Hilary Jean Gibson



I have always delighted in drawing nature and particularly love to draw plants in the habitats in which they grow. This passion developed in the Essex countryside and garden where I grew up, where my father was a keen gardener.  I loved drawing the plants he nurtured and these paintings formed part of my portfolio as a freelance Illustrator after I graduated (BA Graphic Design) from Saint Martin’s School of Art, London, 1979.  My very first commissions were monthly gouache paintings of plants for Popular Gardening Magazine. 

My work starts in sketchbooks or on large paper but always from direct observation, and is either completed entirely en plein air, or in my studio where a surreal quality often appears, through the use of chiaroscuro and imagination. 

Influenced by Stanley Spencer, subject of my MA History of Modern Art and Design dissertation – and by artists such as Stanley Baldwin and Cedric Morris, I’m also inspired by the Shell guides and Ladybird books from my childhood. I’m fascinated by symbolism and plant folklore, so narrative, metaphor and research are equally important to my work. 

An MA in Authorial Practice: Illustration has enabled me to self-publish, write and illustrate my own books. 

As a Trustee of The Friends of the Towans I set up an Art Club and we meet to paint or walk with a sketchbook over the three miles of sand dunes overlooking St Ives Bay, which are rich with rare plants.. offering endless inspiration for my paintings. 

My work has been hung in Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions and at the Mall Galleries. 

I am a member of the St Ives Society of Artists, an Associate Member of the Society of Graphic Fine Art and was delighted to become a Fellow of the Society of Botanical Artists in 2023. 



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