Golden oil painting emerges from the woodwork

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 on Tuesday 26 May. 

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

Despite looking like an ibis, the American wood stork (Mycteria americana) is a large white wading bird from the stork family. 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. 

Koala pastel drawing entered Wildlife Artists of the Year 2020
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.

Pangolin pencil artwork entry in Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020
Paul Gunning

“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 and a special Guest Artist Gallery, all for sale to support DSWF. Wildlife Artist of the Year Judge and DSWF Art Ambassador, Mandy Shepherd, is also exhibiting her ‘Sketches from the Field’ with a 100% of the proceeds going to DSWF. 

Artworks from the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020 exhibition will be available for purchase in an online gallery on DSWF’s website from Thursday 21 May to 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:

Wood Stork oil painting entry in Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020
Andrew Pledge

Overall winner £10,000 sponsored by Mr & Mrs Covey and prize by Ongava Game Reserve and Lodge.

Wood Stork – Andrew Pledge

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 bronze sculpture entered Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020
Umberto

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.

paul dixon painting of cheetahs

Earth’s Wild Beautya 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 Southampton, United Kingdom.

Polar bear bronze and glass entry in Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020

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.

Smoke pen and ink entry into Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020

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.

Hammerhead shark in graphite in art competition Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020

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.

snake Bronze and Methacrylate scultpure entered Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020

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

Beetle watercolour painting entry in Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020

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.

Guinea Fowl Oil on Wood entry in Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020

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                    

— Ends —

For more information please contact:
Georgina Lockwood, Communications and Marketing Manager at DSWF
georgina.lockwood@davidshepherd.org

IMAGES

CLICK HERE for Images of Artworks

Credits: ‘Title of the artwork’ – Artist’s Name/ David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
ie: ‘The School Run’ by artist Amber Tyldesley/ David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) is a highly effective wildlife charity funding key conservation projects across Africa and Asia

Wildlife Artist of the Year

DSWF’s annual Wildlife Artist of the Year competition was founded by the late, great wildlife artist and conservationist David Shepherd CBE FRSA (1931 – 2017) and is now in its 13th year. The competition continues to be an important date in the art calendar.

Proceeds from the Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibition support DSWF’s work to fight wildlife crime, protect endangered species, and engage local communities to protect their native wildlife across Asia and Africa.