Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Wildlife Artist of the Year Awards
It’s that time of year again – the colourful world of wildlife lands at the Mall Galleries as part of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) Wildlife Artist of the Year awards. For months artists around the globe have been beavering away hoping to scoop the biggest prize in wildlife art (actually there were no beavers on show but you know what I mean). Painters and sculptors from Africa, America, Europe and the UK send their work to be judged and then dream about how they’d spend the £10,000 first prize.
For the third year I was short-listed and joined the many artists in balmy London and hoped for the best. The standard of work was higher than ever - my particular favourites were the sculptures from Nicola Theakston and Adam Binder. The judges agreed with me on the latter and Adam took away the big prize for his beautiful bronze of a polar bear. But hey, I didn't go away empty handed: my painting of 'Ice, Kittiwakes and Belugas' won Wild Places category (shown).
It's another from an on going series from Svalbard and was a seen from my trip last year - a day to remember. I'd been watching the throng of kittiwakes for a long time and finally noticed the belugas surfacing (also saw a swift on the same day - only the 20th for Svalbard - but that's another story).
But I'm rambling here. Back to Monday night.
Once again the staff and volunteers at DSWF had choreographed a fun evening with light hearted speeches from David Gower and from the man himself David Shepherd, now nearly eighty. Prizes were presented by actor Robert Lindsay.
Much can be said about the genre of wildlife art, with comments that run the gamut from popularist, photographic, and over- sentimental, to decorative, celebratory, and beautifully observed. It depends on your viewpoint and your taste I guess.
What is without doubt is the enthusiasm, care and craft that every artist had brought to this particular event. And this is never truer than the passion shown again by David Shepherd, his family and his dedicated and friendly team at DSWF.
The facts speak for themselves: through his own paintings and prints, millions of pounds have been raised for charitable conservation work worldwide. Now even more is directed to projects through Wildlife Artist of the Year - long may it continue.
So, I'd better start thinking of next year's entry - fourth time lucky maybe? Once again folk who like painting animals will be appreciated by those folk who like watching animals.
As Wolfie from Tooting would say ' power to the people.'