A DORSET painter is in the running to be named wildlife artist of the year.

Paul Matthews, from Puddletown has made the final selection for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Artist of the Year competition for 2016.

His painting will now be displayed as part of a prestigious exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London.

His painting shows African hunting dogs on the move for potential prey in Botswana’s Savute region.

The selection has come as a result of some gruelling work by Paul, especially while trying to produce preliminary sketches.

He said: “Sketching wild dogs in Botswana has been an exciting experience, as they are so elusive. On one sitting, whilst sketching a pack going through Chobe I was being constantly bitten by sting-less bees and biting flies, it was a real challenge.

“On another occasion, at first I could only see two pairs of ears, until a leopard came in to view, when 12 dogs suddenly appeared. Needless to say, the leopard made its escape back up the ridge once it noticed the pack.”

Paul said that he wanted to paint a fairly loose style painting to convey movement in the piece.

The week-long exhibition runs from Monday, June 27 to Saturday, July 2.

The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation responds to conservation threats around the world by supporting trusted, reputable individuals and organisations operating in the field.

The competition, hosted by the foundation, also support its work and attracts artists from around the world with more than 1,000 entrants in to the 2015 competition.

The competition has raised more than £150,000 for conservation projects supported by the charity.

The overall winner will take away a £10,000 cash prize and the prestigious title of wildlife artist of the year 2016, with the overall runner-up taking a £1,000 cash prize.

There are seven categories in the competition as well and the remaining winners of these categories will take home £500 each.

Paul was born in Hammersmith, London and moved to Bournemouth when he was eight where his interest in nature and wildlife developed.