Wildlife Sculptor and Painter
The artist doing research on elephant in Botswana
“It has never been my intention to merely portray realistic interpretations of the wild, but rather to give the viewer a glimpse into the emotions of the animals that I paint, draw and sculpt.”
Alan Ainslie has established himself as a wildlife artist adept at capturing the untamed spirit of Africa in his drawings, paintings and sculptures. His portrayal of the wildlife of the African savannas gives us an insight into their world in the most striking style.
He has a passion for the African wilderness, where he spends as much time as possible to obtain inspiration and reference material for his art. His travels to remote areas of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Tanzania and South Africa have deepened his appreciation and understanding of the wild creatures that he paints and sculpts. He has authored his own book, To Touch Nature. This beautifully illustrated coffee-table book features his travels and works, showing how his art has evolved and changed over his career that spans 30-odd years.
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Although my paintings are realistic depictions of wild animals in their natural environment, I have, through techniques, textures and composition, created my own interpretation of what nature has presented me with. I visualise a scene in my mind, find the appropriate photographic material as a reference point, and then apply this to my new piece. Therefore, my paintings are not just blatant “copies” of the wild, but rather an extension of my creative imagination – an artistic interpretation of the wilderness.
For me, sculpting is the ultimate expression in art – the three-dimensional interpretation of the subject matter. Capturing movement, combined with textured surfaces, style and composition, is foremost in my mind when sculpting. The piece must capture the very essence of the animal. This is the ultimate challenge for an artist. My latest works endeavour to make the animals seem as if they are suspended in the air, thus “freeing” them from their basis.
The use of colour, which seems to have dominated my work in the past, has been replaced by black and white to a large extent. Charcoal and graphite, often combined with hand-embossing, have become the mediums I love most and find the most challenging and rewarding. I continuously seek new avenues through technique and composition – black and white, as well as sepia drawings provide the perfect platform for this.
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