Although I’ve done a variety of artistic things all of my life – crafts, designing posters, pottery – it was only recently and rather late in life that I felt I could actually call myself ‘an artist’.

I use pastels, a very basic medium which has a lovely softness and can nevertheless be used with precision and it can achieve wonderful colour depth and vibrancy through building up of layers. I depict animals and birds from around the world including endangered species, plus our British wildlife. I try to capture the character of the creature I’m working on, I often start with the eyes so that I can get to know my subject, and the finishing touch is usually the glint in the eye. I think portraying wildlife found me rather than me finding it, and I use my art to raise funds for wildlife and habitat conservation. I am delighted to have won awards for my art in international competitions, including a Gold Award for my portrait of a Gorilla.

I joined Drawn to the Valley a year ago, once I felt confident enough about my art. It’s been a wonderful time, with lovely people and great exhibitions