Mandy was born in England, in 1960, where she lives and works today. Her art career began in late school life with a mackerel! Her art teacher was so impressed by this unexpected ‘creation’ that it was rushed home to show Mandy’s father. That surprise moment was a milestone, and her career path was set.
After an unrelenting foundation year at The Byam Shaw, she completed an honours degree at Brighton and travelled to Africa soon after. Mandy spent two years in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa working with a leading advertising agency in Harare during independence, and with a gallery in Johannesburg – while managing to establish her own painting style at the same time.
She staged her first sell-out solo show in Zimbabwe in 1980 and then returned to London to set up a studio. In 1995, she visited the Falklands, which marked a major turning point in her career. She took on military subjects recording military history and events. Portraiture is also a huge part of her portfolio, giving Mandy an immensely broad repertoire hallmarked by quality.
Taking safaris and travelling across the globe has allowed her to use her art to keep close to the world of conservation.
For Mandy, the joy and reward of her painting life has always come from using a water-based medium. Having started with watercolour, she was introduced to water-soluble oil paint.
“Smells like, feels like, and works exactly like conventional oil paint. It is happily manipulated with water crayons and pastels, and any number of unusual implements, i.e., dental tools!”
She was never taught by her father, but he has been her inspiration and eternal role model. His words are ingrained in her approach to her work, and the use of light source, subtle colours within shadows, and an absence of sharp edges echo his own mantra of art being an eternal living language. Many also incorporates the practical advice he handed down – never work with a deficient palette and push the brighter colours. Great wisdom from one acknowledged great to another – one embodying his spirit.
Mandy’s style is unashamedly representational but with so much art history and talent around her, she endeavours to seek out good ideas from many sources, pushing the boundaries of her creativity.
“Art for Survival, Wildlife Artist of the Year, and our exhibition projects have been a mainstay and enormous success story for DSWF. It is unique to have drawn together, over many years, such talent, enthusiasm, and loyalty – and a deeply heartfelt passion for saving and conserving the wildlife of our planet.
Wildlife conservation is in the DNA of the Shepherd family, but we have reached out to fellow artists who are like-minded, and we feel privileged to be part of it all. The Team of Art Ambassadors, of which I am humbled to be included, is an element of this. Through our art, we can actively join forces, as we did last October in LA, to showcase our work and profile the work of DSWF. In the extraordinary times we now live in, our message has never been more powerful and the threat to wildlife never greater.f I, as an ambassador, can work in whatever manner to contribute to this great force of talent and inspiration and help those who are so dedicated working in the field and in the office in seeing goals and commitments realised, it remains worthwhile, and we will be doing our job. Yet, with still much to do!”