Exhibition updates

Top Ten Pastel Society works 2015

The launch of our new website in December 2014 allows a perfect digital platform to showcase the Annual Exhibitions of the Federation of British Artists Societies.

Over 1,800 works from the FBA Annual Exhibitions have been uploaded to mallgalleries.org.uk and viewed almost 40,000 times throughout 2015.

Listed below from one to ten are the most popular works from the Pastel Society Annual Exhibition Look Again based on the number of unique page visits the work received.

Congratulations to Mike Clapton for having the most popular work online in the PS Annual Exhibition 2015. 



Mike Clapton, Take Care

Compressed Charcoal

110 x 85 cm


Barry Freeman, Dusk - Spa Hill

Oil pastel

90 x 90 cm


Michael Norman PS, Dusk at Turf Locks

Soft Pastel

67 x 82 cm


Joanne Last PS, Almost There

Pastel

76 x 76 cm


Liz Balkwill, Sunflowers

Pastel

57 x 47


Jan Munro, Red Chair and Apples

Pastel

62 x 50 cm


Felicity House PS, Oxfords The Bakers

Pastel

64 x 83 cm


Tony Allain PS, Campanille, Venice

Soft Pastels

28 x 28 cm


Max Baccanello, Deadly Sin

Pastel and Conte

60 x 120 cm


Caroline Bays PS, Nude with Red Hair

Charcoal & Pastel

80 x 102

 

 

Image credit

Michael Norman PS, Dusk at Turf Locks (detail)

Royal Institute of Oil Painters Prize Winners

The Royal Society of Oil Painters Prize winners were announced at the Private View on the 1st December.

Opening the exhibition Ian Cryer, President of the ROI said that "the Institute is determined to maintain and raise the standards of work on show. The feeling is that this year we have again exceeded previous years in this regard."

Below are the Prize Winning works from the 123rd Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters.



L. Cornelissen & Son Prize

Roger Dellar ROI, The Cocktail Bar, RAC

 


Frank Herring Easel Award

David Walker, From Lambeth Bridge

 


The Dry Red Press

Linda Alexander AROI, Still Life with Anemones

 


The Alan Gourley Memorial Award

Christopher Keays ROI, Holly Hill Hampstead

 


The DAS Award

Peter Graham ROI, Age of Elegance

 


The Artist Magazine Award

Richard Combes ROI, Paint Brush

 


The Menena Joy Schwabe Memorial Award

Clive Burnell, Horseshoe

 


The Le Clerc Fowle Medal

Michael Weller, February Pears

 


Winsor & Newton Young Artist Award (Third Prize)

Harriet Spratt, Ben

 


Winsor & Newton Young Artist Award (Second Prize)

Andrew Farmer, Self Portrait

 


Winsor & Newton Young Artist Award (First Prize)

Bernadett Timko, Self Portrait

 


Call for Entries

Founded in 1882, the ROI seeks works in oils and is the only national art society devoted exclusively to oil painting. The call for entries open on 23 May 2016.

For more information please click here.



Image credit

Christopher Keays ROI, Holly Hill Hampstead

Winsor & Newton Oil Painters Awards 2015 (for artists aged 35 or under)

As part of our ongoing support of young artistic talent, Winsor & Newton and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) are proud to present the 2015 Oil Painters Awards.

The following categories are awarded to those who, in the opinion of the judges, have demonstrated both creativity and talent in their use of the Oil Colour Medium.

Winsor & Newton would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the ROI and the President, Ian Cryer for their continuing support of the Oil Painters Awards.



First Prize:

£1,000 Winsor & Newton Fine Art Materials

Bernadette Timko, Self Portrait

Oil, 36 x 25 cm £800

Bernadette has previously been awarded an NEAC Drawing School Scholarship and she has been selected to exhibit work in FBA Futures 2016 in January at Mall Galleries.

 


 

Second Prize

£600 Winsor & Newton Fine Art Materials

Andrew Farmer, Self Portrait

Oil, 60 x 45 cm £650

 


 

Third Prize

£400 Winsor & Newton Fine Art Materials

Harriet Spratt, Ben

Oil, 60 x 50 cm £1,300



Above are just some of the works on display in the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition, the only major British Art Society that promotes and exhibits work of the highest standard exclusively in Oils.

View more highlights from the exhibition here

Image credit

Bernadett Timko, Self Portrait (detail)

The Royal Institute of Oil Painters

The Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) Annual Exhibition 2015 opens to the public on Wednesday 2 December; here, our Exhibitions Manager offers an exclusive preview of what to expect at the exhibition, which features almost 300 new and recent oil paintings by living exponents of the medium.

A range of ROI members, non-member exhibitors and young artists showcase the medium of oil painting in surprising variations of style and subject at the forthcoming Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, including…



Still Life

Roy Freer spends his days in his studio, considering and resolving studies of plants, pots and pans, bottles, fruit and vegetables that crowd out his shelves on all sides, as seen in Assortment. Roy writes about the process, that, ‘In my mind’s eye I set about to resolve how these objects may be seen in differing relationships and intensities and be brought together to my satisfaction – I ask, what more can one need?’.

Roy Freer ROI, Assortment

Meanwhile other still life paintings on show include Peter Graham’s Tulips in a Blue Jug, in which relations of tone and colour lead the eye into the composition and to the arrangement’s centerpiece, a jug of white tulips - a nod to the painter William Nicholson (1872-1949); and more unusually, in comical contrast to her still lifes featuring strawberries and seashells, bottles and bowls, Lucy McKie’s must-see Toy Fire Engine on Cardboard Box.

Lucy McKie ROI, Toy Fire Engine on Cardboard Box


Landscapes

Also well accounted for in the show are a variety of landscapes, including this year’s exhibition catalogue cover, Malcolm Ashman’s Dartmoor Series, September 2015. Alongside which John McComb’s Winter Morning Sunlight, River Tame continues McCombs’s long-standing aim to make a complete visual record of the village of Delph and the surrounding Pennine landscape in all its seasons before development spoils the character of the area.

John McCombs ROI RBA, Winter Morning Sunlight, River Tame


Cityscapes

From the countryside to the country’s capital city, several exhibits capture London’s famous landmarks, such as Somerset House as seen by Roger Dellar, and a short walk along The Thames from there, Peter Wileman’s London Eye and “The Tattershall Castle”. While Adebanji Alade and Bill Dean (in Colours, Rain & Reflections, Cannon Street II and Reflections in The Strand, respectively) represent another of the city’s familiar sights: rainy days, specifically the reflections from sheets of water upon the city’s streets. Continuing the theme of cities ‘under water’, Brian Ryder has painted a series of Venetian reflections in water, including Venetian Reflection 2 - Palazzo, finished in his studio following a recent visit to Venice. Whereas Alice Hall has painted the same city from another perspective, looking upwards to the skies onto scaffolding around San Marco. While from San Marco to San Francisco, Ken Howard (so well known for his paintings of Venice, some of which feature in this exhibition) has painted a view off the coast of the northern Californian city, complete with boats and blue sky.

Ken Howard FROI OBE RA PPNEAC RBA RSBA RWA RWS, San Francisco

 



Portraits

Pictures of people populate the exhibition, too: many by members, of members, such as Tim Benson’s Self Portrait by Lamplight and Roger Ferrin’s portrait of fellow exhibitor and member, Tony Merrick. Not forgetting Susan Bower’s portrait of Mr Cooper Tibbles - even if Mr Cooper is in fact the artist’s cat (and in fact a “she”), pictured wearing a protective coat from the vet in Midnight Cat.

Perfectly summing up the Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, though, is Tony Merrick’s Night Studio, Reflections, which depicts the environment in which many of the works on display have taken shape – from direct observation of the subject, paintbrushes to hand, easel at the ready, inspiration and imagination aplenty.

Tony Merrick ROI, Night Studio Reflections


Above are just some of the works on display in the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition, the only major British Art Society that promotes and exhibits work of the highest standard exclusively in Oils.

View more highlights from the exhibition here

 

Image credit

Malcolm Ashman ROI, Dartmoor series, September 2015 (detail)

Darren Rees' Antarctic Adventure

Following his talk in the Learning Centre during the first week of The Natural Eye 2015 exhibition, we spoke to Society of Wildlife Artist Darren Rees about his one month journey aboard the Royal Navy’s Ice Patrol Vessel HMS Protector travelling from the South Atlantic to the Antarctic Peninsula.


After applying in 2014 to become an Artist in Residence with Friends of Scott Polar Research Institute, Darren Rees SWLA spent over a month in early 2015 aboard the Royal Navy’s Ice Patrol vessel HMS Protector travelling from the South Atlantic to the Antarctic Peninsula. Previous Artists in Residence include Dafila Scott SWLA and Emma Stibbon RA. 

There were many highlights to Darren’s adventure however the first morning at the Antarctic Peninsula was a stand out. They had to stop engines overnight to unclog the ship’s filters from too much krill (tiny crustaceans). When they woke they were in flat calm waters with a wrap around landscape of snowy peaks, glaciers and icebergs and humpback whales popping up everywhere. He estimated over one hundred.

Darren Rees, Matterhorn

As well as Humpbacks, Minke, Fin, Sei and Blue Whales, Darren saw a group of Killer Whales so he had a good list of sea mammals. However, Darren would have liked to have seen some Emperor Penguins (the largest) but sadly was unable to see any during his journey.

Throughout his journey, that started at the Falkland Islands, Darren travelled to many islands within and surrounding the Antarctic Peninsula. These islands include the Port Lockroy, Rothera (Adelaide Island), Horseshoe, Stonington and Deception Islands. 

Darren Rees, First Berg

When he wasn’t visiting islands, Darren could be found in the crow’s nest of the ship where he could see all around him - his “moving studio” as he described it. If he wasn’t at the crow’s nest he was under the helideck painting, where he was less covered from the elements and at times had to battle with the wind to keep the paper from moving.

During his visit to the Falkland Islands, he had three days to explore and paint the animals and landscape around him, a particularly productive time with the large amount of penguins around him. Darren spent his days painting Magellanic Penguins, Rockhopper Penguins and on his third day got to spend three hours with the King Penguins – a lifetime’s ambition.  During the time he had with the King Penguins at Volunteer Point he shot videos and took pictures that would later be used alongside his sketches and field paintings to help him create his work ‘King Colony’.

Darren Rees, Magellanic Penguins 

After departing the Falkland Islands Darren painted from the ship and he was able to sketch albatrosses and icebergs, which he described as “huge great big cathedrals in the sea”, drawing and painting quickly as they passed by.

Whilst visiting Port Lockroy, a former UK research and weather station, Darren sketched Gentoo Penguins in their natural habitat at close range. 

Darren at Port Lockroy

Darren visited Rothera Base on Adelaide Island where he spent three days, allowing him to see some of the marine biological tests carried out on some species to see how they would react to warmer waters. Darren also managed to paint huge elephant seals from around 30 feet away that were at the base at the time. 

Rothera Base also provided Darren his first opportunity to paint icebergs from land, giving him plenty of time to draw and go into more detail than he had whilst sketching from the ship. He described being on the island from an artist’s perception as causing “information overload” as there was so much to take in whilst being there.

Darren Rees, Sleeping Elephants

From Rothera Base Darren then travelled north through the Gullet, a very narrow passageway that could ice over. Before heading down some planes went to check if the ship could pass through. Unfortunately there was not a lot of wildlife whilst passing through the Gullet.

Further North the journey was not as comfortable but he did get to see more birds as they headed to Brazil. Towards the end of the trip he held a mobile art show for the crew of the ship, and before leaving he gave them a few paintings of them which he had painted.

Darren Rees, Parked Bergs

Painting in the Antarctic Peninsula is a different environment to what Darren is used to. It was cold as expected but Darren was well prepared with insulated clothing and he is used to painting with gloves. He had to use the sheltered and heated crow’s nest so whilst on board the ship he managed well. On land, on one occasion his paints started to freeze so he added a small amount of white spirit to the water. He said that it “seemed to work!”

 

Image credit

Darren Rees SWLA, Matterhorn

Society of Wildlife Artists Prizes & Awards

The Prize Winners for the Natural Eye 2015 were announced at the Private View on Wednesday 28 October to a packed Mall Galleries.

The journalist and author Simon Barnes opened the exhibition and said that "Wildlife is the most wonderful stuff we’ve got on this planet, and here, in room after room, we have a celebration of it. As ever, this exhibition is all about different ways of loving the wild world."

In her President's Foreword Harriet Mead writes that "...the variety of approaches, techniques and skills on display are alwasy an inspiration and makes me very proud of the Society."

Below are the Prize Winning works from this year's Natural Eye exhibition. 


Prizes and Awards

 

The Roger Clarke Award

Tim Wootton SWLA

Glorious


Langford Press 3D Award

Adam Binder SWLA

Greenfinches


Langford Press Printmaking Award

Julia Manning

The building of Wallasea RSPB


The Langford Press Field Sketches Award

Richard Johnson

Bluethroat Studies


Dry Red Press Printmakers Award

Matt Underwood

Spring Blackbird


RSPB Award

Greg Poole

Short-eared Owl flying near digger


The PJC Drawing Award

Richard Allen

Coastal Birds


The Bird Watch Magazine Artist of the Year Award

Jane Smith ASWLA

Fishing Frenzy


Call for Entries

The Society of Wildlife Artists seeks submissions of work that depict wildlife subjects and evoke the spirit of the natural world. The call for entries open on Tuesday 3 May 2016

For more information please click here.



View more highlights from the exhibition here

Image credit

Dafila Scott, Red Hartebeast on a Red Dune (detail)

Society of Wildlife Artists Flight Lines Project

This is an abridged version of an article printed in the Society of Wildlife Artists Exhibition Catalogue

At a time when many of our migrant birds are in decline, the fascination with their journeys has even more relevance. Flight Lines seeks to portray our migrants, their habitats and the people who study them, raising the profile of research to understand the challenges that these birds face. Perhaps most importantly, the project seeks to instil a sense of connection with the migratory journeys made by these summer visitors. The resulting interest can support much-needed research and secure wider engagement with these iconic birds.

The Flight Lines project is possible because of the generous legacy left by Penny Hollow and the kindness of her executors. Penny, a long-standing BTO member, was a regular at SWLA exhibitions, a great supporter and lay member of the society. The bringing together of artists and scientists to raise the profile of our African migrants, is a fitting tribute to her interests.

Throughout summer 2015, SWLA artists have been paired with British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) bird ringers and nest recorders working on migrant birds. Among others, SWLA artists have documented Cuckoos using stopover sites in Italy’s Po Valley, Reed Warblers in UK reed beds, Stone-curlews in the Norfolk and Suffolk Brecks, Pied Flycatchers in Scotland and migrant birds on the Welsh island of Bardsey.


Taking two well-known and highly respected wildlife artists, Carry Akroyd and Harriet Mead, to my Stone-curlew study areas around Thetford was a challenge, given the birds were having a tough time after the cold and wet spring/summer 2015. Breeding pairs were down and levels of nest predation were high! The study, part of the RSPB’s Stone-curlew recovery and protection programme, has proved highly effective over the years, covering both Breckland heath and farmland. Carry wanted to see both habitats as most of her artwork depicts birds in the wider landscape, while Harriet’s detailed metal sculptures of animals and birds meant we needed to get up close and personal to the birds!

No birds were seen on the heaths but this didn’t worry Carry, who seemed captivated by the unique ‘Brecks’ landscape. Next stop arable farmland, where Stone-curlews nest in sugar beet and game strips. Our luck was in and we found a pair – nervous and wary-looking – a sure sign of nesting. Harriet spotted the nest – two beautiful camouflaged eggs on a carpet of tiny stones and surrounded by rabbit droppings! Not a bad day after all.

- Jeff Baker, BTO volunteer

Stone Curlew by Chris Knights/BTO

I’d never seen a Stone-curlew before and still wouldn’t have now except for the expert ‘stonie-spotters’ getting my eye in. Surreptitious and stealthy, the leggy birds sneak around their nest, so camouflaged against the background they can only be spotted when they move. Which is why they need the right Stone-curlew–coloured background. A mix of browns and grey and white and black; some rough sandy earth in light and dark browns, rough enough for some dips and shadows, some pale and dark stones, short dry grasses and shrivelled sparse herbs. Farmers or rabbits disturb the ground creating the right backdrop. Given this décor, the stonies can move in.

I am interested in context; the landscape as it is perceived by the bird. I had driven across Breckland many times so I was familiar with the pines leaning along the straight field edges, but I had never actually stopped and walked on the ground. The sandy soil is almost an inland beach. In uncultivated areas, the ground yields not lush growth but the low growing herbs and meagre grasses that thrive on unimproved impoverishment. So my introduction to a new species was also my introduction to a new kind of habitat, the two completely paired.’


- Carry Akroyd


SWLA member artist Federico Gemma accompanied the BTO Senior Research Ecologist, Chris Hewson, to Italy’s Po watershed, where they caught up with some of the BTO’s satellite-tagged Cuckoos, which pass through Italy on their autumn migration.

Federico Gemma working in the Po watershed by Chris Hewson/BTO

SWLA Artists Kim Atkinson, Greg Poole and Darren Woodhead visited Bardsey Bird Observatory, just off the coast of Wales, to document the autumn migration and the researchers who study it.

The work of Kim Atkinson, Greg Poole and Darren Woodhead in the North Gallery at Mall Galleries

Darren spotted three Wheatears, and when the Shearwater work was done we all went our separate ways, I to the East side of the South End where the Wheatears were all but invisible among the orange lichens and whiskery ramallina, themselves the colour of dry grasses and coppery thrift stems. I am working on concertina format, sitting low in a broad low-lying land with sea on both sides. As if on the prow of a ship. It is clouding in from the West, a flare of swede-coloured sunlight, and fluffy cumulus, charcoal-slate, all along the western sky over a dark sea.’

- Kim Atkinson

Esther Tyson (below) and Harriet Mead explored the reed beds of west Norfolk with BTO researcher Dave Leech, documenting the Reed Warblers and Cuckoos that breed here.

John Threlfall spent the summer recording summer migrants, like Pied Flycatcher and Redstart using Carstramon Wood, Dumfries & Galloway, whose populations are monitored by members of the North Solway Bird Ringing Group.

John Threlfall in the North Gallery, Mall Galleries

Michael Warren and Richard Johnson were part of a wider group of SWLA Member artists to document our summer migrants and the BTO volunteers and researchers who study them.

 

Michael Warren in the North Gallery, Mall Galleries

The wider work carried out by BTO researchers is funded in many different ways. As a charity, the BTO relies on the generosity of those individuals, trusts and businesses who support its work to deliver the evidence and research outputs that underpin conservation action and policy decisions. If you would like to help the BTO in its work then find out more about fundraising, legacies and other ways of supporting what the organisation does – www.bto.org

This is an abridged version of an article printed in the Society of Wildlife Artists Exhibition Catalogue


Above are just some of the works on display in what is the SWLA’s 52nd Annual Exhibition, the country's showcase par excellence for the very best of contemporary art inspired by the natural world.

View highlights from the exhibition here

The Charles Pears Award 2015

Charles Pears was a renowned British Painter and the first elected President of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. Charles Pears was also a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and Royal Institute of Oil Painters. His works are held in the collections of the London Transport Museum, National Railway Museum, Imperial War Museum, and Tate.

Each year The Royal Society of Marine Artists commemorate his memory with The Charles Pears Award at their Annual Exhibition, given for an outstanding work in any medium by a non-member. This year the award has been won by Tony Williams for his work Ship with Moon.



Tony Williams

I am delighted to have been awarded The Charles Pears Award for 2015 and I extend my warmest thanks to the selectors.

I must admit, to my shame that I had not been aware of the work of Charles Pears so finding him and getting to know his wonderful paintings has been a revelation to me and reminds me that I don’t look at other artists work, which I should. 

I started painting fourteen years ago, having spent my life, thus far, fearing it and the distinct possibility that I would not find the results I wanted. Attending Sutton Art School for three years in the sixties, I studied life drawing and graphic design and my working career after that had been in advertising, as Creative Director at Rex Stewart Grangers in Exeter. During that period I worked on accounts for Camper & Nicholsons, Ratsey & Lapthorn, Jack Holt, Chernikeef and many other marine businesses, I even held a mooring in Cockwood Harbour, one of the hardest things to acquire in history, but in all this time in my life I had never picked up a paintbrush, for fear; being surrounded by a whole family of artists, living with paintings and countless books on painting and looking at the world as though it were a painting. So painting now is an obsession that happens every day, there’s no going back, once it’s got you it won’t let you go, and it is the hardest job I’ve ever done.

I have found in the work of Charles Pears a kindred spirit and hero of the graphic image and a true painter who I can only admire from afar, hoping that just a small brush full of his great genius can be absorbed along the way and I will forever be grateful to the RSMA for bringing him to me and for having faith in my work.

Tony Williams, Ship with Moon

The painting Ship with Moon has come from a series of romantic/nostalgia studies following bright summer moonrises and a looking back to the days when I lived in south London as a boy and art student cycling up to the river Thames a few miles away with my old camera. It is a subject that allows me to indulge in my love of the constructivists, whilst mellowed by a romantic element.

And one other little discovery I made in my delvings; a picture of Charles Pears standing with his painting of RMS Orcades, the ship which I was given at the age of eight in large scale electric model form. It was made by Lines Bro. in Merton near my home in Wimbledon and it was the greatest possession I could imagine at that time.  That was the ship that started a love of all things marine.


View more highlights from the exhibition here

Image credit

Tony Williams, Ship with Moon (detail)

The Natural Eye

The 52nd Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists, ‘The Natural Eye’, runs at Mall Galleries from 29 October to 8 November; here, our Exhibitions Manager offers an exclusive preview of what to expect at this year’s show:


There are over 300 works on show at the forthcoming Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) Annual Exhibition, all of which have been inspired by the natural world: its places and species, or by projects and politics concerned with it.

Many members have been inspired by the natural world on their doorstep. For example, Fiona Clucas has been inspired to create her mixed media work Moss verge, summer by daily walks with her dog around local Levens Moss, where the rich hedgerows, moss pasture land, birds and insects prove a constant source of inspiration. Also influenced by local wildlife and landscape, Antonia Phillips painted Dawn Deer; Dene Woods following her purchase of Uplyme woodland, which presented the artist with exciting new subjects to draw, marking a departure from the artist’s more familiar scenes of seabirds and shorelines (as seen in Oystercatcher trio).

Antonia Phillips SWLA, Dawn Deer; Dene Woods, Uplyme

In contrast to Phillips’s picture of a deer in deep Dene Woods, fellow member Rachel Lockwood has painted, in Watching the forest edge, the sight of a creature (perhaps another deer?) emerging from the forest, out of the shadows and into the light. Meanwhile in Pool Movement, Lockwood swaps woodlands for water, showing young Herons learning to hunt at a pool while Egrets wander amongst them, animatedly threading in and out.

John Reaney is another artist for whom the local area has provided a rich source of inspiration. In the particular case of Parish lamps lit, Reaney has observed at the River Ouse - below Lewes, near his Sussex home - a group of Swallows descending at dusk on a newly cut hay field to feed before roosting, joined bizarrely enough by a bat (seen swooping in from the top right of the watercolour).

Meanwhile at the other end of the British Isles to Sussex, Tim Wootton has drawn, close to his Orkney home, the coastal cliffs of Yesnaby, complete with Greenland Wheatear - one of the artist’s favourite birds. As well as the watercolour Wheatear, Wootton is exhibiting Glorious, a series of four bird studies in oil paint, as a reaction against the “Glorious Twelfth”, that is the start of the shooting season which commences on the 12th August, during which droves of Red Grouse are unashamedly shot for sport. Thus in Greenland Wheatear and Glorious, Wootton has represented subjects close to his home and heart respectively.

Tim Wootton SWLA, Greenland Wheatear

Other exhibitors, meanwhile, have found inspiration much further afield than their local area. Darren Rees travelled far from his home in Stirling, Scotland, to produce his works at a residency with the Scott Polar Research Institute and Royal Navy in Antarctica; whilst there, Rees studied penguin colonies, such as Gentoos at Port Lockroy and even foxes and whales at Svalbard, between mainland Norway and the North Pole. While in contrast, Dafila Scott - granddaughter of Captain Scott himself - has depicted wildlife in much warmer climes, from Wild Turkeys displaying in California, to Giant Eagle Owl in the Kalahari, and suitably rendered in hot red, orange and pink pastels, Red hartebeest on a red dune.

Demonstrating a decidedly dynamic approach to depicting wildlife (not unlike Dafila), Kim Atkinson’s prints of Starlings, such as Starling drinking, Starling bathing, result from drawings made while watching Starlings and especially from listening to them – the dots and dashes and liquid nature of their song and chatter, translated into prismatic colour and pattern in relief prints. Ben Woodhams, on the other hand, has chosen to draw more silent specimens, so to speak: in particular, a dead Sparrowhawk that had crashed into a neighbour’s window, a dead Merlin which flew into Woodhams’s own window, and a Partridge picked up from the side of the road – each Ben painted in meticulous detail until, according to the artist, it all got “a bit ‘much’”. 

This year, a fair few exhibitors have focused their work on instances where man has supported wildlife and its conservation. For example, Max Angus’s linocut Good to see you is based on the artist’s friend Mr Breeze (the figure in blue beneath the bunting), and the blackbirds opposite his shop which he looks for every spring morning to check if they have survived the night. While as part of the RSPB’s project at Wallasea Island to re-create the ancient wetland landscape ‘to provide a haven for a wonderful array of nationally and internationally important wildlife’, Greg Poole has documented (among other exhibitors) the interplay between the on-site machinery and area’s wildlife, especially well captured in his monotype Short-ear Owl flying near digger, completed in his studio from sketches made in-situ on the Island.

Max Angus SWLA, Good to see you


Above are just some of the works on display in what is the SWLA’s 52nd Annual Exhibition, the country's showcase par excellence for the very best of contemporary art inspired by the natural world.

View more highlights from the exhibition here

 

Image credit

Dafila Scott SWLA, Red Hartebeest on a Red Dune (detail)

The Royal Society of Marine Artists Exhibition Preview

The Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Marine Artists runs from 14 to 25 October, however here our Exhibitions Manager offers an exclusive preview of what to expect at this year’s show:

There are over 300 works on show at the Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA) Annual Exhibition 2015, all depicting maritime subjects, however from a startling range of places and perspectives.

Along the English coast towards Penzance, Peter Cronin has painted the picturesque Polperro, a large studio piece composed from ‘in situ’ reference studies looking across the water beyond boats and buoys onto buildings and bodies on shore. While further North, Bruce Mulcahy has painted - ‘on-the-spot’, over several visits - South Bay Lights, Scarborough, an atmospheric nocturne of night-time lights on Scarborough Harbour. Of course Peter and Bruce are far from the only exhibitors to find inspiration outside the studio, en plein air. J.F. Morgan has depicted the seas from her actual experience as yachtswoman, cruising and working at sea, whereas Wendy Borello has painted her underwater “landscapes” in watercolour from her personal experiences whilst scuba diving. While back on dry land, the shapes, colours and patterns of ropes and nets found amongst fishing paraphernalia are the inspiration behind Gareth Brown’s still life, appropriately titled Ropes and Nets.

Bruce Mulcahy RSMA South Bay Lights, Scarborough

From still life to sporting events, Barry Peckham recorded his view Valsheda, off The Needles at six o’clock in the morning off Mudeford Quay whilst observing yachts pass The Needles at the Isle of Wight’s Round the Island Race 2013. Another race, another place, David Allen shows the activity at a combined race day between West Mersea Yacht Club and Dabchicks Yacht Club in his pastel painting Cadets, Toppers and Optimists Waiting to Launch, West Mersea. While Raymond Leech’s End of the Toppers Race, Lowestoft depicts the June 2015 event in Lowestoft, at which 159 of the country’s best young sailors competed in a key qualifying event to secure a place in The Royal Yachting Association’s Junior National Squad.

Barry Peckham RSMA ROI Valsheda, off The Needles

Exhibiting artists have depicted less competitive, calmer scenes too, especially so Nicholas St John Rosse’s serene pictures of the seaside, including a faithful dog afraid of water (The Relucant Bather!), a girl at play on the beach with Pink Bucket, Blue Bucket, and in Exploring, even the artist’s own great grandson at Trebarwith.

Many RSMA artists confess to finding Britain their favourite place to paint, with new member Gillian Roberts listing among her personal highlights, Aldeburgh, Southwold, Walberswick, and the Yorkshire coast, as seen in her oil painting Yorkshire Rose and Ocean Crusader at Bridlington. However beyond Britain is well represented in the exhibition as well, from Breakfast on the Riviera with Douglas Gray, to evening in Menorca through the eyes of David Curtis (Evening, Binibèquer Coastline – Menorca), across Italy with David Allen via The Grand Canal at Accademia, and as far as Iceland courtesy of Lorraine Abraham’s Repair and Renovation, Reykjavik Harbour – which depicts boats Lorraine has observed with fascination over frequent visits to Iceland from their dilapidated state upon first sight to them becoming seaworthy following repair and renovation.

Douglas Gray RSMA Breakfast on the Riviera

Above are just some of the works on display in what is the RSMA’s 70th Annual Exhibition, for which the Society is re-introducing a special display of smaller works to hang alongside stunning larger pieces at competitive prices. What better reason to visit the Society’s seventieth Annual Exhibition charting the “Seven Seas”, the country’s foremost showcase for the finest contemporary marine art.

View more highlights from the exhibition here

 

 

Image credit

David Curtis RSMA, Evening Binibequer Coastline - Menorca