The Rainforest Collection - Handpainted with Passion!
I'm often asked what inspired me to create the paintings in the Rainforest Collection.
I have always loved animals and the natural world - and when my son was little, I used to read him stories about many different creatures.
We used to enjoy looking at the pictures together and would spend hours talking about the lovely animals on our planet. I think I have passed on my love of the natural world to my son, he loves them too!
This love for animals has grown into a passion for conservation and like many, I am concerned about the impact human activity is having on our beautiful world.
My concerns inspired me to paint a series of pictures that depict some of the rare animals currently found in the rainforest, which could face extinction if we don't look after them. I hope that through seeing these unusual, rare creatures in my paintings, children will ask questions and learn to appreciate what makes each of them unique, and in turn, inspire a new generation of conservationists who want to love, nurture and protect the diverse range of species we are so fortunate to have.
Orangutans are a particular favourite of mine; in Rainforest Gathering and Rainforest Friends, a mummy orangutan carefully holds her baby. In fact, orangutans are devoted mothers and care for their infant until it is 7 years old.
The 'Happy Moon Bear and Friends' painting features one of my favourite rainforest animals, the Moon Bear.. Moon bears are named because they have crescent shaped white fur on their chests These lovely animals are fighting for their existence.
There is a little Bengal tiger cub in all our Rainforest Collection pictures, they are so beautiful, and sadly also endangered. Did you know that each tiger has different stripes, this makes each one unique? The stripes are like a fingerprint.
The Borneo pygmy is the world's smallest elephant, and is 30 % smaller than the Asian elephant.
Unfortunately, the little pygmy elephant, another animal featured in all my rainforest paintings, is struggling for survival - conservationists say there are only about 1500 left on the planet. These little elephants have huge ears, are rather gentle and they are very good swimmers.
Like many rainforest creatures, the pygmy elephant has been forced out of the protection of the tropical rainforest of Borneo with the expansion of deforestation and proliferation of palm plantations. I regularly donate to charities working to support these animals.
It was only when I started researching endangered animals that I came across a little animal that I had never heard of before; the pangolin. This shy, gentle little ant eater is the most trafficked animal in the world. It is on the critical list of endangered species.
These delightful creatures carry their young on their tails, the young are called pangopups - and they feature in my paintings.
I try to support wildlife organisations with donations wherever I can.
I think it is important to raise awareness of the plight of animals in the wild, and also to appreciate the huge variety of species we have.
I wonder what I will paint next. Perhaps the north Atlantic right whale, as this giant of the sea is threatened with extinction.
I like to think that the personalised paintings I create for children could one day be a talking point to help them understand the importance of looking after the beautiful wildlife with which we are blessed.