First Time SWLA Success for Cambridge Artist Richard Johnson
It was a double case of first time lucky for wildlife artist Richard Johnson, winner of the Hawk and Owl Trust’s 2012 Roger Clarke Award.
His winning watercolour, ‘Hobby in May – Coronation Pit’, was one of five he submitted to the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) for its annual exhibition. They were the first he had ever submitted to the society and to his surprise all five were accepted for this autumn’s exhibition.
And then he won the award, which is made by the Trust in memory of its accountant and scientific adviser, the harrier expert Dr Roger Clarke, who died in 2007. It goes to the work in the annual Society of Wildlife Artists’ exhibition “which best depicts Birds of Prey and their place in our Lives and Landscape”.
This year’s award was presented to Richard by the ecologist and wildlife broadcaster Mike Dilger when he opened the SWLA’s 49th exhibition, The Natural Eye, on 31 October. The exhibition continues at the Mall Galleries in London SW1 until11 November, 10am to 5pm daily.
Richard, who hails from Newcastle but now lives in Cambridge, is also an illustrator of books, particularly field guides. Birds are his main subjects. It was while visiting Coronation Pit in Bedfordshire – which once supplied clay to a brickworks of the same name – in search of a red footed falcon that had been reported there that he came across the hobby depicted in his award-winning painting.