I was born in 1957 in Derby, England, my land of green. Age eight I emigrated to Australia in the 1960s with my family. We moved between these countries for 6 years, seeing much of the world on our journeys. I re-settled in Australia in 1988 and now live in the beautiful Blue Mountains.

My schooling was constantly disrupted but art was always my guiding star, my grounding tool. My love of colour sustained me and still does. At high school, teachers saw my interest and would allow me to do my own projects in art and sewing, which was wonderful for me.

I attended Derby School of Art and Technology at the age of 16, accepted on the merit of my art work, to study illustration and fashion design.  My London based illustration tutor suggested I apply to enter London’s Slade or St Martins art colleges, but due to my age, it didn’t happen. My parents were skilled artisans potting, painting, sculpting, sewing  and silver-smithing, so it was natural to think I could also be creative.

Throughout difficult times in my life, I have used art, particularly silk painting and soft pastels, as my healing escape route. Becoming absorbed in art can take away or minimize emotional stress and pain. I always look to nature which I find so amazingly beautiful and inspiring.

The natural world and its creatures, colours and spirit are my inspiration to paint, so much so that I despair that I won’t have time to portray all the beauty around me. Our environment is so important and so threatened.

My art techniques are self- taught, a constant personal evolution. I play with colours in a medium new to me, then practise techniques until I am happy with the results, or not! Drawing is my first step. I work in soft pastel, water colour, ink, gouache or oils presently, whatever medium which feels best for the image I am intending to create. A lot of my painting is intuitive; I rest if I am unhappy with what I am creating and wait to know where to go and how. I experience art making as positive and pleasurable, sometimes difficult and challenging, a channel for life’s beauty and energy. Most people comment on the brilliant colours I often love to use, my attention to detail, the animals, birds or plant life, and the spiritual depth in certain fantasy /surreal works.

The artistic influences and artists I truly admire are: Tiffany,  Lalique,  Gaudi,  William Morris, The Art Nouveau period 1890-1920, flow, elegance and nature, Celtic Art. Illustrators: Arthur Rackham,  Kay Neilsen,  Ida Rentoul Outhwaite,  Jackie Morris,  Wayne Anderson,   Graeme Base,  May Gibbs,  Brian Froud, and many more wonderful artist/illustrators.

Painters:  John William Waterhouse,  Michael Parkes,  Susan Seddon Boulet,  Rosie Sanders,  Gabby Malpas,  Stephanie Pui-Mun Law,  Leonardo Da Vinci,  Vincent Van Gogh,  Daniel Merriam,  Sydney Long,   to name only a few brilliant artists of our world.

After 30-40 years of creating, I am delighted when children and adults love my art. Over the last few years I have written and illustrated a children’s book about a magical island and wings, soon to be published. I enjoy painting commissions for clients, producing a painting they really like using their subjects in my style. I cannot imagine my life without producing art in some form, or our planet with less flora and fauna than it already has. I am grateful to be here in this life, on Earth.                  Zoe Fletcher

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