Kirsten Mirrey’s paintings have been inspired by the nature and wildlife that was around her growing up. Most recently, her focus has been on exotic and endangered wildlife in a realistic style. She is a self-taught artist who is dedicated to spending time in her studio to enhance her art. Continue reading to learn more about Kirsten and her artistic journey.
Where are you from and where do you currently reside?
I’m from Scotland in the UK and I currently live in Edinburgh.
What drew you to become an artist and what do you like about painting wildlife?
I’ve always had a pack of pencils and paper in hand ever since I can remember. I knew it would always be a hobby for me, but had no idea you could ever become an artist as a career! Painting wildlife has really been the turning point in my art, I’ve had a pretty rural upbringing so have always been surrounded by wildlife, as the years went on the two just naturally merged together and I now paint wildlife full time and showcase the amazing biodiversity of our planet.
How would you describe your style?
My style has always been focused on the technical aspects of realism in oil paintings. It’s taken me a long time to actually get to that point but that has always been my end goal, I want the viewer to feel like they could be there with that animal in person. I try to showcase the individuality, presence, and power of the wildlife I paint using realism.
What has kept you engaged and committed to your craft over the years?
Art for me is like a form of therapy! I could spend days at the easel bringing the animals to life in canvas form, it’s a really calming and meditative space for me. The fact that people are also purchasing my art and interested in it on social media keeps me committed to showcasing it to the world – it’s probably one of my favorite things seeing something I painted on someone’s wall in their home!
How have you grown as an artist in the past five years and what are the major contributing factors to your growth?
I would say daily practice in painting has been a big part of my growth and making sure I challenge myself to try more technical work often. Also becoming more vulnerable, accessible, and honest on platforms like social media has really connected me with some incredible collectors of my work and other artists alike. I would say being yourself, problem-solving when things don’t go right, and not focusing on any negativity on social media has been my biggest help recently.
What materials do you most commonly use?
I often feel like a Gamblin advert when I paint or show my studio!! I use their oil paints, their gamsol odorless fluid, galkyd lite as my medium to work in with my oil paints and their gamvar varnishes. I try to always use deep stretched canvases with an ultra-fine grain to help me get more details in. Unfortunately, I’m terrible at looking after my paint brushes, so they are a bit of a mix of old and unbranded brushes that I find at local art shops.
Can you describe some of your favorite pieces you’ve worked on?
The first time I was really proud of a piece was in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic in the UK. I finally had the time to use a large 150cm x 100cm canvas I had in the studio and it was the first time I went “big scale”. Since then I’ve had the confidence to work on larger scale work and have recently created a painting of a herd of wildebeest crossing the Mara River in Kenya – it took me 3 months and I’m really proud I stuck with it until the end!
Do you have any advice for up-and-coming artists? Are there any tips or techniques you can offer?
A good drawing before painting is like a strong foundation of a house. I always make sure that my drawing, composition, and proportions are correct before painting to help give me the best chance of achieving what I want in my painting. Color theory is also something I’ve learned more about over the years and I think it’s really important to learn how to mix the colors you need and understand the differences between warm and cool tones in your paints and where to effectively use them. Also, don’t be afraid to try new things, making mistakes is part of the process and a really useful tool to learn from!
What are your website and social media links?
My website is: www.kirstenmirreyart.com