Matthew Hillier’s extraordinary wildlife paintings offer the viewer a unique vantage point. His paintings
Although he now resides in the U. S., Hillier was born in Buckinghamshire, England, in 1958 and has spent most of his life on the south coast of England. Drawing and painting animals is something he has loved to do since he was a child. Hillier’s father was a museum designer who taught his son the rudiments of painting with watercolor, a medium Hillier used during his years as an illustrator, along with gouache. He is now best known for his acrylic paintings, although he loves the challenge of oils.
Traveling widely in search of subjects to study and paint, Hillier has visited Africa many times, and he has traveled to India, other parts of Europe and throughout Southeast Asia. He loves the big cats and rhinos and finds himself drawn to water birds. Since moving to the United States, he has begun painting North American subjects in addition to the dramatic African and bird subjects for which he is renowned.
Hillier studied at Dyfed College of Art in Carmarthen, West Wales, graduating with distinction. Three of his paintings were accepted by the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition before his 18th birthday, and he has exhibited regularly at the Pastel Society. He is a member of the Society of Wildlife Artists, the Society of Animal Artists, The Royal Institute and the Miniature Society, as well as the Paris Salon, the Royal Society of Marine Artists and the Biarritz Salon. In addition, he has participated in the Christie’s Wildlife Auction. He has been selected to exhibit at the prodigious “Birds in Art” exhibition at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson for many years. He has had one-man exhibitions throughout Great Britain and has illustrated many books and magazines. In 1995, he won the World Wildlife Fund Fine Art Award. In 1998, he received The People’s Choice Award from The Florida Wildlife and Western Art Expo. He was also a Featured Artist at that show in 1999. In 1997, 1998, and 2001, Hillier received The Society of Animal Artists’ Award of Excellence. He received the People’s Choice Award at the Plainsmen Gallery/Raymond James Financial in 2002 and 2004. IN 2003, he won the “Artists for the Next Century” Publishers Award at the Bennington Art Museum in Vermont. He has appeared on the cover of Wildlife Art Magazine in 2000 and 2003, In 2002, one of his paintings was chosen by US Art as one of their top 50 paintings of that year.
For many years he was a regular contributor to the Guinness Book of Records illustrating the wildlife section. Hillier spent two years illustrating The Rhinoceros, a monograph published by Basilisk Press. This entailed traveling to Africa and Sumatra to study rhinos, after which he produced 20 large plates of portraits and paintings of five species of rhino, in addition to behavioral sketches. ”Rhinos are,” he says, “wonderful subjects to paint.”
Teaching is becoming an important part of Hillier’s life now. He has taught “Life Painting” for several years at Montgomery College in Maryland and taught a Wildlife Art Workshop at the Beartooth School of Art in Montana. He lives in Maryland with his wife, (wildlife artist) Julia Rogers, two stepchildren and their young son, not to mention two “ghastly” Chihuahuas and a fat cat.
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