Welcome to my website. I am an artist and naturalist. I grew up in Wales, studied at art college, graduating in Fine Art (Painting) at Bath Academy of Art in 1980, and have lived in Scotland since 1986.
Since my art college days I have worked mainly as a botanist (www.benandalisonaveris.co.uk), but still do a lot of artwork. My pictures, in coloured pencil, graphite pencil and black pen, are mostly landscapes of some kind. Why landscapes? Because wherever I am, I can’t ignore the landscape around me: the scale of it, the wonders within it, the innocence of it . . . objects and environments just existing innocently without the concepts of status, cleverness, right, wrong and so on that can enhance but also overcomplicate or even undermine our human lives. Many people's worlds seem to be centered strongly around our species: money, business, careers, politics, economics, religion, tradition, nationality and other social stuff. I've never had whatever it takes to be one of them, especially those who are so urbane and worldly-wise about human matters. They might look down on someone such as me, but I've got used to that and live in my world of landscapes and environments within which we humans and all our affairs are just a part.
I like to draw pictures of all sorts of landscapes. For example, trees in winter woodland settings with an atmosphere of still, innocent quietness and muted colours. And urban scenes, because I’m fascinated by towns and cities, I enjoy their varied and busy ways, and, despite being a naturalist who often works alone in wild places and lacks that urbane confident wisdom I just spoke of, I do like people and am a sociable person.
There are links between my art and botany, not just through shared subject matter but also through parallels in their processes of exploration, finding patterns and relationships, and developing ideas and understandings. Relevant to this is my Seeing Thinking document - a 4 MB PDF file available from the Downloads page of this website.
I hope the writing that accompanies pictures on this website adds some interest. My writing style might seem rather casual to some people in the art world. I avoid the jargon that makes some artists' writings offputtingly vague, difficult, pretentious, self-indulgent or 'superior'. The commercial side of the art world can make me feel overwhelmed, belittled or even unworthy of the term 'artist', but I'm more productive if I don't let that bother me too much. Making progress my own way is more interesting and important to me than trying to follow established ways of the professional art world. Landscape painting/drawing might not appear to be as fashionable as some other forms of art these days but I think it still has an important place, for various reasons including the ongoing changes to our landscapes and the need for people to be aware of the environments around them.
In recent years I have exhibited pictures at Resipole Studios gallery in the west Highlands, and drawn pictures to illustrate various publications:
An Illustrated Guide to British Upland Vegetation (JNCC/Pelagic Publishing, 2004; ISBN 9781784270155)
Exploring Morvern, vol. 1 (Morvern Heritage Society, 2004)
Plants and Habitats, by Ben Averis (2013; ISBN 9780957608108)
A Morvern Nature Diary, by Stephen Hardy (Morvern Heritage Society, 2013; ISBN 9780956589330)
The Rainforests of Britain and Ireland, by Clifton Bain (2015; ISBN 9781910124260)
The Whisky Dictionary by Iain Hector Ross (Sandstone Press, 2017; ISBN 9781910985922)
Into Morvern's Woods by Alasdair Firth (Morvern Community Woodlands, 2017)
the French botanical journal La Garance Voyageuse (ISSN 0988-3444 / March 2016)
and cartoons in the Australian equestrian magazine Horses and People.
In 2017 I worked on an art project about a west Highland nature reserve (see Morvern 2017 webpage).
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