A - Z of Animals in The Natural Eye

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‘The Natural Eye’, the Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition has over 300 pieces of work. We have brought together the best of wildlife artists working across all mediums, from painting to printmaking to sculpture. This A - Z (or A - Y as we haven’t got any zebras!) guide of animals within the exhibition is a great way for you to explore the range of works we have on offer! 

A for Armadillo

Armadillo, Anine Cockwell-DeJong, Stone, 11 x 11 x 11 cm, £1,600.

Anine describes her sculpture: ‘Safe in its own personal lockdown, this is a young three-banded Armadillo, its defence system makes it safe from pumas and jaguars. Their real threat though is the destruction of their habitat. The sculpture is carved from Kenyan Soapstone. A soft and friendly stone that is hard enough for fine detail and deep undercutting.’

B for Badger

Moonlight forager, Chris Sinden SWLA, Linocut (edition of 30, 5 available), 9 x 18 cm (25 x 35 cm framed), £145.

Chris shares his printmaking process: ‘While some of my linocuts have a more conventional format, I have developed a collage-style of printing where smaller images butt up against each other to make a larger final picture. By using slightly unmatched colours and details and working to an irregular shaped format, my linocuts take on a collage-style appearance.’

C for Cheetah

 

Masai Mara Cheetah, David Parry SWLA, Watercolour, 25.5 x 25.5 cm (46 x 46 cm framed), £950.

After being sent to Zimbabwe to produce drawings for children’s books published by Longmans at the age of 25, David Parry was inspired to progress from Natural History illustration to full-time wildlife painting, with an emphasis upon African wildlife. David visits East Africa regularly and continues to produce drawings and paintings of big cats in particular.

D for Demoiselle (Damselfly)

 

Turquoise cloud (Banded Demoiselles), Philippa Mitchell, Oil, 46 x 61 cm (50 x 65 cm framed), £885.

Phillipa describes her creative process and inspiration behind the painting: ‘Painted on a burnt umber and olive green ground, with marks lifted out by brush, this gives the suggestion of vegetation with indistinct quick brush strokes. The banded demoiselles are scattered with blurred wings. There is white-hot sunlight at the top right, reflecting off the water of a small stream below. Where the light hits the vegetation and the damselflies there are bright spots of colour. The sun is shining on the bed of the stream and dappling the bank. The brushes used are relatively large flat brushes together and some palette knife scraping. This stream adjoins my mother's garden in Somerset and when I was helping her remove Himalayan balsam from the banks, we were caught in this delightful cloud of turquoise.’

E for Eagle

White-tailed Eagle, Richard Allen SWLA, Linocut (edition of 50, 4 available), 13 x 13 cm (32 x 32 cm framed), £145.

Richard’s lino print depicts a white-tailed Eagle over the Scottish coast pursued by calling terns.

F for Flamingo

 

Flamboyance, Stephen Mitchell, Acrylic, 91 x 41 cm, £1,200.

Stephen explains: ‘This is an original painting of a gathering of pink flamingos. Inspired by visits to the Paradise Park in Cornwall, I was drawn to the vivid coral pink colours of the Caribbean flamingos, combined with the soft greens and browns of the background.’

G for Guillemot

 

Guillemot cluster, Kittie Jones SWLA, Pastel, graphite, ink & gouache, 56 x 50 cm (70 x 64 cm framed), £850.

Kittie shares her inspiration: ‘I love the way Guillemots can look visually in the colony, so many strange shapes are made as they cluster together. This piece was made as I tried to get to grips with that idea while watching them at St Abb's Head.’

H for Hare

Mountain Hare, Chris Rose SWLA, Oil, 33 x 46 cm (45 x 58 cm framed), £650

Chris’ painting is of a Mountain Hare hunkered down in the snow.

I for Ibex

Ibex - At the top of the mountains, Yang Dong, Bronze (edition of 8, 8 available), 62 x 55 x 30 cm, £10,000.

Yang’s bronze sculpture has a golden finish adding to the majestic feel of the ibex.

K for Kingfisher

Kingfisher in Hogweed, David Bennett SWLA, Watercolour, 33 x 51 cm (54 x 72 cm framed), £715.

David’s watercolour painting depicts the brightly coloured bird perched amongst the hogweed.

L for Lion

 

Etosha Lion, John Dobbs NEAC SWLA, Oil, 15 x 30 cm (19 x 34 cm framed), £750.

John explains: ‘Etosha is one of the great national parks in Africa and I have been there on a few occasions and have always had good encounters with lions.’

M for Monkey

 

Black Capped Capuchin, Iain Nutting, Welded steel, 31 x 19 x 27 cm, £1,950.

Iain’s sculptures are drawn from life then constructed in reclaimed steel. They reflect his belief in the importance of the conservation of animals and of the natural environment. 

This Black Cap Capuchin was observed and drawn from life at the Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary (WAMS). Iain explains: ‘Capuchins are fascinating animals to watch as they are so active, inquisitive, bold, cheeky and obviously intelligent. Their expressions and human-like eyes make them particularly appealing to us. In the wild their main threats are from humans and habitat loss. Their natural habitat is rain forest, mangroves, and deciduous dry forest, where they will forage from ground level right up into the canopy.’

N for Nightjar

Nightjar, Andrew Haslen SWLA, Oil, 60 x 75 cm (65 x 80 cm framed), £1,800.

The Nightjar is an unusual nocturnal bird. They spend their days sitting and nesting on the floor, cryptically camouflaged in greys and browns they look like a fallen log and are near impossible to spot, but as dusk arrives they emerge. Here Andrew has depicted one perched amongst some pink bell-shaped flowers.

O for Owl

Tawny Owl, Matt Underwood SWLA, Woodblock print (edition of 60, 10 available), 48.5 x 28 cm (66 x 46 cm framed), £350.

Matt has layered different brightly coloured layers of woodblock prints on top of one another to form this eye catching print of a tawny owl amongst the leaves.

P for Plover

 

Ringed Plovers, Daniel Cole SWLA, Oil, 19 x 19 cm (30 x 30 cm framed), £400

Daniel Cole combines his depictions of birds with playful graphic shapes. The ringed plover is a small wading bird.

R for Redwing

 

Redwing, Rowan and Ravens, Richard Jarvis SWLA, Linocut & watercolour (edition of 20, 4 available), 15 x 15 cm (32 x 32 cm framed), £125.

This is one of a series of linocut prints produced by Richard Jarvis for his self-published book 'My A - Z of British Wildlife', for the letter ‘R’ this print depicts a redwing bird perched in a rowan plant, with ravens flying overhead in the background.

S for Seal

 

Last light of a Summer day - Curlews and Grey Seals on Switha, Tim Wootton SWLA,Oil, 36 x 60 cm (56 x 80 cm framed), £1,450.

Tim’s painting shows a beautiful group of seals basking amongst the rocks at the edge of the sea, in the setting sun whilst some curlews fly past.

T for Turnstone

 

Turnstone, Robert Gillmor MBE PPSWLA, Screenprint (edition of 35, 10 available), 25 x 25 cm (45 x 45 cm framed), £350.

The process of screenprinting allows for bright colours to be used, as Robert has done with his bright oranges, creating an eye catching image of a turnstone amongst the pebbles and shells of a beach.

V for Vulture

Angel of death, Dijon Ross, Graphite pencil, 54 x 120 cm (74 x 140 cm framed), £1,650.

Dijon explains his inspiration behind the drawing: ‘Vultures, though much-maligned, are absolutely vital to ecosystems, doing the so-called dirty work after the more glamorous predators have had their fill. This drawing attempts to portray the White-backed Vulture's magnificence, fanning its majestic wings to catch the early morning rays of sunshine.

W for Wild Dogs

 

Midday malaise, Wild Dog, Nick Mackman SWLA, Ceramic, 12 x 55 x 20 cm, £2,750.

Nick explains: ‘Painted Dogs or African Wild dogs are my favourite subject, and here I wanted to capture the down time in a dog's life. They are very sensible and see out the hottest part of the day under a tree, peacefully snoozing in the safety of the pack. This dog is gently dabbing her eye with her front paw, a gentle quiet moment.'

Y for Yellowhammer

Yellowhammers and Dandelions, Dafila Scott SWLA, Pastel, 25 x 38 cm (43 x 56 cm framed), £770.

Dafila’s lively drawing with expressive mark making techniques shows some yellowhammers foraging in a stubble field, which Dafila observed near her village.

We hope you enjoyed exploring this collection of works within The Natural Eye exhibition, and that it has demonstrated the difference and variety to be found within the pieces that are being exhibited - there truly is something for everyone within this exhibition! As well as coming to visit us at Mall Galleries where the exhibition is on show until Sunday 24 October, all the work within The Natural Eye is available to browse and purchase online.

 

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Animal Sculptures in ‘The Natural Eye 2021’

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The Natural Eye is the annual exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists, showcasing a wide-ranging collection of fine art that has been inspired by the natural world. As well as painting, drawing and works in a variety of printmaking techniques, a number of sculptures feature within the exhibition. From larger than life pieces, to those that are true to size, this collection of some of the sculptures within the exhibition is full of charming characters, who bring impact, spirit and personality to a space.

The first sculpture to showcase is ‘Form’ by Liz McLelland

Liz McLelland Form Stoneware ceramic 11 x 30 x 16 cm, £650

Liz’s sculpture shows a sheltering hare in a peaceful pose and was hand-built from well-grogged stoneware clay then finished with iron oxides and glazes. Liz shared her story behind the sculpture: ‘I sculpted this hare in winter after heavy snow.  She had hunkered down against the cold in a shallow depression in the soil, where the bare-branched hedgerow behind offered little shelter.  I imagine as she crouches in her form that she's thinking of warmer spring days when she can test her suitors' mettle with mad dashes and frenzied sparring. I'm just happy to have this moment with her lying still and quiet while my frozen fingers made quick sketches of her form.’

Next is Jill Moger SWLA’s stoneware sculpture Hog Log.

Jill Moger SWLA Hog Log 18 x 44 x 13 cm, £980

Jill described how for many years she had hedgehogs in her garden that she was regularly able to observe on her night camera, and one year, found a nest with four or five babies, which served as her inspiration for this sculpture. Jill’s realistic depiction of the baby hedgehogs highlights the struggles that they go through within their natural habitats which have been hugely exacerbated by the loss and fragmentation of hedgerow homes along with increased uses of pesticides, meaning there are fewer suitable and safe areas for hedgehogs to nest and roam.

Jill explains: ‘Baby hedgehogs have white spines at first, gradually gaining some colour as they develop. Their little wrinkled faces, hands and feet are various shades of pink with some grey and their eyes only begin to open at about two weeks old. My sculpture is not meant to look cute or sentimental. I have depicted the babies before their eyes open, struggling awkwardly in and on the log with the mother hog seemingly oblivious.’ 

Simon Griffiths SWLA has a number of ceramic sculptures within the exhibition and one of those is Kestrel.

Simon Griffiths SWLA Kestrel 153 x 16 x 15 cm, £750

Simon describes how Kestrel is a unique ceramic sculpture, hand made and fired to stoneware temperatures, meaning it is suitable for display both indoors and outdoors, that is mounted on top of an oak gate post. Simon has depicted the kestrel with large black eyes, reflective of their razor-sharp vision which helps them to catch their unsuspecting prey.

The next sculpture to highlight is Rachel Taylor’s stained glass, metal and slate piece titled Kingfisher Diving.

Rachel Taylor Kingfisher Diving 70 x 30 x 20 cm, £1,740

Rachel describes the beauty of a kingfisher and the creative decisions she made when creating the sculpture: 

‘When we stop a kingfisher for a moment to admire his iridescent fire and water colouring, we often have to choose between fire and water, between his shimmering azure back and crown, or his rich orange underparts. In this piece I celebrate those varied, indescribable blues; the colours of a deep lake, of the summer sky, of an August evening on the Welsh hills. Or, so often, the not-really-there-but-imagined cerulean streak in the air, trailing a whistle like a streamer of sound as he whips upriver on a sunny afternoon.’ 

Rachel has captured the kingfisher in motion as it dives down into the imagined river in front of a bulrush plant. The kingfisher is made of 34 pieces in 10 different glasses, fixed onto a carved Highland slate base whilst the bulrush behind the kingfisher is made of aluminium, steel and brass.

Pair of Otters by Adam Binder SWLA is a bronze sculpture.

Adam Binder SWLA Pair of Otters 70 x 25 x 27 cm, £11,000

Adam works with fluidity and flowing forms allowing his sculptures to capture a sense of movement and emotion, depicting the essence of his subject. This sculpture of intertwining otters is reflective of the way that otters are extremely affectionate with one another whilst they play together in the water and on the river banks, and despite there not being much detail within the sculpture a great sense of character is still felt. 

Adam explains: ‘While I’m sculpting, I feel I am engaging with the spirit of the animal. For me, nature and sculpture are the perfect marriage. I see repetition in form, line, mass and detail throughout the natural world, sculpted over time but in perfect harmony. I want to portray the simplicity of form, smooth flowing lines, natural rhythm and in doing so, free the eye to engage in the detail.’

The next sculpture to highlight is the president of the Society of Wildlife Artists Harriet Mead’s sculpture Fork Feathered Raven

Harriet Mead PSWLA Fork Feathered Raven 46 x 53 x 29 cm, £3,950

Harriet works with scrap metal and found objects to create her fantastical animal sculptures. She recently spoke to wildlife cameraman Jack Perks on his podcast ‘The Bearded Tit’ which you can listen to here.  Harriet says that through her sculptures she is trying to capture the experience of the reality of the animal when you manage to observe them in the wild, in the moment before they run away. She is obsessed with structure and works to make her animals as anatomically correct as possible. 

The last sculpture we are highlighting is Michelle Hall’s Natterjack Toad

Michelle Hall Natterjack Toad Bronze (edition of 50) 4 x 10 x 6 cm, £550

This detailed and textured bronze sculpture of a life-like toad is inspired by Michelle’s childhood memories. Michelle expands: ‘Turning over a log and finding a beautiful toad is one of my fondest childhood memories. Observation has allowed me to explore the form, texture of their skin, and behaviour of these endearing animals.’ 

We hope you enjoyed learning more about a selection of the sculptures that are featured in The Natural Eye annual exhibition, which are even more impressive when viewed in person! The Natural Eye runs from Thursday 14 to Sunday 24 October, we do hope you are able to visit us!

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Image credit

Liz McLelland, Form

Prints in The Natural Eye

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Within the Natural Eye 2021 exhibition from the Society of Wildlife Artists, there are a number of pieces created using a wide range of printmaking techniques, which are available to purchase on our website now. 

Purchasing original prints is a great way to begin collecting artwork, as they are a more accessible art form, starting from lower price points. Printmaking is a labor-intensive, time consuming and expert process, and whilst print editions mean each print is not entirely unique, they are still individually handcrafted and the craftsmanship and technical innovation is obvious to see within the finished artworks. This blog post showcases a compilation of some of the prints within The Natural Eye, but many of the artists featured have multiple prints available to purchase within the exhibition, so do make sure to take a further look at the prints on offer!

 

Southern Ocean, Bruce Pearson SWLA, Relief print (edition of 8, 5 available) 59 x 42 cm (61 x 44 cm framed), £525.

Bruce Pearson is a painter, printmaker and field naturalist, fascinated by the rhythm and restlessness of the natural world, pursuing ideas about wild landscapes and places where people and human activity interact with habitats to create interesting themes. He works directly from the field and has travelled extensively. Bruce then takes this work to his studio where he will reflect on his sketches and experiment with a variety of printmaking techniques.

‘Southern Ocean’ captures the moment a whale jumps out of the ocean, depicting the movement with the sea foam, whilst gulls soar across the sky in the foreground.

 

 

Walrus, Jack Haslam, Aquatint/Etching, 45 x 45 cm (50 x 50 cm framed) £240 print unframed.

Jack is a self-taught artist with Asperger’s Syndrome. Jack explains: ‘My love for animals has been a major influence in my life and is a driving force for my work. What others might consider minor and unimportant details are the things that inspire my work. I am fascinated by the minutiae of different animals: the gorilla’s cheeks and the anteater’s claws. My cognitive problems mean that I have difficulty relating to humans. I find them unfathomable at times. Animals help me manage my feelings of isolation and allow me to build bridges with people.’

 

Gannet flight, Kittie Jones SWLA, Screenprint (edition of 17, 9 available) 56 x 38 cm (70 x 52 cm framed), £310.

Kittie is a painter and printmaker, often creating small edition screen prints. She initially creates work outdoors inspired by creatures of the natural world.

‘Gannet Flight’ is a screenprint where gannets can be seen flying between the rocks in a sea-scape. Kittie explains: 'I am interested in the interaction between man and nature; this leads me to depict birds in my work. Birds form a direct relationship with man - wherever we are there are always birds to be seen. Birds have captured man's imagination for thousands of years and form a large part of our mythology. My work seeks to share with others my experiences in the natural world and to celebrate the rich diversity of British wildlife. I am inspired by the way in which the natural world stubbornly and doggedly continues despite man's constant efforts to eradicate and control it.'

 

Whimbrel at 2-Mile landing, Ken Januski, Japanese woodblock (edition of 10, 3 available), 20 x 25 cm (28 x 33 cm framed), £215.

‘Whimbrel at 2-mile Landing’ is a woodblock print, created by carving into wood. Each of the printed colours is made on a separate woodblock layer, which are then printed on top of one another. Ken Januski has depicted a group of whimbrels. Similar to a curlew, a whimbrel is a large wading bird, found in the North of Scotland, which breeds in the moorlands.

 

The decline of Eels No 7: Eggs and Larvae, Julia Manning SWLA, Woodcut, lino & stencils (edition of 6, 4 available), 50 x 75 cm (60 x 85 cm framed), £980

Within the exhibition, you will find a series of prints by Julia Manning which are a commentary on the dramatic decline of eels which has been happening over the last forty years, due to the impacts of climate change and of man-made structures such as weirs, dams and power stations. Over lockdown, Julia documented the story of eels, happening in real time in her local rivers and coastline. She captured the environment the eels passed through on their migration to and from the Sargasso Sea.

Julia’s inspiration regularly comes from drawing in the wild, the geology of islands, the colours and essence of different places and she sees her work as a colourful celebration of the natural word. She creates limited edition original handmade prints working with a variety of techniques, such as etching, collograph, relief prints, woodcuts and lino. You can read about her work in more depth on our blog here.

Fox and Fieldfares, Richard Jarvis SWLA, Linocut & watercolour (edition of 18, 2 available), 15 x 15 cm (32 x 32 cm framed), £95.

Richard is a wildlife artist and printmaker living on the Leicestershire/Northants border. All his prints are based on field sketches and first-hand observation. He depicts birds and wildlife animals amongst trees and flowers. This print ‘Fox and Fieldfares’ depicting a fox and fieldfares (birds that are a member of the thrush family) is a linocut, which has been additionally coloured using watercolours. 

Spoonbill pair, Robert Gillmor MBE PPSWLA, Screenprint (edition of 36, 9 available), 25 x 25 cm (45 x 45 cm framed), £300

Robert is an artist and printmaker, often working in linocuts, or screenprints. ‘Spoonbill Pair’ is a screenprint depicting the long-legged wading bird, given their name due to their distinctive spoon-like bill. Screen printing is an effective method of using bright colours and a limited palette to create striking, graphic illustrative images.

Stubble field Lapwings, Jane Smith SWLA, Screen print (edition of 10), 32 x 40 cm (50 x 59 cm framed), £390.

Jane Smith is a trained zoologist which she combines with her love of painting and printmaking to communicate about why wildlife matters. She lives on the west coast of Scotland where most of her work is made. Her images always start with a real life experience, a wildlife encounter or an inspiring combination of colours and movement. She also finds the connection between the animal, and the surroundings that sustain it particularly important to capture. The energy of the work made in the field is used in the studio when printmaking - she uses a variety of printmaking techniques but has recently particularly been enjoying working with screen-printing.

‘Stubble Field Lapwings’ depicts a group of the ground nesting birds, effectively using a limited colour palette to create a striking image.

 

 

Swimming Eiders, John Hatton ASWLA, Linocut (edition of 12, 5 available), 35 x 29 cm (55 x 49 cm framed), £240.

John Hatton’s use of linocut in ‘Swimming Eiders’ really effectively captures the ripples and movement in the water. Eiders are a large sea duck, whose very soft feathers have historically been harvested for filling quilts and pillows.

Wheatear, Richard Allen SWLA, Linocut (edition of 50, 5 available), 13 x 13 cm (32 x 32 cm framed), £145.

Richard Allen’s strong use of bold and graphic lines used in his linocut technique creates striking images as he expertly captures birds within their natural habitats surrounded by plants. This print shows a Wheatear, a migratory bird arriving in the UK in March, favouring the upland habitat in Scotland, northern and south-west England before flying to Africa in September and October.

Heathland, Carry Akroyd SWLA, Serigraph (edition of 6, 2 available), 48 x 40 cm (52 x 44 cm framed), £380.

Carry Akroyd's work is about landscape, usually the intensively cultivated arable farmland, where she focuses on the wildlife surviving on the margins. Her starting point is direct drawing in the landscape. ‘Heathland’ is a serigraph (silkscreen print) which is an example of this, showing the rolling hills, flowers and animals amongst the farmland landscape. Carry explains: ‘I combine monoprinting methods and photostencils, to test the dynamic between planned intentions and spontaneous reactivity in building up an image; the interface between the deliberate, the impulsive and the accidental.’

 

Encounter, Lisa Hooper ASWLA, Reduction linocut (edition of 14, 2 available), 44 x 28 cm (62 x 45 cm framed), £350.

Lisa Hooper’s ‘Encounter’ is a reduction linocut, in which the viewer is in direct eye-line with a deer in the snow, who is emerging from the trees. Lisa explains she is driven by her love for the natural world, and the man-made challenges the natural world faces. She likes to depict the character or essence of different animals, and likes to capture pattern and form, hoping that people will connect with the observation she makes about her subjects and that they will empathise with them. 

Lisa adds:  ‘What attracts me to printmaking is the surface quality of the finished prints and the intervention of a craft process between the concept and the image. I also enjoy the process of abstraction which printmaking demands: there is a tendency to pair my subjects down to their essence which I believe is rooted in the deliberate and technical design process of printmaking itself.’

 

Sea Buckthorn, Max Angus SWLA, Linocut (edition of 24, 4 available), 29 x 28 cm (53 x 43 cm framed), £270.

The last print to highlight is Max Angus’ linocut ‘Sea Buckthorn’. Max comes from a strong graphic drawing background which translates into her printmaking process. She is inspired by her everyday experiences and tries to capture the shared moment with wildlife in their natural surroundings, finding it important to ground her subjects in their own space or environment. She works initially fromlife, keeping a sketchbook capturing limited detail with a pencil which she will then work from to create outlines for her linocuts. In her studio, the sketches are put together to create a composition that she feels represents the movement of the subject, the weather or what she can remember of that time. 

The blocks are cut first considering light, shade and the overlapping of colours to make additional colour combinations. The limited palette takes weeks of trial and error. Each colour chosen is dependent on the relationship and quantity of the adjacent colours and the overlapping blocks. If the image requires additional colours then additional blocks are introduced. ‘Sea Buckthorn’ captures a collection of tits perching at different angles amongst the branches of a sea buckthorn plant.

The Natural Eye is on in the gallery until Sunday 24 October 2021. We hope you enjoyed learning more about a selection of the prints that are available within the exhibition, and many of the artists have a larger selection of their prints on offer which we encourage you to explore it in more depth. 

Article written by Hannah Martin

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Argyll Hope Spot Project | Society of Wildlife Artists

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Working as an SWLA wildlife artist is not for the faint-hearted. Members work outdoors in all weathers. Sitting on damp ground or numbing rock, stooping to avoid their silhouette showing against the sky, they wait for their subject. When it arrives, they try to capture its moving shape, often from a fleeting view through binoculars or telescope. They might grapple with a paintbrush in cold fingers, or struggle to control drying paint in the hot sun. But years of this sort of commitment leads to the extraordinary images shown every year at the Natural Eye exhibition in London. 

This project, however, took the challenge to a new level. The SWLA was approached to help publicise the Argyll Coasts and Islands Hope Spot, the first of its kind in mainland UK. The local community were delighted to be given this international recognition of the quality of their marine life, but then faced a problem. From the shore, the surface of the sea can look uniform, with no clue as to the hidden wealth below. How to inform and engage others with these world-class natural riches? Most people are not able to explore beneath the waves as the water is cold and the currents strong. And so the Society of Wildlife Artists became involved.

Many of our members have experience of drawing underwater, thanks to diving bursaries provided by the Wildlife Trusts. In July and September this year, two groups of artists visited Argyll. They were overwhelmed by the variety of marine life that they encountered, but also by the scale of the task. All the normal rules of fieldwork were turned upside down, sometimes quite literally. Even before entering the water, they struggled, pulling on multiple layers of neoprene. Once submerged they experimented with weight belts to keep themselves stable and learned how to stop their masks from steaming up. They practised the best way to carry a drawing board whilst leaving hands free for swimming, how to stop pencils floating away and how to prevent paper disintegrating in the water.

"I was lucky enough to be part of the first group of artists to visit the Argyll coast as part of the project. It was an amazing experience to dip your head beneath the surface and be met by an extraordinary burst of colour and texture. The underwater landscape led from rock and sand at the shore to the majesty of the kelp forests and the serenity of the eelgrass meadows with 'flocks' of brittle stars. It was an exhilarating experience and even though the wetsuit was a trial to get on I could not wait to get into the water and was reluctant to get out. My last time in the water was late in the day. I had borrowed Hans the boatbuilder's workshop and had managed to make a wrasse sculpture. I knew the other artists were planning a final trip to The Rapids but I thought I was too late to join them after a long day welding. Luckily I managed to tag along. 

The current was quite strong as the tide was going out so Chris Rose and I buddied up to 'ride' the tide along the narrow sheltered neck of the sea loch. It really felt like flying as we were pulled along the strait, skimming above the different weeds and catching glimpses of wildlife in the 'valleys' between the forests. I kept popping my head up to check how far we had gone and suddenly I saw a face up ahead. For a moment I thought it was one of the other snorkelers but realised it was a common seal! I was far too excited and yelped to Chris, pointing to where it had been. We dipped back underwater and for a few magical seconds, the silvered almost luminescent shape of the seal turned right across in front of us. Magical!" - President, Harriet Mead 

All the artists wanted to stay in longer than the cold water allowed because there was so much to see. Louise Scammell, an experienced diver in the seas off the southwest of the UK said: ​“The richness and diversity of the underwater life here is extraordinary. I’ve not seen anything like it anywhere else.”

Louise Scammel SWLA Plumose Anemonies

Chris Rose SWLA Jellyfish

Bruce Pearson SWLA Otter

John Threlfall SWLA Shore

Bruce Pearson SWLA Starfish

Harriet Mead PSWLA Wrasse

Works from this project are on display as part of The Natural Eye 2021, the Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition from 14 to 24 October 

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The Natural Eye 2021 Prizes & Awards 2021

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The Society of Wildlife Artists and Mall Galleries are delighted to announce the Prizes & Awards from their 58th Annual Exhibition, The Natural Eye 2021. 

Congratulations to all artists who have been awarded prizes by our generous prize givers. 

Book Tickets

If you cannot make the exhibition we hope that with videos, audio, images, and statements by the winners to watch, hear, see, and read, you can experience and enjoy their works wherever you are.

The exhibition is also available to Browse & Buy online now



The Birdwatch and Swarovski Optik Artist of the Year Award

Liz Myhill

Across the bay

A prize of an ATS 80 HD spotting scope with 25-50x zoom eyepiece (with a value of £2,430), plus subscription to BirdGuides/Birdwatch

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RSPB Award

Ben Woodhams SWLA

Smew sailing through

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Larson-Juhl Award

Tianyin Wang

All works

To celebrate drawing or dry media, draughtsmanship and capturing ideas as an art form, £500 worth of Larson-Juhl materials to the winner and a feature in their '4Walls' magazine

Work shown: The School

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The BIRDscapes Gallery 'Conservation through Art' Award

Julia Manning SWLA

The Decline of Eels

The Conservation through Art Award, sponsored by The BIRDscapes Gallery, acknowledges an artist’s efforts in using their art to help conserve the natural world. It also directly benefits wildlife by the prize money being shared equally between the artist and a nature conservation body of the artist’s choosing. This year’s Award goes to an exceptionally deserving candidate.

Her powerful body of work is both visually exciting and dynamic, leading the viewer to look more closely at what is portrayed. Her thought-provoking commentary on the plight of a threatened British species and its environment, is a huge conservation message contained within the appealing images of a skilled printmaker.

For her series 'The Decline of Eels', The BIRDscapes Gallery’s Conservation through Art Award goes to Julia Manning. In acknowledgement of the validity of this award, Steve and Liz Harris have decided to increase the prize fund for this year to £1,000.

 

 

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Dry Red Press Award

Brin Edwards SWLA

Great Crested Grebes with Yellow Water Lilies and Banded Demoiselles

The winning work reproduced as a greetings card

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The exhibition is also available to browse & buy online now

The Decline of Eels | Julia Manning SWLA

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As a Somerset printmaker I was invited to join nine other artists on a project entitled ‘Somerset’s Brilliant Coast’ funded by Somerset Wildlife Trust and Hinkley C Nuclear Power station. Learning about our coastline with a Marine Biologist, a Geologist and other experts to educate us has been a joyous learning experience.

Last year I was wondering about what aspect I could cover when quite by chance I met Andy Don, an International Eel expert.

Having lived close to the River Parrett in the early 80s I knew a bit about eels and the elver fishing that went on, but I had no idea of the amazing story and history of this fish.

I had found my subject!

Andy is a Fellow of the Institute of Fisheries Management amongst other things, and a font of knowledge about his specialism, eels. He has been my mentor, feeding me the latest scientific information and the reasons why they have dramatically declined over the last forty years. They are a great barometer for the wider environment

I read all I could about them and started to look with new vision at my local environment of the Somerset Levels, the rivers heading out into the estuary of Bridgwater Bay and the Bristol Channel.

I could not believe that the dramatic saga of eels was unfolding annually on my doorstep. I felt compelled to tell their story in print, to make an audience aware of what we may be losing due to man-made structures, such as weirs and dams, pumping stations, hydropower plants, and large intakes like Hinkley Point power station!  Then there is Climate Change – altering the way that the ocean currents operate, novel parasites, and the ubiquitous issue of plastics in our watercourses and oceans.

Lockdown gave me the opportunity to experiment with printmaking, to create in print, my interpretation of the eel story, happening in real-time month by month in my local rivers and coastline.  I walked with a sketchbook, capturing the environment the eels passed through on their migration to and from the Sargasso Sea.

The decline of Eels No 1: Yellow Eels 

Woodcut, lino & stencils, edition of 6, 85 x 60 cm £980 (75 x 50 cm  £780 unframed)

The decline of Eels No 2: Escapement

Woodcut, lino & stencils, edition of 6, 85 x 60 cm £980 (75 x 50 cm  £780 unframed)

The decline of Eels No 3: Sushi Survivor

Woodcut, lino & stencils, edition of 6, 85 x 60 cm £980 (75 x 50 cm  £780 unframed)

The decline of Eels No 4: Passing through Burnham on Sea

Woodcut, lino & stencils, edition of 7, 85 x 60 cm £980 (75 x 50 cm  £780 unframed)

The decline of Eels No 5: Westward Ho!

Woodcut, lino & stencils, edition of 20, 85 x 60 cm £980 (75 x 50 cm  £780 unframed)

The decline of Eels No 6: Life and death

Woodcut, lino & stencils, edition of 20, 85 x 60 cm £980 (75 x 50 cm  £780 unframed)

The decline of Eels No 7: Eggs and Larvae

Woodcut, lino & stencils, edition of 6, 60 x 85 cm £980 (50 x 75 cm £780 unframed)

The decline of Eels No 8: Changing climate disrupted gyres

Woodcut, lino & stencils, edition of 10, 60 x 85 cm £980 (50 x 75 cm £780 unframed)

The decline of Eels No 9: Passing the Azores

Woodcut, lino & stencils, edition of 20, 60 x 85 cm £980 (50 x 75 cm £780 framed)

The decline of Eels No 10: Rheotaxis (Passing Minehead)

Woodcut, lino & stencils, edition of 6, 60 x 85 cm £980 (50 x 75 cm £780 framed)

The decline of Eels No 11: Hinkley and Steart Marshes

Woodcut, lino & stencils, edition of 6, 60 x 85 cm £980 (50 x 75 cm £780 framed)

The decline of Eels No 12: The greed of man

Woodcut, lino & stencils, edition of 9, 85 x 60 cm £980 (75 x 50 cm £780 unframed)

Discover more of Julia's work

This series of prints will be on display as part of The Natural Eye 2021, the Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition from 14 to 24 October 

View The Natural Eye 2021

Content Image

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Image credit

Julia Manning SWLA, The decline of Eels No8

Royal Society of Marine Artists Prizes & Awards 2021

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The Royal Society of Marine Artists and Mall Galleries are delighted to announce the Prizes & Awards from the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2021. 

Congratulations to all artists who have been awarded prizes by our generous prize givers. 

Book Tickets

If you cannot make the exhibition we hope that with videos, audio, images, and statements by the winners to watch, hear, see, and read, you can experience and enjoy their works wherever you are.

The exhibition is also available to Browse & Buy online now. 



The Artist Magazine Award

Lucy Clayton

Spidercrab No.9

Lucy will be interviewed for a feature in The Artist magazine.

Inspired by my love of rock pooling and searching for crabs. This piece was created by printing with drawing ink and painting with loose washes of watercolour to represent the delicate tones and textures of the crab's shell.

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The Charles Pears Award

Frances Bell RP

Howick

For an outstanding work, in any medium, by a non-member. Presented by the RSMA in memory of Charles Pears, founding member and first President.

I wanted to paint this lonely little folly on the Northumbrian coast, as it sat in the light on the rocks. It is small but seemed to own the view. I love the drama of the north coast too, so the atmosphere was lovely to paint.

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The Classic Boat Award

J F Morgan RSMA

A Freshening Wind - Victorian Yachts

The winner will take home a handsome, hand-crafted sculpture by Astins Sailing Sculptures, given for the most atmospheric depiction of a classic boat.

An artist's depiction of the grand old days of yachting for racing and pleasure. A southerly breeze has suddenly freshened and these yachts are racing into the quieter waters of the East Solent under the Lee of the Eastern Isle of Wight, while other yachts are making the most of the wind.


The Kenneth Denton Award

Mark Myers PPRSMA

The "Billy Ruffian" Running in a Blow

For a work on the theme 'The Sea in all its Moods'. Made possible by the generosity of long-standing member Kenneth Denton.

With the wind rising in a hard gale, the Fore- and Main- Topmen of the Bellerophon are at work sending down topgallant yards as the vessel plunges through a heavy sea.

Their ship, known throughout the Royal Navy as the "Billy Ruffian", was a veteran of some of the fiercest sea battles in the long wars against France - from "The Glorious First of June" in 1793, the Battle of the Nile, 1798, to Trafalgar in 1805.

And to crown her illustrious career, in the summer of 1815 the defeated Emperor Napoleon surrendered to Capt. Maitland on board the Bellerophon while she lay at anchor off Basque Roads.

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Murray's Commercial Fishing Award: 1st Prize

Henrietta Graham

Twilight Sardine Landing

A £500 prize for works in any medium depicting commercial fishing

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Murray's Commercial Fishing Award: 2nd Prize

Alistair Butt RSMA

Between Shell Fishing Trips - Brancaster Staithe

A £100 prize for works in any medium depicting commercial fishing

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RSMA Award for the Best Small Painting

Tom Marsh

RX56 and Friends, Hastings, Sussex

For a work in any medium measuring no more than 30 cm / 12 inches along the longest dimension (excluding frame). Made possible by the generosity of a Life Member.

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RSMA New Generation Award

Ollie Tuck

Fresh from the Fishmongers

Awarded by the Society, the successful artist will receive £250. Open to all artists aged 35 or under at the time of submission.

 


Topbond Marine Award

Robert Brindley RSMA

Hazy Light, Fisher Fleet, Kings Lynn

For works depicting marine engineering or construction activities in harbours, estuaries or marine waters within the UK.

I discovered the Fisher Fleet at Kings Lynn by accident some years ago. I was in North Norfolk running a watercolour workshop and researching subject matter for my next painting DVD with Townhouse Films.

I took a wrong turn when leaving Kings Lynn and stumbled on the Fisher Fleet completely by accident. I was so excited by what I found that I spent most of the day sketching and taking over 400 photographs.

I have visited on two other occasions and have done a further six paintings inspired by that first visit.

The discovery of Fisher Fleet will be remembered as one of those very special days that artists occasionally get. The quality of wonderful subject matter, all in one location, together with the lighting and weather conditions was perfect.

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Winsor & Newton Oil Prize

Gareth Brown RSMA

Harbour Reflections II

£250 worth of Winsor & Newton art materials for a notable oil painting.

Second in a series of works, inspired by reflections of colourful fishing boats in a Maltese harbour.

Harbour Reflections


Baltic Exchange Award

William Carney ROI

Britannia, Pool of London

For an outstanding work related to the maritime industry, selected by the Society’s President and the Chairman of the Baltic Exchange. Including works related to trade (ports, cargo vessels, etc), shipbuilding, safety at sea / the crew, the RNLI or NCI. 

The Baltic is a historic membership organisation at the heart of the international shipping industry, providing services relied upon by shipping markets worldwide. Value £2,000.

I have been awarded the Baltic Exchange Award for the painting ‘Britannia, Pool of London’ at this year’s RSMA Annual Exhibition at Mall Galleries.

Due to the Covid lockdown, the picture was worked from reference sketches. By chance, I saw the Royal Yacht Britannia while walking across Blackfriars Bridge. She was bathed in warm evening sunlight.

A huge Tug was manoeuvring her to dock, maybe for the last time in London before she sailed to the port of Leith in Scotland and became a popular tourist attraction.

In my painting, I included Tower Bridge in the background to indicate to the viewer where she was moored on the Thames, City of London.

My method of painting is to simply remove and leave out unnecessary detail, similar to the Impressionist movement.

This picture turned out very well for me and I am pleased it will be on display alongside many more excellent marine paintings.

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Image credit

Gareth Brown RSMA Harbour Reflections II

Society of Wildlife Artists | Prizes & Awards 2020

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The Society of Wildlife Artists and Mall Galleries are delighted to announce the Prizes & Awards from The Natural Eye 2020.

Congratulations to all artists who have been awarded prizes by our generous prize givers. 

The exhibition is open at Mall Galleries until Sunday 8 November. 

Book Your Tickets

If you cannot make the exhibition we hope that with videos, audio, images, and statements by the winners to watch, hear, see, and read, you can experience and enjoy their works wherever you are.



The Birdwatch and Swarovski Optik Artist of the Year Award

Esther Tyson SWLA

The Birdwatch and Swarovski Optik Artist of the Year Award is chosen by a panel of judges including Peter Antoniou of Swarovski Optik, Birdwatch Editor Rebecca Armstrong and artists Chris Rose and Bruce Pearson. The prize is a Swarovski ATS 80 HD spotting scope with 25-50x zoom eyepiece worth £2,430 and a three-year subscription to BirdGuides Bird News Ultimate.

Discover all Esther's work in the exhibition



RSPB Award of £500

Simon Turvey SWLA

Swallows


Larson-Juhl Award

To celebrate drawing or dry media, draughtsmanship and capturing ideas as an art form. £500 worth of Larson-Juhl materials to the winner and a feature in their '4Walls' magazine

Nik Pollard SWLA

White-tailed Bumble Bee and Knapweed series

The judges have chosen Nik Pollard for the Larson-Juhl Award. They were struck by the vibrancy and mark making within all his work, but the studies of bees in particular have captured the movement and energy of the insects and given a wonderful sense of being immersed within the meadow.

With projects further afield cancelled this year, I have been focusing on wildlife closer to home. I've been able to give particular focus to the Bumblebee species that inhabit local meadow. I've been captured by their extraordinary physical qualities and behaviour.

With this wonderful subject matter on the doorstep, I've been able to move seamlessly between field and studio to build a new body of work that celebrates these marvellous creatures whilst exploring different drawing and printing mediums.

Presentation of my work is very important to me, therefore I am excited to be receiving the Larson-Juhl Award and look forward to selecting some quality framing products.


The BIRDscapes Gallery 'Conservation through Art' Award

£700 split between the artist and a conservation charity of their choice

Christopher Wallbank SWLA

Goldfinch and Wych Elm

For many wildlife artists, their practice is a solitary occupation, preparing for the production of finished works, in attractive rural surroundings. A browse of Chris’s website reveals a ‘documentary’ artist, often ‘in the thick of it’, catching moments of unlikely subjects in unlikely places: from snipe poking around muddy margins among the outflow pipes on his local reservoir to swarming black kites mixing with people and machines on a vast Delhi rubbish tip.

For Chris, his exploration of visual art’s role in presenting new angles on ecological themes has led to involvement with many conservation projects and makes him a very deserving winner of The BIRDscapes Gallery’s Conservation through Art Award.

Steve and Liz Harris of BIRDscapes Gallery



Dry Red Press Award

The winning work will be reproduced as a greetings card

Richard Jarvis SWLA

Moorhens, Mallards & Mayflies



Browse & Buy Work from the exhibition

 

Society of Wildlife Artists Prize Winners 2019

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The Natural Eye showcases the very best of fine art inspired by the natural world. As such, the Society of Wildlife Artists recognises the best of the best with a series of prizes for a range of specialisms within the field.

The following works were awarded prizes at the Private View of the exhibition on Wednesday 23 October. 



Ben Woodhams SWLA Tufted Ducks on icy water, January, Ronne

Winner of the Birdwatch / Swarovski Artist of the Year Award


Nik Pollard SWLA Winner of the RSPB Award


Wynona Legg for her body of work in the exhibition

Winner of the Larson-Juhl Award

Work shown: Feeding time at the Gullery


Robert Gillmor PPSWLA Avocet and chicks

Winner of the Birdscapes Gallery 'Conservation through Art' Award


Jane Smith SWLA Under water Gannets

Winner of the Mascot Media 'Nature in Print' Award


Lisa Hooper Caerlaverock

Winner of the Dry Red Press Award


Esther Tyson SWLA for her body of work in the exhibition

Winner of The Terravesta Prize

Work shown: Day two, second fledged



The Natural Eye continues at Mall Galleries until Sunday 3 November.

Plan your visit now or if you can't make it to the exhibition, discover the work online now.

Apply now for The John Busby Seabird Drawing Course Bursaries 2020

Image credit

Ben Woodhams SWLA Tufted Ducks on icy water, January, Ronne

Behind the Scenes: Derek Robertson's Migration Paintings

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In this year’s 55th Annual Exhibition by the Society of Wildlife Artists, The Natural Eye 2018, artist Derek Robertson is exhibiting five works painted on site in the Jordanian desert, among the graveyards of refugee boats in Sicily, and in the Jungle Camp in Calais. They are, in Derek’s words: "a field study of adversity: a nature expedition through dystopia”.


Bird Studies in Dystopia by Derek Robertson: Watercolour, 45 x 55 cm - £1,250

The works are part of a larger project by Derek, titled Migrations, about which he says: 'I am privileged to spend my days in wild and beautiful places painting birds. I am fascinated by them; by their abstract shapes, their song, their behaviour, their migrations. I have sketched them, and helped in scientific studies of their migratory journeys from the Arctic right down into Africa. Four years ago I watched as 'The Summer of Boats' unfolded into a refugee crisis, and I saw newscasters reporting from beaches on Mediterranean islands as desperate people came ashore. I recognised these islands as the same places I had travelled to watch and sketch migratory birds and now here were people in a similar state of immediate survival, taking the same lines of flight as the birds I portray.'

Graveyard of refugee boats, Sicily by Derek Robertson: Watercolour, 45 x 55 cm - £1,250

'Through the course of a year, I travelled through the UK and Europe, through the Mediterranean to the Middle East. On my travels I spoke to refugees, locals and volunteers, and I sketched what I saw; the people, the places, and the birds. One of the interests that ecologists have in birds is that they are important environmental indicators; if the populations or migration of the birds change, this points to change in the environment that could be of grave concern. The issues are complex, but academic studies draw a link between climate change, conflict and refugee crises, which all cause further social and environmental stress. In these complex systems, ecologists look to the birds to indicate what might be happening to our world. They are telling us something we can now recognise for ourselves, and how we address the intertwined issues of climate change and refugee crises will define who we are and what societies we live in for generations to come.'

The Desert is Full of Promises by Derek Robertson: Watercolour, 45 x 55 cm - £1,250

'I documented what I saw on my travels and expressed these interwoven topics through a series of paintings back in the studio, but often the stories I heard and the things I saw were difficult to express and too hard to portray. I often concentrated my attention on the details and the surface texture – the ephemera of the boats and camps and studies of the birds that I found there. The project challenged me artistically and personally, and I often found myself very far outside my comfort zone. I taught art classes in refugee schools and organised art activities for unaccompanied children in some of the camps. I was mugged in Sicily, caught in a riot in Calais, and escorted off sites by armed police and soldiers, but my experiences were matched by the inspirational humanity of the many refugees and volunteers that I met.'

We Used the Apps to Guide Us by Derek Robertson: Watercolour, 26 x 26 cm - £500

Derek's works are on display in The Natural Eye 2018 from 25 October to 4 November 2018. You can find out more about the exhibition and browse the catalogue online here. If you would like to purchase one of Derek's paintings, please call 020 7930 6844 or email info@mallgalleries.com. You can also find out more about Derek's project Migrations here

We Followed the Phone by Derek Robertson: Watercolour, 26 x 26 cm - £500

Browse the Exhibition Catalogue