© David Hartley
David left School in 1983 with few qualifications, the youngest of 4 sons to a hard working family from the Yorkshire Dales. There was little time to spare for drawing or reading as sport was the encouraged activity mainly because it took the children out of the house. However it was David's Grandfather who encouraged him to draw whilst on family holidays. David attained an O' Level in Art, most of his drawings were black graphite pencil drawings at the time.
After leaving school David had various exciting and interesting jobs from an Engineer in the Army to becoming a qualified Embalmer and Funeral Director, to acting on screen in movies, working as a vet's assistant as well as being a professional musician. David throughout these times would draw fine line "Fairy Castles" from his imagination as a hobby.
David met his wife Clare on the West Coast of Ireland, County Clare, after he moved there with his two children in 2004. It was whilst they lived in Ireland that he wrote his first novel, "Prince of Lilies" a historical fantasy novel based between his home town in the Dales and the Island of Crete. The same year he penned his first children's illustrated book "The Fairy Hunter" . Unable to get the drawing from his head to paper, David enlisted the help of a local artist and friend to illustrate the book for him, Astrid Adler.
In 2011 David and Clare moved to their present home in the mountains of Crete where they renovated a 200 year old traditional Cretan house. During their time in Crete David has written a further three children's books. The final one "Cawry's Story", published in 2020 is a true story of the rescue, care and release of a young Griffin Vulture in 2014.
While he was searching the internet for ways of drawing vultures for his book he came across Bonny Snowdon's website. Bonny is a very talented artist and online teacher. After watching a few of her YouTube videos he decided that once Cawry's Story was finished he would allocate the time he was spending on finishing his book to producing a few pet portraits of his own animals.
In July 2020 David attempted his first ever animal portrait of Scamp, a dog they had adopted with brain damage. Using the online advice from Bonny, David soon finished the portrait and has been hooked by the coloured pencil bug since. He started straight away on his next piece learning all the time and by the time he had finished his fourth portrait he was being asked to do commissioned pieces, since his work had progressed so much in just a few months. In the slide-show opposite you can see just how he has progressed in just 5 months. David has a natural talent for capturing the individual character of each animal he is lucky enough to draw.
David and Clare have spent their time on Crete working with animal rescue charities and helping rehome animals through-out Europe as well as adopting older dogs with difficulties when no one else will give them a final chance.
David's attention to detail and his drive to produce a beautiful portrait as well as capturing your beloved pet's unique character has quickly become apparent with every portrait he has completed. If you would like to discuss with him commissioning a portrait of your pet please feel free to get in touch by filling in the "Contact us" form and he will be back in touch as soon as he has seen your message.
David is a now member of the UKCPS (United Kingdom Coloured Pencil Society) and intends to exhibit his artwork in 2021. He lives in the mountains of Crete at the edge of Greece's last remaining Oak forest with his wife Clare and their 5 dogs and produces his drawings from his studio in the cupboard under the stairs.