Reviews - Lines from Nature

Lines from Nature book cover"I don’t see how anyone could be anything other than delighted and enthralled as they browse through this book – it’s absolutely wonderful!"

The June edition of British Birds carried a review by Alan Harris of Lines from Nature.

 

This book is a collection of images by well-known wildlife artist John Busby, from across his working life and accompanied by his own narrative. It’s a bit of a travelogue in celebration of his work as he takes us to places and times where inspiration grabbed him, be it the Bass Rock and its Northern Gannets, or Tigers in India. There is not much text devoted to technique or about drawing – the work pretty much speaks for itself – but reminiscences of places and times, notes on observations and motivations.

John Busby needs no introduction. His fresh, vibrant artwork inspired a whole generation of artists to emulate his discipline of close observation and drawing from life.

A book review by Andy Stoddart on the Rare Bird Alert website

This latest book (the 36th) from the Langford Press Wildlife Art Series showcases a wide variety of Busby’s work. The range of subjects is wide, including habitats (sea cliffs, shorelines and rock pools), places (India, Kimberley and the Alps) and species (raptors, mammals, grebes and cranes). All are captured swiftly and confidently with bold lines and marks, the result deceptively simple but revealing a well-practised harmony between eye, brain and hand. They are drawn ‘as seen’ with no intrusion of prior knowledge and possess as a result a characteristic immediacy, defining not just a species or a place but a moment. This is drawing as a means of seeing.

Some paintings comprise just a few marks but capture nonetheless the fleeting moment of tension or movement... see link for full review

Lines from Nature book cover

The August 2016 edition of BBC Wildlife Magazine carried a six page article about Lines from Nature showcasing selected highlights from the book.

Arguably among the most influential British wildlife artists of the post-war period thanks to his bestselling books, John Busby had a gift for capturing the essence of a species with just a few lines, marks or washes. Fellow artist Darren Woodhead writes that Busby's drawings and paintings "live and breathe the magic of their subject. His gannets soar and hang, stall and drift again, riding the currents of air as lightly as the pencil glides. How beautifully his young foxes leap... how deftly the hand of the artist suggests the feathers and down of a barn owl."

Busby mostly portrayed British wildlife, but he also travelled widely, and was equally happy sketching the sun-baked wilds of The Kimberley in Australia and Eleanora's falcons in the sky over Crete. He was a founder of the Society of Wildlife Artists, and his spirit lives on in the organisation's unmissable annual show held in London at the end of October. Visit the SWLA website for details of this year's exhibition.

Lines from Nature book cover"Busby’s curiosity about and delight in the natural world jump from every page of this book. Each picture captures an energy so much more vivid than many photographs."

A recent SOC magazine carried a review by Mark Boyd of Lines from Nature.

SOC - Scotland's Bird Club

John Busby was widely recognised as a master of art, within professional art circles and among birdwatchers and naturalists. Among the birding world, he was probably most famous for his beautifully evocative line drawings and watercolours that spoke of intense field observation, but John himself used to say he was most comfortable with his oil paintings. This magnificent book, the content of which John delivered to the publisher only weeks before he died, shows his accomplishments in both arenas. To think of Busby as a bird artist alone would belittle him and his art, but not to acknowledge the way his wildlife drawings spoke to naturalists would also be a mistake.

Busby’s curiosity about and delight in the natural world jump from every page of this book. Each picture captures an energy so much more vivid than many photographs. His pictures are realistic in that they distil the essence of the creature or scene, emphasising energetic tensions, colour relations and compositions in ways that not only tell of his rigorous academic training, but of his love for the subject.