A love of nature is a gift, and when it is nurtured through childhood then it is a joy for life. Artist, Helen Clark has vivid memories of enjoying nature and wildlife as a youngster and has combined that with her artistic talents and now runs a successful art business at Ardnamurchan, on Scotland’s remote west coast.

There are many options on the Helen Clark Art website, and the days of just selling wall art in the hope that you can survive as an artist seem to be over. Diversification is the way forward, and Helen and her partner Toby display their art in many different forms.

“Customers would ask me for cushions and mugs and tea towels and Toby said it was time that we looked into that side of the business. Back when we launched the business, Facebook was a new tool to be used. When we got to grips with it, it was like, boom! The business just took off.”

Toby is a photographer and initially his role was to take photographs of wildlife that Helen would then paint. But technology offered him a different medium to work with, and he now runs the ‘Muddy Wellies’ side of the art business, which is a range of his wildlife photographs that have been digitally enhanced in various ways to produce interesting artistic styles. Some are cartoon like, some have bright, almost fairytale like backgrounds, and others are just fantastic photographs shown on a white background to really make them pop.

There’s no denying that Highland cattle feature in lots of the images. Helen says: “I’ve always loved Highland cattle, I’ve been painting them for 20 years, there was a herd of them where we lived in the Peak District and I painted them often. They are still the biggest seller on our website.”

The hairy highlanders appear in intense real-life portraits, full of detail and grandeur. In others they have cute faces, hair flopping over their eyes, with vividly coloured backgrounds surrounded by flowers. There is all sort of options to choose from.

Aside from the Highland cattle, the range features everything from foxes to unicorns. The range of stunning stags would make a dramatic centre piece on any wall. And if you don’t want wall art but like the images, you can buy a whole range of homeware featuring their images. Chopping boards, cushions, door mats, mugs, tea towels, placemats, and new to the range are heart shaped compact mirrors. There are even purses, pendants, keyrings, and even jigsaws in the gift section that would make a wonderful art-based gift for someone.

The move from their native Peak district wasn’t difficult to make. Helen ran an art gallery there for many years. Helen and Toby, had been visiting Scotland in their trusty caravan for years. The trips were becoming more frequent and as Toby is a photographer and Helen takes care of the artwork, they could just pack up and work from the caravan, wherever it stopped.

A chance, large purchase of their artwork piqued their interest and it was traced to The Ardnamurchan Natural History Visitor Centre; a phone call to the centre introduced them to Richard and Vicky Pollock who run the centre.

The caravan was duly loaded up and headed north, they made the short ferry crossing at Corran and drove over to Ardnamurchan.

They were captivated by the remote and wild surroundings and must have mentioned many times how they would love to live there, as a few week later they got a phone call alerting them to a small holiday cottage that was coming up for sale. They jumped at it, as their family was grown and off making their own way in the world.

They packed up and squashed the contents of a four-bedroom house between a container and a one-bedroom cottage. “We can live small, we are doing it, and we don’t miss the modern trappings of reliable wifi and such like.”

Richard and Vicky from the visitor centre have become good friends to Helen and Toby and they are helping with the plan to open a gallery in the conservatory of the visitor centre in April this year.

The centre already has a wonderful array of nature-inspired activities, and has a popular café that they both help out at during busy periods. Toby will be demonstrating wood carving and working with the children that visit. Helen teaches art at the local school and Toby also teaches there too. They are full integrated into the local community now.

Helen says: “This area of Scotland is just stunning, and worth a visit. There is so much history to be found, there’s relics, artefacts, and so much to find out. The history of the clearances alone is incredible. There is basically one road that takes you from the ferry and if you want to visit, have a wander through Ardnamurchan and then you can carry on straight over to Sanna and the stunning Sanna bay beaches, it is beautiful. All we need to do is to get people to turn left, and hop on the ferry before they continue north into the Highlands.”

Nowadays, Helen tries to concentrate on the creating the artwork, she says that her and Toby are a great combination, they complement each other with their skills. They both have to concentrate on the customer service side of orders during busy periods like Mothers day, Christmas, Easter, and January sales etc, but they have both found their niche and work together well.

The wonderful thing about all the art on the website is that it is affordable for all. An A4 standard canvas print is just £19.99. The chopping boards are £29.99, everything is priced to suit all budgets.

Have a browse of the website, you are bound to find something that suits your artistic taste.