Mark Boyd has been obsessed with the natural world, and birds especially, ever since he can remember. As a child in rural Dorset, bird-watching, bird ringing, badger surveys and nature conservation filled his time until he went on to study Ecology at university.
Following a PhD in the sex life of primroses (or plant population ecology, to be more formal about it), he had a career in editorial and youth work, all with an environmental bent, and mainly with the RSPB. Since being released back into the wild in 2014, he has been able to focus more on his art, as well as writing, editing and teaching.
Throughout his life Mark has been interested in the visual arts as well as literature and science, seeing no contradiction between these strands of human enquiry. He has brought them together successfully in various ways – through origami, ceramics, drawing and painting, poetry, writing, music and teaching. It is this blend of interests that perhaps marks him out as unusual in a field of specialists.
As an artist, Mark likes to move between media and genres and is happiest when he is learning either a new technique or a new approach to portraying the natural world. This could be abstract painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture or even song-writing. He is at least as interested in the processes involved in making art as in the results themselves, and he takes this analytical approach through to his teaching. His artwork is, however, always based on direct field observation of wildlife and quick sketches to capture the essential spirit of the living world. Mark is the author of the well-reviewed RSPB Children’s Guide to Nature Watching, which has sold almost 30,000 copies.
For the past 10 years, Mark has organised the famous John Busby Seabird Drawing Week, working alongside fellow Art Safari tutor John Threlfall among others in recent years. Mark has exhibited several times with the Society of Wildlife Artists in London, as well as at the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club Waterston House HQ.
He has had solo exhibitions at the St Barnabas Press Gallery in Cambridge and at Bromham Mill, Bedford, and taken part in group shows in Letchworth and his home village of Gamlingay (where he lives with his partner, two goldfish, a collection of bicycles and, arguably, too many ukuleles)
As a tutor, Mark believes in an open, positive and questioning approach, being led by a student’s interest and aptitude rather than a rigid adherence to style or technique. He is calm, knowledgeable, flexible and guaranteed to make you think for yourself, and to help you to remember that one of the main functions of art is to please the artist.
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