The David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021

The David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year 2021

Phew! I am so relieved, every year for the past 6 years  I have entered the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibition, and every time ,near shortlisting day I get very tetchy . Why do it ? 

I live in a little bubble here in beautiful Devon and I have said before that it informs my work, a walk up my lane with the hedgerows brimming with life, bees buzzing, and  floral displays that could challenge for a gold medal at Chelsea.

I also have a such a great following , the feedback I get from everyone on Facebook and Twitter is so positive. I love to post my work and make connections all over the place. It truly does mean a lot, a like or a comment, spurs me on. 


However every year I want to see if I can up the anti and try to get in ,be amongst the best . It also adds a spike to the year, something to aim for, sometimes I finish a piece and think is that good enough for the wildlife competition?  I go with the flow and paint what 'feels' right so to get into the competition is so thrilling.

Last years entry meant the absolute world to me , after the year I had .


This year ( I guess because so many of us had more time at home) there were more entries than ever before ) Over 1000 more!! So the stakes were higher, the standards raised, I was nervous.

So to get in feels wonderful, I know how difficult it is , not get in. I have never made it in the society of wildlife artists exhibition and one year I didn't make  David Shepherd either. My heart goes out to people who feel rejected this week ...but I have always tried to try again. Art is so subjective and if you enjoy doing it then do it, and if you don't like to be judged then don't enter competitions.

This was one that didn't make it one year

However I like the excitement of it , I like the jeopardy of it and I like to see if I can keep my standards high, I want to be as good as I can be and this helps me see what is going on out there, outside of my Devon bubble.

Back in 2018 when we could go to London, feel the buzz , all very exciting x

Thinking about the competition generates  new ideas .Now all I want to do is paint and experiment and hopefully enter again next year with something maybe  that pushes me a bit further .

I have realised that if I don't test myself I may never venture from my rural idyll ...and I may not have more new and exciting adventures, .Life is most definitely for living, enjoying what we do ,as none of us know what is around the corner, I am so pleased to be in the mix again this year with my octopus, which is titled 


Wish me luck x



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Good luck Rachel. Your work continues to inspire me so much. Beautiful artwork, beautiful poems and a true inspiration to us all Xx


Amazing!!! I wish you the best. And thanks for sharing beautiful images.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings!
Whenever I read your blog posts or your poems and see your paintings I can feel the warmth of love that is in everything that you produce.
Best of luck for the competition…


Congratulations your wirk is very special
I hope you do well

Kate Andrews

Wonderful read as always, I do wish you good luck be proud of what you do your art is stunning.
I would never put myself under such pressure I know I’m not good enough to enter competitions, I just love to paint and try and improve what I do, to that I say many thanks to you for sharing how you achieve your work by tutorial blogs. Your art inspires me along with my love of the great outdoors and Nature.


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