Artist Draws Donations At Cumbrian Park

Melissa Elizabeth with Michael Holgate of Silverdale holiday park where the exhibition was staged
Melissa Elizabeth with Michael Holgate of Silverdale holiday park where the exhibition was staged

Tuesday, 03, Jul 2018 10:24

By William Coleman

A lot of people I know have monthly direct debits to certain charities to ensure that they are doing their bit to help others when and where they can. A lot of other people are a bit more active and actually arrange charitable events just like a local artist has done at a Lakeland park.

Melissa Elizabeth, who is a south Cumbrian artist, has used her skill set to help raise funds for two local animal charities at Silverdale Holiday Park this summer.

Silverdale hosted an exhibition of Melissa's acclaimed pet and wildlife studies at their park which was also part of a major regional creative festival which featured 90 different Lakeland artists.

To help raise funds guests and visitors could not only admire the artwork, they could also purchase Melissa's coloured pencil drawings. The one big seller was the prints of a red squirrel which Melissa recently completed and there was a raffle for one of her pet portraits.

100% of the raffles proceeds, as well as 20% of the print sales funds raised will go to the Westmorland Red Squirrels charity, which is also supported by Silverdale, and Lancaster based dog rescue centre Wolfwood.

With high hopes in mind Melissa is confident that once all the sales are finished the figures will top the three figure mark.

A resident of Warton near Silverdale, where she was born and now lives with her partner, Melissa has won a large and growing fan-base for her highly detailed animal drawings.

But the 26-year-old only first started seriously putting pencil to paper three years ago when she took a year out in Australia after studying design at Lancaster and Morecambe College.

In between exploring the country, and funding her odyssey with jobs such as cleaning yachts and working in cafes, Melissa began making drawings of Australia's wildlife.

Back in England, she took up a part-time post at Silverdale Holiday Park, and found that she also had a talent for creating lifelike drawings of dogs, cats, horses and other animals.

Staff at the holiday park began asking Melissa to create drawings of their own pets - and soon she was receiving commissions from other people living in the community.

Taking her business online, she now creates her pet portraits for owners from much further afield, and is currently working on an Alaskan Malamute for a Norwegian customer.

"Although I still love drawing the native wildlife of Cumbria, I find that domestic animals make absolutely fascinating subjects," said Melissa.

"Each has an individual character which, if possible, I'll try to discuss in advance with the owner as this can help me give a sense of its personality in the drawing.

"It was great being a part of this year's Silverdale and Arnside Art and Craft Trail, and it's amazing just how much creative talent there is in this area," she added.

Park director Michael Holgate said he was delighted to provide exhibition space for Melissa at Silverdale, and that weekend visitor were clearly very impressed with her work.

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