Bel, as she is known to her friends, feels the ‘irresistible pull of Africa.’ She first visited Botswana in 1983 aged nine, with her parents.’ I made little sketches of everything I had seen. Elephant stuck in my mind, and watching lion.’ The magic and vastness of Africa has exerted its spell ever since. She visits Kenya for painting trips in October or February, avoiding the rainy season.
Not only Africa excites her, she has travelled in South America, India, the Far East, Galapagos Islands, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Bali, seeking adventure off the beaten track, cycling and skiing for many miles, camping, trekking and canoeing. On these travels she is constantly observing animals and birds in astonishing variety, from the pink pigeons of Mauritius to blue footed boobies in Galapagos, yak in India.
Another artist friend describes how animals in the wild are somehow ‘an extension of Annabel herself.’ She can transmit this empathy into her paintings, which have won hearts and minds around the world. .
Her paintings bring charm and spontaneity to the walls of grand safari lodges in Kenya, joy to shoppers at Ralph Lauren’s children’s stores in Hong Kong, China and Manhattan. Annabel’s graceful animal paintings are perfectly in keeping with the effortless elegance that Ralph Lauren has brought to ‘dressing the world.’.
Some of her pleasures: ‘herds of elephant, grazing zebra, running warthog with their tails up. I try to spot nocturnal animals and catch their eyes in the spotlight. I love sitting at a waterhole in the middle of the day, and watching the grazers all come down to drink. Seeing herds of wildebeest when suddenly they run around like lunatics for no particular reason!’
Annabel spent her childhood on a Norfolk farm, riding around on her pony, looking out for wild oat plants threatening the wheat and barley. Her art training began at Cambridge Arts and Science Tutorial (CATS) where she A levels included art and history of art under an inspiring teacher. From 1993 to 1996 she studied at Oxford Brookes University graduating with a BSc in Fine Art.
She held her first wild life show of African animals in 1998 at Oliver Brown (Sloane Street), and since then has had exhibitions in London, Oxfordshire and Hampshire, as well as Sosian, Borana and Sirikoi Lodges in Kenya , and Ralph Lauren Children’s Stores.
A special success was a show in 2006 at the Air Gallery, Dover Street, and W1, which she organised herself, and sold one hundred of the 110 paintings.
Dates: 5th – 22nd December 2018
Location: Osborne Studio Gallery, 2 Motcomb St, Belgravia
London, SW1X 8JU
Entry: Free admission to the gallery