First things first, thanks so much for your interest in my exhibition!
My name is Steph Hicks and I'm an artist based at the foot of the Chiltern Hills in a lovely little village near Watlington.
An ideal day is spent foraging in the woods - cooking most of what I find and drawing the rest. I use pen and ink illustrations to highlight the beauty of all the plants, fungi and creatures that can be found on our doorstep. My illustrations are intricate, colourful and playful in order to share the joys of nature and the great outdoors.
This year’s exhibition focuses on the flora and fauna of the Chiltern Chalk Streams which are a globally rare habitat, home to some of the UK’s most threatened species. The images shared here are a selection of around 30 original pen and ink illustrations which will be displayed in Watlington Library from the 14th - 22nd May.
Over 75% of the world’s chalk streams are in England thanks to the unique geology and climate we have in our beautiful local landscape. It’s easy to take these streams for granted, with their meandering crystal clear waters and emerald green plants, but more than three-quarters are not meeting conservation targets which is putting wildlife (and our drinking water) at risk. It is vital that we value our chalk-streams again and understand their huge importance to the local ecosystem, our health and the economy. I hope that this exhibition will help people engage with the beauty of this environment and therefore feel motivated to protect our vulnerable chalk streams rather than destroy them.
For more information you can read the WWF UK ‘The State of England’s Chalk Streams’ Report (2014), watch the ‘The Chalgrove Brook’ (a film by local photographer and film-maker Nicola Schafer), or join the Watlington Environment Group who arrange conservation efforts locally.
A2 – 42cm x 59cm - £200 (unframed) - £250 (framed)
A3 – 30cm x 42cm - £100 (unframed) - £120 (framed)
A4 - 21cm x 30cm - £50 (unframed) - £60 (framed)
A5 - 13cm x 18cm - £30 (unframed) - £35 (framed)
Giclee Art Prints (on request) - £60 (A2), £40 (A3), £25 (A4), £15 (A5)
Greetings Cards - £2.50 each, 5 for £12 or 10 for £20
If you'd like a short introduction, my name is Steph and I have always been drawn to the beauty of the wild. If you'd prefer to learn a bit more about me and how my art came about then read on....
I've loved drawing, painting, crafting and creating since I was a child but it took a global pandemic for me to finally get back in touch with this long-lost hobby. After a few months of drawing to while away the dark evenings of lockdown, I decided to start sharing my work and ‘Drawn to the Wild’ was born. I started off by combining my creative streak with my love of foraging – painting Oxfordshire’s edible plants and fungi and sharing all their quirky names. Exhibiting this work as part of Artweeks 2021 was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I love being part of the wonderful community of artists in Watlington.
Nearly 18 months down the line and I’m able to dedicate a day each week to my art, a privileged position which I never thought I would be in when I started drawing again. I’ve been working on commissions, exploring some new ideas, and building up a collection of Drawn to the Wild greetings cards which you may have spotted in local shops. I’ve branched out to any flora or fauna which catches my eye but there seems to be a never-ending list of stunning plants and cute critters which I’m hoping to immortalise in pen and ink. I still love being able to engage with the beauty of the wild through my illustrations and can’t wait to see where my adventure into the art world will take me next.
I hope you like my work and would love to hear your comments.