BUSBY, John: ‘My Art’

The local wildlife artist, John Busby, died in 2015. He was a talented bird artist and his works are now in public galleries and in private collections.   In his book, ‘Drawing Birds’ (2004) published by Christopher Helm and the RSPB, John Busby wrote about his instinctive approach to painting bird life (pp.18-20).


‘A language of ideas’

” Openness to the wider world of art is as essential to growth in pictorial imagination, as the experience of living birds is vital to understanding your subject matter. The choice facing those who aspire to draw and paint birds today is whether to fall back on past images, and to copy accepted styles of conventional often market-driven wildlife art, or go direct to nature and respond to living birds.”

John Busby. Owl

” My choice was made long ago, when in my early teens an enlightened great art gave me a copy of  R.B. Talbot Kelly’s ‘The Way of Birds’. This artist, and Eric Ennion, whom I met while a student at Edinburgh, opened a window into a new passionate reality after the stuffy plates of my earlier bird books and confirmed my choice to go live.”

” Too many wildlife artists shut their eyes to the wider world of art, and then complain that their own work, which may ignore the aesthetic and emotional energies that are the lifeblood of art, is not admitted into the same league. Knowledge of subject matter is not enough. Art is a synthesis; is a unity of ideas and the means to express them… To copy nature without resolving our own thoughts and feelings is a barren experience.”

John Busby cranes“In much truly ethnic art made by people who live in everyday contact with nature, we find images that express the ‘spirit’ of the bird, rather than describe physical attributes … similarly, in the work of children there is often a directness that has an emotional charge, heightened rather than impeded by lack of sophisticated technique. ”

John Busby book cover 001

“Drawing Birds is mainly about drawing the most immediate and fundamental language of artists in any medium – a language of ideas.”

 You can read more about John Busby at http://www.notjusthockney.info/busby-john-2/

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