fieldwork Iceland lavafield Fenland sketchbook: lapwings and sunset at Welney - MC Wood Sketchbook: roosting oystercatchers at Titchwell - MC Wood Interpretation Mapping Perspectives Oedipoda germanica illustration Small copper Goldfinch on rocks, Lesvos - MC Wood Bullfinch

My interest in wildlife took off  when a schoolfriend told me about a barn owl he had seen in a derelict barn near where I lived in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester.  The bird was not there when we tried to find it the next day, but we did see grey wagtail, kestrel and kingfisher, and I was hooked.  After that I spent most weekends birdwatching in favourite parts of the Lancashire and Cheshire countryside - Rostherne Mere, Tatton Park, the Sefton coast, and my local patch of the Mersey valley between Chorlton and Sale.

I quickly started to record my observations by drawing and painting birds, and a few early efforts were published in Bird Life in the 1970‘s.  When it was time to choose a career I opted for landscape architecture, which at that time was one of the few professions that would allow me to combine my main interests - wildlife, conservation and drawing.  I trained in Leeds, joined Landscape Design Associates for several years and then moved to Cambridge.  For a couple of decades I was immersed in fascinating landscape design and environmental projects.  Increasingly I spent my spare time working as a conservation volunteer on local nature reserves, and then joined the scientific team surveying and monitoring biodiversity at the important S’Albufera wetland reserve in Mallorca. Working in special habitats gave me excellent opportunities for close observation of all sorts of wildlife, expanding my interests and prompting me to paint again.

One particular landscape project, preparing Design Guidelines for Birdwatching Facilities on the Norfolk Coast, enabled me to give up the day job in 1996 to concentrate full-time on wildlife painting and freelance illustration.  Since then commissions have included work for various wildlife books, garden design books, interpretation displays for the National Trust, the Environment  Agency and Wildlife Trusts, and landscape and architectural perspectives for other designers.  My paintings have been shown for many years at the British Birdwatching Fair and in local exhibitions.

Like many working artists, I don’t paint all the time.  I get regular requests from art groups for talks, demonstrations and workshops, and I do a small amount of individual tuition.  I have taught wildlife drawing for the Field Studies Council and Cambridge colleges, and have led courses in garden design at venues such as Cambridge University Botanic Garden.  I take on a few garden design commissions each year, and from time to time I lead painting and wildlife holidays.  

I usually have a backlog of wildlife encounters and compositions competing for my attention, and I currently have paintings emerging from fieldwork in the Danube Delta, Ecuador, Extremadura, The Gambia, the Galapagos, Iceland, Lesvos, Mallorca and Menorca, as well as the wetlands and coast of East Anglia; if you would like to see more work from any of these areas please get in touch.