"Last chance to paint aims to make lasting and positive connections, through art, between children and the natural world."
Coming soon to your school and home with the Eden Project's artist in residence John Dyer and learning scientist Dr David Ashe

What is 'Last Chance to Paint' all about?

We all know that our planet is in trouble. Species are becoming extinct, the coral is dying, the oceans are full of plastic and the forests (the lungs of the planet) are being destroyed – so what can we do about it? We can give up using our plastic straws and, perhaps use a reusable coffee cup instead of accepting a disposable one; but, will that make enough of a difference? John and David believe that the solution will rely on the next generation – their children and (hopefully, one day) their grandchildren. For the children of the world to solve the crisis, they need to understand what is going on – not just at a conceptual level but at a deep and personal level that may encourage the future CEOs and business leaders to think carefully about the decisions they will make. John’s art is inspiring and uplifting. David’s research points to helping students make real and lasting connections with their knowledge. Modern technology and digital tools enable students from all over the planet to travel with David and John to make these essential connections with the ecosystems that are being lost. Please join us by getting involved – both personally and by encouraging your children and your schools to find out about what may be their ‘Last Chance’ to paint, discover, learn and personally connect with some of the world’s most amazing, endangered and important environments.
  • "What I particularly like about artist John Dyer is that he takes very serious subjects and handles them with a lightness of touch which makes people not feel they are being preached at or made to feel as if they are guilty as sin or that we are necessarily going to hell in a handcart today, but there is always a slight warning that it might happen tomorrow."

    Sir Tim Smit, KBE.
    Co-founder of the Eden Project, Executive Vice Chair of Eden Project Ltd and Executive Chairman of Eden Project International Ltd.
  • “John is an artist who reaches the parts that many other artists cannot.”

    Alan Titchmarsh, MBE, DL.
  • “John's brave use of colour and broad truthful brushstrokes make a direct hit on the retina.”

    Toyah Willcox
  • "Wonder with a message."

    Dea Birkett
    Founder of Kids in Museums, journalist and writer
  • "John's pictures are all about diversity and bringing out what might pass unseen."

    Carlotte Lusty
    Global Crop Trust
  • "I have always had immense respect for anyone who chooses to take time to interpret our world for us through painting, and feel especially privileged to have hosted such an inspired artist."

    Kim Wilde
  • "John's Spirit of the Rainforest paintings introduced us to a new genre of art."

    Robin Hanbury-Tenison, FRGS, OBE
  • "John's paintings can connect the children to the rainforest. The children are the future."

    Nixiwaka Yawanawá
    Amazon Indian from the Yawanawá tribe in Brazil
  • "The natural world is in danger and climate change is a real threat. Let’s take this last chance to change direction and harness the fun and engagement of art, dovetail it with science, and inspire our children to do better than we have done."

    John Dyer, FRGS
    Artist in residence for the Eden Project
  • "We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the destruction of life on the planet. It is, perhaps, our duty to equip the next generation with both the tools and the motivation to be able to make a real difference"

    Dr David Ashe
    Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation at the University of Sydney

Register your interest with us

Would you like your class or child to be able to ask questions, get involved, create art and make life long connections to the natural world? If so please email us now so that we can let you know when the first project goes live. Join John Dyer’s next painting adventure using the power of technology. Inspire the next generation.

Who are John and David and why do they make a great team?

  • John Dyer has been the artist in residence at the Eden Project in the UK from the year 2000 to the present day. He was made a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society by the world’s greatest explorer of the 20th century Robin Hanbury-Tenison. He is one of Cornwall’s best known and acclaimed contemporary painters and has been appointed as the artist in residence for many organisations, celebrities and events around the world.

    In 2009 John was made the artist in residence for the ‘Darwin 200’ celebrations and did a series of work in the Zoo as well as overseas in Peru. John is the UK’s leading ethnobotanical artist and has painted the world’s three main staple food harvests for the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), including rice in the Philippines for the United Nations year of rice, potatoes in Peru for the United Nations year of the potato and the banana and cacao harvest in Costa Rica.

    In 2018 John was honoured with a major retrospective exhibition of his work at Falmouth Art Gallery in Cornwall, part funded by the Arts Council. As part of his retrospective the book, ‘Painting the Colours of the World’ was commissioned. The book details the artist’s life and work including all of his environmental projects and paintings.

    In the words of Alan Titchmarsh: “John is an artist who reaches the parts that many other artists cannot.”

    And singer Toyah Willcox adds:
    “John’s brave use of colour and broad truthful brushstrokes make a direct hit on the retina.”

    John’s most recent community art project work has been with the Eden Project, Survival International and Nixiwaka Yawanawá, an indian from the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. The ‘Spirit of the Rainforest’ project engaged well over 1000 children from all over the world to connect with tribal culture through art.

  • David Ashe is a technologist and educator. Trained as a Mathematics teacher, David has taught at Primary, Secondary, FE and University levels. After working with a number of technology companies, including Apple Computer, he returned to University to write a PhD which investigated the ways individuals (focusing on Upper-Primary and Lower-Secondary school students) learn and how personal connections can enable deeper understanding. David describes himself as a ‘Learning Scientist’; that is, someone who is constantly learning and someone who continues to research how people learn.

    Over the past 7 years, David has conducted ‘Continued Professional Development’ courses for in-service teachers; here are what some schools/teachers have said about the courses:

    • “The workshop was extremely worthwhile. I now need to regularly implement what we have learnt”
    • “Fantastic link between research and practical uses. Lots of ideas presented in a short time. David was a great presenter – entertaining, enthusiastic and extremely knowledgable. Thank you for a great day.”
    • “Very engaging and made the theory component accessible and relevant to the practical.”
    • “Extremely worthwhile… Thank you so much for opening my eyes.”
    • “The whole workshop was engaging and very worthwhile. I finished the day with a much clearer understanding… One of the best Professional Learning sessions I have ever attended.”
    • “I found it interesting to learn what the research has concluded,,. I found this workshop to be very beneficial.”
    • “Just wanted to thank you for organising David Ashe last week. He was so inspiring and motivating … The session has been the talk of the school for the last few days! He is a great presenter. I completed a school survey during our admin meeting today and have received very positive results and over 95% of teachers want him back again next year!!”

    David is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, has worked with The Teacher Enrichment Academy and will be presenting his latest research paper at The International Conference of the Learning Sciences in June 2018.

    Further details about David can be found at: Dr David Ashe – Research Fellow

  • David and John have known each other for over 20 years. Their friendship brings with it a connection of the worlds of science and art.

    They have embarked on a number of ‘adventures’ over the years which have included visiting remote places such as the jungle of Costa Rica where they did battle with flora and fauna which, they assumed, was ‘out to get them’. 

    John and David share a common concern about the planet. While both families try to tread lightly and to live in a reasonably sustainable way, they both feel they need to do more. ‘Last Chance to Paint’ brings together their very unique skills. John refers to it as his last chance to paint – and in a very real way this is true – today, the white rhino is about to become extinct, others will follow. David talks about the project being the last chance to experience, to study, to interact and to discover; through John’s art, he hopes to enable people (especially school children), wherever they are, to make personal and deep connections with our fragile ecosystems.

Join us on our journey of discovery Scroll down to see some of the areas that could provide inspiration for 'Last Chance to Paint'.

1. Sea Ice - Arctic and Antarctic

1. Sea Ice - Arctic and Antarctic

The thawing sea ice puts pressure on walruses, polar bears and penguins.

2. Orangutans

2. Orangutans

Loss of habitat and changing weather patterns in Borneo are causing problems.

3. Amazon Rainforest

3. Amazon Rainforest

The rainforest and tribal people are under pressure.

4. Coral Reefs

4. Coral Reefs

Across the world, coral reefs (‘the rainforests of the sea’) are dying.

5. Butterflies, Bees and Crops

5. Butterflies, Bees and Crops

Climate change and habitat destruction puts pressure on pollinators and food crops,

6. People of La Paz, Maldives, Kiribati

6. People of La Paz, Maldives, Kiribati

Water shortages from retreating glaciers in Bolivia; island nations suffer from sea level rise.

7. Sea Turtles

7. Sea Turtles

Rising sea levels and temperature is putting turtles under threat.

8. Pangolins

8. Pangolins

Loss of habitat and poaching is pushing the only scaled mammel to extinction.

9. African ecosystems

9. African ecosystems

Plants and animals are struggling; glaciers are retreating on Mt. Kilimanjaro.

10. Galapagos Islands ecosystem

10. Galapagos Islands ecosystem

Water currents could be interrupted, damaging biodiversity.

11. Madagascar

11. Madagascar

Cyclones, powered by climate change, are damaging ecosystems and people.

12. Red Pandas

12. Red Pandas

As the climate changes, red pandas have to adapt and are now vulnerable.

We want you to come with us Join David and John as they travel, ask them questions and experience the adventures

Get in touch to find out how you can be part of 'Last Chance to Paint'

The first three 'Last Chance to Paint' projects are...

Precious Africa

Northern white rhino

Spirit of the Rainforest

The Amazon Yawanawá tribe

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Last Chance to Paint News

Lots of little changes in the way we live can make a big difference to the world and our future