Inspired by nature, Heather creates original fine art paintings and scratchboards depicting wildlife. She enjoys working in a realistic and detailed style, while also aiming to create something unique with the medium she is working in.
Heather was born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1963. From a young age she enjoyed drawing animals and learning about them. Primarily self-taught, she began painting wildlife in her early twenties, after taking art courses at university and through correspondence. She began painting birds in gouache and later switched to acrylic on hardboard after discovering this was Robert Bateman’s medium of choice. She quickly became comfortable with acrylic and has worked with it for over 30 years. Although acrylic paintings form the majority of Heather’s work, she has worked with several other mediums during her many years as an artist including gouache, pencil, pastel, and wood (carving). In the last few years, Heather has added oil paint and scratchboard to her repertoire and is working on building skills in others.
Working in scratchboard – an ink-coated clay board – involves using sharp tools to scratch the ink away to reveal the white clay beneath, creating a highly detailed black and white image. Colour is then added to the image by brushing on coloured inks.
Heather has also completed artwork featuring subjects other than wildlife. From early on, her art has covered a range of subject matter including portraiture, cartoons, still life, architecture, and two major aviation paintings. One of these, a large acrylic painting of 19 Wing (Comox) Search and Rescue Squadron’s Labrador helicopter and Buffalo aircraft is part of the collection of the Comox Air Force Museum, Comox BC. The second is an F-18, a gift for her son (a fighter pilot). These can be viewed in the Collector’s Gallery. Although these forays were great learning experiences, wildlife continues to be the main focus and inspiration for her work.
Heather has been the recipient of awards and publications (see below). A highlight in her career was being named ‘National ‘Artist of the Year’ by Ducks Unlimited Canada in 2008. Her painting of three Trumpeter Swans at the Dyke Road estuary in Courtenay, BC, was made into 5000 prints and auctioned across the United States and Canada as part of DUC’s program to raise funds for wetland conservation.
Travelling and living in different locations throughout Canada and abroad with her military husband – also a skilled amateur photographer – gave Heather opportunities for artistic inspiration, discovering new wildlife and natural environments, as well as exhibiting her work internationally.
Heather is a Signature Member of the Society of Animal Artists which is based in the United States and has approximately 500 members worldwide, including many of the world’s leading animal sculptors and painters. Her artwork has been juried into the Society’s annual ‘Art and the Animal’ Exhibition for several consecutive years.
Heather also exhibits in local events in the Comox Valley, where she resides. For the last couple years Heather has participated in ‘Nautical Days’ and in the Central Island Studio Tour (CV Arts). These and other exhibitions are regularly updated on the Events page.
Heather creates her art in her home studio, in Courtenay, B.C. She and her husband, Frank, have two grown children. Frank (a retired Flight Engineer in the RCAF) works part time in the Air Force Reserves. Among other things, Frank photographs Heather’s art, prints canvas giclées and art cards, and created and manages her website.