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Susan M. HallBiography: Susan Hall Africa Wildlife artist, has an international reputation for superb Kenya wildlife oil paintings, water colors and fine art.

Susan M. Hall Born in Nottinghamshire, near Sherwood forest England. Susan came to Kenya with her parents by twin engine aircraft at the age of 4.

She spent the next 5 years of her childhood at a farm in the Wanjohi Valley (Happy Valley), she then moved to a cattle ranch by Lake Nakuru (now Lake Nakuru Park). Later her family bought a cattle ranch north of Nanyuki at the borders of the Northern frontier of Kenya where they presently live.

She was educated in Kenya. Her first inspiration for painting birds was when she was 16. At this time she also learnt to fly her father's aircraft and later went into the cattle trading business and worked at the ranch.

She is a self- taught artist without any formal training whatsoever in this field. She paints in “water colours” and in “oils”, whichever the client prefers.

Over the past ten years, she has painted many subjects other than birds, including scenes from some of the remotest parts of Kenya's N.F.D., { Northern Frontier District} where she likes to spend as much of her time as possible, exploring the deserts and mountains; and learning about the Nomadic Tribes and their way of life.

She worked closely with William Collins the publisher before his death. Her art has been exhibited at the Tryon and Mall Galleries in London as well as various galleries in Nairobi including a very successful exhibition in the new Stanley Hotel.

Her paintings can be found all over the world including the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, USA, Australia and other places. She has sold paintings to many prominent people. She has been commissioned to paint for Mr. Henry Roussell of Roussell Pharmaceutical, Mr and Mrs Alec Wildenstein of Wildenstein Galleries and Mr Adnan Khashoggi.

Susan Hall writes:
Art and painting started as a hobby but also became a very profitable business. I worked on commissions for Alec Wildenstein for over 20 years and gave advice on interiors in their home. I have been recommended as one of the finest bird artists by all the above named and Sir Peter Scott, the late ornithologist, who was a very famous artist and ornithologist all over the world.

I have sold my art work in most countries in the world including hanging my work in the Tryon and Mall Galleries in London. Some of my bird paintings were exhibited in a “ World Wild Life” exhibition in the Mall Gallery, opened by Prince Bernhard.

Over a 25 year period, I have painted around 20-25 pictures for Barclays Bank of Kenya, for their “Queensway Branch”, Moi Avenue Branch and Head Offices in Nairobi. They had 900 prints made from my work to give as presents to their staff who have worked for Barclays for over 20 years.

I also started up my own cattle trading business, working together with my father. We had our own aircraft, so flew all over Kenya, buying and selling cattle, and in most cases, walking them home with armed herdsman to protect them against theft and the elements.

Sometimes the stock would walk up to 400 miles, they were the humped “Boran” cattle, born in desert to semi desert conditions and came from the Somali border area. These type of cattle are used to walking for miles as they belonged to the nomadic tribes.

When the stock arrived on the ranch, they would be thin from the long walk, but put onto good grazing areas and bore hole water, would soon flourish. We would either sell them to other ranchers or to butchers and they were even exported to Oman for meat.

Our ranch, which we named “Enasoit” was where we did all our cattle trading from, over a period of 45 years; sadly for us, the ranch had to finally be sold.

I learned to fly fathers aircraft and we were in business together. I grew up in a man's world as our trading was buying and selling and all the deals were done with the menfolk. I was the only female cattle trader in Kenya at that time.

Having painted birds for many years, I started to branch out and paint other subjects, flowers, scenery, wildlife, and indeed any art that people commissioned. I started getting commissions from overseas and eventually sold paintings to most countries in the world.

I now had two very successful business going, cattle trading and sales of my art work. I was commissioned to paint for the well-known Henry Rousell, pictures of birds, and a portrait of his wife Marcelline and daughter Christine, the sister of Thiery (who married Christina Onassis).

Henry Rousell kindly showed my art work to “Adnan Khasshogi” who commissioned me to paint birds, for his son and daughter. Later I worked very closely with Alec Wildenstein of Wildenstein Galleries in London, New York, and Paris. I was commissioned to paint for him and his wife Joselyne for over a period of 25 years for their private homes around the world. I was also commissioned to paint a wildlife picture for the Aga Khan's daughter.

I was working closely with Sir William Collins of Collins Publishers at one time, and painted 200 birds for a field guide book written by the ornithologist John.G.Williams, which was to be called, “A field guide to the birds of Africa.” Unfortunately for various reasons, this particular book was never completed and published.

I was then asked to illustrate a series of books to be called “Birds of Prey of Africa” by the “Worlds authority on birds of prey” at the time, Leslie Brown.

Unfortunately I decided against this, as signing a 5 year contract to paint every day for probably 8-10 hours a day, was beyond my capability, considering I had a cattle business to run as well which I did not wish to give up.., so very sadly I turned it down. As it happened Leslie Brown died soon after we had talked about this. He could have chosen any bird artist in the world but asked me, as he said “Susan I just don’t want any other artist to paint for these books.. you are the only one who can do just what I want.”

Over the years, I have also been very interested in designing and building houses and have designed and been involved in building 5 beautiful homes and also decorated the interiors of two of them.

The Enasoit ranch was sold in 2002 so cattle trading came to an end. During our ranching lives, we spent a lot of time in Kenya’s Northern Frontier Districts, exploring the deserts, and areas that were virtually unknown but for the nomadic tribes who passed through the areas from time to time. I have climbed a number of mountains in Northern Kenya, some of which to my knowledge, had not been climbed before, at the time. While father and I went on these wonderful exploring trips, mother would stay with my brother (who later died from cancer).

I have had extremely interesting encounters with wild life over the years as have spent over 60 years living in the African Wilderness side by side with the wild animals, on my travels and on our ranch, and loved every moment of it. We have protected the wild life throughout our ranching lives, and have had many dangerous encounters with wild animals, including being attacked by a pack of Hyenas in the wild Chalbi Desert.

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