Carol Barrett graduated in drawing and painting at Edinburgh College of Art and has been a professional wildlife artist for over 35 years. She lives and works from The Dovecot Studio in Edinburgh, Scotland.
‘Starlet’ ~ Leopard ~ Pastel
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. Her work has taken her to Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Sketching a family group of elephant near the Luangwa River
Studying the skeleton and carcass remains of a mature elephant which died of natural causes in South Luangwa’s NP
‘Etosha Guardian’ ~ Watercolour & gouache
Using camera to build up reference material for more detailed artworks which will be painted back in the studio
‘Lifelong Ties’ ~ Coffee & Watercolour on elephant dung paper
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.
‘Scanning the horizon’ ~ Watercolour & Ink
In 2006 Carol 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.
‘Immediately I think of my time at CCF memories of ‘Chewbaaka’ flood into mind, because he had been hand-raised by Laurie and survived against all the odds. He grew to be an exceptional cheetah in every way and with the unique bond he had with Laurie, he was able to inspire countless people to work tirelessly for the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia and other cheetah range countries and motivate conservationists from all over the world to do as much as possible to help save the species.
‘Vantage Point’ ~ Pastel
Laurie could not have found a more impressive ambassador for CCF, as ‘Chewbaaka’ had the perfect temperament to be taken into the local community e.g. schools to educate the pupils and students, meet and give support to farmers. Together they were the dream team for cheetah conservation, with Laurie becoming a heroine for cheetah conservation throughout the world, and ‘Chewbaaka’, during his long life, being able to achieve great goals for CCF, building trust and showing that there can be sustainable co-existence between cheetah, livestock and people.
It was a huge honour to spend time with ‘Chewbaaka’. On occasions when we were together, he chose to lie right next to me purring softly, which was incredibly special and meant ‘Chewbaaka’ would always have a piece of my heart.’
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.
In many countries of Africa, cheetahs now exist in populations so small there is a great risk they may become extinct within our lifetimes.
From May 2020 100% of sales of selected cheetah paintings will be donated to The Cheetah Conservation Fund ~ cheetah.org
‘Spirit of speed’ ~ Watercolour sketch
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.
Drawing my favourite subject close to the Ruaha river in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
100% of sale price of Australian wildlife paintings will be donated to support Koala conservation
‘Well Cushioned’ ~ Pastel on elephant dung paper
Carol has also had the opportunity to study and sketch the Australian marsupials, birds and other unique indigenous wildlife after spending 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 and along the Murray river in the Riverland area. Many of her drawings and paintings were created on naturally sourced paper made from wombat & kangaroo dung paper, native trees and plants.
‘Cling On’ ~ Pastel on Kangaroo dung paper
Getting to know the unique marsupials on Kangaroo Island
Pouched Joey ~ Mixed media on Bamboo paper
‘Show Off’ ~ Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Watercolour
To discover more about this important work to help Koala, click on Conservation page
Carol has exhibited with the David Shepherd’s Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition, International Primatological Society, The Wildlife Art Society International and the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club
‘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
Sketching antelope making their way down to a waterhole in the Selous Game Reserve Tanzania
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. SOC invited Carol back to be part of a shared exhibition entitled ‘Kindred Spirits’, earlier in 2020.
‘Baobab Trail’ ~ Wildebeest ~ Watercolour
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
Conte sketch of male lion in the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania
It was heart-breaking to discover this young elephant lying motionless, close to Rufiji river, totally alone. He still had moisture in his trunk and the skin was still damp behind his ears, but tragically although he just looked as though he was sleeping, he had lost his life. The incident was reported to the Tanzanian Wildlife Department, who would investigate the cause of why this elephant died.