Saving England's most threatened species from extinction

Art of Saving Species – Guest Curator – Jess Pugh

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JESS PUGH

Profile

Personally, I have lots of interests including art and nature. I have always enjoyed creating artwork and I find that drawing or painting a natural scene helps me appreciate the complex and beautiful world that we live in. My adoration of this world is what makes me want to protect it so much hence why I wanted to make somewhat of a difference. As a member of the RSPB youth council, I can start to make the difference I want to see which fills me with lots of hope.

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Walking Art Painting

I selected this piece of art because I love the abstract brush strokes which are layered with the pencil work. The colours in the picture really drew my eye to the piece and it also feels like a view that everyone can relate to.

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Natural Inks Postcard

I really like the abstract style of this piece as well as the medium and colour choices. It is very eye-catching and modern.

Detail of fissured wood of an ancient oak tree, Moccas Park National Nature Reserve, Herefordshire, England

 

Ancient Tree Texture - Neil Aldridge

This piece was impossible to miss with the sharp contrast created by the gnarls in the wood.

Fly Orchid (Ophrys insectifera) growing in woodland clearing, Rockingham Forest, Northamptonshire. 'Roots of Rockingham', a Back from the Brink project site. Photographed in the field against a white background.

 

Fly Orchid - Alex Hyde

The contrast of the red orchid flowers and the green leaves pull you in to this image as well as the different textures of the plant. My eyes couldn’t stop wandering around the image and exploring new parts of it!

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Natural Inks Postcard

I love the watercolour work on this image as well as the colours chosen. It has a simplistic charm.

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Handmade Paper Artwork

This piece is very vibrant with the different textures and colours that pop out of the piece. Although it seems more basic, it really stands out.

Narrow-fruited Cornsalad (Valerianella dentata). Fivehead Arable Fields nature reserve, managed by the Somerset Widlife Trust. This site has one of the most important assemblages of rare arable weeds in Britain. Back from the Brink 'Colour in the Margins' project. Somerset, UK. June. Photographed against a white background in mobile field studio.

 

Narrow-fruited Corn Salad - Alex Hyde

I love how the artist captured the delicate petals of the flowers whilst also incorporating the sturdiness of the stems. It looks similar to old herbal drawings with the focus of the image solely on the plant.

Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) photographed on a white background in mobile field studio.

 

Barberry Plant - Alex Hyde

The colours really pop out of this image making it very attractive. The layout also makes sure that your attention is only focused on the plant.

Creative Q & A

It would be great to hear about your experience of wildlife and biodiversity through creativity, for example, do you connect to nature through a creative outlet and have you got an early memory of nature in books, film, poetry that you can think back to having had an influence on you? How about now?

As a child my parents would often take my brother and I out to the Lake District where we would go for walks and often enjoy the abundance of nature there. Overtime, my love for nature has only increased and I often enjoy taking photos or sketching natural objects. It was the close and constant connection to nature as a child that has enabled me to continue to appreciate it now.

How can creativity and painting, drawing, poetry etc., make nature, enjoying wildlife and understanding the big issues more inclusive and diverse?

Although some people do not live close to areas rich in nature, they can still experience it through artwork. I guess this has been true since people began creating artwork as it was a way to record moments in time so that other people could also enjoy them. Art can reach everyone as all civilisations have developed a form of art to retell stories of ancestors, therefore it is a special way of expressing emotions and memories to other people.

Do you think our efforts to reach people through creative workshops and events are positive initiatives? Why?

I think the idea of reaching out to more people through the arts is a fantastic way of giving other people the chance to appreciate and connect to nature. Creating artwork enables the artist to express their personal emotions and feelings and at the end they are left with something that represents all the effort they put in to create the artwork. Giving people the chance to explore their own personal connection to nature could help inspire them to enjoy nature more and this inspiration may flow to others through their artwork.

Art and artists often express social issues through art. Nature has long been connected to art and the earliest forms of art depict wild animals. There are examples now, but do you think there is a bigger role for art and artists in raising the profile of biodiversity loss? If so, what might that look like? Do you think this varies across communities and cultures; and why aren’t there more artists working to highlight environmental issues?

I think that with the development of technology it has reduced the reliance on art to share places and people, however it cannot replace the more personal connection that art creates. I think artists could help reach out to more people as art expresses more than just an image. I think art could help bring nature back into places where people have been cut off from their natural connection. Art could act as a reminder that humans are a part of the natural world and that we do not own the world; we share it.

Back from the Brink is an England-wide collaborative partnership programme of major conservation organisations, landowners and farmers – what are you views on collaboration nationally and internationally?

Collaboration both national and international is vital to help us restore our planet. One person cannot make the changes that the world needs but everyone working together will enable us to change. Humans are relatively weak on their own but are powerful when connected. When people have wanted change, it has only been made possible when people have come together and agreed that change is needed. Martin Luther King Jr. achieved uniting people which then led to change.

 

Jess Pugh

RSPB - Youth Council Member

 

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