Andrew Mackay – Wildlife Artist
I was born in Bristol, UK, in 1965, but now live in Leicestershire, in the English Midlands. I was interested in wildlife, especially birds, from a very early age, and began drawing them in my early teens. Since 1988 I have been a freelance wildlife artist and illustrator. I originally specialised in birds, but have recently started drawing insects, especially moths and butterflies, and have also added big cats and other mammals to my repertoire. After several years of painting for exhibitions and private commissions, my first illustrating ‘break’ came in 1995, when I was commissioned by Oxford University Press to provide 29 plates for the Birds of the Western Palearctic Concise Edition. Since then, I have illustrated many other books, including the RSPB Birds of Britain and Europe series by Rob Hume (Dorling Kindersley); Birds of North America (Dorling Kindersley); Pelicans, Cormorants and their Relatives by Bryan Nelson (OUP), A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia by Craig Robson (New Holland), Pocket Nature – Wild Animals (Dorling Kindersley), Watching British Dragonflies (Subbuteo Books) and Pocket Nature – Butterflies and Moths (Dorling Kindersley). I also wrote the moths section of the latter book, and contributed several photographs. I regularly exhibit my paintings at exhibitions, including those organised by the RSPB and British Trust for Ornithology. In recent years I have had several works accepted for the National Exhibition of Wildlife Art.
After many years of painting very detailed pictures in gouache, I now work exclusively in acrylics, either on canvas, watercolour board or gesso panels. Paintings on canvas have a looser feel, whilst watercolour board and gesso panels are ideal for painting detail.
I am an active birder, but no longer travel to see rarities, preferring more relaxed birding at my local patches in Leicestershire, with occasional trips elsewhere, especially Norfolk and Suffolk. Between 1990 and 2003 I visited the Isles of Scilly every October, and have also visited Shetland several times. As well as birds, I am interested in all areas of natural history, espeically moths, butterflies and dragonflies.
Interests outside natural history and art include listening to music (anything from techno to classical), watching sport, reading, writing and computing (especially web design).