Go on, admit it! You really thought this was a photo

Animal magic: the highly commended work Zebra Crossing
Animal magic: the highly commended work Zebra Crossing

A LOCAL artist has been highly commended at a national awards ceremony.

Stella Mays received the backing for her work Zebra Crossing in the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s 2011 Wildlife Artist of the Year awards.

The 38-year-old from Cragg Vale said: “The standard this year was extremely high and I’m delighted to have been highly commended in such a strong field.”

It is even better news for her after she took a break from art for the birth of her two children who are now six and two years old.

“I kept doing the odd picture but it took much longer.

“For five or six years I have taken some time out and then I got a few things together over the last year and started submitting things,” she said.

Zebra Crossing was drawn in pastels and took about a month to complete.

“In the past I have focused on portraits and solitary big cats,” she said.

“I’m trying to use herds because it gives you a lot more opportunity to tell a story and try different things.

“I have been and seen the zebras in Africa and then I use photos which are useful to help get the shapes and right.”

The work has been displayed alongside other shortlisted entries in the awards at the Mall Galleries, in London.

A percentage of money from the awards goes towards helping animals in Africa and Asia.

To see Stella’s work and the other entries in the competition go to www.david shepherd.org

Born in London in 1973 for as long as she can remember Stella has always loved nature. She has painted a wide range of subjects although big cats have become a favourite. As an artist she is self taught and works in pastel.

“I am fascinated by the way light falls on a subject, while an ambition to create original compositions increasingly influences my work. I have been fortunate to sell work all over the world often in support of conservation. Art for me is a way to express my passion for wildlife and to communicate the need to protect the natural world,” she added.

To view the full exhibition visit the Mall Galleries, London SW1 until 4pm on Saturday June 11th (entry is free) or view and buy online at: www.davidshepherd.org

People can still take part in the exhibition and win a fabulous limited edition print by David Shepherd by selecting their favourite in the People’s Choice vote for more see: http://www.davidshepherd.org/news-events/news/choose-your-favourite-and-win/ why not vote for Stella?

About the Wildlife Artist of the Year competition

This annual art competition is hosted by wildlife conservation charity the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (www.davidshepherd.org) and attracts hundreds of entries from around the world. The selected shortlisted artists have their work exhibited at the prestigious Mall Galleries in London and donate a percentage of sales to the work of the charity saving endangered animals in Africa and Asia.

Two additional categories have been added to the competition for 2012 to encourage younger artists and those who paint landscape and local wildlife. Entries are being accepted from June 6th. For more information go online: www.davidshepherd.org