Clive Kay was born and raised on a 4,000 acre farm in Zimbabwe. He credits his father for giving him an understanding and love of the natural world. With encouragement from his Dad to take up photography and Clive’s favorite subject biology at school, the result in later years was an urge to start painting nature. He did his first painting in 1964.
Throughout his artistic life he has never received any formal art tuition and apart from some help from artist friends, he is basically selftaught. The family moved to South Africa in 1965, but it was not until 1972 that Clive started painting again. He recalls trying to take some basic art lessons, but the art teacher had no interest in wildlife. Rather than give up, he decided to teach himself. A year later he moved to England where he saw the original paintings of David Shepherd, an artist who became world famous for painting elephants. With Shepherd’s influence, the urge to paint grew stronger. In 1975 he moved to Canada where he continued to pursue a career in personnel management.
He soon had the opportunity to meet and spend time with artist Robert Bateman. Clive vividly remembers two private sessions with Bateman in his Ontario home. His advice proved invaluable years later. In 1983 Clive gave up his personnel job, returned to Africa and started to paint full time. 1986 saw his return to Canada where he introduced his work for the first time to the Canadian and American public with exhibitions in Toronto and New York. After a courtship of seven years, he married his best friend, confidant and pillar of support, Enriqueta. She is always thereas Clive’s success has continued to grow. They travel together to the African bush every two years to research new paintings, which are almost always now based on personal experience. He has done a number of special commission paintings over the years, but by far “The Biggest One” was the inaugural painting the Walt Disney company commissioned for the opening of the Animal Kingdom in April 1998.