Caroline Skinner’s Wildlife paintings are beautiful. She uses mainly acrylics and water based oils to capture these majestic creatures, which she paints after visiting conservation parks. Her work on Disappearing Wildlife captures not only endangered animals in an abstract, serene surrounding, but also reveals Caroline’s empathy for these stunning, threatened beasts. Caroline also undertakes commissions for people's pets. Caroline grew up in East London, in Ilford, Essex, and now lives in Merstham, near Redhill in Surrey.
Check her work out on her website: www.carolineskinnerart.co.uk
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Why do you choose to paint animals?
I’ve always been fascinated by animals, and seeing wildlife is always at the top of my wish list whenever I travel, so whilst I do paint other subjects, I keep returning to what I love. I often paint my own or other people's pets and I sketch animals in the fields near our house, but now I also visit conservation parks regularly, which significantly expands my options!
Who inspires you as a person and as an artist?
David Attenborough has done more than anyone else in my lifetime to bring the animal world alive for us, and I’d like to have half of his energy! One of my earliest art influences was Salvador Dali, and I did a pilgrimage to his Spanish homes a few years ago. His style is very different to mine, but his work still reminds me to paint how I see things...
What message do you want to give through your artwork?
Animals are important for our wellbeing, whether through the companionship of a pet dog, or diversity of wildlife, and I try to show their personalities and vulnerability in my paintings.
It saddens me that magnificent animals such as black rhinos may become extinct in our lifetime, and I donate some of the profit from my Disappearing Wildlife series to International Fund for Animal Welfare through my Redbubble and Etsy shops.
When did you realise that you had a talent for painting?
I had a small art studio built about 10 years ago so that I had space to paint, and suddenly friends started to take me seriously, asking to see my latest work and wanting to take some away with them…. Caroline Skinner Art grew from there…
What is your creative process?
I spend hours at conservation parks observing animal behaviour and sketching them, sometimes doing 3 sketches at once in different poses, as they rarely stand still long enough to complete one sketch! I also take lots of photographs, and use both my sketches and photos back in my studio to decide on composition and colours, which are rarely true to life!
How does your commission process work?
Usually, clients will have an idea of what they would like because they’ve already seen my work – one client wanted a painting of their disused dovecote (pigeon loft) in France, painted with colourful pigeons on and around it. I will discuss what they would like, including colours, and for a pet painting, either use their photos or take my own… Once details have been agreed – size, whether framed/unframed, timescale; the client pays 50% in advance. I email progress photos to keep the client informed, and the balance is paid on completion.