Australian Wildlife Artist | Kerri Dixon

  • Kerri Dixon

A Bit About Me...

Well, I figure I should at least have one blog post about me so you can all get to know who I am and what got me into Art. Well, there's no sob story or cliff hanging suspension in my life history haha. I had a pretty normal middle-class upbringing in a fairly small community (at the time) north of Brisbane, Qld Australia.

I think my love for animals definitely came from my childhood, I was pretty renowned for bringing any stray home, sometimes not even a stray. I remember clearly buying a cat from the pet shop and telling my mum it followed me home hahaha. And my friend's pets seemed to always be having babies so of course, I would try my hardest to convince my parents that they really needed a home. Luckily my mum and dad were also animal lovers and were pretty cool with it. So I've had my fair share of Dogs, Cats, Birds, Mice, Rabbits, Fish, Lizards, Hermit Crabs. All the standard pets for a kid.

I think Art was also always in my blood. While my friends were out playing I would come up with an excuse to stay home and draw. I loved copying images from the Sunday Newspaper comic strips. I could draw any of them straight from memory and Snake Tales by SOLS was by far my favorite. I even used to make little Plasticine models of him.

I, of course, took Visual Art as an OP subject through to Year 12 but decided not to further that Art education by going to University. I think mainly because I didn't really have anyone pushing me to do that and none of my group of friends were taking study further than yr 12. We were all just glad to get out of there haha.

I did, however, end up working as a Face Painter at Expo 88 in Brisbane and then later became a Signwriter which I have been ever since, with my own business working alongside my husband of 25 years. So even though I do not have any formal training in Art, I have definitely stayed in the field, which had always been my dream.

I hope I'm not boring you with my history but like I said its nothing to write home about :)

Even though art was incorporated in my daily job as a Signwriter, I think I truly started to take it more seriously when I opened a Market Stall selling hand painted picture frames and house signs. I would paint a little frog, lizard, kookaburra or anything really onto old rustic timber and turn them into frames. It was really a form of Folk Art actually but it gave me the bug to get back into my own Art. So once my 3 kids were in bed I would sit up each night and paint these little animals to my heart's content. I don't really consider Folk Art as a fine art form of painting, its more of a craft but it was a great stepping stone for me to actually believe I could become an Artist. I think everyone has to go through these phases in their own artistic journey to get to where they want to ultimately be.

So I spent many years playing around with Acrylics and then progressed into Oils and Graphite. I really do love all mediums but I don't think I actually felt like I was good enough to enter any competitions or approach galleries until I discovered Pastels, which was only about 3 years ago. So after 20 odd years of playing around and learning different Mediums, I think I have finally found the one I am meant to draw with.

As an Artist, you can never stop learning and over my years I have attended a number of workshops and lessons by a varied group of wonderful tutors in many different mediums and styles. The eye opener though was a 5 lesson workshop with David Wells, I saw his course advertised while I was taking Oil Lessons with Marcel at Brisbane Painting Classes, the flyer showed a beautiful realistic dog portrait and I thought well here is something that suits me, I would love to learn how to draw animals that look that realistic, even though I had never really heard of or tried Soft Pastels before I decided to give it a go. And from that first lesson I was hooked. It just felt natural to me and I love that by building up the layers of pastel, you can achieve a softness to the fur that actually looks like you could run your hands through it, there is no other medium that can give this effect, plus you can get your hands dirty, kind of like finger painting really :) So here are my first ever pastels from my lessons with David.

I am definitely in love with this medium and since then have painted 6 Dingoes, 2 Leopards, 1 Tiger, 1 Cheetah and 1 Red Hot Poker Flower and am currently working on a Cassowary, which you can check the progress of all my work on my facebook page.

My next phase will be to take it to the next level and become a full-time Artist. Hopefully, if all goes to plan, by this time next year I should be living the dream and produce a hell of a lot more work. It is quite difficult working a full-time job and then trying to work on your passion at night, as I'm sure many of you would understand, so this can't come quick enough for me.

I have plenty of ideas in the pipeline so stay tuned for exciting things to come. Next week I will start to talk about techniques etc. :)

Kerri xx