Thursday, June 06, 2013

Wildlife Artist of the Year 2013 - David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Simon Max Bannisteran Ecological Land Artist, is the winner of the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2013 awarded by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.

The exhibition is currently occupying the Main Gallery of the Mall Galleries and continues until Saturday 8 June 2013 (10am to 5pm). 50% of all the proceeds of sales from this exhibition go to support the objectives of the Foundation.

I went to see it late yesterday afternoon.  Below you'll find links to the prizewinners and how you can see the exhibition online
Wildlife Artist of the Year 2013
A Journey from Londolozi by Simon Max Bannister


Overall Winner and Go Wild Category WinnerA Journey from Londolozi (£3,785.00 / SOLD)
by Simon Max Bannister (Simon Max Bannister, Land Artist - see blog post A journey of giraffe)
Sculpture: wood | Size: 600cm x 450cm (236.2" x 177.2")
Simon Max Bannister has been consistently creating sculptural artworks for 3 years now. After working with his degree in Graphic Design he found the need to express his creativity with an alternative means. Be it earth, stone, leaf, water, light, shadow and even plastic, he grasps the energy and moulds it into a necessary and intriguing artistic dialogue...... He is currently based at Londolozi Game Reserve as artist in residenceSimon Max Bannister website
This also makes it a win for giraffes in two successive years! (See the 2012 winner Wildlife Artist of the Year - Karen Laurence-Rowe).

Overall runner-up and Endangered Category Winner and David Shepherd Choice winner
High Life (£2,200.00) by Stella Mays ( bio )Pastel | Size: 128cm x 95cm (50.4" x 37.4").

High Life (£2,200.00) by Stella Mays ( bio )
Pastel | Size: 128cm x 95cm (50.4" x 37.4")

I don't see many pastels in this show but this one was a very good one.  Apparently the artist also earned a commissioned based on this pastel painting.

Wild Life Category Winner: Hornbills (£2,450.00)
by David Quinn
Original Oil painting | Size: 64cm x 78cm (25.2" x 30.7")

Category Winner Wild Life
Hornbills by David Quinn
Original Oil painting | Size: 64cm x 78cm (25.2" x 30.7")

3D Category WinnerClosing The Circle (entire sculpture £4200.00) by Neil R. Mason
Each penguin £125 - entire sculpture £4200.00
Sculpture: Marble resin | Size: 8cm x 14cm (3.1" x 5.5")

I found this piece to be very impressive.  I particularly liked the interactive nature of it such that  you can devise your over own penguin walk!

Winner of 3D category
'Closing The Circle' by 
Neil R. Mason

Young & Wild Category Winner | Animal Friends Insurance WinnerEarly Bird (£450.00) by David Nuttall
Original: Acrylic | Size: 45cm x 61cm (17.7" x 24")

Winner of Young & Wild Category
Early Bird (£450.00) by David Nuttall

The  Wildlife Artist of the Year 2013 Exhibition 

A monochromatic wall of wildlife artwork


What follows are some of my impressions.
Grey Seals (£400) by Tracy HallSize:
overall size 18cm x 23cm (7.1" x 9.1")
size of artwork: 2.75" x 4.75" watercolour
  • I liked this piece which reminded me of a painting of seeds by botanical artist Rachel Pedder.  It seemed to me it worked very well as an approach to painting wildlife too.
From the Borneo Rainforest (£1,500.00) by Janet Andrews
Watercolour /Gouache | Size: 76cm x 55cm (29.9" x 21.7")
  • there was a very good range in sizes but overall, I had a general impression that there seemed to be fewer very big pieces and more medium sized pieces compared to the last time I visited.  I suggest that those considering an entry for next year take the opportunity to study sizes!


One of the things I realised yesterday is that I'd never seen the exhibition before except on the private view night- when there are always a lot of guests.

I'm trying to think of the last time I commented on the organisation of an exhibition - and can't remember!  However I have to confess I came away with a stronger impression of problems with layout than the images.
  • The Wildlife Artist of the Year was in the centre of the gallery - and was very impressive. However the piece seemed to be hedged in with portfolios, demonstration tables and tables and chairs associated with the refreshment facility.  This was a pity as it made it very difficult to see the piece properly.
Wildlife Artist of the Year 2013
'A Journey from Londolozi' by Simon Max Bannister
  • The gallery seemed very crowded and not particularly well laid out.  It goes without saying that in order to sell art you need to be able to see the art - and I'm not sure the layout adopted promoted that objective.
    • It was very difficult to see the sculpture from a distance in a way where the visual distractions from other pieces located very close by and in the background were limited
    • I had to work very hard at taking distance views of the whole gallery and in the end gave up because of the limitations on space.
    • there was an awful lot of visual clutter.  It seemed to me that it should be possible to create a better design which accommodates demonstrations, print sales and the very large business table - as well as all the artwork.  My personal preference would be for complete separation and for one (smaller) and very focused area - NOT in front of the artwork(!) for transacting business and selling prints and cards.
    • there seemed to be rather more tables and chair than usual - or maybe they just seemed more intrusive because there was very little open space.

Virtual Exhibitions - Wildlife Artist of the Year

There are two virtual exhibitions on the website:
There's a demonstration on Saturday 8 June between 10am and 2pm with Mandy Shepherd and Emily Lamb

Links: This is my website about wildlife art - Wildlife and Natural History Art - Resources for Artists. It contains links to previous Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibitions and highlights award-winning artists.


  1. Good revue of the show in general, thank you. I was at the private view and was touched by the humility of the Early Bird painter and the overall winner, the giraffe sculptor. Both young with great futures ahead of them. I didnt get chance to meet the penguin person, but that was beautiful too. Interesting comments about the layout. Thanks for the blog in general.

  2. You take me places I want to go but cannot. Thank you for doing this and also for the observations on the floor space arrangements. One of my pet peeves. It must have been really difficult to see anything in a decent manner at the opening.


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