Mention the name Seerey-Lester to a fan of wildlife art and you’ll more often than not get an excited response. The art of John Seerey-Lester has had that effect on his following since his entry on the art scene nearly thirty years ago. Not only is his work recognized world-wide for his depiction of large mammals and birds of prey, but his skill and unmistakable style have become easily identifiable to art fans, novices and experts alike.
Before painting wildlife, John painted figurative works and portraiture, which he still undertakes. On his travels to different parts of the world, he continues to do figurative work between his wildlife paintings.
World-renowned artist, John Seerey-Lester was born in Manchester, England where he grew up with a sketchbook in hand. Receiving his first commission at the early age of 13, John became a professional artist in 1974. For some ten years prior to this, John was a journalist, freelance writer, editor of several magazines and worked in advertising and public relations in both the private sector and local government in the UK.
It was in 1980, after making his first trip to East Africa, that John began painting images of the natural world. His respect for the work of fellow English artist, David Shepherd, heavily influenced his decision to travel to Africa and paint wildlife. This became a turning point in his career.
In 1982 John moved to the United States. He signed with Mill Pond Press the following year. Since then he has had some 300 limited edition prints published. Many of these have sold out within days of release. Demand for his original works has become stronger each year.
John’s images have a mysterious and a mystical appeal, directly related to his ability to paint the unusual. His skill in painting mist, and snow, as evidenced in Polar Lookout, and wildlife in subdued light, such as Out of the Darkness Into the Light, or Dark Presence, has created a demand for his ability as a painter that has few rivals. Not many artists display the ability to paint wildlife in all the natural elements. Seerey-Lester’s imaginative designs are always an anticipated aspect, as experienced in a recent release of Full Moon Rising – Leopard. Where else, but through his art, could you see such a brilliant occurrence.
His paintings of the North American grizzlies of Alaska are among the best of the species…the limited edition prints of his first offerings have long gone and are coveted.
With his personal ambition for first-hand experience, it’s easy for students to realize his acumen for capturing mood and anatomical accuracy.
John has received many awards and much recognition for his outstanding achievements in the field of wildlife art. He was presented to His Royal Highness Prince Phillip and was commended for his work in conservation. He has been chosen to exhibit works in the prestigious Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s “Birds in Art” and “Wildlife: An Artist’s View”, shows each year since 1983 and his paintings are in their permanent collection. He has also displayed in several other Museums such as the Gilcrease Museum, and National Museum of Wildlife Art, and in many other permanent collections such as Bennington Center for the Arts, and Nature in Art Museum. John was Artist of the Year for Miniature ’85, Artist of the Year for Pac Rim wildlife Art Show (1990), Artist of the Year for Florida Wildlife Expo (1996), Artist of the Year for the 7th Annual South East Invitational Miniature Show (1999), Artist of the Year for Celebration Weekend and presented with the Key to the City of Troy Ohio (2001), Artist of the Year, for Reflections of Nature (2002). The Society of Animal Artists presented John with the Award of Excellence and the Patricia Allen Bott Award for his Mara River Horse (2002), and again in (2006) for “White On White”.
In 2004, John was the Artist of the Year for the Southeastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston, SC. John is a member of the Society of Animal Artists (SAA), Oil Painters of America (OPA), The Wildlife Artists Association (WAA), and a founding member of Southern Plein Air Artists (SPAA). He has appeared in numerous magazines and books on Wildlife art.
John has traveled all over the world in search of the magnificent wildlife he portrays on canvas. He prefers to paint only wildlife subjects he has seen firsthand. He has traveled to most parts of Canada, Alaska, China, Africa, Antarctica, South and Central America, India, and Nepal.
A book on his life and work was published by Mill Pond Press and released in November 1991. The book, Face to Face with Nature: The Art of John Seerey-Lester, sold out in 1995. A second book titled Impressions of India and Nepal, based on his fieldwork there, was published soon after. His latest book Painting Wildlife with John Seerey-Lester, which was published in 2003, has also sold out. His new book “Useppa A Passage in Time” was published in October 2007.
As well as being widely regarded as an artist, John is an excellent teacher. John’s workshops and Master Classes have become a success because he not only teaches students in a classroom setting; he works with them in the field. As a teacher, he paints alongside students and allows them to learn directly from him. John has a way of taking neither his work nor himself too seriously; thus he conveys information in an interesting and sometimes humorous fashion. As one workshop student put it, “I’ve never learned so much, and simultaneously had so much fun, in all my educational experiences.”
John married fellow wildlife artist Suzie Zimos on Useppa Island in January 2000, and they live, work and play in Florida.