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Artist of the month – February

Artist Irene Hilsdon was born in North Shields and was originally inspired to take up painting by her father Larry Bedigan, who loved painting watercolours of landscapes and various views from the River Tyne.

Asian short-clawed otter

She joined the Women’s Royal Air Force in 1972 and moved to Cornwall, where she met her husband Bob. In 1995, Irene took up painting after attending a watercolour class in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.

After 35 years moving from place to place, the couple recently returned ‘home’ to the North East, settling in Shilbottle, Northumberland. Their children Andrew and Michelle still live in Essex and London.

Irene said: “Bob changed careers when we moved back to Northumberland and after completing two picture framing courses he now has his own picture framing business – a great bonus to someone who paints, as he mounts and frames all my pictures!

“I paint mostly birds, animals, flowers and portraits but particularly like wild animals and birds of prey.

Acrylic painting

“Most of my work is painted using pastels or pastel pencils, but I also work in watercolour, ink, oils and giclee print – whichever suits the subject.”

Irene accepts commissions for pet portraits and is available for demonstrations or workshops at art clubs and other groups using pastels.

For more information, please visit www.irenehilsdonart.co.uk, email auntie.i@btopenworld.com or call 01665 575997 / 07792 013167.