female blackcap, watercolour
Three-quarters of the year past already! 2012 was the year I was going to spend every available moment in the field working on plein-air landscapes and fieldwork. As it turned out, I could count the number of dedicated days in the field on two hands but, although I enjoyed every second of those rare days, the rest of the time has been spent in the studio and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Dunter Family, watercolour (from the private collection of Mr. Ysbrand Brouwers)
For years I’ve struggled to make the artistic connection with working in the field and the paintings produced in the studio. Field drawings will always contain certain vivacity simply as a product of its inception and, almost diametrically opposed, studio work (given the generally less hectic timeframes and occasionally more comfortable environment) may have more of a ‘settled’ feel to it. Of course there are many examples of mad, frenetic studio work . . . I’ve been there.
Fulmar Pair Fly-by, charcoal
Walk The Line, watercolour
I suppose the main thing is to not see the one as the more valid –whatever we do as artists ought to have a vein of truth trickling through it. So recently I’ve tried to enjoy the fieldwork for the chance it gives me to get close to the subjects – whatever they may be, and not to worry too much at the time about what comes next. This apparent lack of connectivity between what I’m thinking in the field and what may happen in the studio has become quite liberating and curiously, I’m finding that pure experiences of being in the field are manifesting themselves into paintings and drawings much less self-consciously. (Of course, these kinds of self-analytical explorations should always be dosed with cellars-full of salt . . .)
Three Brown Trout, charcoal and watercolour wash
Anyway – all this studio time has been good and I’ve also valued my time in the field even more than previously. In fact – I’ve even been ‘bird-watching’ a couple of times . . . . . although some visual rendering has usually emanated from this, no matter how much I’ve tried to stop it.
Should I Stay or Should I go, charcoal
And the highlight of my particular exhibiting year will soon be here; the Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition at The Mall Galleries, London. After last year’s simply incredible Birdwatch / Swarovski award and being elected an Associate of the Society, I was delighted to have one of my submissions reproduced on the official invitation to the Private View of the exhibition on 31st October.
Black-headed Gulls On The Fly, conte and watercolour
Sting In The Tale: Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warblers, conte and watercolour
Shame I can’t get down to see the show in person . . . again . . . and a shame I didn't go out 'bird-watching' til after the enty deadline, because I would have loved to have had the opportunity to show thsi piece, based on a 25 second encounter with a yellow-browed warbler;
Yellow-browed Warblers, conte and watercolour