My Story

My story started with the Nature Table.  I didn’t always feel very confident at school, but the wonder I felt in collecting and arranging natural objects found on nature walks diminished those feelings and allowed me to go a special place within myself where I felt as excited as if had I found gold or rubies.  Textures and colours and natural forms literally came alive before my eyes.

I loved mossy knolls and studying (and trying to make) birds’ nests.  Country lanes and tracks, woods and heathland were compelling and much more of a draw for me than the high street or urban environment.  These natural and wilder surroundings have been my constant and are now my home.

My story is similar to others and yet very different too. At school I studied art, biology, history and Latin and it was not until later years that I made sense of these divergent subjects; although I loved each one in its own right. From collecting things on nature walks to the history of the mediaeval monasteries, I was passionate about these subjects. I didn’t realise until adulthood their real significance for me as these disparate experiences came together in natural history and botanical art finally making a sense that was very complete and personal. Growing up I developed a keen interest in art and creating things.

I have worked as a botanical and natural history artist since my mid 20s, having qualifications from the Universities of Cambridge, Birmingham and Hertfordshire. I have exhibited in many group and solo exhibitions at home and abroad. In 2011 I was invited by the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society to exhibit and was delighted to be awarded a gold medal for the body of work. Combined with my RHS gold-medal I now have achieved the ultimate accolades for any botanical painter. I am an active fellow of the Society of botanical artists, having been president from 2018 to 2021, and show work at the London exhibitions.

In May 2014 I exhibited a series of paintings of ‘Hydrangea macrophylla in autumn and winter’ at the RHS. I was awarded a gold medal and presented with the coveted ‘Best in show’ award. In 2013 a painting was acquired and exhibited by the Hunt Institute of botanical documentation in Pittsburgh USA after they saw it described in a botanical paper. This piece is featured in the Hunt’s 60th anniversary celebration exhibition. Several paintings have been acquired by Dr Shirley Sherwood, one of the foremost collectors of botanical art and the creator of the Shirley Sherwood gallery at Kew Gardens in London.

These achievements give some indication of my passion for and commitment to my art work. I work really hard to excel and create vivid paintings which show a plant or flower or other subject with integrity and vibrancy. Botanical and natural history painting have been constant for me for over half my life, and this has woven itself through various occupations until I knew what I was really meant to do; paint and make with a passion.

My passion has made its way onto screen and into print, I have featured in several BBC factual programmes, and in several publications, including Country Living magazine, Country Homes and Interiors magazine, and the English Garden magazine.
I now live in the rural and beautiful landscape of South West England, where we have a large and mostly wild garden with rough meadows surrounding our house. I have made some lifestyle changes and my studio is now within the house. Creating is not something I go to a studio to do; rather it is who I am. It is my touchstone. After nearly 20 years of tutoring botanical painting to others at extraordinary places such as Cambridge University Botanic Garden, I now focus on creating new bodies of work for exhibition.


An inveterate collector, I collect views, thoughts, ideas, inspiration, hopes, colours, textures and ephemera. Gael cares for worn items which have had a life and which deserve to be treasured and embraced, reminding us of the transient nature of life.

These items remind of past traditions, skills and values, which still resonate with me.


Artist Notebook

See some of Gael’s notes about the equipment she use’s and her sources of materials:

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