My life revolves around animals. I am lucky enough to spend my days doodling, painting, writing about and living with various fantastic animals of all shapes and sizes. From a very young age I have been surrounded by animals and they have given me more happiness, love and fun than anything else I can think of.
How much do I love Dogs? So much so I just give them a capital ‘D’! I have lived with pooches since the day I was born and over the years I have had many, at one time six in the same house. My journey with dogs has been incredible, I have rescued tiny terriers, a humungous Great Dane, a three legged wonder and a kleptomaniac Dobermann to name but a few. So much was my interest dogs I studied for a certificate in canine behaviour just so I could better understand this amazing animal and support the ones I live with. I stop in the street and say ‘hi’ to the dog before apologetically saying ‘hi’ to the human at the other end of the lead. When you get a painting by me, it isn’t just a canvas with an image, I have spent days and weeks falling in love with your dog and I have put my heart and soul into it, so you have something precious to remember your best friend by for the rest of your life.
As a child I wanted to be an actress (in Hammer House films!), I studied Performance Arts at college and went on to attend The National Youth Theatre of Great Britain alongside Matt Lucas & David Williams. I spent time treading the boards in horror plays and playing concert going, funeral attending, air hostessing extras in various tv and films like Kavanagh QC, Big Women and Martha Meet Frank Daniel & Laurence.
As an adult I started to write children’s stories and doodle pictures of my own dogs. This took up more and more of time until it became a full time passion and I have never looked back. Although I have never had formal training as an artist, my great grandmother studied art in Paris and my Grandfather painted beautiful landscapes, so it’s somewhere in the blood!
I became a vegetarian at 12 years old, then later on a vegan which accidentally changed my whole world for the better. Through my connections and involvement in Farm Sanctuary, America’s largest Farm Animal advocacy group, I got involved with animal charities around the world. Wondering what I could with my skills to help more animals, I began to produce portraits, the money made went to support animal sanctuaries and organisations around the world. From there I was received commissions to paint pet dogs for private customers both in the UK, The USA and beyond. I can’t tell you how much I love painting and illustrating, I feel privileged to be able to do it and meet so many fabulous people and animals who share my passion for making it a better world for our faithful friends .
You will see in the Gallery that I have painted quite a few chimpanzees, one of the highlights of my career so far is my involvement in Save The Chimps, the worlds largest chimpanzee sanctuary. I have been honoured to visit the sanctuary and meet the late Dr Carol Noon and present her with two portraits and also (and probably my most special moment in my life!) sit with ‘Cheetah’, the first chimpanzee I painted, whilst he himself put paint to paper and created. Cheetah had special needs after years of abuse in the animal testing industry, but still he found joy in his last years painting and I will be forever grateful I was able to share just a short time witnessing this joy. I was also lucky to be picked to sit on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square as part of the One & Other project, I used my hour to paint a chimpanzee and highlight the things I feel passionate about in the animal world.
Alongside my work painting and writing I also volunteer for The Blue Cross, the UK’s largest pet charity, as a pet bereavement support worker. I am also the founder of The Sister Club, which provides Christmas presents each year for local children on or beneath the poverty line.
The Daily Mail – Letters on animal care and treatment.
Scriptwriter Magazine – An interview with Graham Linehan, co-creator of Father Ted
British Horror Film Locations – Contribution of words and photographs to Derek Pykett’s guide to Film Locations.
cruelty-free.org. – Essays on animal rights and treatment.
One & Other – Featured in the One & Other book as part of the Antony Gormley installation on the Fourth Plinth.
Equity – the British Actors Union.
The Writers Guild of Great Britain.