© Darren Sleep

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Having not picked up a pencil since school, I started attending courses at Alston Hall college near Preston when in my 40s. The tutor for the botanical art in coloured pencil course encouraged me to enrol in the Society of Botanical Artists diploma course, which I completed in coloured pencil and from which I graduated with distinction in 2016.

I have maintained a large collection of alpine plants and bulbs in my garden for over 30 years, and these provide the subjects for most of my botanical art. More recently I have branched out into drawing animals and other subjects for a creative collaboration with friends in Canada and the USA.

Three pieces at the Society of Botanical Artists 'Plantae' exhibition at the Mall Galleries in 2019