The team that work behind the scenes to make sure that your Art Safari experience is very special encompasses many wonderful people including our expert safari guides, city guides, lodge staff and chefs! You will meet loyal & friendly Art Safari people in all our countries. Our friendly office is a base-camp for all our activities worldwide. Here are some of our UK-based team and artists:-

Mary-Anne Bartlett – UK base-camp & Art Safari tutor Mary-Anne loves painting quickly, the adrenaline kick of trying to seize that fleeting moment when an animal is doing something interesting; she also loves the relaxation of painting landscape and townscapes.  Mary-Anne studied Fine Art at Ipswich, Exeter and Strasbourg Art Schools. She enjoys being with creative people and relishes the challenge of artistic styles and personalities in each safari group.  She started Art Safari in 1999.  She’s a cultural chameleon and happy in many countries, cultures and languages and is especially well known as an African specialist.

Heidi Ashford – UK base-camp Heidi met Mary-Anne on a boat that had just sailed into their home town of Woodbridge from across the Atlantic in 2007. They began working together at Art Safari in 2010 and Heidi was soon whisked away from her family in Suffolk to Namibia. Since then Heidi has been a vital part of the co-ordination and smooth planning of our tours and flights, getting to know people all around the world as well as our guests.

Lareine Davidson – UK base-camp – Close Encounters Africa Lari is our key reservations person for our tailor-made safari company Close Encounters Africa. Lari was born in Africa and got to know Art Safari initially through the sketching workshops at London Zoo.  Lari and her husband (a non-painter) joined the Malawi Zambia safari as guests and then Lari always helped out with UK events. Lari joined us in 2011 as part of the team who work hard to fulfil people’s dreams of perfect holidays.

John Threlfall  –  artist tutor – speciality birds John first met Mary-Anne at the RSPB Birdfair at Rutland Water and they have painted alongside each other in Scotland and Zambia. An SWLA member and totally in love with nature, especially birds, John is a thoughtful tutor as well as excellent company on long journeys. You may be very relaxed and involved in deep conversation, but he will always be alert to the wildlife around you.  His work can be seen in UK galleries and at his website.

 Karen Pearson –  artist tutor – speciality colour Karen is a truly great colourist and has real love of teaching the nitty gritty of colour technique and other tricky matters. She’s adept at watercolour as well as being experienced in bronze casting. Karen has an infectious enthusiasm and is good with artists of all standards. A selection of work by Karen is available to view on her website.  

James Willis – artist tutor – speciality architecture James is well known for his large views of Italian cities in oil, acrylic and watercolour. He is a popular tutor at the Sir John Soane Museum in London and has access there to a wealth of architectural fragments and knowledge as well as a superb collection of paintings, including Canaletto. You may recognise him as a frequent contributor to The Artist magazine and his website

Jacki GarnerJackie Garner artist tutor – speciality wildlife Jackie is known to many for her teaching at Nature in Art and her recent book ‘The Wildlife Artists Handbook’, leads her first Art Safari this year, drawing on her love of Southern Spain, and her knowledge of the wildlife, villages and landscapes of Andalucía.

Julia Cassel without glasses

Julia Cassels artist tutor – speciality wildlife Julia lead her first Art Safari to Zambia in May 2015 – it was be a bit of a homecoming for Julia, having  worked in Zambia for almost a decade South Luangwa holds a very special place in her heart.  Julia has a deep knowledge and understanding of the bush and African wildlife.  Her first book ‘How to capture movement in your painting’ is available to purchase online.

Mark Boyd North Berwick 2009 024

Mark Boyd artist tutor – speciality birds Ever since he can remember Mark has been obsessed with the natural world, birds especially. As an artist, Mark likes to move between media and genres and is happiest when he is learning either a new technique or a new approach to portraying the natural world. This could be abstract painting, collage, printmaking or sculpture. Mark believes in an open, positive and questioning approach, being led by a student’s interest and aptitude rather than a rigid adherence to style or technique.


 Maxine Relton artist tutor – speciality people and culture India sings to Maxine’s soul. She has sketched and explored with guests annually for 10 years, forming relationships which enable her to guide travellers off the beaten tourist trail. Her sketchbooks are exquisite, capturing the intense colours, vibrancy and heart of village scenes, markets, fine temples, lush-green landscapes, mountains and scented spice plantations in fast lines and water-colour washes, pages interspersed with memories – scraps of colourful fabrics, handmade papers, notations and phrases dancing in the margins. Maxine enjoys working across multiple media – drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture and teaches a variety of courses at West Dean College. She is also an RWA Academician where she has served as a Trustee and exhibited numerous times.

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Meet the team in person at exhibitions