What’s On

Sep
10
Tue
As the Crow Flies
Sep 10 @ 10:00 am – Oct 6 @ 5:00 pm

Art Inspired by the landscape, flora and fauna in and around a working quarry by Esther Tyson

Esther Tyson SWLA is at the forefront of contemporary wildlife art and a council member of the Society of Wildlife Artists She studied at the University of Wales before being accepted into the Royal College of Art, London where she won a travel scholarship to study large carnivores in Slovakia. That trip ignited a passion for travel, drawing, painting and observing creatures in their natural environment.
After graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2003, living and working in the wilds of South Wales, Esther secured a 3 month placement on Aride Island in the Seychelles, working alongside biologists in the field, observing the behaviour of many bird species including the Seychelles Magpie Robin, a thrush size bird threatened with extinction and in 2005 cited on the red data list. This was an important time of learning and understanding.
Surrounded by the Indian Ocean and contemplating a fear of deep water, Esther decided to apply for a scuba diving bursary through the SWLA and Dorset Wildlife Trust. Incredibly, Esther won the award and a few weeks later became an open water scuba diver. A different world entirely, drawing underwater, the COLD waters off the Dorset coast and later, the warmer waters off Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia.
Esther has been involved in projects within the UK and Worldwide, working alongside organisations such as Birdlife International (Nepal, Vultures), BTO (Senegal/Norfolk, Migration), DKM (Turkey), Esther Benjamin Trust (Nepal), Free the Bears (Phnom Penh), FFI (Cambodia), Salford Council (Salford), Royal Parks (London), SWLA, and the Natural History Museum (the Big Draw).
Esther currently lives and works in the South Peak District where she combines a studio and observational outdoor practice. ‘As the Crow Flies’ is a selection of work, created especially for this exhibition, that focuses on an area close to her home – a working quarry. Finding inspiration, life and beauty in a what many might consider an unlikely location, Esther gives us an insight into this project …
‘My high place, a place of solitude, of thought, of peace and of beauty? Really? Are quarries not a blight on the landscape…
Life brims in the boundary lines and spills over into farmland and limestone cliffs alike. So far, Jackdaws finding cracks and holes, Ravens a step in an old crevice and the falcons on a ledge high above the busy workings of this quarry. Wild flowers take over the slopes, wagtails and redstarts return and I’m still hoping to see wheatear…
My interest in the Raven has continued since tracking wolves in Slovakia back in 2003 and having found the quarries’ resident pair, I have spent time observing their behaviour in and around the nest site. It feels decadent drawing these birds and a huge privilege painting the adults as they prepare to sit… Pied wagtails arrive and forage close to where I sit, wood pigeons feed in the trees that edge the quarry face, a blast and the pigeon in turn feeds a Peregrine…
I’ve watched this pair of falcons for 8 years and now I have the luxury of including them in my work. With the ravens sitting, time is freed to find the possible nest site of the Peregrine. I had an inkling early on and at quite a distance have watched the female prepare the nest site, the pair chase another male from their territory, a buzzard forced to ground and our resident falcons mate. The female begins her sit which in turn, is perfect timing to pick up on the ravens once again. 40 days back and fore feeding young, 5 youngsters fledged and the subsequent days exploring are charming!
Now I return to wild flowers and peregrine falcons …’
This exhibition features a broad range of works both large and small, nearly all produced in the field. Many will be for sale. Do come and meet Esther September 10th – 15th when she will be artist in residence.

Sep
14
Sat
How to Draw an Owl in Graphite Pencil – Jamie Boots @ Nature in Art
Sep 14 @ 10:00 am – Sep 15 @ 5:00 pm

On this 2-day course you will learn all about working with graphite pencil from experienced artist Jamie Boots.

Graphite pencil can be used to produce so much more than just a sketch.

Jamie will show participants that. whether or not you are using a pencil that is blunt or sharp, pressing lightly or hard, or using a variety of tones, the realistic texture of skin, fur and the glassy look of an eye can be achieved.

Example of work by Jamie Boots

Sep
18
Wed
Drawing in Ink – Ian Coleman @ Nature in Art
Sep 18 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

With a natural history theme this is an introduction to various ink drawing tools and surfaces, with a focus on penning and brushing techniques. A look at creating high contrasts, shading, tones and line styles with small examples in sketchbooks and various papers. Get ready for Inktober 2019 on Instagram, a world wide motivational challenge to encourage you to get inky, to be inspired and improve your drawing skills and share your results.

Sep
20
Fri
Glass Fusing – Sharon Foley @ Nature in Art
Sep 20 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Glass fusing is joining two or more layers of glass through heating in a kiln.

There are several techniques that can be adapted to this basic principle some of which give surprising results. This 1-day course will teach some of those techniques alongside glass cutting (if you are new or in need of a refresher) and consist of glass layering, use of glass frits, powders and encapsulation between layers of glass.

The course will guide you in designing and making either 4 glass coasters or a larger, flat piece of art glass. These will then be fired in a kiln and ready for collection after the course.

Sep
21
Sat
Wolf Portrait, Coloursoft Pencils on Mountboard – Karen Coulson @ Nature in Art
Sep 21 @ 10:00 am – Sep 22 @ 5:00 pm

This course is a wonderful introduction to the world of coloured pencil techniques. Learn the art of layering and blending Derwent Coloursoft Pencils whilst using different pencil strokes to create the textures required for the  subject. All materials will be supplied including a line drawing to trace for those not wishing to draw free hand.

Example of work by Karen Coulson

 

Oct
8
Tue
Nature’s Code @ Nature in Art
Oct 8 @ 10:00 am – Oct 20 @ 5:00 pm

Since January we have been delighted to have had Bella Lucchesi join us for a day a week as Nature in Art’s Curatorial Trainee. Bella is from the USA and is undertaking an MA in Curating at UWE, Bristol. As part of her course she has been working closely with Collections Officer Emily Cooper to assemble this display. It is based on the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio; how it appears in nature, and in works of art (whether that be by chance or design) and exploring its suggested relationship to beauty. It follows on well from David Trapnell’s talk earlier in the year ‘Is Beauty in the eye of the beholder?’. Here Bella introduces the selection of works …

The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers, starting from 0 where every number is the sum of the two numbers preceding it. The Golden Ratio is a number that’s equal to approximately 1.618. This number, often known as “phi” from the Greek alphabet, is in fact not equal to precisely 1.618 because it is an irrational number – meaning that its decimal digits carry on forever without repeating a pattern.

Although these are separate terms, coincidentally they closely relate to each other in many ways. If one takes any two successive   Fibonacci numbers, their ratio is very close to the Golden ratio. As the numbers get higher, the ratio becomes even closer to 1.618. For example, the ratio of 3 to 5 is 1.666. But the ratio of 13 to 21 is 1.625.  Getting even higher, the ratio of 144 to 233 is 1.618. These numbers are all successive numbers in the Fibonacci sequence. These numbers can also be applied to the proportions of a rectangle, called the Golden rectangle. This is thought as one of the most visually satisfying geometric forms and has been applied in numerous creative disciplines for centuries.

These concepts appear frequently in art compositions as well as in nature, whether that is in the florets of a sunflower, pine cone seeds or sea shells. This exhibition will investigate these terms in relation to nature and art and hopefully act as a starting point for visitors own explorations into art and nature. Most of the paintings, prints and 3D items have been selected from our collection but there are also a number of items on loan from artists and Gallery Pangolin, to whom we express our thanks.

Even if the Fibonacci numbers and Golden Ratio seem daunting to you, there’s much to inspire and set the mind thinking in this selection. Come and see!

Oct
9
Wed
Sketching Buildings with Pen and Wash – Jonathan Newey @ Nature in Art
Oct 9 @ 10:00 am – Oct 10 @ 5:00 pm

This is a two day course that will show you how to sketch buildings and architectural detail with waterproof black ink pen and watercolour wash. Using photos supplied by the tutor you will be shown how to use the pen with watercolour paint both before and after painting. Techniques taught will include colour mixing, brush technique, light and dark, drawing with a pen and how to loosen up to achieve expressive sketches. By the end of the course you will have produced a few sketches to take home with you. Suitable for beginners and students with some knowledge of the medium.

Oct
15
Tue
The Wonder of the World
Oct 15 @ 10:00 am – Nov 17 @ 5:00 pm

This is a special exhibition of ceramic sculpture by internationally renowned sculptor Linda Heaton-Harris.  This is an opportunity to see a wide selection of her work, much of it fresh from the kiln. Plus visitors can see her in the studio November 12th – 17th.

The title of the exhibition, chosen by Linda, is taken from one of her favourite quotes. It is thought to have originally been found on an old gravestone many years ago. The wildlife author and artist D.J. Watkins-Pitchford (known as BB) used it as a quote on the frontice piece of many of his books. It reads …

The wonder of the world, the beauty and

The power, the shapes of things, their colours,

Lights, and shades; these I saw.

Look ye also while life lasts

Linda recently moved to Cornwall to a smallholding/farm on the edge of Bodmin Moor overlooking Rough Tor. It is ‘a fantastic area full of ancient history including, stone huts and standing stone circles and of course wonderful wildlife’. The location is also near the North Cornish coast, Port Isaac, Rock and Padstow, yet again offering wonderful scenery, walks and wildlife. Her purpose built studio has magnificent views of the craggy granite rocks of Rough Tor and the Moor with it’s fascinating ever changing scenery. It is here that she created the works in this unique selection.

Linda originally trained as a teacher studying English Literature and History, becoming interested in ceramics while still at college.  At first her work centred on abstract flower and plant forms, often vibrantly coloured, but she soon started to follow her real passion, and began sculpting animals and birds.

Linda’s work falls into two main categories: hand built, individual pieces demonstrating a more simplified approach, and extremely detailed individual bird and animal sculptures, both life size and miniatures. With both styles she endeavours to capture the essence of the animal or bird.

A variety of techniques and clays are used to produce a range of textures with various oxides, slips and stains applied to retain the fine detail. The pieces are fired at least twice. The detailed intricate bird studies involve many hours work, being built up ‘feather by feather’. Thus a single sculpture can involve several hundred feathers alone and can take several weeks to complete. Some of the pieces have flowers or foliage, these are also built up one petal, leaf or stamen at a time.  Amongst the items created especially for this exhibition are a miniature piece of a pod of hippos and a Juvenile Cuckoo being fed. Others are in the kiln as we write, always a nerve-wracking time as accidents can occur. Linda’s pieces need several firings which adds to the trepidation!

 

Oct
19
Sat
Painting a Garden Border with Perennials & Grasses – Rosalind Wise @ Nature in Art
Oct 19 @ 10:00 am – Oct 20 @ 5:00 pm

This is a course for all abilities who have an interest in learning to paint the colour, energy and vitality found in a Garden Border.

Working from photos that inspire, from views of your own garden or a garden you have visited you can work in a personal way with close up views of plants in detail or a looser more abstract, atmospheric view. You can paint in a way that appeals to you.

You can paint in Gouache,Acrylic or Oil paints on paper,board or canvas.

Oct
22
Tue
2019 British Wildlife Photography Awards
Oct 22 @ 10:00 am – Dec 22 @ 5:00 pm

Fresh from its launch in London, see the very latest exhibition of images from the British Wildlife Photography Awards celebrating the beauty and diversity of British nature and the talent, artistry and determination of the photographers who took them.

No images available yet from the 2019 exhibition. This image by Csaba Tokoly is from the 2018 competition.