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 artist showcase 

Clive Kay

Clive Kay was born and raised on a 4,000 acre farm in Zimbabwe.  He credits his father for giving him an understanding and love of the natural world.  With encouragement from his Dad to take up photography and Clive’s favourite subject biology at school, the result in later years was an urge to start painting nature.  He did his first painting in 1964.  Throughout his artistic life he has never received any formal art tuition and apart from some help from artist friends, he is basically self-taught.

The family moved to South Africa in 1965, but it was not until 1972 that Clive started painting again.  He recalls trying to take some basic art lessons, but the art teacher had no interest in wildlife.  Rather than give up, he decided to teach himself.

A year later he moved to England where he saw the original paintings of David Shepherd, an artist who became world famous for painting elephants.  With Shepherd’s influence, the urge to paint grew stronger.

In 1975 he moved to Canada where he continued to pursue a career in personnel management.  He soon had the opportunity to meet and spend time with artist Robert Bateman.  Clive vividly remembers two private sessions with Bateman in his Ontario home.  His advice proved invaluable years later.

In 1983 Clive gave up his personnel job, returned to Africa and started to paint full time.

1986 saw his return to Canada where he introduced his work for the first time to the Canadian and American public with exhibitions in Toronto and New York.

After a courtship of seven years, he married his best friend, confidant and pillar of support, Enriqueta.  She is always there as Clive’s success has continued to grow.  They travel together to the African bush every two years to research new paintings, which are almost always now based on personal experience.

He had done a number of special commission paintings over the years, but by far “the biggest one” was the painting the Walt Disney Company commissioned for the opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1996.  Titled “The Tree of Life”.

This painting was followed a year later by another commission for the first anniversary of the opening of the Animal Kingdom.  In 2003 Disney commissioned a third image for the fifth anniversary.  A reproduction of this painting is available at the Buckhorn Festival of the Arts this year.

In 2000 Clive was invited to illustrate the first of eight books on hunting in Africa, China and Russia.  The most recent was the autobiography of W. M.D. Bell, considered to be the greatest elephant hunter of all time.

Ducks Unlimited Canada selected Clive to be the winner of the 2003 stamp and print collection.

Hi life /art career seems to have gone full circle.  He had been invited by his old school in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) to present an exhibition of his work at the 125thanniversary celebration in 2021.  For the first time he has selected to paint the landscape and people where he was born and grew up in Africa.  

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view additional pieces at

Light of Dreams # 4


50"w  X  40"h

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