Wildlife artist Beatrice Bork is our May 2017 Artist of the Month! Bork was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine’s Annual Art Competition. Her wildlife painting Through the Shoals is seen below. Read more about the artist and her inspirations!
Who I Am
I consider myself both an artist and naturalist, and each helps feed the other. I became serious about art in high school, and that led me to study graphic design and illustration all through college. Almost everything I do is in order to live a creative life. I am a signature member of Society of Animal Artists and Artists for Conservation, which gives me chances to show my work internationally. I’m very proud that collectors from around the world have acquired my work.
On Nature and New Beginnings
I created Through the Shoals after completing treatments for breast cancer and, frankly, the color pink was not appealing during that time. The flamingoes became my way of owning the experience — they are my pink warriors.
I have always been inspired by nature and animals, and continue to be today. This piece was especially invigorating for me, for it was the first painting I’d done after months of downtime. I had this feeling of renewal and excitement to get started again—my mind was, and still is, full of creative energy.
I love observation, which is how my process begins. I sketch and I photograph, and hold onto these resources and memories, because my “creative spark” may not happen right away. This can be immediate, or years later. First, I observed the flamingoes in Trinidad, and it took another year and “the reason” to start this piece. Finally, I began with a rough sketch, and worked on the composition through a series drawings, which used all of my resources to make sure my rendering was accurate. Color palettes are based on the mood I want to evoke, and what works with the subject. I work loosely at first, and build my paintings with layers until I’m satisfied, which leads to this final piece.
To Other Artists
My advice is the same that’s been given to me, and that is: Your style will come on it’s own, but you have to let it. Be open and true to yourself. The more personal your paintings are, the more universal their appeal.