From brush stroke to breast stroke - wildlife artist wins grant to dive with The Wildlife Trusts

By Richard Moss | 17 August 2010
a painitng showing eels swimming in a river

(Above) Anna Kirk-Smith, Sandeels - Dunbar

A marine wildlife artist has won a unique bursary that will see her exploring life and art undersea as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the UK’s marine life.

Anna Kirk-Smith has won The Wildlife Trusts Underwater Award, enabling her to complete her dive training in readiness for a sea dive off Flamborough Head in East Yorkshire on August 19.

The bursary is part of the Wildlife Trusts' Living Seas project in which Seasearch divers have been gathering data about what lives in our oceans.

Whilst on the dive Anna will make underwater sketches that will form the basis for works exhibited at the Society of Wildlife Artists annual exhibition in London in September.

Having studied veterinary science and followed it up with a Master of Arts (MA) in communication art and design, Anna has a keen interest in science-art.

“I have always taken great inspiration from the natural world, particularly coastal and marine environments,” she says. “The works inspired by my diving experiences will play an important role in raising awareness.

"They will be created with the intention of informing and enlightening viewers as to the richness, beauty and threats facing our marine environment.”

The area off Flamborough should be the perfect site to gain inspiration, teeming as it is with marine life such as the colourful bloody henry starfish, and dahlia anemones.

Anna’s work at the SWLA Annual Exhibition can be seen between Wednesday September 22 and Saturday October 2 at The Mall Galleries in London.

For artists interested in donning snorkel and flippers, applications for the 2011 Wildlife Trusts underwater art bursary are open until September 13 2010. For details of how to apply visit

Find out more about the Wildlife Trusts' Living Seas project.

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