I had huge news in early April. I was told I had won the SAA's (Society of All Artists) Artist of the Year award! Wow indeed! The painting which won me the top prize was this one of my daughter relaxing on the sofa, the same one which had been pre-selected for the Royal Society of Portrait painters exhibition in yesterday's post.
|Camille aged 13|
The prize itself was amazing! I won £1000 and £1000 worth of art materials, a crystal goblet, and £500 worth of art materials to donate to any school or charity of my choice. What this did for my confidence is really beyond measure. To think that I had been selected from a Society with 45,000 members made me feel that I was on the right track. It also made me think about where I wanted to go, and I determined to put the money to good use. In fact I put it towards two plein air painting trips which I'll cover in my next post.
It was such a boost. I decided there and then to push myself forward with my painting and think about the kind of work I want to be doing more clearly. The congratulations and support from my family and friends and online friends made me so happy!
We had a week on the island in early April, it was great to be outside painting the sea and the beaches again.
|Rocks of Ile nord|
I was a featured artist at the Sleaford art event which took place in early April. I love to do the Art challenge there! You have two hours to paint from a mystery model, and then throughout the weekend the public vote for their favourite. This time it was a lady archer. And I won!
|Painting from the model at the Sleaford Art event|
|Antique shop, Venice|
My demo at the Sleaford Art event
During this period I taught workshops on 'watercolours', 'expressive colour' and 'oil painting' amongst others and giving demos to local art groups.
|Tulips and teacup candle|
I was delighted to hear news that I'd had two paintings accepted for The Artist magazine exhibition at Patchings art centre. The standard of the exhibition is always extremely high and competition is fierce! A very popular event and I was so delighted to know that my work was included, and not just one but two!
|Union Jack tea party|
Accepted for The Artist/Patchings exhibition
In May, we returned to Bréhat with seven lovely ladies for a plein-air painting holiday! We found a beautiful house for them to stay in, and we got together all day for painting trips around the island and then had dinner together in the house in the evenings.
|Our base for the Isle of Painting holiday!|
|Shipwreck before downpour, Bréhat|
We had quite a lot of rain but it didn't dampen our spirits at all! We managed to get out and paint every day, only one morning we decided to stay indoors and paint a still life. Our breakfast table made the perfect subject!
|Le petit déjeuner, Bréhat|
In May, the SAA's Paint magazine published an article about me. The results of the Artist of the Year competition hadn't been publicised yet.
|My painting 'Fin du jour' on the cover|
Even though lots was going on, I was still getting out and about to paint 'plein air'. Here's a local one from May that I'm really fond of -
|Blossom and oilseed rape|
In June, one of the most memorable events of my life, I was selected by the BBC as one of 20 artists from all over the country to paint the Queen's Diamond Jubilee pageant from the Millennium bridge in London, as it was taking place before me.
I remember when I got the initial email to apply I was so desperately wanting to do it!! There followed a month or so of emails and security checks and a telephone interview before my place was confirmed. We had to list every item that we would be bringing, exactly how many tubes of paint, what sized canvas etc. As you can imagine security was tight, after all we were to be standing up high on a bridge with the Queen and most of the royal family passing by underneath.
|Queen's diamond jubilee pageant|
The weather didn't seem to realise it was British summertime! It poured with rain throughout the entire event, and up on the bridge it was so cold and windy! Luckily I was well wrapped up and had borrowed my goddaughter's pink bobble hat!
I was one of the few artists to be interviewed by Anneka Rice and shown on the TV. This was very fortunate! Again I was bowled over with messages of support from all over the world, many of whom had seen me on TV! After the interview my painting was too wet to carry on with, and I decided to leave it exactly as it was on the day - a true record of the event including evidence of the awful weather!
|Most artists had packed in by now!|
One quote I remember from the event is artist and blogger Katherine Tyrell saying 'This is the essence of British plein air painting spirit' ! Ohhhh yes!
The other major event in June was the Patchings art festival, an event I was taking part in for the first time, although I had visited many times previously. As well as having two paintings on show in the exhibition in the Barn gallery, I took a stall in the huge marquee full of painters. It was an absolute delight to be there! I know so many people from the East Midlands as I have studied in Leicester, lived and taught near Nottingham, and lived and taught for a long time in Lincolnshire. I saw so many familiar faces, some I hadn't seen for many years, plus met face to face with Facebook and twitter friends! Not only that but lots of other great people too. Everybody wanted to talk about my Pageant painting experience :-)
|My Patchings stand before I brought a rug to make the floor look prettier!|
|Painting from the model|
Winner of the Pro Arte award
This is the small painting (12" x 10") that won me the Pro Arte award. My prize was £250 worth of Pro Arte brushes, which I would be able to choose from across their full range. Can you imagine how delighted I was? Over the moon!! The judges included Sally Bulgin, editor of The Artist magazine and David Curtis amongst others. What an honour!
Now I know this has been an extremely long post, thank you for making it this far! I can't leave this quarter without showing you two of my favourite paintings from this time, of my lovely Burlesque model...
|Rose Desire with white feathers|
|Rose Desire with black feathers|
And finally an English summer garden...
|Ice cream shed|
At the end of this time my SAA prize arrived! Here is my lovely goblet -
I told you it would be a long post, hope you enjoyed your coffee break! Tomorrow's edition covers July, August and September and lots of travel!