Irene Brierton is a professional Wildlife artist living on the fringes of Derbyshire’s Peak District National Park.
The Derbyshire countryside she experienced from earliest childhood sparked a fascination for the wildlife around her and has since provided opportunities for wildlife watching which have given her some of the greatest inspiration for her distinctive watercolours of British wildlife. To portray wildlife you need to interact with it and she has done that in abundance throughout her life.
A key moment came about in 1987 when Irene was invited to participate in filming with the BBC and Simon King. It was her introduction as a wildlife artist to badger watching. Little did she realise at the time that the experience would spark a level of interest which would lead to badgers taking an increasingly important role in her life.
The depth of knowledge she has gained, having chaired the Mid Derbyshire Badger Group for the last 22 years, ensures she is regularly called upon for advice and assistance and by the media, for comment on matters of both local and national interest involving these animals.
She has since filmed with Ray Mears and even taken Roy Hattersley badger watching, an experience he wrote about in his article ‘This England’ for the Daily Mail.
However, it is not all badgers although they do occasionally feature in her paintings. Encounters with all manner of other wildlife subjects provide the vital inspiration for her work, the Brown Hare being a particular favourite. The Somerset Levels, Isle of Mull and North Norfolk come high on her list of favourite destinations for wildlife encounters.
In those early days following successful exhibitions in Derbyshire, Irene felt the need to seek a wider audience for her work and London beckoned. She first exhibited with the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour and in the same year, 1985, with the Society of Wildlife Artists. That exposure led to an invitation to join the prestigious Society of Women Artists and eventually, having been persuaded to try her hand at miniatures, to membership of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers.
Her year now tends to fall into a pattern and with summer comes The National Exhibition of Wildlife Art (NEWA) held on the Wirral, which is closely followed by another important event.
For many years now Irene has taken a stand at the internationally recognised Birdfair at Rutland Water. This three day event, held on the third weekend of August each year, will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2013. It provides an opportunity to meet and view the work of some of this country’s most celebrated wildlife artists.