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Stephen Gayford is among the foremost wildlife artists in the UK and his art is appreciated by many international collectors.
As a professional artist Stephen paints from a depth of knowledge and passion and each work is inspired and informed by countless hours of personal observation and research. By combining intricate detail, dramatic lighting, and anatomical accuracy, he has become widely known for his "up close and personal" compositions.
He travels frequently to research his subjects in their natural habitat believing there is no substitute for personal experience in the field. More often, he'd rather be on safari in the thick of the experience than indoors painting it.
He says, “Painting, for me, has never been a hobby, it’s not a relaxing experience - I feel compelled, even driven to paint - I have heard professional writers and sportsmen say the same. Since I was twelve I have always painted. It is a passion, a labour of love. I dislike front light, (i.e. the sun behind the observer), I prefer back light or side light, or diffused light as on a cloudy or dusty day. I love dust and mist because it portrays the volume of air between the objects."
"I start with little sketches in pencil on an A5 sized pad. I may do one, two or twelve until I get the right composition. When painting I have a large mirror behind me and I sometimes view the painting in reverse. If something in the painting does not feel right to me, it becomes obvious in the reflection and I can then easily correct it. People often ask how long it takes me to do a painting. The answer is, I don’t really know. I work on between two and ten at once. I like paintings when I first start them as they have a simplicity, and the more I work on them, sometimes the further away from the original inspiration they can become, so I start another one."
"By the time I have started the third or fourth one I can return to the first and work on it with a new inspiration."