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David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year predictions

I dropped my elephant off at the Mall Galleries today, in the company of some very impressive looking pieces arriving at the same time.
I’ve had a scan through the pre sales catalogue and attempted to pick my winners for each category.To be honest, the longer I looked the harder I found it to make up my mind, I don’t envy those poor judges. I’m just very honoured to be featured in such strong company!

So heres the seven categories with my best guess at the winners.

Animal Behaviour: Showing a real understanding of animal behaviour, a sense of character, maybe something the judges may not have seen before.

Combat D’Oryx by Pascal Chesnau

A previous winner of the DSWAY title, I love the movement in this one.

Urban Wildlife: Entries can be in an urban style or depict the city life of animals and plants. Judges will be looking for both originality in the habitat as well as the contrast between wild and urban life.

Unnatural by Candice Bees

 or

Gemma Hayward

 Hidden World: A celebration of remote and rarely observed or lesser known landscapes and species. 

Lucy Paine



Not many seem to qualify for this category, but I particularly like this fox by Lucy Paine

Wings, Feathered or Otherwise: The extraordinary variety of winged wildlife – birds and insects, in flight or at rest. 

I love the bees by Patricia but I think these parrots by Stefano will be spectacular.

Turquoise and gold by Stefano Zagaglia

Into the Blue: Illustrate the wonderful world of water, be it ocean, seashore, wetland, river or stream.




Has to be one of nick O’Neils works (he has FIVE accepted this year, highest no. of entries I think!)

Whip it by Nick O’Neil

Vanishing Fast: Our vanishing world – it can be any species officially listed as endangered or threatened on the IUCN Red List – or any landscape that is at risk. 


Wide category this, but I love this tiger, although it equally falls into the next category.

Tiger 13 by Stephen Rew





Earth’s Beautiful Creatures: The choice is yours! As in all categories the judges are looking for not only beautifully executed original artworks but also imaginative interpretation, moving away from the purely photographic to compositions with great characterization, showing imagination, originality and genuine creativity. 


So anything then…

I’m going to choose the snow leopards, such a a great composition of a tricky subject.

The ghost in the mountains by Cynthia House


Overall Winner?

I’m going to go for either Nick O’Neils polar bear “Before it melts”

or Radha Kirby’s “Hippos in the late afternoon sun”….

Judging is on Monday so I’ll update on Tuesday morning.

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Grrrr…

Grrrr

This is meant to be my quiet time of year, when I can footle about faffing about working online in my warm study, instead of freezing in my draughty studio, spluttering in the temperamental warmth of the log burner.

However, fresh back from Africa I had a raft of new images to work from, and the deadline for the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year coming up.

Now you see me ….

I really wanted to produce some big works, that would have an impact in the Mall Galleries, and work well together as a group. Tom Way was kind enough to give me permission to use some of his lion photos to work from. Safari with children is magical but not really conducive to producing much in the way work! 

Young lion at waterhole

Serena sketching

The moon, swallows and springbok

Male lion, North Pride

Working to such a tight deadline is always stressful, although a friend did say, with raised eyebrow, “It’s not like you haven’t known about it for twelve months…” I know, I know, but I only got back from Africa at the end of December and it’s tricky to conjure up decent wildlife in Berkshire! 

The past few weeks have been spent converting the sketches and photos into paintings. I hope I have a strong body of work to submit, and that at least a couple get chosen! Here’s a peek at a two of them.  

Wildlife Artist of the Year 

Dawn Ascending, Oil on panel. 24×18″
Lion 75x55cm charcoal on paper

So, hopefully, the last works should be finished this week and then photographed in time for the deadline on the 13th feb! 

Art Dubai 2016

I’m also working on some equine paintings for Art Dubai 2016 which takes place in April. Signet Contemporary Art are taking them, so I’m looking forward to working with them. I did contemplate a trip accompanying them to the sun, but maybe next year!