Olivia Willoughby

Biography

“She sees the soul of an animal, and shows it to us”. Robert Lipscombe, author

Olivia is driven to paint by an ever increasing awe for the wonders of the natural world and a love for the beauty of the animal kingdom. Her inspiration comes from any element that moves her, visual, emotional or spiritual, from the play of light and colour on a tiger’s coat to the inner strength and determination of a lioness protecting her cubs. She says: “I never cease to be delighted by the beauty of creation. I love to share this passion through my art. Animals to me embody some of the best and most rare qualities of being, qualities that would benefit all of us; purity, nobility, freedom, selflessness... I hope to capture some of these powerful and universal ideals in my art.”

With a style rooted in both traditional tenets and contemporary interpretation, Olivia is often described as a realist, and she demonstrates a close attention to detail in a bid for exceptional authenticity. She harnesses those magical qualities unique to her medium of oils which bestow a luminous and living quality on each piece. There is always atmosphere, a strong sense of three dimensional space, and an expressive vitality to each painting; these elements combines to create a sense of a whole living and breathing world in one canvas.

She describes her most formative years as her 20s during which she spent several months as a trainee naturalist in a Conservation Park in Nepal. This is where she first saw tigers, rhinos and elephants in the wild – an extraordinary experience that strengthened her already growing passion of wildlife. When she returned home, Olivia was not ready to settle into a conventional way of life, and lived with her dog Sapphire in a bow top wagon, moving all over the West Country. She experienced nature at close quarters, going to sleep at night to the sound of foxes and badgers, and this was when she began to pursue her love of drawing and painting.

Olivia has undertaken many prestigious commissions for clients all over the world, and now has collectors in Japan, Australia, Belgium, France and Spain. Her distinctive paintings have caught the eye of the press and have been featured widely in publications ranging from newspapers to glossy magazines such as Artist Art and Design Magazine and the Art Edition of House and Garden magazine. As a keen supporter of a number of charities and conservation projects, Olivia donates a percentage of her artwork sales to the David Shepherd Wildlife Fund. She is passionate about big cat conservation and uses her art to oppose trophy hunting and to increase awareness of the fragility and plight of the planet’s endangered species.

“I do believe art is a spiritual distillation of life. I hope to create something that can be a source of joy but also perhaps have an element of mystery. Those things that go beyond words and which art manages to communicate.”

Olivia Willoughby media