Artist Clive Meredith’s stunning animal portraits bring his subjects to life. Visit his website to see more.
Coming from a farming family, an interest in the natural world that surrounds us has always been instilled in me. A love and respect for animals was nurtured by my family and supported by endless hours spent in the English countryside as a child.
It seemed a natural progression from my love of watching wildlife that I would attempt to record the animals and birds that I saw daily onto paper; and so, from an early age, a pencil and sketchbook would accompany me everywhere on my expeditions.
I’ve never had any formal art training, but have instead refined my techniques after years of experimentation with different mediums. I’ve found myself picking and choosing those practices that moved my work forward towards my goal of developing a distinct realistic style.
My favourite mediums are graphite pencil and oils. They are the most forgiving, and share similarities in a patient approach and the techniques required to produce a quality image.
I developed my process of using numerous layers of graphite to produce a myriad of tones. This allows me to accurately portray the way light falls onto my subject and helps define their shape and form before adding the details. The idea for this was inspired by the effectiveness of glazing techniques I used while oil painting.
Since I became a professional wildlife artist in 1993, I have worked to refine my methods to enable me to produce work of a consistently high standard. For the last fifteen years, I have worked with a publishing company producing limited edition prints of my drawings and paintings for galleries throughout the United Kingdom. I also self-publish prints which I market online on my website. With the rise of social media, I have incorporated a Facebook page and a twitter account in my marketing strategy.
My original works have gleaned many awards over the years. I’m most proud of my successive selection for the prestigious DSWF Wildlife artist of the year competition held annually at The Mall Galleries in London. All funds raised go to help wildlife conservation work worldwide. I’m also proud of winning Wildscape magazine’s “Wildlife artist of the year 2010” competition which was judged by many of my peers.
I always endeavour to observe subjects in the wild to gain a real insight into their natural behaviour, which I hope to reflect in the final image. I have travelled extensively to find inspiration. My most recent trip was to Botswana where I spent a fortnight camping in the Okavango Delta. The animals I encountered there have inspired all my recent artworks.
In my latest drawings, I have been experimenting with cropping and the use of negative space to produce images with a simple, contemporary feel that conveys a sense of drama and eludes to the character of the animals depicted.
My favourite subjects currently are elephants and the big cats. The encounters with whom are always profoundly moving, especially as their very existence is so precarious. I hope that by portraying these magnificent animals I will engender some empathy for their plight in the wild from the viewer.