Today the SWLA exhibition opens at The Mall Galleries – an annual treat where the beauties of nature are brought in to the centre of London. I had a look around yesterday evening at a very enjoyable SWLA/BTO event.

Artist Chris Rose got a taste for sub-marine adventure after winning The Wildlife Trusts’/SWLA’s Undersea Art Award and learned to dive earlier this year.  Throughout the summer Chris was mesmerised by close encounters with luminous nudibranches (multi-coloured sea slugs), glowing cowries, sun stars, sea urchins and inquisitive seals.  There’s more information here about the award and you can read Chris’ inspiring blog here.

The works will be exhibited at the Society of Wildlife Artists’ Natural Eye show at The Mall Galleries from Thursday 29 October to Sunday 8 November.

Artist Chris Rose is based in the Scottish Borders.  He decided to dive in the Coquet to St Mary’s stretch along the Northumberland coast.  This area is one of the places that Defra is currently considering for designation as a Marine Conservation Zone.  There’s information about this wonderful part of the North Sea here. Further information about the current process of declaring marine protected areas is here. this is an area where Defra is failing to do much for nature – a blot on their multi-blotted record.

Chris says:  ‘Learning to dive has been exhilarating and it has introduced me to a new environment that is exciting both for the beauty of its underwater landscapes and for the strange variety of its wildlife. Artistically it has presented new challenges and possibilities, and a completely new palette of colours!  I am looking forward to continuing my exploration of the underwater world and of the artistic potential it holds.‘.

Joan Edwards, Head of Living Seas at The Wildlife Trusts, says:  ‘Chris’ enthusiastic response to winning the award has been sensational and he has really made the most of winning the Undersea Art Award.  I’ve been gripped whilst reading his blog and it’s been wonderful to see his beautifully detailed paintings emerge from the deep.  The exhibition of his work is not to be missed and some people may be surprised to see just how beautiful the life of the North Sea really is!‘.

Harriet Mead, President of the Society of Wildlife Artists, says:  ‘Chris has created a beautiful collection of sketches and finished work that captures his experiences of diving off the Northumberland coast.  His thought-provoking pieces not only show the majesty of the underwater habitat, such as his painting of seals in the kelp beds, but he has also taken inspiration from the small invertebrates that he encountered during his dives.  It is clear that this opportunity has allowed him to find a rich new vein of subjects and experience a whole new world thanks to The Wildlife Trusts.‘.


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