This is the first in the series of interviews with three UKCPS members who have had their work accepted for the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2009 exhibition to be held at the Mall Galleries, London from 1st-6th June 2009.
The first artist to be interviewed is Jonathan Newey.
What's your approach to wildlife art? Why are you interested in it?
I have drawn and painted many things during my artistic career but have always come back to wildlife. I have been an artist all my life, 4th generation in the family, and still enjoy combining my interest in wildlife with my love of art. I try to capture the character of the animals in my drawings and hope that they raise awareness of the plight of many endangered species and the loss of their habitat.
How do you generate your reference photos?
Because of the detail I put into my drawings, the pictures can take a long time to finish so I use a lot of photographic references. I always use my own photographs taken at zoos and wildlife parks around the UK. I prefer to do animal portraits with a limited background but on the odd occasion that I need a background then I will source photographic reference from books and the internet. I never copy other peoples photographs and always use the reference photos rather than make exact copies.
What's the story behind your piece and why did you choose to enter this one
The piece that has been accepted for the exhibition is called ‘Kaziranga Princess’ and is a drawing of a mother and baby Asian Single Horn Rhino. The photographs I used were taken at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire. The Asian Rhino population has been rapidly dwindling over the past years due to poaching. As a result of this there are estimated to be less than 500 Rhinos left in the wild. The Kaziranga National Park is in the Assam area of North East India and was declared a World Heritage Centre in 1985.
What pencils and support did you use for your artwork and why did you choose them?
The drawing was done with Prismacolor Coloured pencils on a grey mountboard. I use mountboard because I like a hard smooth surface to work on. I do a lot of blending, layering and burnishing to achieve the realistic hide effect and I find that the rigid surface of the mounboard works better than a paper. I love using Prismacolor pencils. They allow me to put down quite a few layers and the soft creaminess of the pencils allows me to blend and burnish the colours extensively.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background as an artist
I have been using coloured pencils for the best part of twenty years. I have always been able to draw and love the immediacy of the medium. I have been teaching in adult education for the past 18 years and teach many styles, mediums and techniques including drawing with coloured pencils at various residential colleges around the country including Earnley Concourse, Missenden Abbey, Farncombe Estate, Denman College, Knuston Hall and West Norfolk Arts Centre. I am a founder member of the UK Coloured Pencil Society and a member of the Colored Pencil Society of America.
Examples of my work and a full selection of workshops and courses can be found on my website: www.jonathannewey.com
- Three UKCPS members to exhibit in "Wildlife Artist of the Year 2009" (5 April 2009)
- Some Winners - and a Competition (26 June 2008)