Did you know that a group of flamingos is called a flamboyance?

Of course this revelation compelled me to create a painting called Flamboyant Flamingos!

By creating this artwork I would embark on a new journey, returning to my roots as a textile designer.


I love learning about the animals I paint.

Flamingos are amazing and it doesn’t take much imagination to appreciate that their name comes from the Spanish word flamenco. What I hadn’t realised is that flamenco comes from the Spanish word ‘flama’ meaning flame. Maybe flamingos are living phoenix!

Amazingly the pinkest flamingo has status, all the other flamingos look up to them. Their bright colour shows that they are strong and good at finding food. Flamigos get their fabulous colour from eating algae, crustaceans and tiny plants which are high in nutritious carotenoids.

If you hadn’t already guessed carrots and other orange vegetables also have carotenoids in them.

Flamingos find long lasting love. After an elaborate courtship, flamingos pick their life partner and are monogamous (well mostly), and as they can live 20 to 30 years (even longer in captivity) it can be an enduring relationship.

Have you ever wondered why they stand on one leg? It’s because their feet get cold, they alternate tucking them inside their warm tummy feathers.

We can find flamingos scattered around the world from the Caribbean and South America to Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, as well in captivity. As there six different types of flamingos, there is so much choice for an artist.


How do I create a composition?

My paintings are heavily influenced by the photographs I have available. I do have a huge catalogue of animal images which I have taken over the last few years. I love visiting anywhere with animals and have had some amazing opportunities to photograph all sorts of incredible creatures.

The photographs of flamingos I used in this particular painting were taken at Bristol zoo, Fuerteventura and Longleat (I think that’s everywhere).

To develop an idea I select images which I think will be suitable, usually more than I eventually use. I sketch ideas and I use Photoshop to arrange flamingos and then rearranged them.


Sketches from my sketch book


As soon as I’m happy with a composition I draw the image in pencil onto a sheet of MDF, previously prepared with a few coats of white emulsion. This piece is around 60cm square. I have the MDF cut from a big sheet, I go to a large B&Q where they do a free cutting service, it makes life so much easier.

Each painting is created from layers of acrylic paint. Occasionally I use other types of paint, in this painting I have used a deep shade of dark blue emulsion paint. Emulsion is opaque, and covers the white more easily.


I also mix pots of paint if I know I will use a lot of it. (Don’t you just love the IKEA little clip jars).

I find a stay wet palette is also essential as my paintings take weeks to complete, the colours remain useable for a good amount of time. I created my own stay wet palette, by using an A4 plastic box and adding the stay wet sheets.

The frame anchors the whole composition together and is part of my Framed animals series of paintings. The composition needed a flamboyant frame.


Once completed I have my work scanned. When I first started I did try to photograph artwork myself, I have an excellent camera, but getting true colours was a nightmare.

So, I visit Sally Mitchell Fine Arts Gallery and have a few pieces scanned at the same time as they have a 1 metre by 1.5 metre scanner.

Scanning picks up everything, every little flaw, bump and dent, that you wouldn’t notice on an original painting. So, I touch up my work using Photoshop and my Wacom drawing tablet. This also allows me to be creative with the artwork, developing new designs.

Being an artist and designer today is awesome! I can go onto the internet and have almost anything manufactured with my designs on it. So, I create.


So, I experiment.


Please have a look around my website, to see the rest of my work. If you are interested in collaborating with me or you are an interior designer thinking of using my products or designs? Please get in touch.

If you would like to stock any of my products in your retail premises, please contact me to discuss wholesale prices.

Or just have a look around my Print Shop.

Print Shop