Introducing Local Artist… Rebecca Drury

Hi Rebecca! Thanks so much for being the second artist in our local artist interview series! We are huge fans of your wildlife-inspired prints and really interested to learn more about your passion for wildlife conservation and how this fits in with your artwork.

Without further ado, how did you realise you were creative and loved making things?

Rebecca: I have always loved art. I sketched and painted all through my school years and continued through to Art A-level, when I focused on drawing and oil painting. These days my primary medium is traditional linocut, producing both reduction and single layer relief prints.

Sounds like a wonderfully creative upbringing where you were exposed to a wide range of media. When did you first come across printmaking and do you ever dabble in other media?

Rebecca: I made my first linocut as a teenager, inspired by Elizabeth Frink’s ‘Wounded Horse’, but I really started printmaking ten years ago when I completed short courses at the St Barnabas Press and Curwen Press in Cambridge. Then, when I moved back to Dorset, I joined Poole Printmakers, which is a membership-led cooperative with a wonderfully welcoming community of printmakers.

Your current style of linocuts are a long way from the aesthetic of the ‘wounded horse’; how did you develop your own recognisable style and why did you decide to focus on printmaking as your media of choice?

Rebecca: Printmaking is very accessible - and really addictive. I love the endless versatility it offers, and there are so many other forms of printmaking I would love to explore more. I am told that I have a recognisable style and colour palette, but I feel that this is still very much evolving.

We completely agree - Printmaking is a brilliant ‘in’ to making art! Would you like to be a full-time artist or do you enjoy the balance/contrast between your wildlife conservation and art?

Rebecca: Growing up on the Purbeck coast gave me a fascination and love for the natural world which inspires my prints and also led me into a career in wildlife conservation. My career has evolved to focus on international conservation and counter wildlife trafficking. I love my job, but printmaking, which can be very mindful, helps provide me with some balance.

The power of art to quieten the mind and re-centre thoughts never ceases to amaze us! What inspires you to make art and what is your biggest source of inspiration?

Linocut print inspired by local Dorset wildlife

Rebecca: Dorset's wildlife, coast and countryside are at the heart of my printmaking. Even when I was based in Cambridge, my prints focused on Dorset scenes. Likewise, despite working in international conservation with a focus on species trafficked globally such as pangolins and tigers, my printmaking mostly focuses on species and habitats found in Dorset. My Spring Hedgerow print, for example, weaves together blackthorn blossom, celandine, a wren, bee and rare black oil beetle that we saw on a walk to Chapman's Pool earlier this spring. My son is particularly good at spotting beetles and grasshoppers. We have recently been enjoying all of Dorset’s stunning meadows, which has been providing lots of inspiration and will be coming through into print soon.

How lovely that your son is getting involved in your work and is able to see how you combine your two passions as an artist and as a scientist with a keen interest in nature. If only these connections were taught at school for all children to learn! What was your art education like at school?

Rebecca: I loved Art at school and spent most of sixth form in the art room painting and sketching. I went on to study Biology and Anthropology at university. It is a shame that the arts and sciences are often considered separate areas of knowledge. Scientific leaps cannot be made without creativity, and many of the contributions made by early scientists were enabled by their artistic abilities helping them to accurately observe and document nature. Many of my conservation colleagues are artistic, and I suspect this is no coincidence.

“It is a shame that, today, the arts and sciences are often considered separate areas of knowledge. Scientific leaps cannot be made without creativity, and many of the contributions made by early scientists were enabled by their artistic abilities”

We could not agree more.

As artists, we are always trying new things – what new techniques/styles/media would you like to learn more about over the next few years?

Rebecca: Etching. I would love to do more etching. And screen printing. And maybe even go back to some painting. I might need more than a few years!

That is quite a big list of new things to try – we wish you all the best in trying out these other techniques and media and can’t wait to see what you create.

Where can we come and see your current artwork and where can we buy your artwork/prints of your artwork?

Rebecca: My original prints and greetings cards are currently stocked in ‘Gallery on the Square’ in Poundbury, FOLDE in Shaftesbury, and Forest & Cove in Romsey. You can also buy my work directly from my website www.rebeccadruryprints.co.uk.

This is a silly question, but...If you could only use 1 media for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Rebecca: That is a very difficult question. I could easily fill the rest of my years printmaking, but I couldn’t live without drawing. I would like to revisit painting some day. But I have a lot of prints yet to make. Yep, too difficult.

For The LOVE Of ART came about because I have a passion for being creative and I love sharing my knowledge to see others enjoy making art and watch them progress. I think that everyone is an artist, but often people are held back because they think they are ‘bad at art’ - If someone reading this would like to get into art, but is not very confident and feels a bit worried about having a go, what advice would you give to get them started?

Rebecca: Art and observation are muscles that need exercising, and your practice will constantly evolve. Visit galleries, make a scrapbook of work by other artists’ that inspire you, join a class or a group where you can learn from and bounce ideas of each other. Then just give it a go, and enjoy the process… I would just suggest getting stuck in!

“Art and observation are muscles that need exercising, and your practice will constantly evolve… just give it a go, and enjoy the process”

Sound advice! We are almost at the end of this wonderful interview and are so grateful for your time, Rebecca. Just to finish, who are your favourite local artists, and why?

Rebecca: Dorset has the most wonderful arts community, and is home to some wonderful, welcoming and talented artists. Robin Mackenzie, Colin Moore and Paul Cleden are three local printmakers whose work I really admire. Ben Spurling and Merrily Harpur are wonderful at capturing the light in Dorset scenes.

Thanks again so much for taking the time to be interviewed by For The LOVE Of ART, you have definitely given us some things to ponder, new ideas and media to explore - we just can’t get enough of your beautiful prints!

Rebecca Drury is a printmaker, living in the heart of Dorset. Her intricate and delicate artwork is inspired by wildlife, the Dorset coast and countryside, and occasionally more exotic animals from her work in international wildlife conservation. Please visit Rebecca’s website or Instagram Account for more beautiful pieces, a guide to places that stock her prints and her shop.