• Published on Thursday, 12 May 2022
  • | SWLA News

The Natural Eye Bursary 2022

The Society of Wildlife Artists are pleased to announce that applications are now open for The Natural Eye Bursary 2022. Awards of up to £750 are available to artists submitting exceptional proposals to carry out independent projects that focus on wildlife as a main subject. 

The Natural Eye Bursary aims to create opportunities for artists to make work about a wildlife subject that inspires them. in the spirit of the SWLA, successful bursaries in the past have developed around observations of wildlife drawn, made, painted or printed from life in its habitats. Some bursary artists have made projects that document the exploration of whole environments and the wildlife they encounter, such as 2021 bursary winner Adrien Brun. Others have experimented with ways of using the creative process to reveal insight into the natural history of a single species recorded over lengthy periods of observation and drawing in the field. Bursary artist Ibby Lanfear, took one such view whilst documenting the life cycle of a barn owl family over the course of a year. Her holistic approach involved recording her observations through a vocabulary of special marks drawn with media made from materials foraged from the owls’ habitat.

  Adrien Brun, Drawing in the field (left) & Ibby Lanfear, Studio bench (right)
Adrien Brun, Drawing in the field (left) & Ibby Lanfear, Studio bench (right)

Artist’s can also propose to use The Natural Eye Bursary to support them in developing their practice through learning new skills based around wildlife art. This could include training through an art course or access to specialist studios and workshops that will enable a wildlife art project to be realised. Bursary winner Georgina Coburn joined Highland Print Studio during her proposed project, where she learnt skills that enabled her to transform her drawings of local wildlife into expressive printmaking using stone lithography, displayed during The Natural Eye Exhibition 2021.

the most successful Natural Eye bursary proposals will be ones that promise to tell a story; perhaps of exploration, experimentation or discovery, to do with the wildlife subject, but also the development of the artist’s own practice.

As these example projects demonstrate, the most successful Natural Eye bursary proposals will be ones that promise to tell a story; perhaps of exploration, experimentation or discovery, to do with the wildlife subject, but also the development of the artist’s own practice.

Bursary artwork can be made in any fine art medium; drawing, sculpture, painting, printmaking, online journals, artist’s book-works, animation and installation have all been employed by past winners. The SWLA will also consider projects that use digital media within a fine art practice, however pure wildlife photography and film making is inadmissible and won’t be considered by the selectors. A selected work or works from the bursary will be displayed at the Mall Galleries during The Natural Eye exhibition and a report of the project will be published on the SWLA website. 

  Bursary work at The Natural Eye 2021 (left) & Georgina Coburn, display of bursary work (right)
Bursary work at The Natural Eye 2021 (left) & Georgina Coburn, display of bursary work (right)

To apply for The Natural Eye Bursary you must be aged 18 or over. Please read the guidelines and view past bursary winners’ reports before filling out the online application form. The application is based on a written proposal that should give a good outline of your project, supported by a maximum of seven example images of your work. Deadline for applications is 18th September 2022.