Wildlife Art Online

About the Artists

Emma and Steve live with their son on Bardsey Island off the coast of North Wales . The island is just over 440 acres and is inhabited by seven people for most of the year, though visitors can stay on the island in one of the holiday cottages there or at the Observatory which Steve and Emma run. www.bbfo.org.uk


Emma Bowler

Emma was born in 1972 and has been drawing since the age of 10. She works directly from life, mostly in charcoal and oil. She studied Wildlife Illustration at Carmarthenshire College of Art and Technology and Natural History Illustration at the Royal College of Art. Since graduating with an MA in 2001 she organised and participated in the 'Natural Images' exhibition at The Wetland Centre - London, showing the work of students from the Royal College of Art's Natural History Illustration course. She has been the Artist in residence at 'Nature in Art' museum in Gloucester, and has exhibited at WWT Slimbridge and at the annual SWLA exhibitions at the Mall Galleries in London . She also has many pieces in private collections. She was awarded the SWLA bursary for young wildlife artists in 1996 and 1998. Her work has been used to advertise 'The Show' (the end of year exhibition) for the Royal College of Art and to illustrate the BBFO annual report; she has also undertaken small illustration assignments for WWT and YHA as well as mural work and logos. She also runs drawing lessons for visitors on Bardsey.

She lives on Bardsey, a small island off the North Wales coast, and helps to run the Bird Observatory, where Steve her partner is the Warden. Together they have a son who was born in 2002.

Emma's work is based on birds and landscapes. She tries to capture the movement and character of the birds, as well as the atmosphere of the moment and the landscape. Always drawing and painting from life, she uses mostly charcoal, oil paints, a telescope and art bag, working quickly to get the information down on paper before the birds and light change. Bardsey is a good site for migrant birds and the chance of a rarity is always present, so occasionally the opportunity arises to make quick sketches of rare birds. Emma also holds a permit to catch and ring birds, which gives a fantastic opportunity to get to know different species better, for example how heavy they are, what they look like close up, and how they feel. Ringing also helps with understanding birds' behaviour, where they migrate to and how long they live, giving a wider picture of their lives.

Her work is influenced by artists such as Kim Atkinson, Charles Tunnicliffe and John Busby.

Steve Stansfield

Steve was born in 1971 in Yorkshire , and has been a committed 'birder' since before the age of ten. After completing his 'A' levels in 1990, and turning down a place at university to study conservation management, he went on to become one of the Assistant Wardens at Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory in Kent where, at the age of 19, he gained a permit to ring birds. He soon progressed to hold a full 'A' class permit and an endorsement to train and assess other ringers. In 1993 he was offered a position at North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory in Orkney as an assistant, and was given considerable responsibility acting as deputy to the warden. In 1998 he became the Warden of Bardsey Bird and Field Observatory, on Bardsey Island off North Wales . As the longest serving warden for the Observatory he still lives and works on Bardsey along with his partner Emma and their son Connor. As the Warden he is responsible for the overall management of the Observatory, including undertaking the daily census of all birds seen on the island, ringing birds and running the accommodation. Over many years Steve has developed a keen interest in photography and his photographs have received general acclaim. He now uses a Cannon digital SLR, as well as an Olympus c5050z with his Leica telescope, a technique known as 'Digiscoping'. Steve concentrates on birds, dolphins, landscapes and insects in his work, but is extending his subject matter to include plants and whatever catches his eye; his camera is never far from reach! With its rapidly changing light, exciting views and skies and its important position for migrating birds Bardsey provides an excellent location for photography. Steve's work has appeared in several ornithological publications such as 'Birdwatch', 'Birdwatching', 'British Birds', 'Birding World' and many other bird watching magazines and journals. It has been used to illustrate the BBFO annual report and various reports to CCW. His images can also be found on greetings cards and as framed/unframed prints as well as in several private collections. To date he has only held one exhibition, jointly with his partner Emma on Bardsey in the Old School House.