About the book
This book was finalised before John’s death. The layout, selection of paintings and text are all his own work.
John’s drawings and paintings live and breathe the magic of their subject. His gannets soar and hang, stall and drift again, riding the currents of air as lightly as the pencil glides. How beautifully his young foxes leap, their energy, rhythm and playfulness radiate from every graphite mark. How deftly the hand of the artist suggests the feathers and down of a barn owl.
In this John’s final book loose yourself in each page and marvel at the gift of touch in every line and mark.
” Arguably among the most influential British wildlife artists of the post war period, John Busby had a gift for capturing the essence of a species with just a few lines, marks or washes. Busby’s drawings live and breathe the magic of their subject.
BBC Wildlife magazine August 2016 Vol 34 No 9
“To think of Busby as a bird artist alone would belittle him and his art, but not to acknowledge the way his wildlife drawings spoke to naturalists would also be a mistake. Busby’s curiosity about and delight in the natural world jump from every page of this book. Each picture captures an energy so much more vivid than many photographs. His pictures are realistic in that they distil the essence of the creature or scene, emphasising energetic tensions, colour relations and compositions in ways that not only tell of his rigorous academic training, but of his love for the subject. Busby was less concerned about depicting the intricate details of the birds he drew than of how the inclusion or exclusion of those details affected the picture and the viewer’s enjoyment. In other words, his art was a response to the environment – and therefore each drawing included something of John Busby himself – rather than a slavish record. All that shines through in this great book, and I think goes a long way towards explaining his popularity among ornithologists.
Lines from Nature is John Busby’s final book. It contains many previously unpublished wonderful drawings and paintings. The text may be secondary to the pictures, but it reflects the gentility of the man himself. It speaks directly from him. He was generous, polite, subtle and infectiously enthusiastic about art in general and drawing and painting wildlife in particular. In this book, you can see how his personality infused his art throughout his long life, whether that was in his distillation of a living, breathing bird into a few perfect charcoal lines, or his bold rock pool paintings and energetic oils of dancing cranes. There is a vitality and a vibrancy to his work that this book captures perfectly. In the introduction, John Busby writes: “A drawing that gets to the heart of things should, perhaps by its economy of means, or sometimes by its complexity, but mostly by how it is composed, communicate the artist’s sense of the occasion, and hopefully bring the moment alive.” That sums up the book. It is all about capturing those special moments that all naturalists love. It is more than a worthy legacy. It’s a total delight.”
Scottish Birds 36:3 2016