed through a free drawing process in the studio, which is then refined to the finished work using all available reference for accuracy and detail.
He travels widely and always has a sketchbook and camera at the ready to capture the events that will form the heart of a new picture. His art covers a wide variety of subject matter from general landscape and wildlife through to animal portraiture.
Watercolour is his favourite medium for its softness and subtlety, but he also works in acrylic, oil and pencil.
Born in Castell-Nedd, South West Wales, Neil R Mason is a wildlife sculptor with his studio currently based in the southern Cotswolds, Wiltshire, England. Essentially self-taught, his natural skills led him to create animal forms, initially experimenting with plasticine expressing his passion for wildlife. Skills which he took for granted whilst pursuing an alternative career, it wasn’t until around 2009 he returned to his love of both animals and art and began sculpting professionally.
Since then his recognition as an emerging wildlife artist has continued to grow, with his work reputed by an uncanny ability to embody an almost tactile sense of emotion and movement within each piece. When seeing his sculptures, people often feel a strong emotional connection and desire to touch or hold his work. Working mainly in synthetic clay and occasionally wax, Neil’s sculptures are cast via a lost wax process in bronze and/or a variety of resin composites via a traditional cold cast process.
Current president of TWASI
A passionate wildlife photographer for over ten years Vic Sharratt turned professional in March 2002 and served for over five years as Chairman of THE WILDLIFE ART SOCIETY INTERNATIONAL. In appreciation of his dedicated service he was made ‘Honorary Fellow’ of the Society in 2008, after many years as the President of the society he is now the current Honorary Vice President.
Vic has an exhibition running in Kenya and is mounting a ‘retrospective’ of his work in UK later this year. A contributor of photography and articles to various magazines his work can be seen regularly in the pages of the quarterly arts magazine ‘WILDSCAPE’ During 2009 photography in Yellowstone NP; Minnesota; Mexico;** Bavaria and of course East Africa are among the destinations on his busy schedule.
I have been a professional wildlife photographer and independent tour leader for over 15 years. Articles and images have been published internationally, including the majority of UK photo magazines, Kenya Airways in –flight magazine ‘MSAFARI’ and other periodicals in both USA & Kenya. Currently I have a permanent photo exhibition at the world-famous Governors’ Camp in the Masai Mara, Kenya.
Ken Stroud – My aim when producing one of my wildlife paintings is to impart something of the lifestyle and character of the animals I paint. All too often, wildlife paintings are sterile, static portraits of animals, rendered in great detail but tell the viewer little about the animal or its way of life. Wild animals are alive, they hunt, mate, react with other animals, fight and search for food. These are the stories I want to show my prospective buyers, not just beautifully rendered, photorealistic portraits.
Having been fortunate to have travelled to some beautiful and amazing countries, I have tried to absorb some the atmosphere, observe the special light and watch the animals that inhabit my paintings.
I have travelled in Africa; Kenya and Tanzania, witnessing the drama of the plains animals, the big five and so many other fantastic inhabitants of this magical country. To Canada; the Rockies, for elk, bear, big horn, deer, prairie dogs and fantastic scenery., In Austria I visited the Bayeriche Forest located on the Austrian/ Czech border in winter snow to watch and photograph bears, lynx, wolves and bison.
Such is my interest in wildlife art that fifteen years ago, along with a couple of other artists, I started The Wildlife Art Society International – TWASI, for which I served as the Chairman and President. I am now the Immediate Past President and Founder. The society has gained a truly international following. Other areas of interest include North American Indians and historic reproductions. I am also a Signature Member of the international group Artists for Conservation (AFC).
Jan Sweeney, the daughter of an Irish vet, grew up in the open countryside of East Anglia, on the east coast of England. Her early training was at Colchester Art School and she followed this with three years working in Verona, Italy, under sculptor Mike Noble. She first visited Africa in 1985 and the African scene and wildlife had a powerful influence on her work.
She now has her own workshop and foundry in Zimbabwe where she does her own casting. Jan divides her time between her lakeside cottage at Lake Chivero, Zimbabwe and her house in Somerset, England. Her work, therefore, portrays the animals of the English countryside and the game of the African bush. Horses are a particular love of this accomplished horsewoman who has competed successfully in both eventing and dressage.
As a professional wildlife artist, I paint under the name of Ruth Baker Walton. I am a Fellow and former President of The Wildlife Art Society International and exhibit regularly with their regional and national exhibitions.
In 2008 I was awarded the society’s top accolade “The Christopher Parsons Award for Artistic Excellence”. This award is presented for a portfolio of 4 specific paintings under a connecting theme.
My work, which is inspired by my annual trips to Africa, is mainly watercolour with some pastel and pencil work which I often combined with washes of water-based media. With the need for individuality in wildlife art I recently began exploring the interaction between birds and animals in my compositions, with the bird taking pride of place. I have also combined wildlife subjects with human portraits and behaviour in a symbolic way. Most of my work recreates either the atmosphere or drama of a wildlife encounter. In some of my current work I have experimented with the use of monochrome for the majority of the painting with the focal point done in colour which then ‘bleeds’ into the main part of the work to avoid creating the effect of two separate pictures.
Although watercolour is not a medium favoured by most wildlife artists I enjoy its challenge and the wonderful unexpected results from using it wet into wet for some subjects. Although I endeavour to paint wildlife with realism and conviction I prefer to use subtle watercolour washes to suggest habitat and create atmosphere rather than attempt ‘photo realism’. However, for more detailed work I often combine it with pastel, pencil or watercolour pencils. I have been fortunate to visit Africa annually for over 15 years and this is where I get my reference and inspiration. All my paintings are based on real life events which I have witnessed.
Apart from the Wildlife Art Society exhibitions my work has been exhibited and sold through Sotheby’s Wildlife Art Auctions, Nature in Art, Northern Exhibition of Wildlife Art and various regional and national exhibitions. I regularly give illustrated talks about Africa and the inspiration for my work, hold workshops and have written articles for a number of travel/art magazines.
I have produced work to raise funds for conservation organisations and charities, including an auction on board the S.S. Great Britain in aid of Cystic Fibrosis. I support the RSPB and WWF and locally I have raised funds with exhibitions for Secret World Wildlife Rescue.