Hi and thanks for visiting. I'm Adam Bowley, an artist from Sussex in England who specialises in bird art, but who also draws and paints other wildlife, nature scenery and sometimes more general themes, especially aircraft (I guess I just love things that fly!). In this page, I'll tell you something about myself and in the Gallery pages you can see some examples of my work.
I was born in West Sussex in 1972 and have been based here my whole life. I began birding on 21st March 1981 with my Dad who was at a loss as to what to do with me on weekends as I couldn’t stand football, even at that young age! So we walked around Swanbourne Lake, Arundel, and I asked him “What’s that little bird?”. He didn’t know so when we got back to his house I dug out his Reader’s Digest Birds of Britain and pored through it until I found what we’d seen – a Goldcrest. That day sowed the seed of what was to become a life-long obsession (bordering on compulsive at times!) that would take me all around the world but, more importantly, gave me an appreciation beyond words of the natural wonders that surround us - wonders that so many seem so blind to.
I had always been good at drawing, and first started copying birds from the Reader’s Digest books, the Mitchell Beaseley Pocketguide, the classic AA Birds of Britain and the excellent portraits in the Collins Bird Guide by John Gooders – especially Terence Lambert’s amazing birds of prey depicted inside (with the flying Sparrowhawk a true work of art, even today!). In fact my Dad still has some of these early attempts!
I did well at GSCE and was the first in my school to get an A-grade in the subject, always managing to give the titles for our subject matter a wildlife flavour, such as ‘A Day on the Farm’ I depicted a butterfly farm instead of the expected. A-levels followed and again my final personal project was bird-based: how the differing styles of the late greats, Eric Ennion and Charles Tunnicliffe, compared with each other and which seemed to suit certain species better than the other. My actual exam piece ‘The Cycle of Life’ was a triptych of eggs into chicks into adult falcon with reference drawings gathered on a visit to a falconry centre.
Gaining an ‘A’ I looked at doing further education and started a foundation course which unfortunately bored me stupid so I never completed the course and embarked on various jobs, but still remaining true to my artistic talent in my spare time, painting varied subjects from custom-spraying scooters and crash-helmets, aircraft, skydiving scenes and of course, pet portraits and birds!
Entering the Birdwatch magazine Artist of the Year Awards in 1999 with my identification plate of European, American and Pacific Golden Plovers was rewarded by winning my section and I repeated the feat with my woodpecker plate a year later.
After this I was invited by Nigel Redman at Helm Publishers (then still Pica Press) to be the sole artist on their monograph ‘Stonechats’. This was an amazing opportunity and was a challenge and thrill to do – it also made myself and the author friends to this day.
The next project from Helm was a ‘Fieldguide to the Birds of Melanesia’ which was on-going for a long time but provided a serious challenge as reference material was severely limited for the passerines I was painting.
Illustration really appeals to me as it requires a meticulous eye for detail, which I counter-balance by ‘freeing’ myself up with watercolour sketches. More recently my work has appeared in Helm's 'Fieldguide to the Birds of Central Asia' and the 2nd edition of the 'Birds of the Indian Subcontinent' aswell as being a featured artist in Tim Wootton's excellent 'Drawing & Painting Birds' and the 'Best of Worldwide Wildlife & Animal Artists' books.
In 2007 I entered a piece for the annual Society for Wildlife Artists Exhibition in Pall Mall, London which was accepted and sold. Subsequently, I have had work accepted each year since.
A year-long trip around the world in 2006 gave me reams of sketches and ideas for many paintings aswell as finding Malaysia's first accepted Japanese Thrush!! More recent trips to Costa Rica and various parts of Africa have provided me with even more ideas and life-long memories of amazing places such as Uganda where, in 2009, I felt priviledged to spend some awe-inspiring time in the company of Mountain Gorillas. So who knows, maybe I’ll soon paint something without feathers for a change!! Maybe.....
I like to look at nature and see how light and shadows fall to create an interesting dynamic in a painting, often meaning the subject itself can be almost ‘lost’ and not necessarily jumping out at the viewer. I paint in a realistic style with acrylics and to me the works of Raymond Harris-Ching, Robert Bateman, Carl Brenders and Chris Rose are my inspiration and what I aspire to.
I am, at heart, a birder who paints what he loves and I feel lucky to be able to record what I perceive through my chosen medium and to hopefully share my view of this world with others.
Thankyou for taking the time to read this and I hope you enjoy browsing my site.