Carol Barrett graduated in drawing and painting at Edinburgh College of Art and has been a professional wildlife artist for over 30 years. She lives and works from The Dovecot Studio in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Carol regularly makes field trips to Africa to study the wildlife in its natural habitat, to gather valuable material for her painting by sketching, keeping daily diaries and colour notes for light which assist in evoking memories of a scene or encounter and using the camera to help capture a moment and provide more details that time often does not permit. These missions have taken her to Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Sketching a family group of elephant near the Luangwa River in September 2018
Studying the skeleton and carcass remains of a mature elephant which died of natural causes in South Luangwa’s NPUsing camera to build up reference material for more detailed artworks which will be painted back in the studio
Carol’s earliest memories were strongly dominated by animals, living on a small Scottish Border farm and then coming to live right next door to Edinburgh Zoo. After completing art college Carol’s passion for animals made it a natural decision to specialise in wildlife art. A fascination with African wildlife, particularly elephant, grew after her first visit to Kenya in 1990. These majestic creatures have remained a constant source of inspiration and given raise to the deepest respect, admiration and concern for their future.
Carol was an Artist in Residence for The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), and held solo and mixed wildlife art exhibitions at RZSS over a number of years.
In 2006 she was invited to (CCF) The Cheetah Conservation Fund’s HQ in Namibia to use her artistic skill and has continued to be one of their artists helping wild cheetah.
With Dr Laurie Marker, Co- Founder & Chief Executive of CCF & their famous ambassador cheetah, ‘Chewbaaka’. He was a rescued orphan at 2 weeks, who grew into one of CCF’s largest cheetah and most long lived at 12 years old, who would accompany Laurie to local schools and into the wider community to educate them about living in harmony with the wildlife.
Carol felt extremely privileged to be able to have this unique access to these highly endangered cats and be able to assist staff, who were experts in the field working with the 39 rescued cheetah and have the wonderful opportunity to make sketches and take action shots of the fastest land mammal.
Carol returns time and time again to Africa to spend time with its wildlife and is keen to raise awareness of the plight of endangered and threatened species by highlighting conservation programmes and supporting their vital work to save these unique animals and their habitat.
‘Potential’, Cheetah lookout ~ Watercolour and Ink
Australian marsupials, birds and other unique indigenous wildlife were able to be featured in Carol’s last solo exhibition, ‘Brush with the Wild’ in 2017 after she spent time in the protected bush areas in the southern and western parts of the country. Kangaroo Island, in particular Flinders Chase proved to be a sanctuary for most of the native species. Many of the drawings and paintings were done on naturally sourced paper e.g. wombat & kangaroo dung paper.
‘Tree Hugger’ ~ Pastel on Kangaroo dung paper
Carol has exhibited with the David Shepherd’s Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition, International Primatological Society, The Wildlife Art Society International, and The National Exhibition of Wildlife Art’.
‘Interested Lioness’ ~ Pastel on Mokolwane Palm paper
In 2009 she was short-listed by the BBC Wildlife Magazine’s Art Competiton
‘Vanishing Kingdom’ ~ Siverback Lowland Gorilla. Acrylic
And in 2011 by The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s Wildlife Artist of the Year Portfolio.
‘Stripes Converge’ ~ Watercolour & Gouache
In 2012 Carol had two of her watercolours selected and a pastel artwork in 2015 for The Wildlife Artist of the Year (WAY) Exhibition in the Mall Galleries, London.
‘Clouds of Mercy’ was one of the watercolours selected for exhibition at the WAY Exhibition
Carol has held four solo exhibitions of her paintings at The Donald Watson Gallery, Waterston House in the Scottish Ornithologist’s Club (SOC) in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2017. She will be exhibiting again at SOC in 2020
‘Ruffled Emu’ ~ Watercolour and Ink
Carol has completed over 590 commissioned works in a variety of media: some are in private collections in Africa, Australia, Canada, Europe, India and USA.
A committed conservationist Carol supports a number of wildlife organizations in Africa and the UK.
Gathering material in the dry riverbed of Zambia’s Mushilashi River, close to Nzonzi Camp
Observing Carmine Bee-eaters feeding and flying back to their nesting holes in the Luangwa riverbank
Anatolian Guard Dog puppy duty at The Cheetah Conservation Fund’s HQ in Otjiwarongo, Namibia
Photographing a hippo pod on a morning game drive