Routinely acknowledged as a Realism Artist, Mandie Haywood is fascinated and driven by the artistic capturing of animals on canvas; with dogs featuring prominently in her back catalogue of impressionism. An animal lover in the broadest sense of the word, Haywood possesses what can best be described as a passion for nature and wildlife in particular, something that was in evidence from a very early age. 5 years old as it happened, whereby Haywood was already penning and laying down illustrations for her first set of animal books, based on characters that she’d created and originated from Plastercine and/or scraps of fabric beforehand. Just two years wood was entrusted with her first pet, a rabbit, which set a precedent for a veritable menagerie of domestic animals that quickly followed, including birds and a dog called Loopy. Indeed, Loopy served as the inspiration for a raft of Haywood’s early paintings and the subject of an array of picture books, bearing its likeness.
Back-tracking a few years though, and Haywood was born unto a very creative family hub, with a world-class musician as a father and a superb watercolour artist and teacher as a mother. For this reason, both Haywood and her sister were openly encouraged to express themselves creatively in any manner they sought fit, which emotional encouragement and freedom to learn, grow and evolve from tender years meant that studying and being successful in creative subjects at school would surely follow. Which it did in Haywood’s case, with English, music and the arts being noted as strong subjects throughout her education.
Haywood’s teenage years produced a lot of sculpting and the study of photography, which she has used to her advantage ever since, believing that the provision of pictorial reference material is equally important as time and place conscious sketches. Indeed, Haywood’s fascination in and love of photography paved the way for a career in professional photography, being involved in countless commissioned photoshoots, taking in private portraits and live concerts among other genres. Haywood balanced the demands of the photography with the practice and commercial execution of traditional portraiture, which she continued for twelve years in total, before making the transition into design and illustration. Of late, Haywood talks of her concentrating her wide-ranging and far-reaching creative efforts on the writing and illustrating of her own published titles, conferring that a cross-pollination toward story and picture books was always a likely and natural progression on account of her imagination to substantiate her artistic attributes.
Inspiration-wise and Haywood has both been influenced and continues to be influenced in aspects of her work by a host of creative movers and shakers, including Vermeer, Hopper, Sargent and Klimt, whose most celebrated pieces she’d like to house in her own private collection if money where no object, along with recent additions by Alfred Munnings and Scott Gustafson. What Haywood’s funds do allow is the collection of old advertising posters, like those produced by Norman Rockwell for instance, that defined a graphically-insatiable generation. Naturally enough, Haywood’s family provide her with infinite inspiration too as you’d expect given their outlook and creative dispositions, and Haywood insists that she still detracts a real sense of pleasure from observing her mother paint, the same today as much if not more, than when she was a child.
Despite residing on the doorstep of the Derbyshire’s stunning Peak District National Park – in itself furnishing the artist’s mind and soul with an endless and rich seam of inspiration – Haywood makes additional and regular fact-finding trips to Devon and Cornwall, seeking further inspiration for her paintings, whilst not losing sight of one day paying visits (for artistic reference-gathering purposes amongst other things) to both Canada and Italy.