by Countryside Alliance

We introduce you to the artists who have generously donated their fabulous designs for this year’s collection of Countryside Alliance Christmas cards.

Galloping Home for Christmas – Daniel Crane

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As one of the UK’s leading sporting artists, it’s appropriate that Galloping Home for Christmas was inspired by a fantastic day’s hunting across the South Wold country, when Daniel Crane was joint-master. “It was on Christmas Eve following a wonderful and generous meet at Hainton Hall and hounds flew,” explains Daniel, who was field master on the day.

Having held exhibitions to raise funds for the Alliance’s important campaigning work, “Painter”, as Daniel is fondly known by many, has been a trade member of the Alliance since its inception and prior to that, the British Field Sports Society. He was also commissioned to paint the official Countryside March painting, which raised considerable funds for the Alliance through the sale of limited edition prints.

“Support for the Alliance has always been important to us because we both shoot and fish,” explains Daniel’s wife, Ali. “However, hunting has always come first in our hearts.”

Daniel will be exhibiting at the Osborne Studio Gallery in Motcombe Street, London, from 29 November to 20 December.

 

Mr & Mrs Pheasant – Camilla Gardner

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Exhibiting into her late 90s, it was Camilla’s grandmother who inspired Camilla to become an artist, having spent much of her childhood being encouraged to draw, and after some early sales and prizes, she realised it would be possible to make a living as an artist. After several one-woman shows in London, she moved to the Meon Valley in Hampshire.

Camilla – who specialises in animal and house portraits in watercolour – grew up in County Durham, where her love of the countryside was established. Her husband, who is a land agent, shoots regularly with their sons and they are all very supportive of the important campaigning work conducted by the Alliance.

Camilla studied art in England, but having realised she wanted to develop her skills, she then enrolled at the Florence Academy of Arts which she describes as the ‘icing on the cake’ in terms of tuition.

This is the third design of Camilla’s that has featured in the Countryside Alliance Christmas card collection, following on from a majestic stag and a lovely partridge in previous years.

 

Christmas Goose – Helen Nall

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Drawing on her surroundings for inspiration – especially for her cartoons, which reflect humorous snapshots she has seen out hunting, shooting or picking up – Helen and her husband Ed live on their Nottinghamshire estate, with their five children.

“I lived all over the world as a child and my mother always said as long as I had a pencil and paper, I was ‘no bother to anyone’ especially on all the endless long-haul flights in the late 1960s,” she reflects.

“We are so fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful wildlife and scenery to paint, enabling me to portray the things that I love for my living,” enthuses Helen, who paints under her maiden name of Fergusson.

 

Christmas Morning – Zoë Carmichael

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This is Zoë’s fifth exclusive design for the Countryside Alliance, which was inspired by her friends and family’s Christmas morning, with everyone piling into bed to open stockings, including dogs!

“Whether you’re three, 30 or double that age, it’s always a magical start to a magical day,” says Zoë, who designed this year’s card back in May while sitting in a sunny café in Florence, Italy.

Zoë has recently had a major career change following a “terrifying decision” to quit her “grown-up city job in finance” and pursue her passion for art. She has now become a full-time sculptor, splitting her time between Florence and the UK.

“As well as painting, I’ve always baked cakes,” says Zoë, who has taken to her new-found career like a duck to water. “It all makes perfect sense because the creativity in me was previously being fulfilled by the sculpting of cakes but now I’ve just transferred those skills into sculpting horses and other animals in bronze.” She hasn’t looked back!

 

Lolloping Hare – Ben Hoskyns

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Having given up art before O-Levels, Ben – who is self-taught – became a full-time artist following a short career in insurance which he describes as “clearly not for me”. He then started painting while deciding what he wanted to do, but believes that had he had better career advice at school he might have become a land agent.

“The rural way of life is under such enormous threat these days and the Countryside Alliance is not afraid to stand up and voice our concerns,” explains Ben, who has previously donated paintings and taken part in exhibitions that support the work of the Alliance.

 

An Imperial Christmas – Alice Peto

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A talented artist, illustrator and designer, Alice works entirely by hand from her home in London. Having grown up in Scotland, where hunting and farming were very much part of family life, Alice still returns to the countryside in Scotland with her own children and is pleased to support the work of the Alliance though her designs.

“It was always a family tradition to create a personalised Christmas card each year, with designs ranging from family ice skating trips to moving house,” reveals Alice.

“Sadly, I haven’t carried on this tradition with my own family since I’ve had children of my own,” Alice confesses.

Her inspiration for this year’s design was from an original painting of a stag to which she “added the baubles and tinsel to give it a Christmas feel”.

 

Festive Fox – Debbie Harris

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Debbie Harris’ delightful design, Festive Fox, is based on an original ink and chalk study, which is also available as a limited-edition print.

Debbie, who takes on commission work of horses and dogs throughout the year, explains: “I have been working professionally as an artist for 25 years and have been fortunate to paint what I am passionate about.

“My greatest passion is painting hounds, and other subjects include British wildlife as well as our family love of polo.”

 

What Could Possibly Go Wrong… - Charles Jardine

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Born into a family of artists, Charles Jardine, The Countryside Alliance Foundation’s Director of the Fishing for Schools programme, studied at Canterbury Art College. As an avid fisher, he has always been drawn to that watery world.

“’Stick to what you know,’ suggested my father, Alex, who studied at the Royal College and was one of the founding members of the Society of Wildlife Artists,” explains Charles.

When explaining the background to his cartoon, Charles – who describes himself as an occasional artist – said that he loved the idea of a person “of size” clinging on for desperate attempt at catching a fish.

All proceeds from this design will go to Fishing for Schools.

 

How to order

Christmas cards are sold in packs of 10 with envelopes included. Each card has ‘With Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year’ printed on the inside. You can shop the entire collection here

To ensure delivery in time for you to send them before Christmas, please order by Friday 16 December.

Personalised printing is available at £12 per pack, with a minimum order of 10 packs, order before 30 November.

For personalised orders please email: [email protected] or telephone 0370 270 9011.

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