Sunday, June 12, 2011

Discreetly Tooting My Own Horn

Well if you coughed up your coffee or tea while reading the subject line I don't blame you. It seems like a bit of an oxymoron. Let me just say that I'm tooting with the horn of the Red-breasted Nuthatch, not the White-breasted Nuthatch. Hopefully the tooting sounds like it's coming from a toy trumpet not a real one.

Early this year I read about the 'BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year' competition. A number of my online artists friends have won awards there. So I thought, why not? I applied in the International Artists Category. In early May while at Magee Marsh seeing all those warblers I checked my email and found that my linocut 'Belted Kingfisher, Painted Turtles, Snow' above was a finalist. What a nice surprise in an already eventful week! Unfortunately I never got the second email that said I'd won. Winners will be announced soon but I'm sure my name will not be among them. Still it's an honor to reach the finalist stage.

I'd decided to add something about it to my blog profile today so checked the web site. What a treat for all nature and art lovers to find this gallery of artwork done by artists on the island of Sark in association with The Artists for Nature Foundation.

Over the years here I've mentioned my difficulty with 'wildlife art'. So much of it seems stilted or stale. It never reflects the liveliness of nature itself. But that's rarely the case with any of the art I've seen that's done on a ANF trip. It always reminds me of why and how art based on nature can be just as exciting as that done by any artist using any other subject or technique.

So I really enjoyed going through the slideshow at the BBC link above. I think it shows some very good art based on nature, in a variety of styles. If you explore a bit you'll find other links about Sark, BBC Wildlife magazine itself, Artists for Nature Foundation and a photo of artists on bicycles. Doesn't that sound appealing?!

Hopefully this digression in praise of the gallery will allow me to qualify my tooting as discreet.


Diane said...

Congratulations on being in the finals, hope you do get an email saying you won. But even being in the finals is an honor.
Also I enjoyed the slideshow. Nice of you to post it as I would not have come across it on my own.
I lurk here looking at your birds especially at the sketches. I try sketching the birds that come to my feeder and I like to see how real artists do it. They move so fast I never quite get them down!

Ken Januski said...

Thanks Diane. I think I should have gotten the email by now if I'd won so I'm sure I haven't. But I'm still happy to have gotten as far as I did.

I'm glad you enjoyed the slideshow. The Artists for Nature Foundation has published a number of books of artists and their work on projects and they're really wonderful. Unfortunately they're a bit expensive and seem be even pricier as used books.

Keep sketching the birds that come to your feeder. I've been at it for 5 years now I think on top of my many years as an abstract artist and it's still really difficult. But there comes a time when you get good enough to be happy with some of your results. And once you get that far it's hard to stop! I now love the chance to go out birding with my sketchbook.

I'd also recommend my friend Tim Wootton's book, 'Drawing and Painting Birds', which is now on sale in the US. I was just rereading it and I think he gives a lot of helpful hints to anyone who is new to drawing birds. The main thing though is to just enjoy it and keep at it!