STEPHEN MESSAGE was born in 1968 in the village of Benenden, Kent, England where he still lives. It is here around the country lanes, meadows, woods and nearby Romney Marsh, that many of his inspirations for paintings derive.
After gaining a diploma in Graphic Design at Hastings College of Art and Technology, Stephen specialised in natural history illustration at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design. Before graduating in 1988 he was one of only two students on the course selected for a scholarship to Belize, Central America to study the Jaguar and its jungle habitat, sponsored by Jaguar Cars plc.Since leaving college he has worked as a freelance artist. In 1989 he won the Richard Richardson Award and has twice been runner up in Bird Illustrator of the Year. Recent awards include The Birdscapes Gallery Art Award for 'Birds in their Enviroment' at the Society Of Wildlife Artist Exhibition 2008, highly commended in the 2008 National Exhibition Of Wildlife Art and the Birdwatch Artist of the Year 2017.
Books illustrated include, Waders of Europe, Asia and North America (sole illustrator) published December 2005 by Bloomsbury, The Birds of Greece, Bill Oddie's Birds of Britain and Ireland, A Countryman's Diary, several of the Where to Watch Birds In Series, plate artwork for A Field Guide to The Birds of South East Asia, cover designs for the RSPB Handbook of British Birds, sole illustrator for the RSPB Pocket Guide To British Birds published July 2022 and the RSPB ID Spotlight Chart series.
His original paintings are exhibited at the British Birdwatching Fair Rutland, his annual autumn weekend exhibition in his home village of Benenden Kent and Birdscapes Gallery Glandford, Holt, Norfolk. Original works are held in private collections in Britain, Europe, America, Australia and South Africa many of which have been undertaken as private commissions.
Stephen has travelled in search of wildlife to Europe, The Middle East, Asia, North & Central America and East and West Africa gaining first hand knowledge of his subjects for new images to capture on 'canvas'.
An experienced birdwatcher and an active member of Kent Ornithological Society and Dungeness Bird Observatory, many of his art and design works are donated for the societies' publications.
He paints in a variety of mediums including oil, acrylic, watercolour and gouache where he either captures the species as a detailed potrait or alternatively is conscious at times to portray wildlife within the 'bigger picture' of its natural habitat.