Spotlight on realist wildlife artist Ed Lewis

By in Interviews

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Ed Lewis is a wildlife artist with an emphasis on detail and realism – today he is in the spotlight! Visit to see more of his work.

Being an artist

Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself


There’s two sides of me (as far as art goes).
I generally tend to produce realistic, almost photographic, paintings and drawings. I suppose this is the scientist in me – an eye for detail, almost to the point of being perfectionist. I’m never really happy with any painting or drawing I’ve done, as I can always find fault or an area that needs tweaking.
On the other side, I sometimes produce more abstract or free-flowing paintings (often with a natural theme). I suppose more emotionally involved. I’m not so fussy or exacting with any of these!
I’m also a photographer who paints and draws and an illustrator who takes photographs.

Eurasian Otter by Ed Lewis

How and when did you start out as an artist?


As long as I can remember… I’ve always been intersted in nature, science and history. As a child I used to draw a lot, trying to capture as realistically the natural world around me.

What training did you have?


None really… self-taught so far as painting goes. I have held quite a few illustrator jobs (specialising in archaeological illustration). I started out in archaeology 30 odd years ago – my first job was as an archaeological draughtsperson. I did a few technical drawings the night before the interview… they were ok, but a bit ‘cold’. So, I included some Seagull drawings I’d done a week or so before… I got the job on the back of those Seagulls.

What has been your best creative achievement so far?


If pushed, I’d have to say my first proper commission and sale (a Christmas present for someone). To be honest though, I don’t think I’ve managed it yet

General Questions

What’s your favourite quote?


‘Non fatuum huc persecutus ignem’ – It is no will-o’-the-wisp that I have followed here

Who is your favourite artist?


Akseli Gallen-Kallela

What are you aiming for?


A croft in the Scottish Highlands, with my wife, three cats, two dogs and chickens. Living a simple and comfortable life being an artist / photographer, my wife making woolly knits and sipping single malt whisky.

European Bee-eater by Ed Lewis


How will you get there?


Do the day job, sell a few paintings, give up day job, sell more paintings

Is anything holding you back?


Thinking I’m not good enough and Bills

You and art

From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?


Depends… if I’m really into the subject (or the reason behind the painting) then a matter of days. The otter took two days start to finish.

What is next in the pipeline for you? Any new directions or shows coming up?


A couple of commissions (including a painting of a wild boar piglet). Then I’d like to try more black-and-white paintings / pen and ink. My ‘dark phase’ approaches!

Being inspired by art

What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?


My copy, or rather reworking, of a pen and ink drawing of a squashed crow (I did change it quite a lot so as not to infringe any copyright). Very different to what I do normally… people seemed to really like it. I should do more of them apparently.

European Hare by Ed Lewis


1 comment for “Spotlight on realist wildlife artist Ed Lewis

Leslie Beasley

February 8, 2013 at 9:19 pm

How free can abstract art be, that is the question. As abstract expressionists felt limited by the abstract-geometric and cubistic bounds, abstract paintings began to gain expression and at the same time “lose shape”. Abstract paintings by Jackson Pollock demonstrate how abstract expressionism moved towards the production of paintings without conscious control. How effective is abstract art when the emphasis on form is reduced, or absent? Is there a trade-off between expression and form? These are interesting questions about paintings which should transcend the “its all just a matter of taste” platitudes. The creation of abstract expressionism in America had been preceded in the mid 40’s by Europeans like Wolfgang Schulze (aka “Wols”). “Wolfgang Schulze was the spiritual father of ‘Tachism’ (after the French tache = stain, scratch) and in a broader sense of art informel, the style of wild gestures” and ‘action painting’, a rebellion against the formalism of abstract codes, that reintroduced ‘feeling’ in art, by freely applying the paint, dripping and splashing” (after “Kunst van de 20e eeuw” – Ruhrberg, Schneckenburg, Fricke, Honnef – Taschen Verlag GmbH).Contemporary paintings no longer reflect a contraposition between abstract art and figurative art, but these styles either come together in paintings by contemporary artists, or exist side by side in pure figurative paintings or pure abstract art paintings.

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