Born in Bridport, Dorset in 1971, Gregory Wellman grew up in nearby Lyme Regis. As a child he showed a talent for drawing and a great love of animals. (At five he refused to play Robin Hood in a town pageant because he carried a bow, which meant he killed deer!) He roamed the undercliffs, seashores, nearby countryside,and rivers, until his family emigrated to Australia in 1981.
He later returned to England by choice and went on to gain an 'O' Level and 'A' Level in art, and was well known amongst his friends for his many caricatures and cartoons. It was at this time that a local workshop commissioned him to design a ceremonial chair, of which two would be made, and on which Her Majesty the Queen and the Arch Bishop of Canterbury would sit.
He did a year at Drama School in Exeter before moving to Tiverton, Devon where his girlfriend promptly booked him a solo exhibition of his paintings at the local museum. At that moment in time no paintings actually existed! And he spent the next three months producing over forty pieces. The exhibition was a success, and two more followed. The improvement between each show was remarkable and gave Gregory the confidence to continue painting. Gallery sales and commissions have continued ever since, portraits of dogs and cats being particularly popular, and taking Gregory to Chicago and the Hollywood Hills on a number of occasions. His work is owned by collectors in the UK, USA, Australia, The Netherlands and Germany.
In 1996 Gregory attended an evening at the local college where African Wildlife Artist Simon Combes was giving a talk about his work. Although it would be some years before Gregory began to focus on wildlife, he remembered much of the straightforward advice and encouragement that Simon Combes gave him.
It was a chance meeting with an old aquaintance in 2003 that changed the course of his artistic aspirations. Steve Burgess (AFC, SAA) had moved back to the area, and his wildlife work had improved dramatically in four years. So impressed and inspired by Steve's work, Gregory began to focus mainly on wildlife and portraiture, with commissions continuing at a steady rate. A finalist in the Daily Mail's Not The Turner Prize in 2004, Gregory is painting more than ever and a trip to Africa in September 2005 with Steve Burgess inspired some of his best wildlife work. His large pastel works of the Maasai people are particularly popular, and Gregory is currently looking for gallery representation to promote these.
In 2005 Gregory was commissioned by actor/director Kenneth Branagh to produce portraits of the cast and crew of his forthcoming film of Shakespeare's As You Like It.
Works are shown annually at The South West Academy of Fine and Applied Art. Commissions are an ongoing part of Gregory's life as a painter.
In 2011 Gregory travelled to Tanzania three times. After climbing Kilimanjaro, Gregory secured the first Artist Residency at Arusha's Cultural Heritage Centre. Here he demonstrated his painting to visitors and schools and held a solo exhibition. He returned later in the year to hold a second successful solo show, selling originals, prints and gaining a number of commissions. Whilst here he laid the groundwork for a successful Art Safari in 2013 to Northern Tanzania. Ten nights in comfortable accommodation in National Parks and private concessions, sketching and painting at Arusha National Park, Tarangire and the Ngorongoro Crater.
Gregory runs workshops in Portraiture and Wildlife painting and demonstrates for art societies, and has seen a large increase in his private tuition.
His painting 'Winter Evening, Dartmoor' was short listed and featured in International Artist magazine's Landscape Contest (#84), followed in issue #85 by an eight page article on his Maasai and wildlife painting.
Winner of Best in Show 2013 at The Association of Animal Artists for his pastel painting of Lesser Flamingos, 'Pink & Black'.
He is a Professional Associate and tutor of the Society for All Artists (the UKs largest art society) and a member of TWASI, The Wildlife Art Society International. He appeared on Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year in November 2013, and took part in Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2015.
In 2017 Gregory tutored in South West France with Palettes de Gascogne. Following the success of this, a ten day extended week for 2018 has SOLD OUT. www.palettesdegascoyne.simdif.com
Gregory’s sensitive painting of an Orangutan was displayed at the 2017 AFC Festival in Vancouver, where Gregory demonstrated his 'Big & Bold' style of wildlife painting.
He also donated a rhino painting to an event in London's Royal Geographical Society, 'Sketch for Survival' along with other AFC members, raising £450 for The Sheldrick Trust and the Animals Saving Animals charity.
Support for Conservation:
Gregory has donated money from the sale of his paintings to WWF, The Rhino Trust, Care For The Wild and Save the Tiger appeals.
- 2017 - 'Those Quiet Nights In' selected for the AFC Festival Exhibition
My acrylic painting of a female orangutan in a UK zoo was selected for the annual AFC Festival Exhibition, included in the book, and was also selected for inclusion in the AFC 2018 Calendar.
- 2017 - Demonstrator at the AFC Festival 2017
I volunteered to demonstrate my 'Big & Bold' acrylic wildlife painting for two days of the festival. I painted an old bull elephant on one side of my large board, and a cape buffalo on the other side. I enjoyed these demos immensely, and received a very good response from fellow AFC artists and members of the public. Can't wait for 2018's event!
- 2015 - Location painting at The Hobbit Movie set, New Zealand
With special permission I was allowed to paint en plein air at The Hobbit Movie Set, Matamata, New Zealand. This was a dream come true as I have been a fan of the books and films most of my life. Spent the whole day and evening there, painting the landscape of Hobbiton which has been created for real on beautiful farmland. And feasting like a Hobbit!
- 2013 - Artists on Safari 10 Day Art Safari in Tanzania, Africa.
Researched and organised a successful art safari trip in Northern Tanzania. Sketching and painting in National Parks and private concessions including Arusha National Park, Tarangire and The Ngorongoro Crater.
- 2013 - Winner of Best in Show & Guest Speaker
Best overall work in the annual exhibition event of the Association of Animal Artists (UK) for 'Black and Pink' (Lesser Flamingoes) in pastel.
Judge: Stella Mays, winner of the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year.
Also guest speaker to fellow members, presenting My Journey, a guide through my story so far.
- 2012 - Short listed in International Artist magazine (#84) Landscape competition
'Winter Evening, Dartmoor' Acrylic 10x4" featured on page 11 of #84 with notes on my Inspiration, Design and Working Process. I promptly contacted the editor Vincent Miller to propose an article for the next issue!
- 2012 - Article 'Striving for That Extra Something', International Artist Magazine #85
Following my success in the previous issue I wrote to Editor Vincent Miller proposing an article and sending pictures of my Maasai work. He described them as 'superb' and I wrote the article about the state of mind I foster in the hope of a painting having that indefinable extra quality that draws people in, connecting on an emotional level. It was accepted and I was delighted when it appeared in the very next issue-June/July.
- 2012 - Self Portrait 'My Desolate Self' displayed in Times Square, New York.
'My Desolate Self' a self portarit that got through to round two of the BP Portarit Award in 2009 was displayed on a large (digital) Billboard in Times Square. I couldn't be there but my partner Shirley Beth attended.
- 2011 - First Artist in Residence at Arusha's Cultural Heritage Centre, Tanzania
Gregory approached Arusha's Cultural Heritage Centre and arranged to be their first Artist in Residence, holding a successful solo exhibition whilst there. He demonstrated his painting skills to visitors, local residents, schools, two American Football Teams and met the US Embassador to Tanzania!
- 2005 - Gunner
Commissioned by The Royal Marines Rifle Association to paint a portrait of Gunner, owned by the first U.S Marine to serve time at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, a gift on his retirement.
- 2005 - Kevin Kline as Jacques
Commissioned by U.K. actor/director Kenneth Branagh to paint actor Kevin Kline as Jacques in the forthcoming film of Shakespeare's As You Like It. Also produced drawings of all main cast and crew.
"One of the most enjoyable experiences of my career so far. Ken Branagh, now Sir Ken, was such a nice guy, very down to earth and accommodating. Loved my time on set, and was entertained by the tall tales of one Brian Blessed!"
- 2004 - Mr Frank Chaplain
A finalist in the Daily Mail's Not The Turner Prize in 2004. A portrait of a man with Learning Disabilities that was hung in the Mall Galleries in London.
- International Artist magazine #84 (2012)
More about International Artist magazine #84
My painting 'Winter Evening, Dartmoor' was shortlisted in their landscape contest. - Full page feature including the painting, and self written copy about My Inspiration, Design Strategy, and Working Process.
Author: Self written notes
Published by: International Artist Publishing Inc.
- International Artist magazine #85 June/July (2012)
More about International Artist magazine #85 June/July
Contributed an article about my methods when painting the Maasai people of Tanzania - Eight page spread including many photos of my paintings of Maasai people, wildlife and feature spot about my Art Safari trips to Africa.
Author: Article by Gregory Wellman
Published by: International Artist Publishing Inc
- Art in Devon- Autumn 2005 (2005)
- Featured article on my work, including portrait and wildlife images.
Author: Alison Sumner
- 2012 - TWASI The Wildlife Art Society International
- 2012 - The SAA - Society for All Artists
The UKs largest Art society. I am a Professional Associate, spreading the word about the benefits of SAA menbership and dedicated to teaching and inspiring others to improve their artistic and creative lives.
- 2004 - Artists For Conservation AFC
- 1995 - Tiverton Art Society