Hello, and welcome to my website, please be aware that my site is presently under construction.
My name is Cheryl-Ann Murkin, I am a totally self-taught local wildlife artist who has never had any formal training in art whatsover nor attended an art class or workshop.
I was born and reside in Townsville, Australia's largest regional tropical city with a population of around 250,000 people. Townsville is a thriving coastal city and port and is well-known as the un-official capital of Northern Queensland.
I am a former hospital trained RN, and QNPWS Ranger based in Townsville at Cape Pallarenda and Town Common Environmental Park, being the first female field ranger at the Town Common, experienced QNPWS Animal Attendant/Assisting in Macropod Reproductive Research - at the QNPWS captive bird, mammal - (mainly Macropods) and reptile collection formerly held at Marlowe Street. Had also undertaken a number of modules/subjects in Certificate of Horticultural Practices (Botany, Plant ID, Culture, Propagation, Weeds, Pests, Diseases, etc). mostly with Honours as I had previous experience in the Trade (Landscaping on numerous projects - including the Lakes Project, permanent gardener,Wholesale Nursery, Paving & concreting - Ganger - Townsville City Council, etc) many modules were "hands-on" and not theory; and later 1st year in Biology.
I have a special interest in Phytochemicals & ED's (Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals AKA: Hormone Disruptors in all species.
I have worked in many mediums in the past - oil pastels, graphite, charcoal, watercolours and oils; and have also dabbled in sculpture; worked with leather and copper; and now work mainly in scratchboard.
I 're-discovered' scratchboard following a 19 year hiatus from my artwork.
I had witnessed first hand the amazing qualities of scratchboard whilst getting my watercolour paintings framed in the early 90's, and had always wondered how these art students produced such marvellous works - and they were working on student grade scratch paper!.
I have found that scratchboard is now my medium of choice above all others - as it fulfills my need to render intricate detail in all works regardless of size and scale..... rather like rendering larger works in miniature!.....as my scratchboards require the same attention to detail as they would if they were executed in smaller formats!.
Freehand drawing and attention to detail have always been my main strengths, hence another reason why my scratchboards take so long to produce......I prefer to draw in freehand directly to the board as I absolutely hate the thought of transferring - although transferring is the accepted practice with the majority of SB artists and other fine artists worldwide I just cant get to grips with it!.
I have always loved rendering highly intricate detail in all mediums...I draw and paint what I see!.
I strive for realism and authenticity in my animals in all mediums, and spend many hours researching my subject and their habitats prior to putting pencil to paper. I love rendering the intricate detail necessary to achieve these goals for my individual style of work and hope to continue to improve on my work as time goes on.
I have always been passionate about animals and the environment which have always been never ending sources of inspiration for my art.
I have been around animals all my life - and have taken in and cared for many - both wild fauna and domestic. These wonderful past experiences and understanding of all these animals have allowed me to depict their character and essence instinctively through my art.
I have been a proud supporter of many animal welfare groups and conservation organisations over the years and was formerly a ranger for Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, long-term volunteer, as well as caretaker/zookeeper at our local zoo for Australian fauna and have also been a successful breeder of native and exotic finches and parrots. For a very short period - editor and producer of the Thuringowa Bird Club's magazine - drawing my own illustrations and writing articles for the magazine.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed being editor and producer of this magazine, other commitments took precedence.
I have recently returned to my art following a 19 year hiatus, although during those years I managed to find many ways to fulfil my creative urges with both work-related and at home activities such as plant propagation, landscaping/landscape design, working with concrete, paving, topiary, building and renovating enclosures for Australian fauna, and other fun things!.
I began my love with art at an early age mostly sketching horses, lions, tigers, etc; and mystical creatures such as dragons and unicorns in graphite and charcoal.
My horse drawings particularly proved quite popular at Primary School where I sold many to my fellow students.
Other than the occasional drawing session, my artwork took backseat while I undertook hospital nursing training upon leaving secondary school.
I have been fortunate enough to have had my watercolour wildlife paintings exhibited in local galleries amongst many of Townsvilles finest artists and in tourist shops during 1990/91.
I love the amazing intricate detail, textures, the light, contrast and degree of realism that can be achieved with the fantastic medium of scratchboard and watching the animal 'magically' emerge from the darkness with every scratch or dot.
I recommend that every artist should at least try one scratchboard during their art career.....although scratchboard is not for everyone as it is so labour intensive - requiring excellent drawing skills, a steady hand, eye for detail, dedication to the medium - lots of patience, perseverence and time particularly when using 'traditional' scratchboard methods/techniques where a sharp blade or needle type tool is used to render many textures such as hair, fur, skin, and feathers.