Sheffield painter Sam Dolman shortlisted for top international wildlife art prize

A Sheffield wildlife artist who created a beautiful painting of a tiger called Hope was shortlisted for a major art prize.

Wednesday, 27th May 2020, 4:05 pm

Sheffield artist Sam Dolman was recognised in the internationally-renowned competition Wildlife Artist of the Year, run by the UK-based conservation charity David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, founded by the famous artist and conservationist.

The competition had 1,200 entries from artists across 53 countries and Sam’s is one of 159 shortlisted artworks for the final exhibition.

Sam said on his website: “Nature provides me with a constant source of inspiration. I often spend considerable time with the animals I paint; they all have unique personalities which I try to capture in oil paints.

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Sam Dolman's painting Hope, which was shortlisted for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s Wildlife Artist of the Year award

“I work very slowly, my paintings are usually worked on over several months to allow drying in between different layers. Nowadays I paint entirely on wood. I use synthetic brushes, carefully blending each brushstroke into the next to create a very smooth finish.”

Sam spent a month photographing Hope and the painting has been a long-term project, his largest in size to date.

He said that the first animals to inspire his art were some friendly Highland cows he met in the Peak District. He has painted several of them.

Sam, who has won two awards at Sheffield’s Art in the Gardens event including the public choice accolade, is also an acclaimed pet portrait artist, working in oil and charcoal.

His hyper-realistic style is focused on capturing the personalities of the animals he portrays.

Sam added: “I was born in Scunthorpe. I went to university in Newcastle and worked as an accountant.

“I soon got bored and went to live in Spain, where I started pursuing painting as a full-time job. I returned to Mosborough, as my family are here, so I have been here for the last 15 years or so.”

Sam’s work is part of an online exhibition which is running until Sunday, June 28 at

The works are on sale and 50 per cent of the proceeds will support the David Shepherd foundation’s work protecting endangered species across Africa and Asia and working with local communities.

This includes pangolins – the most trafficked mammal in the world and at the forefront of the press due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The winners of the various categories and the overall winner were announced via an online awards ceremony on Tuesday.

The event was hosted by David Shepherd’s granddaughter and foundation CEO Georgina ‘Peanut’ Lamb and classical soprano and DSWF ambassador, Laura Wright.

Each year, the global competition attracts more than 1,000 entries from professional and talented amateur wildlife artists, with shortlisted artworks usually being exhibited at the Mall Galleries in London. This year they have gone online only instead.

Website visitors can vote by Sunday June 28 for their favourite artwork in a People’s Choice Award, with the chance to win some Patrick Mavros cufflinks and a Mia Kora scarf.

The first prize is £10,000 and a two-week art residency at a game reserve in Namibia.

Commenting on the initiative, the late David Shepherd said: “I set up my foundation with the sole purpose of giving something back to the animals that helped me achieve success as an artist.

“Every single entry into this premier art competition helps to save endangered wildlife.”

The overall winner of the David Shepherd prize was Andrew Pledge with his painting Wood Stork, created in oil and gold leaf.

Visit Sam’s website at