I began using oils to paint wildlife subjects as a teenager, but through all the years of bringing up children, opportunities to indulge have been intermittent and sporadic. Initially I found it easier to paint subjects looming out of a night-time gloom as with the possum and barn owl examples below, and then diversified as I became a bit more confident in adding backgrounds.


I have no formal art training but did attend an evening art class for hobby painters at TAFE, for a year or two. My grand-mother was a hobby artist, mostly painting Australian landscapes. She was a wonderful inspiration and introduced me to a variety of media. She never really approved of wildlife painting, though!


Nevertheless, wildlife has remained my first love, and I don't think that will ever change. 

Chestnut breasted mannikin
This painting is based on a photo taken at Currumbin Sanctuary on the Gold Coast. I liked the tension between the bird and the grass, pulling towards opposite corners of the picture. I am still experimenting with backgrounds and this was my first attempt at painting grass!
Painted about 5 years ago, this was the first painting that I did after having a break from it for many years. It is based on a photo taken at Mareeba Wetlands on the Atherton Tablelands. It was quite a windy day which made the ducks a bit tetchy, but the jacanas performed beautifully!
Lewins honeyeater
This was the last of my early paintings. Painted before the days of computers it was based on a composite of different photos, along with real twigs and leaves brought in from outside. I was trying to tell a story showing the excitement of the baby birds as the parent returned.
Sulfur-crested cockatoos
By the time I produced this early painting I was starting to feel that I needed to show more action. I was becoming more ambitious - but there is still not much in the background!
Peaceful dove nest
Another small early painting. I attended an evening course for hobby artists at TAFE for a couple of years, back in these early days - and did not produce a single finished painting as a result.
This was my first attempt at painting without using a black background. At this early stage I was only producing about one painting a year. It is not easy finding the time or motivation when you are looking after young children!
Green tree frog
My third painting. Here I used the rainforest darkness as an excuse for a black background, but have also added in my own arrangement of leaves. When this painting was still wet, my very young daughter tried to wipe off one of the water drops - she thought they were real!
Barn owl
This was my second painting -still with a black background, but I was confident enough now at least to be able to add in the moth, to give the owl something to look at.
Brushtail possum
The first successful painting that I ever did, this was painted many years ago when my children were very young. I couldn't manage backgrounds, so it helped to be able to eliminate them by painting nocturnal animals! Everyone has to start somewhere!
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For permission to use artwork, please contact Jenny Grogan.