This year’s David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020 exhibition will be going online. Read on to find our more and see how you can support wildlife nature conservation by buying yourself some unique artwork.
When the time came for me to submit a series of animal sculptures for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020 exhibition, it was an easy choice. It’s no secret that wild dogs are my favourite animal. On the art safari workshop I led in Zambia last November we were lucky enough to encounter a small pack of wild dogs every day. We watched them play, relax, hunt, goad elephants and explore.
Animal sculpture is all about making a connection with your subject. The opportunity to observe the animals’ behaviour and social interactions in the wild is invaluable. Back in the studio it provides endless inspiration. You can read my trip report from my 2019 Zambia Art Safari here. Today I’d like to share with you the wild dog sculptures I was inspired to make for the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020 exhibition.
I’ve always been inspired by dogs. If, like me, you own a dog, you can probably relate to the behaviour expressed in these sculptures, whether it’s the joy of rolling around on their backs to the ‘happy pant’ of a contented looking dog.
Wild dogs, with their long slender limbs, are effortlessly elegant. Even when flaked out at rest they are capable of creating the most beautiful shapes. Each animal sculpture tells a story, but each animal is also part of a larger pack. It’s when you see the dogs together, working as a close-knit unit, that you understand what gives them their strength and resilience, what makes them so intimidating in the wild, and so exciting to watch. It’s this connection with the wild that I find so exciting about sculpting them.
I’ve long been a supporter of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and their tireless work supporting critically endangered species. I regularly donate animal sculptures for fundraising auctions. In 2016 I even cycled 100 miles across London in RideLondon to raise funds for their work.
For the last ten years, I’ve been contributing sales revenue through the Foundation’s Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibitions. My connection with this exhibition and wild dogs goes back to 2012 when I was delighted to be awarded Overall Runner Up for my sculpture Huddle of Pups, a litter of painted dog pups all huddled together. In 2015 I fulfilled a lifelong ambition by winning the competition and being named Wildlife Artist of the Year.
This year the Coronavirus lockdown has forced the charity to cancel the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020 exhibition at London’s Mall Galleries. Instead, the exhibition will be going online. All the short-listed works will be available to buy online from Thursday 21 May to Sunday 28 June 2020 with 50% of the sale price going directly to wildlife conservation.
You can register with the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation to watch awards ceremony online on Tuesday 26 May. You can also see a video of my pack of painted dog sculptures on Youtube.
Over the years the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation has raised over a million pounds through the Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibition, so please check the online gallery for the chance to acquire some original artwork and support the cause of wildlife conservation that is so close to our hearts.
UPDATE: I’m pleased to announce that sales of my animal sculptures raised £4300 for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.