Wildlife & Landscape Artist Amanda May
Read more about me here…..
Growing up in a remote part of the British Countryside, if I wasn’t exploring, I was indulging my passion for Art. Hours spent out and about in the Shropshire Hills inspired my Artwork from the beginning and continues to do so today.
Following an academic route through university did not stop me spending as much time as possible drawing and painting. I ran a small business selling the work I created at local markets. I also sold at festivals such as the Edinburgh Fringe.
In 1994 I set up my first Art exhibition. The Unknown Artists exhibition in Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire enabled both amateur and professional Artists to exhibit side by side in the town’s market hall.
This experience inspired an interest in Community Arts that has continued throughout my career. I have run workshops, organised projects and supported events promoting participation in the Arts.
On completing my degree I began working in conservation for a small group in Shropshire. It was there that I developed my love for fine line Pen & Ink drawing. Having been asked to produce some illustrations for the group’s magazine , I created a series of black and white drawings suitable for print. The first, my drawing of the Speckled Wood Butterfly, led to a series of images inspired by the British Countryside. Some of these pictures have been lost, but a number are still available as prints.
During this time, I developed and ran my first Arts Council funded project, a series of countryside activity days for children.
Using Art as the learning medium, we created sculptures, banners, paintings and collages all celebrating the British Countryside.
I subsequently went on to run a number of projects including workshops for the Jackfield Tile Museum at Ironbridge, for the Wildlife Trust, Schools and local community groups. I also continued to create and sell my own art work locally.
In 2002 I began working for The Andrew Logan Museum of Sculpture in Berriew Powys. Initially organising and running creative workshops for children and adults, in 2005, I became Andrew’s events coordinator organising Arts Festivals funded by Arts Council Wales, the local authority and local business.
These festivals involved working with local, national and internationally renowned Artists across all areas of the Arts. From fashion shows with designer Zandra Rhodes, exhibitions with Olympic Artist Kevin Whitney and acclaimed photographer Sheila Rock to workshops in Jewellery Making, Creative Writing, Textiles, Life Drawing and many more.
Finding it increasingly difficult to make time for my own Artistic practice, in 2013 I decided to end my working relationship with the Museum to concentrate on my own career. I remain a great admirer of Andrew Logan’s work and was happy to return recently to exhibit in the latest Art in the Pews exhibition which celebrated The Andrew Logan Musuem of Sculpture’s 25th Anniversary.
My interest in Community Arts is now fulfilled through my work with the Qube Gallery in Oswestry.
“Qube acts as a forum for ideas, a place to involve everyone, a show space for new art work, a gallery for emerging and established artists and a link to other centres of arts learning and practice. We provide arts and health focused activities in the West Midlands, challenging attitudes and involving new audiences. With opportunities for artists to deliver interesting and innovative workshops through subsidised hire of the bespoke art room. We deliver new media activities and run courses in creative technologies, take on commissions and provide resources for artists and designers.”
There, I continue as a member of the Arts Advisory Panel to develop project and exhibition ideas as well as pursuing grant funding for the Arts locally. I still run the occasional workshop or attend networking and gallery events but mainly these days I spend my time drawing and painting.
I am either working in my studio or am out and about sketching . It is no coincidence, living in Shropshire, that my Artwork continues to be inspired by the incredible beauty and diversity of the British Countryside.
Living close to the canal in North Shropshire, much of my work now reflects time spent out and about along the canal with my family.
I have an admiration, respect and passion for the natural world, especially the small and seemingly insignificant and have developed techniques that allow me to magnify and celebrate our flora, fauna and landscape to the best of my abilities.
I work with Rotring Pens for detail. For colour, Acrylic Inks provide a vibrancy and versatility that suits my creative style perfectly. I tend to sketch as much as possible from life and capture images with my camera to enable me to complete my pictures in my studio.
I often end up with my studio full of leaves, branches, flowers and even insects so that I can study them as carefully as possible.
I spend hours watching and recording birds from my kitchen window and use the seasons to guide the choice of subject or landscape I am working to capture.
With a keen interest in conservation, I love to upcycle and reuse wherever possible. I recently decided to incorporate this interest within my work by framing both my Original Artwork and Prints in frames that I reclaim and restore. I find it extremely satisfying to create a new life for something. Every frame is stripped and restored sympathetically, with a picture or print in mind for it from the beginning. This also determines the frames finish in terms of colour and style.
Having spent some time practising and experimenting with various mounting and framing techniques, I now have a process that I feel ensures a quality finish. The mounting and framing materials are acid free and archival quality.
There are a number of benefits to creating my own frames beyond the obvious environmental ones. It allows me to ensure that each piece is treated with the respect it deserves. It is, as I have found out to my expense in the past, very difficult to tell what’s going on behind the tape of a framed picture. I know exactly what materials have been used and how, which means I can pass that confidence on to my customers.
Most importantly though it means that every framed picture I sell, whether print or original, is totally unique. No piece can ever be exactly the same as another because of the individuality of the frame within which it is housed. It is a personal touch that is very satisfying.
Unfortunately, due to the obvious problems associated with sending glazed frames through the post or with couriers, my framed prints are only available to buy through local outlets listed on my Gallery: Framed Prints page. In specific cases framed prints can be ordered and collected or delivered in person.
I have created a range of prints, cards and merchandise for sale. Available to order through this website by contacting me.
I show my work in Exhibitions, Galleries and Venues across the Border Counties. I have a display at the Buy From Shropshire Shop in Frankwell, Shrewsbury and there is a small permanent collection of my work at AlkingtonArts, near Whitchurch, Shropshire and my work is also available to buy directly from myself.
My intention is to create high quality Artwork celebrating the natural world right down to its smallest components. Due to their detail and being a total perfectionist, some of my larger pen and ink pictures can take up to a year to finish as I am determined to create Artwork that I can be proud of.
I feel extremely lucky to be able to spend my time doing something I love.
I really hope you enjoy my work.
Thank you for visiting.