The artist behind our 2022 Wildlife Art Calendar

With its collection of stunning original paintings by award-winning artist James Hough, the Australian Geographic Art Calendar 2022 is on sale now. Order your copy today before it sells out.
By AG STAFF September 15, 2021 Reading Time: 2 Minutes Print this page

James Hough has combined a deep passion for wildlife and the environment with another of his lifelong interests, fine art. It was inevitable that these two passions would someday combine to produce a very rewarding career. Bird life is of particular interest to James, and it has been a natural progression to combine his knowledge of birds and their environment with his art skills. His artworks extend to paintings of other Australian mammals and wildlife as well as International wildlife. His artwork reflects the deep respect he has for the natural environment and a desire to educate all to reverse its alarming destruction.

Born in the Australian city of Newcastle, New South Wales, James grew up admiring native birds on the family property at Wingham on the banks of the Manning River. He now lives near Maitland in the lower Hunter Valley of NSW with his wife. He continues to visit the family property that has given him so much inspiration. James has never undertaken any formal art studies or training and takes pride in the fact that he is completely self taught.

Each of his subjects is thoroughly researched, aided by all his own resource material from sketches to photography. The final composition may be components of many sketches and photographic images collected on walks and visits to many of Australia’s national parks and bushland reserves. A considerable amount of thought and research is combined to ensure that each work is as accurate and pleasing to the eye as it can be. Each new work is begun by collecting as much resource material from his own photographic records and sketches and confirming the particular bird’s habitat in various written publications. He more often than not visits the bird’s habitat to get a feel for its environment and so incorporate some of the landscape of its surrounds in the final image. He returns to his studio with collections of objects found in nature, branches, lichens, leaves, blossom and gum nuts.

”Everywhere I go I carry a camera, a tripod, and a notebook to capture some of those most unique moments in nature. Whilst painting each work my mind disappears into the deep gullies or rainforest canopies where I collected the resource material.”

The beginning of a new work is generally an idea or a recollection of a fleeting glimpse of a particular bird in the wild. ”To be able to capture this moment in the animals life and to share the image with others is very rewarding. I love being able to play with light, to highlight a subject’s gesture, or to recreate the atmosphere of the wild environment. I have been asked, ‘why do you go to all the trouble to paint a bird like that when you could easily hang one of your photos?’ My answer, the original work of an artist depicts far more than a photo can ever portray. A part of the artist’s impression is captured in the subject, the mood, the light, a story or the essence of a native bird can all be manipulated to satisfy the artists will.”

James’ art was featured in our 2020 and 2021 Australian Geographic Wildlife Art Calendars. Each featured 13 of his original paintings. Our 2022 Wildlife Art Calendar is out now, replete with James’ stunning work!

These calendars routinely sell out so order your copy today.