A look at the work of Dodleston equestrian artist June Fox

PUBLISHED: 20:47 12 November 2012 | UPDATED: 19:24 18 April 2016

Saturday - Ten to Eleven

Saturday - Ten to Eleven

A talent for capturing the strength and magnificence of an animal is earning Dodleston equestrian artist June Fox admiration far and wide

June Lesley Fox at workJune Lesley Fox at work

Dodleston based artist and animal lover June Fox began painting at an early age.

But it wasn’t until she retired from her role as financial director of a construction company, that she chose to harness her hobby into a career.

She says: ‘I had always loved animals and enjoyed sketching little pictures of horses from the age of seven.’ Indulging in a range of media from watercolours to oil paintings, June draws many animals, from kittens to lions. She steers clear of ‘posed’ still life scenes. She explained: ‘I like to convey the beauty of movement through paying close attention to bone structure, and muscle definition. I want people to see the strength and wildness of the animal. Who would want to see a still one?’

It was when she met renowned bird artist Eric Peak that she began to specialise in the range of wildlife covered in her work.

Wilf’s Day OutWilf’s Day Out

‘Eric stressed that it’s important to find a niche, rather than trying to cover every subject, which is why I chose to specifically focus on the hunt’.

An intrinsic part of Cheshire’s equestrian heritage, the Cheshire Hunt was founded over 300 years ago and is still active today, among the grassy stretches of the county’s extensive countryside. While appreciating that she is helping to keep such archaic scenes alive, June says: ‘It is the variety of colour, from the scarlet hunting jackets and different hues in the horses’ hair, which make them a joy to paint.’

Over the past two years, June has attended many hunts, taking photos with her Canon SLR camera, to ensure that she has sharp, interesting images to paint from. She has visited several parts of Cheshire for the hunt. ‘Bulkeley Grange has so far been my favourite location. It is a beautiful Jacobean style house in ideal surroundings.’

Through focusing on a more refined subject, June’s painting style has developed vastly over the years. ‘To comply with traditional hunting paintings, I now use mostly oil paints as adverse to watercolours, because it allows me to layer brush stroke after brush stroke of definition and is more suited to larger scale paintings.’

Three Bays on BlackThree Bays on Black

It could be considered that due to the passing of the Hunting Act, artists, particularly painters, willing to capture such scenes would be on the decrease. However, as an avid lover of animals and a member of the RSPCA, June assures me: ‘Now that the hunting of actual foxes is illegal, I believe that the Cheshire Hunt could potentially become more accessible to the public than ever.’ Engaging in drag hunting, which doesn’t involve the hunting of live animals means that the Cheshire Hunt has become disassociated with the more brutal traits that the sport carries.

June, is a self-taught artist and recommends that like with sport, practice makes perfect, and that in terms of commercial success, focus and perseverance is the key.

‘If you can find yourself a niche, or particularly enjoy painting a certain subject in a specific style, you will really stand out in the art world. Specialisation within a certain field is essential because painting is so competitive right now.’

Working freelance, rather than being represented by an agent, has not hindered her success. In recent years June has exhibited at the famous Mall Galleries in London and sold many pieces with the Society of Equestrian Artists.

Cheshire Hunt at Bulkeley GrangeCheshire Hunt at Bulkeley Grange

June’s latest exhibition is a little closer to home, within the annual Animal Earth showcase at Willington Hall Hotel, Tarporley, from November 10th -18th from 10.30am-4.30pm. Free admission.

To find out more about June’s work visit www.junefoxart.co.uk

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