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Anne CorlessAnne Corless   AFC Anne Corless
I am constantly inspired to create artwork of the natural world!
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'My life of travel' as I refer to my upbringing, has resulted in my love of animals and wildlife. I have to create artwork of animals in their natural habitat....it is as if I have no choice to do otherwise. Looking at photographs like this, of my mum and I and a friend watching elephant crash through the bush in the Aberdares (Kenya) is it any wonder?

And by the way....there was a very large gulley between the two hills, so we were quite safe!

Sketches, doodles and colour notes….in this case of ‘The Matriarch’
With me, the creative process starts with the spark of an idea. I can almost picture the completed artwork in my head in those first few moments of an idea. It would be a luxury to be able to start on a new piece immediately; the reality is that being a professional artist means that you have to plan. We all have deadlines for commissions, exhibitions and any other art related events and into this has to fit the wonderful, exciting and new idea of a piece of artwork!
I try to capture the moment of inspiration with doodles, sketches and notes. Here is one such sketch in pen and ink....unfinished...awaiting it's turn in an oil painting one day.

Gestural and free mark making....work in progress; Bull Elephant
Driving through the hills of Marsabit National Park in Kenya, late one afternoon (many years ago) we stopped to look at the view on our left. Just above us to our right was a steep stony slope....and we would not have even noticed it if the large bull had not appeared at the top of it, scattering stones and dust before him. We hurried away!

Moments like that remain in one's memory for ever. I feel blessed to have had such a close up view of this magnificent elephant...even if only for a few precious minutes.

This image, of the elephant I saw that day, shows how I typically work on an under-painting in oil and turps, feeling my way around the image and willing it to 'start to come to life'! Mark making is with paint, gestural and free.

I spent 11 years in Kenya in my teens and early twenties. One of my very favourite places to visit was Tsavo West and we would visit for long weekends. I used to climb down the cliff below the banda (holiday cottage) with the help of an old mzee, a retired game warden, who would spend time quietly talking about the animals that visited this old water pump and the nearby waterhole.

We would sit there for the longest time whilst I sketched and photographed the elephant, buffalo and other animals that visited the waterhole. We were very safe with the bandas just behind at the top of the slope. Magical times………

Understanding anatomy - work in progress; Cheetah on the run
This cheetah painting (work in progress) was part of an article I wrote for the summer 2011 issue of Leisure Painter magazine (UK).....describing my methods of working, in this case, in oils.

As a trained medical artist who works in the areas of medical, veterinary and scientific illustration I enjoy trying to identify musculature to create an accurate portrait. Once the value ranges are worked out colour and detail can be added.

The completed artwork - Anne Corless and 'Cheetah on the run' oil painting
And here is the completed oil painting. As I say, if I look across the room and feel my painting could come to life....then I know I have captured something about the animal. It is a constant challenge!

Improving anatomical skills
Part of my creative process is to study the anatomy of animals; quite easy to do with equines and domestic animals.....not so easy to find anatomical reference for wildlife!

Working on subjects I really care about...
Whenever I paint animals or wildlife there is a narrative....whether intended or not, it is always there.

What I paint however is no longer the reality. My five foot wide oil painting of elephants happily going about their day is how it should be. The reality is that each and every one of these precious animals is under threat.

If my paintings can remind people of the importance of protecting wildlife then perhaps I have achieved something, in some small way......

Working on a number of projects together
It would be wonderful to have a tidy studio....but it is not! I like to work on a number of different paintings at the same time and I like to see them all in progress so keep them up on easels. My oil paintings have tended to be quite large so far and I cannot really explain why I have been inspired to paint so large......other than it is a wonderful challenge and quite exciting to work this size! My watercolour paintings are much smaller, probably because I hate stretching paper!

I try to introduce movement into my work, as seen here in the painting of Lancashire Constabulary Mounted Branch, painted in support of the Retired Police Horse Benevolent Fund. I sell prints of this to support the charity.

Using art to spread the word about the importance of wildlife conservation
I was invited by BBC Radio Lancashire to teach a number of Art Workshops in their 20-26 Gallery space(with live interviews) and I immediately contacted the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for images of little orphaned elephants to use in the workshops. Here is BBC Radio Presenter Gilly (John Gilmore) learning how to paint…an elephant!

Finding 'other' ways to use wildlife in art!
If I can create artwork of animals in my artwork to promote animal conservation, I will. In this case I was commissioned by a Leisure Painter magazine (UK) to create an image to promote an Art Workshop that I taught for Leisure Painter and The Artist Magazines. From my own reference (all those years living in Kenya and later South Africa) I created this fun image. It was a good talking point during the workshop!

Using other opportunities to promote wildlife conservation
I was thrilled to be invited to teach a BBC Art Masterclass on portraiture live on air (radio) with an audience. I took some wildlife art work to exhibit as well, to talk to the audience about!

Presentation ‘My life in Art’ Spring Fair International 2012
Whenever I am asked to talk about 'My life in Art' I talk about the joy of using artwork to help charities... and the joy I get from being involved, even in a small way, with charities.

Direct Correspondence to:Anne Corless
Anne Corless
P.O. Box 20
Lytham St Annes, Lancashire
Tel: +44 (0) 1253 780734
  Worldwide Nature Artists Group
Email: anne@annecorless.com
Home Page: Anne Corless's Latest Website
Anne Corless Anne Corless

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Member of the Artists for Conservation Foundation www.natureartists.com.