Growing up on a ranch in Zimbabwe meant that wildlife and nature were a big part of my life. I was literally surrounded by creatures great and small. My dad, John Tolmay – became a professional tourist guide when I was about 7 years old meaning I had an adventure-filled upbringing in safari camps visiting some of the most incredible, untouched and wild places in southern and central Africa.
It’s therefore no surprise that I feel a great affinity with making art from wildlife. I love colour and expression in mark-making with either brush or graphite. David Shepherd was a big influence on the little me. Then came the work of Edmund Caldwell who illustrated Jock of the Bushveld. Simple but precise use of line in pen and ink. I spent hours copying his work.
Growing up I favoured the little things over the bigger things. My brother and I were ardent butterfly collectors from an early age and so the world of insects and bugs held sway over the lions and leopards. And, butterflies a lot easier to ‘catch’ too. You can read more about these and other stories in my blog – otherwise enjoy my ever-expanding collection of wildlife art. Click or tap an image to look further.