Tuesday, 30 September 2014

I have very exciting news!

I've been sitting impatiently on this news for over a month now but today I can finally shout it from the roof tops (or plaster it all over social media at any rate) - my leaf painting won first place in the GreatArt Postcard Challenge!

The winning entry - 'After the rain' - gouache on watercolour postcard

I was notified at the end of August but the winners weren't being announced by GreatArt until today. I'm over the moon to have won and the prizes are fantastic. I experienced an early Christmas day in August when I came home to find a massive box with £250 worth of art supplies in it – I had to lay it out on the sofa and photograph it (just like mum and dad Santa did with our toys on actual Christmas day way back in the 70s!)

A fantastic selection of art supplies from GreatArt as part of the prize

I also received £500 of vouchers to buy more art supplies on GreatArt’s website – I’ve been like a kid in a sweet shop looking at all the things I can spend them on.

Not only that but I get online gallery representation from bGallery for a year as well as an interview in the GreatArt Magazine in November and as if that wasn't enough - a painting holiday in Cornwall which I just got back from on Saturday past!

I left on Monday 22 September for the 5 day painting holiday hosted by artist Ashley Hanson where we spent two days in different locations around Cornwall, followed by 2 days in the studio creating paintings based on sketches and photos taken on location. The art workshop is called Freedom in Painting and the idea was to forget about trying to exactly replicate the subject of your painting and instead follow a more intuitive, personal interpretation. 

Port Isaac

Port Isaac

Sketching at Port Isaac with Ashley (& sitting on my new rucksack/stool combo courtesy of GreatArt) & thanks for the loan of the hat Beryl!

I was so excited about this, I  can’t even tell you, as anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while knows I’m always swithering between realism and expressionism/impressionism and I was really looking forward to letting go of all expectations of what I think a subject should look like and just let the colour and paintbrush lead the way! It was a fantastic week and I met a really lovely bunch of people. 

Cliffs at Trebarwith Strand (like Caithness but warm!)

Trebarwith Strand

Painting en plein air at Trebarwith Strand

Ashley is a contemporary colourist and his work is very vibrant and highly stylised if not strictly abstract so very different to anything I've experienced before. Although I learnt, when trying to create something more abstract than my usual art, that I'm pretty much always going to paint representationally to a degree, (so I won't be giving Rothko a run for his money any time soon) I also learnt to look at a subject from an entirely new perspective and how to use complimentary colours and different mark making to really add vibrancy to artwork.  

Castletown Harbour


Paining outdoors at Polruan (Photo credit: Denise Hanson)

View from Polruan Castle 

View from Polruan over to Fowey

View from Polruan Castle
Day 3 - in the studio (Photo credit: Denise Hanson)

Day 3: Exercises in colour mixing from Ashley (Photo Credit: Denise Hanson)

Ashley giving a demonstration of his painting techniques

Day 4 - in the studio (Photo Credit: Denise Hanson)

Our final night and a great meal at a lovely restaurant in Lostwithiel

As well as the interview for GreatArt Magazine which will be in the November issue, I’ve also been asked to write a review of the art workshop for Discover Art Magazine and they’ll also be featuring the winning entries of the GreatArt Postcard Challenge in their November issue at the same time so I'll add a link to the full review then but in the meantime, I can honestly recommend Ashley's painting holidays to anyone who wants to really step outside their comfort zone artistically. I sketched and painted outdoors for the first time ever which was both nerve-wracking and innervating and it's something I'll definitely do again (Scottish weather permitting!)and really learnt a lot about mark making and colour mixing from Ashley during the week. Not to mention I got to spend time in some beautiful parts of Cornwall!

These are the two pieces I finished in the studio based on sketches and photos taken on the previous two days - still a bit representational but definitely different from anything I've ever done before!

View to Fowey from Polruan - acrylic on canvas

View from Polruan Castle  - acrylic on canvas

The final piece and an exhausted but happy me!

Sorry for the long post but there was no way to shorten the most exciting thing to happen in my art life (so far!)


  1. yeh!!!!!! Such brilliant news and so well deserved, my gosh what prizes, oh I am truly so happy for you,

  2. Congrats. Nic. You've done well and so deserving! I applaud you. Wonderful post and now I have to go being that I'm currently offline but I did want to congratulate you. Bravo??!!

  3. They were great prizes, well done.

  4. Bonjour,

    Toutes mes sincère félicitations pour l'obtention de ce premier prix. Vous avez été agréablement récompensée.
    Merci de partager avec nous ces magnifiques photos. J'imagine que ces quelques jours passés avec ce groupe d'artistes ont été sublimes.

    ✾ Gros bisous ✾

  5. wow wow wow!!! congratulations! I knew it was just a matter of time before you'd be "discovered" Ooh, all that art goodness, and then some vouchers, and on top of that the painting workshop. And everything else! I can believe that you had trouble keeping it to yourself. It's certainly well-deserved, and I hope from now on your path will only go upwards :-)

  6. I am thrilled for you Nic I really am. I adored that little postcard when you posted it all those months back and you are a very deserved winner. The holiday looked fantastic and I know you have been wavering over style. The idea of painting without thinking to much about what it is you are painting is of huge importance. Often we paint what we think is there rather than what we see. Looking at a view evokes an emotional response and that is what as an artist is so hard to capture. Your new pieces have that quality and I am so looking forward to watching you grow and blossom!!
    Many many congratulations.

  7. I am so so so happy for you! Congratulations on being the WINNER we know you are! Your work (no matter which road you take, how much you experiment in other styles/media) is always top-notch! I am always excited to hear the shows you participate in and what you're working on next but to win big prizes (great pic of all the goodies, btw) and be interviewed, featured in a magazine...well, it's about time! lol ;) Seriously, your work has always stood out so it's great to see this recognition of it on a wider scale. All the best to you always, my friend!

  8. I have been dying to hear all about this and it all looks so exciting! To come home to that parcel alone would be enough to send me in a spin - but everything else on top of that? Well what a dream! Well done to you It couldn't have happened to anyone nicer or more deserving! :0)

  9. oh what really fantastic news Nic-I am SO happy for you-congrats!!! I am so thrilled to see more and more of your art getting the recognition it deserves. And those prizes-wow!! Cornwall looks like such a beautiful area. Love the photos, the art, and a very happy you.

  10. wow that is wonderful news, am so thrilled for you and so very well deserved Nic. Huge congratulations, hugs Annette x


  11. well, i'm not surprised that you won!! your leaf painting was just wonderful. congrats on all the goodies...art supplies... wow!

  12. CONGRATULATIONS!!! What exciting news although as far as I'm concerned you deserved to win! And all those art supplies and other goodies. And representation and workshops. You are on a roll Missy! Love what you did in the workshop too. Enjoyed seeing all the pictures too. CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN! You totally rock!

  13. That is without a doubt my favourite post from any blogger in a long time... i am beside excited for you and so thrilled that you shared so much of it with us... I loved ever single word and picture... hugest congratulations ever!!!!

  14. Fantastic post Nic, oh my you deserve to shout it from the hillside.
    Thank you for sharing your excitement with us... it's contagious ;D
    I'm grinning from ear to ear for you.
    Brilliant photos... you look completely in your element.
    Congratulations and may your success continue!

  15. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! how incredible and well deserved! thank you for sharing all of this with us!! So wonderful, you must be so proud!!! Enjoy the prizes, can't wait to see more!!


Your comments always colour me happy! Thank you for popping by.


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