I was born in the industrial town of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria in 1974. My early years were chaotic due to my Mother’s terminal dependency on alcohol. Crisis after crisis resulted in moving location many times, lots of school enrolments but little attendance. Literacy and numeracy were embarrassing stumbling blocks, fortunately I found sanctuary in drawing and painting.
This lifestyle continued until the age of 13 when I was reunited with my Father and I was reintroduced to school and my love for learning and art was truly nurtured. In 1994 I went on to study Theatre Design and became involved with The Prince’s Trust inspiring other disadvantaged young people to realize their own potential. Over a 10-year career with The Trust I worked with hundreds of inspiring business mentors and together we supported thousands of young people to set-up their own business. I then went on to work for The Royal Mencap Society leading a national strategy engaging 12,000 volunteers to the lives of people with a learning disability and then on to complete a Directorship with the children’s literacy charity Beanstalk, helping young people to read.
During 2011, I returned to painting with the aim of creating a special gift for a friend who has a passion for cattle showmanship and a love of cows that is wholly contagious. I painted her favourite cow “Vanessa” thinking it was the best present I could give and I haven’t stopped painting cows since! In February 2015, the time came to take the leap into a full-time art career.
I specialize in realistic paintings of champion pedigree cattle for farmers, auctioneers, breeders and collectors. Often these pieces of art are commissioned as family legacies, sharing the story of agriculture success and family history – there’s a story to every cow! I also design commercial stylized illustrations that reach a broader audience, some of which are licensed and distributed internationally.
There are a number of creative stages involved in the production of each of my animal portraits. Working collaboratively with professional livestock photographers as an essential first stage or taking my own reference photos. The paintings are built with up-to 50 layers of acrylic and glazing liquid to create the shape and depth. I use subtle blending effects and exaggerating shadows to make the flat surface of the canvas appear to contain 3-dimensional elements within the finished piece.
My cows have appeared in Farmers Weekly, Art Business Today and The Jersey Annual and together we have won number of trade stand awards, been a finalist in Gloucestershire Women in Business Awards and The Fine Art Guild Awards and winner of The Cotswold Artist of the Year 2016.
For public speaking enquiries please contact Sam.