Debbie Gillingham has always had a passion for dogs and for painting. Even as a small child, she would spend hours drawing animals, with one of her paintings gracing the walls of her headmaster''s office at primary school!
Debbie went on to Somerset College of Art and Technology, studying Design and Clothing Manufacture, before moving to Newmarket where her artistic career began in earnest.
Choosing the town because of her keen desire to become an equestrian artist, she took work as a rider and stable hand, while spending every minute of her spare time painting horses.
Gradually, she began to undertake commissions for horse owners and jockeys and, after five years in Newmarket, was given the opportunity to move to Dubai. Having enjoyed a two-week holiday there, she found employment for the next five years painting full-time, with prominent figures such as Michael Hills and Frankie de Torie buying her work.
Eventually, one of the world''s most prominent racehorse owners was presented with one of Debbie''s equine paintings and her reputation as an artist was sealed. Her works continue to be held in many prestigious private collections in the Middle East and around the world.
In 1997, Debbie moved back to the UK to continue her artistic career, gradually shifting her attention towards dogs which she found there were more call for. Exhibiting in galleries across the South West, Debbie approached the Halcyon Gallery and sister publishing company Washington Green in 2000 with a view to furthering her career. Since then, she has become one of the country''s most well respected canine artists.
Although she is currently experimenting with and studying many different breeds, her own black labrador Friday, and springer spaniel Toby, provide the main inspiration for her unique drawings. She works in soft pastels on sandboard, which she finds helps to achieve the shine and texture of her subject''s coats.