Wiltshire Women Mean Business

By Anita Jaynes on 20 October, 2015

Throughout October The Business Exchange Swindon & Wiltshire is celebrating women in business in the county.

This is the main theme of the latest edition of the magazine which profiles a number of successful women such as Julia Davenport, CEO of Chippenham based Good Energy, Amanda Newbery, chair of Salisbury Business Improvement District (BID), Alison Edgar, managing director of Sales Coaching Solutions and Emma Summers, founder of Juice Recruitment. To read the online version of the magazine click here

We couldn’t find space to profile all of the women we wanted to in print, so throughout the month we will be profiling further women online.

Wildlife artist Joanna May has achieved worldwide recognition for her striking art work and is known for her hares and, more recently, her leopards and moon bears.

Joanna, now 50, has lived and worked in Wiltshire for many years and has seen her work grow in popularity to a point where she can easily command a four-figure sum for original pieces of work. Her profile is already high in the county but is steadily rising in the UK.

Already some of her artwork adorns the business premises of Raymond Blanc and the homes of celebrities such as Flog It! Presenter Paul Martin.

Joanna lives near Trowbridge with her husband David and her dogs. She also has a small shop and gallery in Devizes where she showcases and sells her own work and that of other artists and sculptors.

She’s a passionate conservationist and has donated numerous works of art to charities saving animals including elephants, tigers and moon bears.

Joanna has been a professional artist for 25 years, for the first ten years as a children’s wildlife book illustrator. During this period, Joanna realised one of her great strengths was attention to detail. She maintains this detail even when her images are very large. She also often embeds hidden words or phrases into her artwork.

It was almost 15 years ago that she opened her first gallery in Marlborough to sell her paintings.  Yet it was her series of works showing hares which saw her profile rise to new heights.

“My first Boxing Hare painting sold before I opened the doors and later the BBC got in touch to ask if I’d like to be on Spring Watch in 2006 to talk about the hare and why it is so popular. I’d been studying hares and their behaviours because I used to see them often from my home at the time. This exposure helped and I was commissioned again and again to paint the hare, owls and other indigenous subjects,” Joanna said.

Another highlight came along in 2005 when she got her first zebra painting into Christies’ ‘Art for Life’ Auction. The Zebra painting led to more commissions to paint larger art work taking the pattern of animals to the edge of the canvas.

Joanna believes her work has been successful because she’s been determined to always treat her art as a ‘proper’ job. She creates a series of art works and then spends months marketing them and raising awareness of the images.

To see some of Joanna’s work visit: www.joannamay.com

Pictured above: Joanna and friend Rula Lenska