Dedham Art & Craft Centre on TripAdvisor

Ian Longhurst

I am a Suffolk born, self-taught artist. I've had a lifelong curiosity and appreciation of our native bird life, and always felt grateful, even as a child, for all the wonderful, natural, wonderful things around us.

While at school I used to keep and show canaries and native birds in captivity, breeding and studying their behaviour. I was drawing and painting it all whenever I could. I used to have a bucket beside my bed in the holidays with some orphan bird to hand rear, often using my canaries as foster mothers.

My parents were very supportive, allowing me to keep and study hundreds of birds, so alongside this came my painting. Art was one of the few subjects I did well in at school. I had a very good art teacher, Miss Cairns, and everyone assumed art school was to be my future. However, I couldn't bear the thought of being locked away inside, not being able to hear and see the seasons. So, I left the painting behind to became a bricklayer, and enjoyed many years annoying my workmates by pointing to the sky and telling them ‘that little dot is a Redpoll’, or introducing them to the odd young thrush that I had hand-reared. I never had a complaint about that! I have worked as a builder and kitchen/bathroom fitter for over 25 years in the Essex/Suffolk border area.

The painting continued, on and off, but I knew my time would come one day to do this properly. You need the right environment, the passion (of course) and the ability to put your emotions into the work. I don't believe in talent, just the urge to do the best you can, and the experience to produce mature work.

I am now ready to start sharing my work, a lifetime of memories. I use my own photography as a guide to accuracy, and try to create an atmosphere. I have a finished painting in my head before I start, although they often take their own course. I have used most mediums but enjoy gouache the most.

I hope you enjoy what you see and thank you for reading.