Born in Cornwall in 1969, Lisa Ann Watkins only recently rekindled her interest in what have become the great twin passions of her life: creativity and love of animals.
A graduate of Cheltenham College of Art, where she majored in fashion design and textiles, Lisa worked for years in the costume and bridal industry; then, realizing that the work had no real meaning for her, she stepped away. It was late 2012 before she took up her colored pencils again and set herself the challenge to pursue her true calling. By December 2012, having won two competitions organized by Colored Pencil magazine, she gained back her confidence and belief in her artistic talents.
First using her artwork to raise funds for the Snow Leopard Trust, Lisa subsequently became an Artist Partner of the trust and then the subject of articles in a range of internationally distributed publications. She has licensed images of some of her work to a cross-stitch company in Australia and also has developed a line of her own merchandise featuring her images.
Based in the Forest of Dean, Lisa currently works with the charities of her choice to promote awareness with her artwork; in addition, she operates a now well-established business in pet and wildlife portraiture and also teaches students via workshops & online training all around the globe.
Lisa’s first solo exhibition took place in May 2014, following her initiatives on behalf of the world’s leading bear rescue organizations, including Animals Asia, Wildlife SOS, and Libearty Bear Sanctuary. Her visit to the latter in Romania in 2013 sparked her idea to use her art to tell the stories of endangered animals, which have no voice. That idea lies at the heart of all of Lisa’s wildlife artwork and, she says, is on a par with creating the art itself.
Lisa Ann Watkins works mainly in graphite, colored pencils, and pastels but also is developing her oil techniques. Of all media, she acknowledges that colored pencils always seem to have the greater pull for her, perhaps because they allow her a control not achieved with her other tools. (She made the portrait Aussie (see gallery) after a specialist colored pencil magazine asked her to create a step-by-step feature for its readers. She used wet pencils for the underpainting and up to 20 layers of dry pencil, built up to achieve the texture of the animal’s fur. Subsequently, Aussie was juried into the May 2015 UK Coloured Pencil Society (UKCPS) Open Exhibition at Menier Gallery in London.)
2015 was a whirlwind year with of course, the UKCPS exhibition & Lisa also exhibited again at “Nature in Art” as part of The Wildlife Art Society International (TWASI) annual exhibition. She currently has work on display at Miners in Sling, among other venues. 2015 also saw the signing of a licensing deal to supply some of the countries leading home decorating stores & also her work being featured in further publications, including a specialist book.
Lisa often receives People’s Choice awards in West Gloucestershire Art Society (WGAS) exhibitions in her home county of Gloucestershire. January 2016 saw her portrait of Stella the French Bulldog receiving a Special Merit in the annual international open art competition All Women, a very prestigious achievement. May ’16 also saw Lisa scoop 2 awards at THE 2016 UKCPS Open International exhibition at the Menier Gallery in London. Not only did she pick up the SAA award for best in category but also The Artist award for Reserve Best in Show!
2017 saw Lisa teaching her workshops around the UK ahead of a tour of the USA by the invite of Ann Kullberg of Color magazine. Selected as a finalist in the Women of the Year awards as well as being published in several more books & magazines this proved yet another fulfilling year. Plus the launch of her Patreon channel meant that she could now reach students globally with her online teaching.
2018 sees more workshops across the UK with plans to return to the US. Her Patreon channel grows month on month & she has now been invited to teach for other organisations including the SAA as part of their artist team. She also achieved one of her lifetime goals of being invited to become a signature member of the Artists For Conservation organisation.
When not at the drawing board Lisa is either out in the forest where she lives with her 5 rescue dogs or working hard behind the scenes for animal rescues that she has pledged to support