Get Creative Outdoors is a campaign and festival that invites people to try something creative in the open air. It’s supported by the BBC and a dynamic group of cultural and environmental organisations from across the UK, and runs from July to September 2021.

Last Chance to Paint
UK Wildlife

971 (13%) of the 7615 species found in England, that have been assessed, are currently threatened with extinction from Great Britain
UK wildlife plays a vital role in the maintenance of soil health, pollination, and other essential ecosystem services on which we all rely.

 

Wildlife around the world is under threat due to human actions, including habitat destruction, pollution, human-wildlife conflict, a growing population and climate change.

 

We are encouraging you to go outside into your garden, park, beach or local nature reserve and see what wildlife you can see and paint. Be it common or rare, each individual is helping to maintain the environment for the benefit of us all.

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“I love painting seagulls, they are so fun, quirky, comical and add a sense of scale and space to my paintings. I paint the essence of the seagull, the basic elements and celebrate nature in this way. Herring gulls are fantastic birds and have quite a reputation, but did you know that their nesting sites have disappeared, our seas have been depleted of fish, and food sources have dwindled. These gulls, once so ubiquitous, so noisily present, are now on the Red List of threatened species” 

 

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John Dyer

We want children and adults to go outside and get creative by painting UK wildlife.

Why?
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Where & What do I paint?

We spend a lot of time talking about rainforests, oceans, plastic waste, climate change and biodiversity loss and it can all seem rather remote and potentially disconnected to the United Kingdom, but sadly the state of our own wildlife and natural habit is in crisis too. We want to celebrate what we still have and to encourage you all to engage with the issues at home as well as abroad. Many of our species are now endangered with many on the red list.

Red is the highest regional conservation priority, with species needing urgent action.

  • Species is globally threatened.

  • Historical population decline in UK during 1800–1995.

  • Severe (at least 50%) decline in UK breeding population over last 25 years, or longer-term period (the entire period used for assessments since the first Birds of Conservation Concern review, starting in 1969).

  • Severe (at least 50%) contraction of UK breeding range over last 25 years, or the longer-term period.

 

Everywhere! Wildlife is all around us, you can spot insects, birds and butterflies and study them wherever you are. If you have driven anywhere recently you might have noticed how few insects there are nowadays on the car's windscreen in the summer, insects are in crisis and this risks breaking the food chain. We need to really start to respond to the climate and biodiversity crisis in our own back yard and this 'Get Creative' activity aims to raise awareness by focusing on our amazing wildlife. You can paint from life or from photographs. The animals and birds we have listed above are some great examples you could study, draw and paint.

John Dyer's Top Art Tips

"You can do a beautiful study drawing or painting, but you can also do as I do and aim to capture the essence of your subject within its habitat. Look at the main elements that really define your subject, I have managed to really simplify seagulls and I take this approach with all the wildlife I paint. In the painting below 'Sea Holly and Skylarks, Holywell Bay' I have included a lot of wildlife that I love, seagulls, skylarks, moths and butterflies. All of this is set within the theatre of the landscape. This is my approach to creating art that not only represents what my subject looks like, but what I feel about it too."
John Dyer.

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Watch a short video of John painting a pair of macaws, as part of Born Free’s first school webinar, to give you an idea how he builds his paintings. Starting with the background, then adding the main blocks of colour and finally adding in the details – allowing the painting to dry between each layer.​

"There is an innocence and freshness to John Dyer's art that follows a tradition in Cornwall that includes the work of Alfred Wallis, Christopher Wood, Fred Yates and Bryan Pearce. Rather than trying to record what he sees, John sets out to capture the 'essence' of his subject. The 'essence' of seagulls, cats, dogs, bobbing boats, or exploding fireworks communicate far more strongly through John's brushstrokes than they would if drawn more traditionally." Director of Falmouth Art Gallery.

Share your Art

Let's show the world your art and your connection to the natural world. Please post your finished paintings on social media for the world to see and link us in so we can share your creations too.

Born Free

Facebook: @bornfreefoundation
Twitter: @BornFreeFDN

Instagram: @bornfreefoundation

Last Chance to Paint

Facebook: @lastchancetopaint

Twitter: @lastchancepaint

Instagram: @lastchancetopaint