Boshier, Bowen (1964-)

Artwork by Bowen Boshier

What I strive for in my work

The planet we live on is blessed with many spectacular landscapes and exquisite forms. Each of these holds an opportunity for us to understand the dynamics and complexities of life. Through my works I intend to portray the beauty of our living system and the profoundness of its volume.

Africa is particularly blessed with its vast open spaces and secret places, dramatic seasons, dark history, and variety of life forms. Africa combines harshness with delicate detail, danger with delight, sunlight with storm.

As evolving beings, we need to interact with nature, rather than just observe it. Through my drawings, I want to inspire appreciation and curiosity, to arouse desire to explore the details around us, to feel the texture of life’s fabric.

I prefer to draw pristine wilderness. To immerse yourself in an unmarred landscape is to be lost in time.

Medium

I find that pencil is well suited to capturing contrasts and textures. It holds the expectant silence that our wilderness contains.

Pencil, with its large range of tones, like black and white photography, carries the essence of the subject well. It is slightly abstract in that it shows forms or landscapes that we are familiar with, but without their colour. Our imaginations are compelled to step in and become involved with the image, to make the surreal real. The viewer then imbues the work with their own feelings and experiences.

How I do my drawings

Through my travels, adventures and opportunities, I discover and get to know places. I spend time on location, sometimes months in a place. Walking and watching, sketching, painting and sculpting. I am fascinated by detail so each drawing takes a long time to complete. The gift is that I get to witness fantastic events, life cycles and the changing of the seasons. Creatures get used to my presence and carry on their life around me. I watch birds build their nests, hear them court, witness the first flight of the fledglings. I spend hundreds of blessed hours in their world.

It is a challenge to isolate a subject or encapsulate a portion of a landscape. By confining it to the boundaries of the paper, it is separated off from its relationship to the rest of the world. Now it has to hold the viewer’s eye, it has to have its own life. For the cropped-off window to resonate with the essence of the subject, it must also harmonise with the inner landscape of our minds.

I use nature to advise me on aesthetics and balance. The piece must hold a moment in place, a mood or atmosphere that can sing out through time.

Each drawing feels like an expedition, with its preparation, endurance, lessons and satisfaction.