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Hampstead artist inspired by Heath’s ecology and climate change

PUBLISHED: 11:10 27 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:10 27 September 2018

Dee McLean at Hampstead Heath ponds. Picture: Dee McLean

Dee McLean at Hampstead Heath ponds. Picture: Dee McLean

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Hampstead artist Dee Maclean has created a highly topical exhibition inspired by ecological work at the Hampstead Heath Ponds.

Top of the Dam. One of Dee McLean's works based on the Heath ponds. Picture; Dee McLeanTop of the Dam. One of Dee McLean's works based on the Heath ponds. Picture; Dee McLean

Dee, a medical and scientific illustrator, decided to return to her artistic roots, literally, after finding inspiration on early morning Heath walks with neighbours.

Dee was born and brought up in Hampstead, and still lives here.She told the Ham&High: “I’ve always loved the Heath, it’s one of ‘my places’. I’m also very passionate about enviromnental causes, and with my science background – my niche was often to explain science for the education industry – everything seemed to come together for this exhibition.”

Dee’s exhibition, called A Year at the Boat Pond, investigates the positive impact rebuilding the dam on the model boating pond on the Heath has had of the flora and fauna of the area.

“I still walk every morning with my neighbours. We all found ourselves working from home – walking was to get us going each morning.

Winter Reeds. One of Dee McLean's works based on the Heath ponds. Picture; Dee McLeanWinter Reeds. One of Dee McLean's works based on the Heath ponds. Picture; Dee McLean

“Doing this, I’ve been really pleasantly surprised with the interest people have taken, it’s been great to talk about the environment.

Dee has also written and illustrated a book exploring the ecology of the Heath ponds to accomapany her art. The book also examines climate change, something Dee is passionate about.

She said: “My daughter lives in Canada. When staying with her I was so struck by the loss of sea ice. It was plain to see. I also spent some time living in New Orleans, and there, too, the threat of flooding and rising sea-levels is a very real one.”

Dee said she hopes that through her art she can remind us all how beautiful and precious our environment is, particularly in light of Met Office research showing a likely increase in the number of “extreme rainfall events” in the UK.

The exhibition is open from October 12 at the Highgate Gallery in the Highgate Literary & Scientific Institution.

The project will also help fundraise for local charity Heath Hands. It will receive a donation from all sales of original paintings, the book, prints and cards. For more information about Heath Hands go to heath-hands.org.uk

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