From her earliest days as a wildlife artist, Pollyanna appreciated the value of sketching her subjects from life. The time she spent with a sketch pad observing birds and animals brought a respect and understanding of their energy and character, which shines through in the timeless appeal of her completed paintings.
Although books, photographs and stuffed specimens could provide useful reference, Pollyanna realised at the beginning of her career, that the accuracy, vitality and even humour which sets her work apart came about through the many hours she spent sketching and studying wildlife. This artistic philosophy led her to undertake a remarkable ongoing series of expeditions to some of the remotest parts of the world to paint endangered and exotic species - often involving gruelling journeys into some of our planet's most inhospitable habitats.
Pioneering artists such as Catesby and Audubon were among the first to penetrate the previously unchartered swamps of the Americas, while painter Thomas Baines accompanied the adventurer David Livingstone on his voyage of discovery into the unexplored heart of Africa. Pollyanna continued this legacy of the artist as explorer. She became the first western woman to travel into a remote area of the Tibetan borderlands in her quest to paint the Giant Pandas. She braved the High Arctic in search of polar bears, and travelled across the deserts and mountains of North America and the rain forests of central America among other expeditions. Over the years, Pollyanna's reputation grew - not just as an artist, but as a painter-traveller - her paintings capturing with flawless detail the diverse beauty of a world that is wild, unspoiled and rich with wildlife.
Together with her daughter and business partner, Anna-Louise, who is an accomplished photographer, Pollyanna embarked on an ongoing series of expeditions to study and sketch wildlife in their natural habitats. These trips inspired a number of critically acclaimed exhibitions, as well as a series of highly successful talks.
Pollyanna’s determination to paint only animals which she had observed in their natural habitats ead her into a remarkable and unique series of journeys into some of the most inhospitable areas of the globe. Her expeditions to study threatened species htook her to all seven continents, from the jungles of India to the deserts of North America. She painted big cats in the rain forests of Central America, and wolves in the forests of Transylvania. One of her most challenging expeditions took her to the wastelands of Siberia where she braved temperatures as low as -60 to paint the Amur Tiger. The award-winning book 'Giant Pandas and Sleeping Dragons' was inspired by Pollyanna’s most famous journey – she was the first westerner to visit a remote area of the Tibetan Borderlands of China where she worked in a clinic for rescued pandas. 'On Top of the World' tells of her expeditions into the High Arctic to paint polar wildlife, and her fourth book ‘The Eye of the Tiger’ is an account of her travels in India.
In 2007 Pollyanna was granted a fellowship from Canada based society Artists for Conservation (Formally The Worldwide Nature Artists Group) in support of her expedition into the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Pollyanna was the first woman ever to be granted a fellowship by the group – and the first artist to be selected from outside Canada or North America. You can read Pollyanna's expedition journal online here
In 2007 Pollyanna celebrated twentyone years of these expeditions with a special exhibition Wonderful World, which included the 'Living Planet' triptych (right) - the panels open to reveal over eighty birds and animals from around the globe.
Since then she returned to China, travelled through the deserts of the UAE, and painted the rarest wolf in the world in Ethiopia. She also travelled through Vietnam and Thailand and trekked in the Virunga mountains of Rwanda to sketch Mountain gorillas. In 2016 she visited Australia to paint their unique wildlife, and in 2017 visited China as part of a team of international delegates to the inaugural Artists for Conservation Festival. Days later she was on expedition in the pantanal region of Brazil, travelling by river boat to sketch the jaguars and other wildlife. In January 2018 she undertook what would prove to be her final journey - trekking in the Sonoran desert gathering inspiration for a solo exhibition scheduled for the Sonoran-Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona. Expeditions were planned into Kenya, North America and Outer Mongolia.