Wildlife Artist – Acrylic on Clay Coated Board
James Hough has combined a deep passion for wildlife and the environment with another of his life long interests, Fine Arts. It was inevitable that these two passions would someday combine to produce a very rewarding career. Bird life is of particular interest to James, and it has been a natural progression to combine his knowledge of birds and their environment with his art skills. His artworks extend to paintings of other Australian Mammals and wildlife as well as International wildlife. His artwork reflects the deep respect he has for the natural environment and a desire to educate all to reverse its alarming destruction.
Born in the Australian sea side city of Newcastle, New South Wales, James grew up admiring native birds on the family property at Wingham on the banks of the Manning River. He now lives near Maitland New South Wales with his wife and two sons and continues to visit the family property that has given him so much inspiration. James has never undertaken any formal art studies or training and takes pride in the fact that he is completely self taught.
Each of his subjects is thoroughly researched, aided by all his own resource material from sketches to photography. The final composition may be components of many sketches and photographic images collected on walks and visits to many of Australia’s National Parks and bush land reserves. A considerable amount of thought and research is combined to ensure that each work is as accurate and pleasing to the eye as it can be. Each new work is begun by collecting as much resource material from his own photographic records and sketches and confirming the particular bird’s habitat in various written publications. He more often than not visits the bird’s habitat to get a feel for its environment and so incorporate some of the landscape of its surrounds in the final image. He returns to his studio with collections of objects found in nature, branches, lichens, leaves, blossom, and gum nuts. ”Everywhere I go I carry a camera, a tripod, and a notebook to capture some of those most unique moments in nature. Whilst painting each work my mind disappears into the deep gullies or rainforest canopies where I collected the resource material”.
The beginning of a new work is generally an idea or a recollection of a fleeting glimpse of a particular bird in the wild. ”To be able to capture this moment in the animals life and to share the image with others is very rewarding. I love being able to play with light, to highlight a subject’s gesture, or to recreate the atmosphere of the wild environment. I have been asked, why do you go to all the trouble to paint a bird like that when you could easily hang one of your photos? My answer, the original work of an artist depicts far more than a photo can ever portray. A part of the artist’s impression is captured in the subject, the mood, the light, a story, or the essence of a native bird” can all be manipulated to satisfy the artists will”.
James exhibits in numerous exhibitions throughout Australia during the year. He is a member of Kevin Hills Top Ten Australian Artists and exhibits at numerous exhibitions across Australia each year. His work is also on display at one of Australia’s leading galleries the Morpeth Gallery in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales and Articles Gallery Stanwell Park New South Wales.
He is a member of the Romantics fine art. A group of five top Australian artists namely Werner Filipich, Max Mannix , Ian Hansen, and Ramon Ward-Thompson.
He exhibits successfully in other galleries throughout Australia and his work has been published in a number of magazine articles such as The Australian Artist, Hunter Lifestyle, and Australian Birdkeeper. His work is also well represented in many private collections in Australia and around the world.
Jason products New Zealand has a selection of his artworks of Australian Birds presented on a set of placemats and coasters which are being distributed throughout the world.
During 2015 and 2016 James has had two of his works selected for the prestigious Artists for Conservation exhibition in Vancouver Canada alongside many of the worlds top Wildlife Artists. Both years his artworks have been selected to appear in The AFC book and calendar.
This year James took out 3rd place in the International Artist Magazine’s Wildlife Art Prize for his stunning painting ‘Fruitful Ground’.