Real lives: Carol Barret’s brush with the wild for charity

Carol Barret

Carol Barret

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Clinging on to the roof of a 4 x 4 in the wilds of Africa retreating from a distraught elephant whose baby was wounded from a poacher’s bullet is just one story city artist Carol Barrett reveals.

It is one of the many experiences the wildlife artist recalls from her many journeys into the bush where she heads to study, sketch and paint wildlife in its natural habitat.

And the animals were the source of material for her new collection of paintings in her latest exhibition Brush with the Wild, which took her three years to complete, which open in East Lothian tomorrow.

It also includes artwork from field trips to South and West Australia and Zambia’s South Luangwa valley. It depicts a number of animals in their natural setting, including duck-billed platypus, quokkas, koalas, kangaroos and sea lions.

Carol, who works from her studio in Corstorphine, said: “Spending time out in the field gathering insight into the wildlife is invaluable. There is nothing better than being near a waterhole or river bank to have the time to sketch antelope and zebra herds coming down to drink, or elephant wallowing and playing in the muddy water.

“For me one of the highlights is the anticipation of going out on a night drive, when there is the chance of seeing some nocturnal species and predators at work, including the elusive leopard, or patiently waiting for a glimpse of the shy Duckbilled Platypus.”

The mother-of-one, who has exhibited in the added: “I have always loved art, natural history and in particular African wildlife. My aim is to showcase the majesty of the natural world and encourage people to empathise and connect with the animals in her paintings and awaken an interest of these wonderful creatures and to think about their future. A graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, Carol was formerly the RZSS Artist in Residence at Edinburgh Zoo and has completed over 500 commissions. Her paintings are exhibited in collections in Europe, the United States, Australia and Africa.

She first visited Africa almost three decades ago and has previously worked artist on residence at The Cheetah Conservation Fund in Otjiwarongo in Namibia. The prjoect is so close to her heart she continues helping conservce cheetahs in the wild by donating 20 per cent of the sale of all her cheetah artwork to the fund to raise valuable funds for the charity. Her new exhibition opens at The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club’s Donald Watson Gallery in Waterston House in Aberlady. It runs from February 18 to April 5 and entry is free and the artists works – originals and prints – are for sale, with a percentage going to animal charity.

Carol has exhibited with the International Primatological Society, The Wildlife Art Society International, The National Exhibition of Wildlife Art’ and The Marwell International Wildlife Art Society.

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