Tengmalm's Owl, Finland, Watercolour, 58 x 89 cm
Tengmalm's Owl, Finland, Watercolour, 58 x 89 cm

Federico Gemma

Federico Gemma is an Italian wildlife artist and illustrator based in Rome. Graduated in Biological Sciences in Rome University He is a self-taught artist. He was elected full membership of the SWLA in 2012. His painting Black Grouse display was awarded the Birdwatch Artist of the Year at the Natural Eye Exhibiton in 2012 and Whinchat watercolour was awarded the RSPB Award 2014. In 2013 he won the Langford Field Sketches Award with his sketchbooks.

His favourite subjects are birds and mammals but also landscapes, trees and old rural homes. He mostly uses watercolour, a technique which he loves for the brightness and transparency of the colour. Its capacity for rapid execution makes it also ideal to use in the field. He regularly holds drawing and watercolour classes.

In 2016 Federico made illustrations for a set of Royal Mail Special Stamps featuring ten species of songbirds. In 2015 he was involved in the BTO Flight Lines project — a joint initiative with the SWLA.

He was invited to take part in an art project for the preservation of the natural environment of the Seychelles and for a similar project in the region of Kuusamo, Finland.

He has illustrated several books including:

  • A Guide to the Mammals of China edited by Andrew T. Smith &Yan Xie and published by Princeton University Press.
  • Isola del Giglio, Isola di Giannutri, and Isola d’Elba - Tuscan Archipelago sketchbooks published by EDT and ArcipelagoToscano National Park.

Federico has also made illustrations for national and international magazines including Focus, BBC Wildlife Magazine, La Salamandre and Traveller Condé Nast Italian Edition.

Whenever I can, I take notes on the field always carrying with me a sketchbook, a pencil and watercolours. I believe life drawing is a fundamental process and an irreplaceable tool to observe and fix on the paper instants and ideas. Some of these sketches then become watercolours and finished paintings, others stay as they are, enduring memory of travels and sightings.’

Images from around this site by Federico: