Kerry Ann Lyons
A Fine Art Wildlife & Pop Artist
The Interview : Kerry Ann Lyons
(Rachna Singh in conversation with Kerry Ann Lyons, a fine art wildlife & Pop Artist)
The Wise Owl talks to Kerry Ann Lyons, a fine art wildlife artist and pop artist based in Oxfordshire, New England. Kerry is a self-taught artist whose art journey started at a young age when she found a sketch book with portraits that her mother had drawn. This sparked her love for art.
She has a love for animals and nature which reflects in her wildlife art paintings. With an expert use of her brush, she captures the essence and soul of the animal with detailed eyes and a photo realism feel but also encompassing vibrant gouache colours along with acrylic paints. Overlaid on the top of the gouache are small intricate pieces of doodle art, ranging from Big Ben, Tower Bridge, tennis rackets, cups of tea, cakes and lots of hidden small mice. Her paintings range from Zebras, Giraffes, Brown Bears, big cats from different continents to penguins from Antarctica.
As a Pop artist, she brings to glorious life, celebrity singers and actors like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlie Chaplin among others.
Hi Kerry. Thank you for taking time out to talk to The Wise Owl. We are indeed delighted to talk to you.
RS: Let me start by complimenting you on your beautiful paintings. They are a treat for the eyes. Our readers would like to know how and when you realised you were blessed with this amazing talent. Tell us a little about your artistic journey.
KAL: When I was very young, I found a sketch book of my mums with old movie stars that she had drawn from pictures. I think it started from that point that I was so surprised to find that my mum could draw. I was constantly going for walks down by the river and sketching. It has really been a lifetime though of learning with art and I feel like now I am learning something new every week.
RS: You have said that you are a self-taught artist. Tell us where you learnt your artistic skills and craftsmanship from? Did you have a creative mentor who helped you to nurture your talent?
KAL: I have just practised and practised, sometimes your mistakes are your best friend. You either learn not to do that again or find a new technique totally by mistake. Last year, an amazing lady who is one of the top in the country, messaged me and said she could see I have it and that I need to hone in on what is my gut art. She has now become a lovely friend to me and a brilliant mentor.
RS: Your wildlife paintings are such a beautiful mix of gouache colours, acrylic paints and doodle artwork. What inspired you to bring together these different techniques and mediums so seamlessly?
KAL: I have always loved big cats etc and wildlife. My friend that I just told you about said to use gouache in vibrant colours and the doodle art was something I had always wanted to incorporate into a painting… So my wildlife art with doodles was born.
RS: I loved your paintings of Freddie Mercury and Audrey Hepburn. Pop art and wildlife art are two very different genres. Our readers would be curious to know what attracted you to pop art. How do you divide your time between these genres?
KAL: Thank you! I have been working solidly the last few weeks with my new publisher on a total new series of pop art pieces, with texture and resin embellishments… To be released very soon! So, watch this space. LOL
I have always been drawn to the vibrant colours and the pop art was something I was always interested in exploring too. Dividing time is tricky and hard to juggle as I have a job in a school as well. I just try my best to prioritize my time wisely, I hope….
RS: Our readers and wannabe artists would love to know a little about your creative process, right from the stage of conceptualization to the finished product. How do you decide on a subject, the colours, the predominant medium, paper, the kind of images to be used in your doodle art etc?
KAL: My doodle art is certainly a lot easier to manage than my new pieces of pop art. I always stick to a plain grey background for my wildlife pieces to make the animal the focus of the painting. I sketch out the animal very roughly to start with, wash over some gouache and might go over it again if I feel it is not vibrant enough to start with. I then work on the doodle art. For example, the sea turtle has lots of things related to the sea in the doodles. The lion though has Big Ben and Tower Bridge, cups of tea and chocolate biscuits. It is whatever I am feeling at the time of doing it. Then when that is complete, I start with the animal’s eye. I love to get that very refined as the eyes as they say are the window to the soul. Then it is washes of colour of acrylics and then detailed brushstrokes of fur etc.
RS: Are there any wildlife artists or pop artists you admire. If so, why?
KAL: For wildlife David Shepherd and Alan Hunt my lovely friend Rozanne Bell. I adore her work. For Pop Art I like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, my friend Dirtyhans and OneLife183.
RS: Our readers would like to know if you are working on any interesting art project or exhibiting your art in the near future or perhaps working on a coffee table book of your works.
KAL: At the moment like I said I am working on 6 new Pop Art pieces to be released soon… So spray-painting and working like crazy to get them finished. I am also working on the wildlife; an elephant, a meerkat and 3 babies and a peacock.
A coffee table book would be amazing…Fingers crossed for that.
RS: Is there any advice you would like to give upcoming wildlife artists or pop artists on how to hone their craft.
KAL: My advice would be constantly practise, with practise you learn new skills. I have been using a jigsaw to cut out small resin pieces, learnt to resin. Cut my own stencils and learnt how you can manipulate spray painting to create unique shapes and textures.
One thing I would say is I work in a primary school, I always tell my children that if you work hard you can achieve anything you want to. You have to have a determination and when things go wrong you just pick yourself up, brush yourself off and start over again. It will come right in the end but may take several times of being disappointed. But the disappointment is overshadowed by the overwhelming sense of pride and achievement when you know that you have something good, and it has taken a lot of grit and determination to achieve. Only then does it feel like you really have won the Gold Medal…
RS: Thank you so much Kerry for talking to The Wise Owl. We wish you the best and hope you continue to create your beautiful artworks showcasing beautiful animals in such an unusual manner and bringing celebrities to glorious life with your pop art.
KAL: It has been lovely chatting to you, and it has made me proud that you love my work and brought a little tear to my eye. So, thank you very much for the wonderful compliments.