Pip McGarry joined
Marwell as Artist in Residence six years ago after selling his artwork in the
zoo's gift shop. On
taking on the job, Pip founded
the Marwell Arts Society, the second largest group of its kind in Europe. He also
organises a summer exhibition at the park every year and runs workshops.
had no formal art training, Pip developed his own style though pure hard slog
and dedication. Interestingly though, painting wildlife runs in the family.
At Heart by Pip McGarry|
grandad painted wildlife in the 1930s. I have a photograph of my mum and dad cutting
the cake at their wedding. In the background are a couple of paintings by my grandad.
One's of a lion and one's of a collie dog," he explained.
"My cousin Matthew Hillier is also quite a well-known wildlife artist."
love for painting really began at a lecture by wildlife artist David Shepherd
in 1979. Within a week he'd rushed off and bought an easel and borrowed some paints.
now creates his masterpieces in his studio at home, working from sketches and
photos that he's taken of animals at the zoo and in the wild. He believes that
wildlife art is increasing in popularity.
think what we're doing now is the most modern art and strangely, it's the oldest.
People painted wildlife on their cave walls. "
II by Pip McGarry|
African and Indian species has now become a movement and that's because of jet
travel. We can get anywhere around the world really quickly. There's more people
painting wildlife now then there has ever been."
Pip is very passionate about animals. He loves to observe his big game subjects
in their natural habitat and organises annual safaris to Botswana. Trips
like these have made him very aware of the plight of some of the animals he paints.
went to a reserve in Tanzania called Tarangeri which was one of the strongholds
for black rhino - there were no black rhino there at all, they'd been completely
Those sort of things really hit home."
fitting then that part of Pip's job at Marwell is to raise funds for the zoo.
With many species on the verge of extinction, the park plays an important part
is helping to save these creatures.
do a fantastic job, for example they've returned the scimitar - horned oryx to
parts of Tunisia where they'd become extinct. I see that we can support that work
with the funds from the Arts Society. We've got 270 members and their membership
fees provide a substantial amount each year."
society has sold over £200,000 worth of artwork at its summer exhibitions
and has donated over £40,000 of that money to various projects at Marwell.
Pip has also raised funds for projects like Save
The Tiger and the Dambari Field Research Station for Black Rhinos in Zimbabwe.
could soon find himself a bit of a celebrity as his artistic talents were put
to the test in the series A Brush with the Wild. The ITV programmes show him teaching
celebrities such as Christine Hamilton, Linda Robson and Jenny Eclair how to paint
wildlife at Marwell.
does Pip have a favourite animal to paint?
"Big cats are the things that have changed my career - they're the most popular
subject so I enjoy the success that they bring. But the smooth-skinned animals
like elephants, rhinos and hippos are probably more enjoyable to paint."