How to add the beauty of nature to your home with art AND help animals in need
PUBLISHED: 16:18 18 February 2015 | UPDATED: 17:23 13 May 2015
Julie Cross, of the Association of Animal Artists, shows how animal art can enrich your home, and heart, this spring.
Man turned to art, long before writing, and even language, existed, and his preoccupation with the animal kingdom is evident from the earliest art like that found at Maros in Indonesia, created more than 35,000 years ago. Today, art featuring animals does not just reveal, in meticulous detail, the beauty and majesty of nature, but can be among the most highly creative, original and exciting additions you can make to your home. Animal art is not only beautiful in itself but helps us identify with and understand the world in which we live. Whether you are a pet lover, an admirer of magnificent wild beasts or the most discerning of serious art collectors, or even just want to add a splash of colour and beauty, there is something for everyone at the Association of Animal Artists’ Annual Exhibition this spring.
Award-winning Worcester artist, Valerie Briggs, often features the elusive brown hare, her favourite mammal subject, and her exquisite pastel work in the ‘Moondancers’ and ‘Moon Romancers’ series is both romantic and whimsical. Valerie says hares have become extremely popular as a subject over the last few years and believes they have a mystical allure, probably because of their mainly nocturnal habits and association with magical folklore.
Those looking for contemporary, colourful and dynamic works will find it in the exciting free use of watercolour in Laura Slade’s work. Laura, who lives in Milton Keynes, paints wildlife and domestic pets and works to commission, and says, “My work embraces the unique qualities of watercolour, using vibrant colour and expressive brushstrokes to depict the natural world.”
However, those wanting a more traditional, realistic take also have much to choose from. Classically trained artist and author, Alison Wilson, studied at the Slade School of Art in London and she is well known for her realistic depictions of birds of prey and horses. Winner of the President’s Medal from the UK Society of Equestrian Artists, Alison’s rigorous attention to detail in both technical and artistic matters means she produces work in oils of the highest quality. Maureen Prottey also often chooses to feature equestrian subjects and her delicate pastels evoke the romance and nobility of her elegant models - horses long being a perennial favourite in art for all ages and stratas of society.
Pollyanna Pickering, one of Europe’s foremost wildlife artists and the most published artist in the UK, is well known for her large, detailed works featuring the endangered animals she campaigns to save, as well as the most appealing of domestic animals. Pollyanna’s work sells in over eighty countries worldwide and another vital component of investing in animal art is the good it can do. The Pollyanna Pickering Foundation, founded in 2001, raises funds for conservation and animal welfare charities in the UK and worldwide, and the Association of Animal Artists is proud to have the foundation as one of its charity partners for the exhibition, giving a donation from final sales.
Animal Art not only provides financial support for the natural world; it can give voice to issues, raising public awareness as well as helping celebrate and preserving the animal kingdom that is the source of inspiration for that art. The stunning work of Lancashire artist, Julie Vernon, perfectly combines aesthetic beauty and artistry with compassion and this concern for animal welfare and conservation. Julie finds constant inspiration not only in her animal subjects but also discovers beauty in the imperfect. She says, “The desire to capture the beauty of wildlife within modern man-made environments is a constant theme in my work. By combining realistic, figurative work with loose abstract marks, I place my subjects within an imagined environment which echoes the reality of our modern-day urban landscape”.
So from large, show-stopping statement pieces to the smallest of subtle depictions of humble creatures, along with stunningly original sculpture in bronze and copper, as well as ceramics, animal art can grace any environment. The Association of Animal Artists’ Annual Exhibition includes work from some of the top animal artists in the country and reaches visitors on many levels – it will not only inform the mind and touch the heart but will, undeniably, delight the eye of animal lovers and art aficionados alike.
The Association of Animal Artists’ Annual Exhibition, featuring up to 300 art works, runs from 10 April – 17 May 2015, opening times 10 am – 4 pm Monday to Saturday, 1 pm – 4 pm Sundays. FREE ENTRY.
Castle Park Arts Centre
Off Fountain Lane
Preview Evening: Friday 10 April, 7 – 9 pm (free entry)
Association of Animal Artists Art Fair – Monday 4 May, 10 am – 4 pm (free entry)