At the beginning of 2010 I spent 5 weeks with fellow artist John Gale drawing and painting the wildlife and scenery of South Georgia.
Sailing from the Falkland Islands on the 20m yacht the Golden Fleece – our home and studio for the entire trip – we circumnavigated the archipelago of South Georgia. As we were accompanying a scientific expedition, headed by leading albatross research scientist Sally Poncet, we were privileged to be allowed access to many areas rarely visited by people.
The studio paintings and some of the field work formed an exhibition held at the Air Gallery, Dover Street, London in October 2011, which was generously sponsored by Hurtigruten cruises. The aim of the project, called ‘Artists for Albatrosses’ was to raise funds for and awareness of Birdlife International’s Save the Albatross Campaign, which is managed in the U.K. by the RSPB.
Sales at the exhibition raised over £15,000 for the Save the Albatross campaign, a figure that has been boosted by sales of limited edition prints of ‘Storm passing – wandering albatross’. These are still available through the RSPB. The original painting was auctioned in the spring this year by the RSPB and fetched over £10,000, with all proceeds going to the campaign.
Our Artists for Albatrosses project has raised a total of £48,000 for the Save the Albatross campaign, which almost pays for two Albatross Task Force (ATF) workers to work on the fishing fleets of the Southern Ocean for a year, introducing albatross-friendly fishing practices to the fishermen and saving many thousands of albatrosses from certain death.