Blog: Artist Focus | Studio Interview with Samantha Greenhill
Photo-realist Wildlife Artist
We have caught up with the exceptionally accomplished wildlife artist Samantha Greenhill for a studio interview this week. Creating compelling photo-realist art using the medium of pastel and charcoal, it can be hard to believe that such an acute level of detail and sharp contrasts of light can be achieved using these materials. Enjoy this insightful interview to discover more about Samantha's inspirations.
How did you come to be an artist?
Serendipity. I was recovering from a long term illness when I visited a local gallery and met an established artist who had held an exhibition the night previous. We got chatting and he gave me some great advice and asked me to go away and do three pieces and email them to him, which I did. He very kindly passed these on to Buckingham Fine Art publishers and they asked me to join their team of artists. To say I was delighted and amazed is an understatement. I consider myself extremely lucky to now be able to fulfil a lifelong dream through painting subjects I love whilst hopefully assisting in some small way in the conservation of endangered animals.
Describe your work in three words
Heartfelt, respectful, realism
What draws you to creating in your chosen medium?
I have always had a deep love of colour and have an actual physical response to it. Pastels have the purest and most saturated concentration of colour of all the mediums due to the lack of binding agents. When I saw the depth of tone and vivacity of pastels, along with the variety of mark making I could create with them, I was hooked.
Does the area in which you live, or other areas influence your work?
The area where I live doesn’t directly influence my work but I am at peace and my happiest when by the sea. I find walking along the beach and through the pine forests in Formby give me the space to refresh and mull over my thoughts.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I find the natural world endlessly inspiring. I work from carefully chosen photographs which allow me to capture the level of detail I want to achieve. When looking for an image to paint it is usually a ‘look’ in the animal’s eyes or face, an exquisite light or a pose that speaks to me of the innate character of that individual animal.
Do you listen to any favourite music, radio or podcasts while working in the studio?
I listen to the radio, music on Youtube (‘auto-play’ has led me to some amazing artists that I had never heard of) and hours of audiobooks. I’m a bit of a sci-fi geek and have recently listened to Phillip K Dick’s entire catalogue of work.
If you could invite three artists or art influencers (living or deceased) to dinner who would they be?
A Palaeolithic cave painter because they were so close and spiritually in tune with the animals they co-existed with.
Joseph Wright of Derby, to pick his brains on how he created such amazing light in his work.
Leonardo da Vinci, he combined art and science like no other.
What drew you to exhibit at the Watergate Street Gallery – do you have a criteria for choosing the galleries where you would like to show your work?
With enthusiastic, supportive and knowledgeable people, Watergate Street Art gallery is a stunning gallery space to exhibit my work, what more could an artist wish for.
What are you most excited about artistically in 2021?
I am always excited to paint my next piece as starting each new painting is an adventurous journey in itself. I look for new ways to improve my work to try and achieve a strong emotional response to the subject with the aim of narrowing the gap between humans and animals. There are also many conservation projects that I would like to support and draw attention to.
Take a look at the time-lapse videos below showing Sam create these striking paintings from start to finish!