North York Moors

North York Moors logo
Browse section

Spirited Wildlife

Wednesday 20 August to Tuesday 16 September

Free Entry: 9.30am to 5.30pm, daily in August, 10am to 5pm in September

Meet the Artists: Saturday 23 August, 12 noon to 3pm, with music by harpist Elisabeth Westhead, for 30 minutes at 12 noon, 1pm and 2pm.

The wildlife all around us takes centre stage in this major summer exhibition of art and sculpture. Sought-after wildlife artist Andrew Broderick presents a specially selected collection of his spirited drawings and watercolours. Leading willow and wire animal sculptor Emma Stothard - who has work in the Royal Collection - shows her beautifully crafted sculptural pieces, alongside Stef Ottevanger's highly individual 'animals with attitude', cast in bronzed resin.

Andy Broderick 

Originally from Kilkenny in the Republic of Ireland, Andy Broderick came to the UK in 1997 to study Fine Art at Teesside University. Since graduating in 2000, he has worked as an artist from his studio in Saltburn on the North Yorkshire coast, and exhibits widely both here and abroad.  

Andy’s art focuses very heavily on the discipline of drawing, and on the use of natural materials and pigments, such as earth, tea and pulped plants. This helps him to develop a spiritual bond and physical affinity with the natural environment and the creatures that inhabit it. 

The qualities of individual lines and marks are also very important in Andy’s work. When portraying plants, animals and human figures, he looks beyond mere formal representation and tries to use lines which express energy, life, texture, form or weight – or even just for their own sake, as things of beauty.

Andy’s latest work is influenced by the ‘Arte Povera’ movement in Italy and by Japanese Zen painting. Using animals as a point of focus in the natural world, his drawings are full of simplicity, purity and honesty. Rather like a form of meditation, they appear to slow down time and connect the viewer more intimately with the subject.    

Emma Stothard 

Willow sculptor Emma Stothard was born in Hull and grew up in Holderness, East Yorkshire, whose landscapes and wildlife inspired her from any early age. She exhibits widely in the UK and abroad, and her sculptures grace the grounds of stately homes, galleries and private houses and gardens around the country.

Emma’s interest in art can be traced to the area around Spurn Point, where she first watched and drew wintering, migratory and breeding birds. The mudflats, reed-beds and coastal dunes sparked an interest in working with sand, soil and straw to create flowing, architectural patterns, and Emma later went on to complete a BA (Hons) in Fine Art at Southampton.

A burgeoning passion for willow-sculpting led to a move to the Somerset Levels to learn traditional willow-weaving and basket-making, as well as the entire process of growing, coppicing and bundling willow. 

Emma returned to Yorkshire with a car boot full of withies, and began making geese, hares and other small animals from willow. She exhibited at Harrogate Flower Show, which led to many varied commissions, including one from the Louis C Tiffany Museum and Water Gardens in Matsue, Japan, home to the largest collection of Tiffany glass in the world, who asked Emma to create a central feature for their ‘English Garden’ on the theme of East Meets West. 

She has also exhibited at the RHS Chelsea Flower show, the Prince of Wales’ Highgrove estate, and Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. 

Emma was particularly honoured to present HRH The Prince of Wales with a large-scale sculpture of his beloved Jack Russell, ‘Tigga’, made from willow grown on the Highgrove estate – a thank-you gift for the Prince’s Trust grant she received at the start of her career in 2001. 

Emma’s current sculptures are of wildlife large and small, including dragonflies, bees and other species encountered on walks near her coastal home at Whitby. The connections between coast and moor continue to provide inspiration for her work.   

Stef Ottevanger 

Stef Ottevanger has drawn illustrations and made sculptures of animals since childhood. After a Fine Arts course at Harrogate School of Art, followed by a teaching career, she started making clay sculptures of domestic animals in the early 1980s.

Stef lives and works in Yorkshire, and her work is inspired and influenced by the region’s farm animals and wildlife. Her sculptures originate as clay models and are then cast in bronzed resin, which retains the tactile nature of the original sculpture. Her ceramic pieces are individually sculpted and fired, making each one unique.

Stef says:

I always try to reach the essence of the animal, in particular its character, movement, stance and attitude. In some cases it’s just a fleeting moment that I’m trying to catch, and clay is an ideal medium in which to work, as it helps me avoid over-refining the image. I don’t want my work to be a scale model or an ornament, but rather an impression of a living, breathing animal.