Golden Oil Painting Emerges from the Woodwork

Event Africa Contributor 11/06/2020 Example

Andrew Pledge has been crowned David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020 for his remarkably detailed and strikingly beautiful ‘Wood Stork’ created from oils and gold leaf. The Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020 winners were announced in an online Awards Ceremony, hosted by mezzo-soprano singer, Laura Wright, and DSWF Chief Executive, Georgina Lamb last month.

The esteemed award, decided by an expert judging panel, wins London-based artist, Andrew Pledge, the top prize of £10,000 for his entry. Pledge has also won a two-week residency with Ongava Game Reserve and Lodge in Namibia. Ongava is an art-oriented game reserve close to where DSWF is working to protect the remaining desert-adapted black rhino.

The American wood stork (Mycteria americana) is a large white wading bird from the stork family, in spite of looking like an ibis. Pledge, as an artist, tends to focus on the more unusual species, like wood storks, and where others see imperfections or ugliness, he sees beauty and intricacy.

“Often the best artworks appear deceptively simple… Arguably the wood stork is not the most attractive bird on earth. But this painting exudes an uncanny and breath-taking beauty. It’s very difficult to explain but very clear to see – a worthy winner,” says Hazel Soan, a Wildlife Artist of the Year judge.

‘Wood Stork’ entered into the Wings Category has beaten all 159 other outstanding shortlisted artworks exhibited in an online gallery via DSWF’s website.

“The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s DNA and heartbeat is art. It’s how we started and it’s our life force,” says Georgina Lamb, DSWF Chief Executive. Since its inception, Wildlife Artist of the Year has attracted more than 12,000 entries and raised more than £1.2m for conservation.

This year DSWF received 1,200 entries from artists across 53 countries, a noteworthy number of entries featured koala bears in the wake of the Australian fires.

(Artwork: ‘Koala’ by Alex Fleming)
The pangolin is another endangered species worth highlighting in this prestigious competition – its artichoke-like appearance makes the shy pangolin the perfect artistic muse. Nonetheless, this scaly anteater is also the most trafficked mammal in the world and is at the heart of the illegal wildlife trade and the Covid-19 pandemic.

(Artwork: ‘Pangolin’ by Emily Kirby)
“We are currently living through unprecedented times but it’s important to remember how we all ended up here. It was a result of the illegal wildlife trade, a multi-billion dollar industry which is driving species to extinction,” says Lamb.

Wildlife Artist of the Year celebrates the beauty of the natural world in a variety of different mediums. The competition allows artists to give back to their wild inspirations with 50% of proceeds from the sale of artworks going to protecting endangered species across Africa and Asia.

“If you do purchase artwork through Wildlife Artist of the Year you can go to sleep knowing that it will really make a difference to some of the world’s most threatened and vulnerable species,” says Lamb.

Featured in Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020’s online gallery is the hugely popular ‘Sketch for Wildlife’ postcards, artworks by David Shepherd and our Art Ambassadors, as well as a special Guest Artist Gallery. All proceeds from the sale of the artwork exhibited support DSWF. Wildlife Artist of the Year, judge and DSWF Art Ambassador, Mandy Shepherd, is also exhibiting her ‘Sketches from the Field’ with 100% of the proceeds going to our conservation efforts.

Artworks from the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020 exhibition are currently available for purchase in an online gallery on DSWF’s website. The online exhibition will run until Sunday 28 June 2020.
Online viewers can also vote for their favourite pieces in the People’s Choice Award. The winning artist will receive £500 Great Art vouchers and all voters will be entered into a free prize draw for the chance to win a pair of silver Patrick Mavros elephant cufflinks and a Mia Kora silk scarf.

Full winners list:

Overall winner £10,000 sponsored by Mr & Mrs Covey and prize by Ongava Game Reserve and Lodge: ‘Wood Stork’ – Andrew Pledge from London.
The judges’ feedback: “The masterful technique, the exquisite detail and pure craftsmanship make ‘Wood Stork’ deserving of the top prize. Such huge contrast and impact of the dark black background set the bird off in its finery,” says Mandy Shepherd.
Andrew recently decided to become a full-time artist. He was previously an architectural model maker, a profession he claims taught him that taught him the importance of attention to detail.

Overall Runner-up £1,000 sponsored by Moore Barlow: ‘Bison’ – Umberto from Argenvieres, France.
The judges’ feedback: “This magnificent work of art is a true reflection of the sheer power that the bison is so famous for. The heaving force of it, so accurately yet masterfully depicted in its weight, grace and power. Each and every one of us was drawn to Umberto’s Bison, intoxicated by its elegance and of course its beautifully compelling dark, dark patina. Truly a world-class sculpture. I wish we could all see this in the flesh and marvel at its details,” says Emily Lamb.

Category winner £500 each:
Animal Behaviour – a real understanding of animal behaviour and a sense of character. Sponsored by Gary Hodges.
Category Winner: ‘The Cardboard Gorilla’ – Olivier Bertrand from Fuveau, France.

Earth’s Wild Beauty – a category open to art illustrating wild landscapes, seascapes and the people who live in these environments or work to protect them. Sponsored by Moore Barlow.
Category Winner: ‘Ethosha!’ – Paul Dixon from South Africa.

Facing Extinction –showing our vanishing world – it can be any species officially listed as endangered or threatened on the IUCN Red List – or any a landscape that is at risk. Sponsored by Martin & Emma Leuw.
Category Winner: ‘Paradis Perdu’ – Jean-Francois Gambino from Gagny, France.

Human Impact – gives young adults (aged 17 to 22) a platform to make a statement with their art on how humans are having an impact on the environment. Sponsored by Indus Experiences.
Category Winner: ‘There’s No Smoke Without Fire’ – Scarlett Henderson from Bath, United Kingdom.

Into the Blue – illustrating the wonderful world of water, be it ocean, seashore, wetland, river or stream. Sponsored by Paul Traub Associates.
Category Winner: ‘Silver Lining’ – Tom Middleton from London, United Kingdom.

Urban Wildlife –entries in an urban style or depicting the city life of animals and plants. Judges were looking for both originality in the habitat as well as the contrast between wild and urban life. Sponsored by Moore Barlow.
Category Winner: ‘Plastic Camouflage’ – Javier de la Rosa from London, United Kingdom.

Wings –the extraordinary variety of winged wildlife – birds and insects, in flight or at rest. Sponsored by Silversurfers.
Category Winner: ‘Modelling’ – Ze Ze Lai from Yuen Long, Hong Kong.

The Elizabeth Hosking Prize for Watercolour –
New to the competition Elizabeth Hosking Prize for Watercolour sponsored by DSWF supporter Elizabeth Hosking. The first winner of this exciting new prize is Nichola Hope, for her bright green and yellow ‘Tansy Beetle’ which was selected from 12 wonderful watercolour entries.
Category Winner: ‘Tansy Beetle’ – Nichola Hope from Barry, United Kingdom.

The Artist Magazine Award – selected by the editor of The Artist Magazine, Dr Sally Bulgin (feature article for the successful artist in The Artist magazine).
Category Winner: ‘A Confusion of Guinea Fowl’ – Colette Clegg from Cobham, United Kingdom.

Highly Commended:
• 100 Elephants (Facing Extinction) – Charlotte Pack
• Artists of Antarctic Waters (Earth’s Wild Beauty) – Rens Hensgens
• Asiatic Lions (Animal Behaviour) – Marie Antoniou
• Bad Hair Day (Animal Behaviour) – Diane Haines
• Bison Haydon Valley (Earth’s Wild Beauty) – Heather Irvine
• Caught you Looking (Animal Behaviour) – Emma Swift
• Evolution (Urban Wildlife) – Chris Voas
• Focus (Animal Behaviour) – Stephen Rew
• Giant African Millipede (Earth’s Wild Beauty) – Eric Smith
• Gorilla (Facing Extinction) – Alex Fleming
• Hammer Planet (Into the Blue) – Nick Oneill
• In Between (Into the Blue) – Tamara Pokorny
• Into the Darkness (Animal Behaviour) – Clare Parkes
• Kichwa Tembo (Facing Extinction) – Martin Aveling
• Morning in Mara North (Earth’s Wild Beauty) – Colette Clegg
• New Zealand Kakapo (Facing Extinction) – Janet Luxton
• Octopus (Into the Blue) – Umberto Nuzzo
• Orangutan (Facing Extinction) – Fiona Sperryn
• Pangolin (Facing Extinction) – Stephen Rew
• Place of Peace (Earth’s Wild Beauty) – Heidi Wirgentius
• Ray Mass (Into the Blue) – Bill Prickett
• Rush Hour Okavango (Animal Behaviour) – Tomas O’Maoldomhnaigh
• Shoal of Sardines (Into the Blue) – Danni Bradford
• Tale of Three Spiders (Earth’s Wild Beauty) – Magdelena Zwierzchowska
• The Coming Storm (Earth’s Wild Beauty) – Joni-Leigh Doran
• Toads Crossing (Animal Behaviour) – Sandra Mackus
• Vantage Point (Animal Behaviour) – Amber Tyldesley
• Wild Dog – Feeling Good (Animal Behaviour) – Nick Mackman
• Zebra Shallows (Into the Blue) – Nick Oneill