Born in Leicestershire, where she lived for most of my life. Moved to a smallholding in Ceredigion, mid Wales in 2011. In Mary's own words: 'I’ve been hooked on painting from a very early age, and I’ve always loved to be around animals as much as possible. I was given the honour of election to Full Membership of the Society of Equestrian Artists in 2005. I regularly exhibit work around the UK.
I was inspired to paint by the legacy of my grandfather, Stanley Herbert, a popular commercial artist in his time, and by my father who was a keen Sunday painter. I benefited from an excellent traditional art college education at Loughborough in the 1980s, following this with a course in photography at Salisbury. Combining my passions for animals and for figure drawing, it was a natural progression for me to begin my career as a portrait artist in 1990. I gained much from three years working as a medical photographer, which enabled me to study anatomy in depth. I now specialise in painting horses and dogs, and draw much inspiration from my own pets.
I'm quite a traditionalist about my work, and aim for realism, though I prefer my paintings to be seen as such and not mistaken for photographs. Through a combination of camera and drawing skills, I aim to capture the subject's character and vitality to amplify their likeness. I 'm interested in the truth & beauty of my subjects, which is that they are all individuals, made unique not only by the way they look, but by how they hold themselves, how they respond to me and to their environment, how they appear in certain lights - and just simply who they are. I’m equally content to tackle portrayal of polished competition animals and old family favourites
I enjoy the work of many painters, including many of my contemporaries. There are so many that constantly teach me new things every time I look at their work. I also believe I learn something from every single piece of work I do, whether it may be coming up with a new colour mix, capturing a certain expression, or figuring out a tricky piece of detail.
One of the best things about my job is the privilege of meeting so many amazing animals and their people. I see commissioned work as a collaboration between the artist, client and subject, but of course the true star is always the subject'.