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Steve Morvell Wildlife Art Group
 
 
'Putting both the 'wild' and the 'life' back into animal art'
 

2016 Wild Awards…..Wildlife Art Society of Australasia.
Gold Medal award for Best Exhibit.

'Grand Elder Statesman, African Bull Elephant',  
Respected Judge, Colin Johnson’s comments : “Grand is the word that perfectly describes this work from the point of view of composition and execution.  I find the strength of the subject matter perfectly in tune with the energy of application.  Strokes and gestures range from the subtle and soft to the bold and vigorous.  Steve Morvell has captured a sense of movement as well as an expression of great sadness and age. The broken tusks and wrinkled hide give added meaning and expression to the work.   It is a powerful and majestic work of great feeling by an artist who has totally mastered his medium.”

High Commendation Award
‘Just passing through – great egret’

The Wild Awards are only held every two years and attract entries from all over Australia. Steve’s art was doubly honoured this year by being awarded the Gold Medal for Best Exhibit and also a High Commendation.
Steve says “It is always an honour to exhibit with WASA and with the many other great artists who understand the position of wildlife as an increasingly important focus for artistic expression. If painting wildlife can gain us access to people’s hearts we stand a better chance of looking after the creatures with whom we share this planet. After all the very first art ever created was of wildlife on cave walls and that intrinsic and vital connection was then taken for granted. In these days of increasing disconnection from nature we need more than ever to get back to that nature where we can truly connect our hearts and our little blue planet.”

 

Stevew Morvell Honorable Mention in the Animal/Wildlife category (juried by Mike Beeman) of the 17th Annual Pastel 100 Competition17th Annual Pastel 100 Competition

YAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!!!!.....This award is made all the more important to me knowing my painting of this remarkable and little known bird will now go around the world and hopefully raise awareness of their incredible beauty and value in that whole great thing we call a biosphere smile emoticon

Dear Steve:
Congratulations! Your pastel painting, ‘A Question of Trust - gang gang cockatoo’ has won an Honorable Mention in the Animal/Wildlife category (juried by Mike Beeman) of the 17th Annual Pastel 100 Competition. An image of your winning painting is slated to appear in the April 2016 issue of Pastel Journal. Your achievement is well-deserved and stands out among approximately 2,300 entries.

 

Kudu - selected to be one of the 85 live exhibits from 80 artists worldwide.

Artists for Conservation
The kudu have been selected to be one of the 85 live exhibits from 80 artists worldwide . The exhibition begins as follows in Canada with the USA tour to follow after that .....(very exciting). Both the kudu and the panda have also been selected to feature in the 2015 hard back book of the AFC art which will be available worldwide.

Here's a quick summary of results:

  • Live Exhibit: 85 Artworks by 80 Artists
  • Virtual Exhibit: 200 artworks by 145 artists
  • Geographic Representation 15 countries (Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Guatemala, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, South Africa, The Netherlands, UK, USA)

Thank you to our jurors for their generous contribution of time and expertise toward making the 2015 exhibit another very strong one. Jurors in this year's exhibit included:

  • John Banovich - Artist and AFC Member (USA);
  • Steve Morvell - Artist and AFC Member (Australia);
  • Murray Phillips - Artist and AFC Board Member (Canada);
  • Holly Swangstu - Art Institute Director, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (USA); 
  • Debra Usher - Publisher & Editor in Chief, Arabella Magazine (Canada)

2015 Artists for Conservation Festival - link
Fairmont Waterfront (Expo & Gala)
Vancouver, BC | Sept 10 - 12, 2015

 

‘Sacred space’ completed
At long last the worst kept secret in my life is out.
The gigantic commissioned charcoal engraving of an African elephant family has been completed and installed in its magnificent new home. Entitled ‘Sacred space – African elephants’ the huge work took 3 months of solid slog to bring to life…and this does not take into account the journey and time spent in Tanzania researching the subject matter.

The days, weeks and months I worked on this piece were both a joy (and like most good art) terribly taxing on my mind and body. The sheer scale demanded a type of physicality not always encountered in traditional wildlife art. But the vision I needed to create was informed and empowered by my time spent with the elephants themselves in Tanzania.so in the final analysis it simply HAD to come into existence….I owed it to the elephants…. and I owed it to Ben and Alice my marvellous, trusting clients who had enough faith in me to come up with the goods. And here come the goods now….out of that huge furniture trailer.
.

In the front door and it suddenly dawns on my clients just what they have gotten themselves into.
Hint….it’s very big and it’s very heavy!!


Up goes the scaffold………..all of the neighbours and friends join the fray!


My partner Christine and client Alice look on with some trepidation as Ben adds another section of scaffolding!!

I did tell you it is big guys J!!!!


My client Ben .looks impressed (or is it slightly overwhelmed?) at the scale and also the difficulty anticipated in the heavy lift up to where the artwork is to hang.


And now the final lift and settling the work onto its special hanging rails.

And finally….after all those months of planning and anticipation it has arrived. ‘Sacred space – African elephants’ is installed in its forever home and I can relax on the mezzanine viewing area.

Steve’s trip to study China’s giant pandas

ABC Ballarat - Wild art... and stories
By Margaret Burin

He's rolled around bamboo forests with giant pandas, stared deep into the eyes of large endangered lions and fled from a gigantic charging African elephant. Ballarat-based artist Steve Morvell gets to know his subjects.
To see article and play interview: ABC Ballarat

Hear Interview:
MP3

WILD AUSTRALIA with Steve Morvell
Australian Artist Magazine feature
Travelling to other countries in search of wild experiences and wonderful creatures has taught me much….and some of it a little unexpected. Living as I do in Victoria’s Grampians National Park you might think I would be well aware of the beauty and uniqueness of Australian wildlife. After all I used to be a park ranger and have been a professional wildlife artist for over 30 years! My wildlife obsession pre dates even that and goes back to early childhood yet sometimes I need distance to get perspective and travelling to wild places in China, Nepal and Africa has given me that perspective. But as they say there is no place like home and when it comes to critters you really have to go a very long way to beat the extraordinary nature of this ancient and weathered land which we know fondly as Oz. Sadly the magnificent animals of Australia have been largely ignored as an art genre. And although Oz is home to several of the world’s most highly regarded wildlife artists, doyens of the art establishment here have consistently turned an indifferent eye away from the visual celebration of beauty which is Australian Wildlife Art. Happily for us the world at large is much more in love with the animals and art of Australia than we are and consequently much of our wildlife art ends up in overseas collections. My motives in painting and drawing wild animals are simple enough. I believe we spring from this earth and thus owe her something in return. It is my goal to raise awareness of the beauty and fragility of wildlife and the habitats in which we co-exist. So much of our populations now live in big cities that our intrinsic connections to nature have atrophied at an alarming rate. We lose that link at our own peril. As Paul Watson from Sea Shepherd said recently… “Earthworms do not need humans to survive but we ourselves would quickly perish without simple earthworms” At a very basic level my art just reflects what is going on around me and what I see as important.

Steve Morvell Wildlife Artist.  ‘Talking point-emus’ 50 x 122cm Charcoal engraving - drawing on board.
‘Talking point-emus’  50 x 122cm  Charcoal engraving - drawing on board.
Sharing my life with 4 emu chicks was a blessing to me. I have had a fair amount of experience with injured and orphaned wildlife rehabilitation and living in the national park has given me the chance to repair and release many different creatures over the years. But when 4 one day old emu chicks came my way as a result of farm dogs killing the parent bird on his nest I had little idea what I was letting myself in for. Raising emu chicks is a little like having small feathered race horses running around the house! They are just as highly strung and almost as fast. Sometimes my old dog would just give me a pained look and roll his eyes when the stripy little bandits found some new mischief. But zany as they were they were also incredibly trusting and thought of me as their surrogate dad. I learned to love their playful antics and as they grew to adulthood, taking more and more to the surrounding bush I went with them on long rambles learning what berries and plants were good for emus to eat. When they finally returned to a wild existence in the national park life for me seemed a little duller. But I can always remember and art is a great key in bringing that experience to life for others. In this artwork I have focussed on the bond between the four bandits(as young adults)……..pooling the light on their faces and giving you a very private, intimate window into their conversation…..though I am guessing they are probably planning some mischief!
Steve Morvell Wildlife Artist. ‘Dusk-red and western grey kangaroos’ 30 x 60cm Pastel - drawing on Colourfix paper
‘Dusk-red and western grey kangaroos’ 30 x 60cm Pastel - drawing on Colourfix paper
Not everything I paint is so close to home of course and I often take off on extended field trips into the bush. This pastel painting was the end result of a field trip into Sunset Country…the red sand belt bordering the inland corner of Victoria with South Australia and New South Wales. Ancient sea beds laid down millions of years ago have been revealed by millennia of weathering and the resultant starkness is achingly beautiful and especially so at dawn and dusk. Following days of sketching and photographing in 40+ degree heat I found this waterhole and after observing kangaroos coming in to drink at sunset I decided to build myself a hide at the very edge of the water. Here I could sit hidden from view sketching and photographing the creatures who came to slake their thirst as the day began to cool. Seeing two species of kangaroo drinking side by side is a rare event and this pastel painting on Colourfix paper  records a Western grey kangaroo(on the left) drinking peacefully alongside a Red kangaroo. They do not interbreed at all but are apparently content as companions for this fleeting moment as the cool evening shadow begins to push away the hot glow of daytime.
Steve Morvell Wildlife Artist. ‘Golden days-dingos’ 93 x 60cm Pastel - drawing on Colourfix paper
‘Golden days-dingos’  93 x 60cm  Pastel - drawing on Colourfix paper
Once common in this same region, ruthless persecution by farmers has seen the Dingo vanish completely from this fragile ecosystem…only to be replaced by feral dogs which are much larger and often much more destructive…..without the instinctive fear of humans which characterises most dingos. There are two types of dingo…the so called mountain dingo and the desert dingo. The latter tends to be more  rangy with a shorter coat. A relative of the Asian pale footed wolf, the dingo was brought to Australia thousands of years ago by aboriginal people. Since that time dingos have learned to live well in most habitats including the hottest of dry deserts. This pair is snatching a rest before the sun arches into its noonday zenith and becomes too hot to tolerate. As this pastel painting demonstrates well the dingo seems almost a part of the very desert landscape which gives it life. Sometimes its baked golden colour seems to grow right from the sand itself.…..perfect camouflage for a beautifully adapted and ancient canine.
Steve Morvell Wildlife Artist. ‘On the move-red kangaroo’ 38 x 46cm Pastel - drawing on Colourfix paper
‘On the move-red kangaroo’  38 x 46cm  Pastel - drawing on Colourfix paper
Even better adapted to the harsh Australian desert is this awesome male red kangaroo. Standing 2 metres tall, its magnificent colouration is subtle and harmonises so well that often such ‘Old man reds’ remain almost invisible until they stand bolt upright at the approach of a human. Then they appear to materialise out of the very earth itself before blasting away at the speed of a running horse. The hopping gait of the kangaroo is known to be the most energy-efficient form of locomotion for any land mammal and they can maintain it for hour upon hour as they cross the vast inland desert in search of waterholes. As a subject for painting there is none better….allowing me to play with the motion and also the soft blends of warm and cool colours in the big red’s coat. Soft pastel is ideal for such subtlety and the underlying cool grey of the Colourfix paper let me use the warm pastels to greatest advantage.

Steve Morvell Wildlife Artist. ‘Brega-female wedgetailed eagle’ 40 x 51cm Charcoal - Drawing engraving on board
‘Brega-female wedgetailed eagle’   40 x 51cm  Charcoal - Drawing engraving on board
Sketching direct from life is really the best way to learn about any subject but doubly so with wildlife. Since cameras tend to record generalities and not specifics it is in closely studying our subject through sketching that we learn kinaesthetically. This reinforces our learning and tends to stay with us much longer than any slavish adherence to photographs alone.  Many days I have sat in a hide sketching and photographing wild wedgetailed eagles….both young and adult….on the nest and at large in the skies. One of the world’s largest birds of prey ‘Wedgies’ are supreme fliers and very powerful. I have observed a pair of wedgetails even pull down a female kangaroo although more commonly they take much smaller prey or carrion. In this way they help to maintain healthy and clean ecosystems and sheep graziers have now learned to value them for cleaning up the carcasses of dead stock. Thankfully this once heavily hunted and poisoned bird is again common in the skies over many rural areas. As the subject for a charcoal engraving the wedgetail is without peer. This technique gives me real power over light and dark, letting me develop precise and intricate detail where it is needed and this was pivotal in showing this bird’s fierce expression and clarity of eye.
Steve Morvell Wildlife Artist. ‘Startled-young barn owl’ 30 x 46cm Charcoal - Drawing engraving on board
‘Startled-young barn owl’   30 x 46cm  Charcoal - Drawing engraving on board
Further on the subject of light and dark this little barn owl is another charcoal engraving  which demonstrates the tonal power of the medium. I have strongly restricted all detail to the face and immediate plumage so that the viewer’s eye has nowhere else to focus. By pushing the rest of this handsome little bird back into deep shadow I have further highlighted the intimacy and drama of the pose. Minerva is an orphaned female barn owl who was raised and returned to the wild by a very good friend of mine. She adopted him as her surrogate parent and years on still returns to visit him once or twice a year for a free handout of mice. Although barn owls are quite common in rural Australia their soundless flight and nocturnal habit means most people never see them. When they do appear out of darkness these birds are softly silent and ghostly white. Floating weightless on broad muffled wings they seem as ghosts and indeed have long been represented as spirit beings in the traditional art of Australian aborigines.

Steve Morvell Wildlife Artist. ‘A flash of wings-Pacific black duck’ 51 x 37cm Pastel - Drawing on Supertooth paper
‘A flash of wings-Pacific black duck’  51 x 37cm  Pastel - Drawing on Supertooth paper
When it comes to wings there seems little that could beat the beauty of the Pacific black duck. Most people would know the ‘black duck’ from parks and gardens around the cities. They are hardy and adaptable birds and quite ordinary looking until they open out their wings. Then the magnificent metallic speculum feathers are revealed in all their glory. These feathers are usually kept hidden under the wing coverts until the duck displays them in territorial demonstrations….usually after a punch up with some neighbour. Most often they appear unassuming and quite dull but given a reason by another bird they can be quite tyranical and belligerent in defence of their territory. To an artist like me these under rated birds offer a real challenge….. that of how to show their full beauty and true character. The very great naturalist Graham Pizzey once told me he thought the Pacific black duck to be the most under rated bird in Australia and I have to agree. This pastel painting was done on Art  Spectrum’s  Supertooth paper which is a wonderful, robust support. It is neutral in colour and takes heaps of pastel …layer upon layer without ever giving up on the job at hand. Its superb potential for layering allowed me to build up the great depth of colours needed for the water ripples and also the rich sheen of the metallic feathers.
Steve Morvell Wildlife Artist. ‘Autumn glow-sulphur crested cockatoos’ 80 x 58cm Pastel - drawing on Supertooth paper
‘Autumn glow-sulphur crested cockatoos’  80 x 58cm  Pastel - drawing on Supertooth paper
There is a wonderful golden ash tree growing in the garden near our back door. Since we moved to the house just over 12 months ago the local cockatoos have quickly learned we sometimes sprinkle a little seed around. I am constantly stunned by the clean, pure beauty of these avian characters, snowy white against the brilliance of golden deciduous foliage. Their brilliant yellow crests seem especially appropriate in this context. ‘Autumn glow –sulphur crested cockatoos’ depicts two of these birds on their favourite perch, waiting patiently for lunch to arrive. Soft pastel on my favourite Supertooth paper was a great choice for this very difficult subject. The paper took all of the punishment I could dish out and still gave me the brilliance of complimentary cool and warm colours needed to make this painting work.
Steve Morvell Wildlife Artist. ‘Pink bells-red necked wallabies’ 67 x 40cm Pastel - drawing on Supertooth paper
‘Pink bells-red necked wallabies’  67 x 40cm  Pastel - drawing on Supertooth paper
One of my all-time favourite critters is the red necked wallaby. Beautiful and gentle animals which are very common here in the Grampians National Park, they have often been my neighbours …… sometimes even becoming tame enough to share my breakfast muesli on the door step. In this unusual pastel painting I have combined the wallabies with another favourite of mine…the gorgeous bushland plant Pink bells which flowers so profusely in spring….illuminating the eucalypt woodlands with its vibrant colour which is fiendishly difficult to paint as it appears to shift between mauve and pink and back again depending on how you look at it. This painting for me was all about the joy of spring with its gentle richness and suffused light. Happily Art Spectrum’s Supertooth paper gave me plenty of grip to pile on the pigments without which I may not have achieved the effect I was after.
Sitting here typing on my studio deck at Halls Gap, eastern grey kangaroos lay all about me on the grass, basking in the sunshine. I too could easily be lulled into complacency under the gentle autumn sun. Ancient weathered peaks of the Grampians rising up on either side cradle this lush green valley floor. Many birds call from the bush which surrounds this heaven on earth. Ducks cruise on the lake at the bottom of my garden and snowy drifts of improbably white cockatoos chatter as they float up and down on the soft breeze. Yes this is indeed a paradise for any artist and especially so for one who is passionately obsessed with wildlife. This is the land of Australia which gave birth to me and to which I owe my love of animals. It gave rise to the many artists and friends who visit here to share nature’s beauty with me and I feel obligated to give back what I can through sharing that same beauty in my art. Many collectors have taken away my impressions of Australia and they display them happily in countries all around the world. I like to think my paintings are each doing there bit to awaken other people to the magical beauty which nature offers us so freely. It nurtures each of us and brings meaning to our lives….and I for one feel blessed by that understanding.
A much loved teacher of mine at university once told me that whenever I was in doubt I should go to nature. He said nature has all of the answers and many times I have been blessed by this wisdom ….finding my centre time and again in nature. We should all try it…..get out of the suffocating cities. Learn to breathe again and learn to see beyond artificial horizons.

*STEVE MORVELL is a highly acclaimed environmental artist, dedicated to raising human awareness of the beauty and fragility of wildlife and the habitats in which we coexist. A deep need to understand animals on their own terms takes Steve to many wild places around the world researching the creatures of his art. His powerful and evocative work is exhibited internationally, winning many major art awards and hangs in private, public and corporate collections. Steve’s studio/gallery is located at Halls Gap in Victoria’s Grampians National Park. Here he teaches classes and also displays a large range of his original artworks.
Steve also regularly leads tours to other countries and this year in September/ October he and fellow wildlife artist Stephen Powell are conducting two safari adventure tours through Tanzania where people will have the chance to learn and enjoy the amazing kaleidoscope of Africa.

 

STEVE MORVELL
WORLD ACCLAIMED WILDLIFE ARTIST
TO JUDGE KELPIE ART

HOMEGROWN international wildlife artist Steve Morvell will judge the Casterton Kelpie Muster's Acquisitive Art Competition this year.
Steve has painted wildlife and nature scenes all round the world, with his respect for the subject enshrined in every brush stroke.
Now the Halls Gap resident has turned his gaze closer to home out of regard for the bond Australian's have with their own dog – the Kelpie -- by agreeing to judge the Clark Rubber Casterton Kelpie Muster's Acquisitive Art Competition.
In his 32 years as a professional artist and teacher he has been asked to judge many competitions, but he loves Kelpies and like many of us, cried when he read the book Red Dog. And he has painted Kelpies, for a mate, Pyrenees vigneron Simon Austerberry.
"It's the bond I love; that Kelpies form with people," Steve said.
The purpose of the Acquisitive Art Competition is to gather a collection of artworks depicting Kelpies, for display in Casterton. Steve said he is looking forward to seeing the entries and attending the Muster's festival on Saturday June 7.
The world-renowned nature and wildlife artist will be looking for excellence in the art competition entries.
"I will also be looking for personal engagement – the artist has to show themselves in their art work.
"An artist really has to put themselves into their artwork," he said.
"That's why I don't try to paint anything I have’nt met and experienced first hand - I wouldn't even try."
Steve said art is a conversation that has to engage and say something to the viewer.
"It is far more articulate than words can ever be."
He also said an art work has to "stop you in your tracks", like his Timbavati White African charcoal engraving , see http://www.stevemorvell.com/mammals/imgpages/Timbavati_white_African_lion.htm.
As well as the $2000 Acquisitive Art Competition, there is also a local section for artists living in the Glenelg Shire. Art competition entries close on 5th May 2014 and entry forms can be downloaded from http://www.kelpies-casterton.org

Steves Kelpie images

 

The Courier: Ballarat Extra

Steve Morvell wildlife - Nature artist:  Drawing lessons from nature - The Courier Steve Morvell wildlife - Nature artist:  Drawing lessons from nature - The Courier

Click on images above to down load

Drawing lessons from nature | The Courier

3 page feature. Have had some fantastic reactions to the 'conservation conversation' and hope it will get some people truly motivated.

 

 

Steve Morvell Australian Wildlife Artist The Pastel Journal, February 2012 The Pastel Journal, February 2012

Untamed Beauty
By Meredith E. Lewis
Australian artist and animal conservation supporter Steve Morvell travels extensively to observe wildlife and capture it in his artwork.

See: The Pastel Journal
Download Article


Steve Morvell Australian Wildlife Artist The Pastel Journal, February 2012 Steve Morvell Australian Wildlife Artist The Pastel Journal, February 2012

Steve Morvell Australian Wildlife Artist The Pastel Journal, February 2012 Steve Morvell Australian Wildlife Artist The Pastel Journal, February 2012

 

STEVE'S NEWSLETTER:
October 2010 select link: Newsletter

Steve Morvell Australian Wildlife Artist impala pastel painting drawingOn the ground representation in China

First time exhibitor at China's prestigious Shanghai Art Fair in 2006 Steve Morvell quickly became the top selling Australian artist there.

In a country which has taken a public relations beating in recent years China is now beginning to take huge strides forward in conservation with stringent measures being imposed to protect its amazing wildlife. Joining forces with great conservation organisations such as WWF the Chinese government has taken very seriously the need to reach co-operative protection of endemic species.

Wildlife Art as such was virtually unknown to most Chinese until Steve appeared at the Shanghai Art Fair in 2006. Although some animals have always appeared in Chinese paintings they were always as a pictorial element only with symbolic function but the depiction of wildlife for its own sake was mostly unheard of. So staggered by Steve's art were the SAF patrons that he recieved invitations to exhibit everywhere from Tokyo to Beijing and Taiwan.

Beijing Central Art Gallery is a professional gallery offering a very diverse selection of high quality, original oil paintings, watercolours, mixed media, Chinese watercolours, pastel - drawings, charcoal engravings, limited edition prints and fine sculptures by outstanding mainland Chinese and overseas artists. Through the gallery, we work together with, exhibit and promote the creative achievements of established and young emerging artists with great potential; each with their own distinctive style.

Having met with Robert and Keturah Mason of Beijing Central Galleries and Cultural Venue they forged a strong bond and have now signed an agreement which makes BCG Steve's exclusive agent in China and they will represent his art at all shows in which they partcipate everywhere from Hong Kong to New York and Shanghai as well as their Beijing galleries.

 

Read more.......

 
 
Web Manager:
Stephen Powell
 
Steve Morvell
c/o Steve Morvell Wildlife Art - PLEASE NOTE ADDRESS AND PNo CHANGE.
159 Grampians Road
Halls Gap Victoria
Australia 3381
Tel: +61 3 5356 4820
Email: steve@stevemorvell.com