My name is Lizzie Hall and I am a Welsh animal artist. I can't remember a time when I didn't love to sketch anything that moved.
In the 1980's, as a young mother, I used to paint and sell original watercolour paintings of flowers and children. My pictures sold as quickly as I could paint them and were exhibited here in cardiff.
But I can't pretend that painting repetitive pictures wasn't a hard way to make a living, expecially whilst looking after four young children under five years old.
When I got divorced, a whopping legal bill that I couldn't afford, made me think "if you cant' beat 'em, join 'em." This led to my pursing a legal career and I still practise as a criminal solicitor alongside my husband in our law firm.
It's odd how one remark by one person can make you stop and re-evaluate your life. But is was one remark that made me stop in my tracks and decide to follow my heart and since 2006, I have devoted a huge amount of my time to painting.
I started off my painting flowers, just as I had done all those years ago, but quickly moved on to painting animals.
At first, I wondered if animal paintings would sell and I painted my first cows and horses purely for my own pleasure and my own walls. However, I was delighted to find that the public love cows and other animal paintings just as much as I do. Yeas, there's a huge animal-art loving community out there.
Im self taught, painting in oils, which are by far my favourited medium. I love their instant vibrance, ease of application and permanence. Oil paintings also reproduce beautifully as prints. Indeed, it can be quite difficult to tell the difference between the original oil painting the print.
We have a poodle, three cats, seven chickens and a horse named Harry. As my (now five) children grow up and fly the nest, they seem to be replaced by animals. Some of my own chickens feature in my chicken paintings (Lucy, Mary and Florence), as does one of my cats (Pardon Me.)
Many people have bought my paintings since I started selling again in 2008 and pictures are now in homes worldwide. I love meeting my customers at shows and I genuinely never cease to be amazed by the number of people who buy my paintings. To all of you who have supported me, I just want to say a really big, heart felt "thank you.'
Also, a big "thank you" to my lovely husband Mike who has supported me immeasureably. He's tolerated the mess of my oil paints, not complained that half the house and our store room is filled with my stock, equipment and paintings. He's expended a huge amount of time in perfecting complex printing technology and exhausted himself to the point of sheer exhaustion at shows.
Oh yes, and thank you to him for selling his beloved 4 x 4 because I needed a transit van........I know the last bit hurt.