A painting of a well-known beauty spot has triumphed over a record number of entrants to win the New Forest Open Art competition.
Andrea Hook’s painting of Eyeworth Pond near Fritham beat more than 170 other entries to win first prize in the yearly art contest, which was sponsored once again by Exxon Mobil at the Fawley Refinery.
Daniel Byrne took second place for his painting entitled ‘Pig from Burley’ and Barry Peckham’s piece ‘Birches, Denny Wood’ was placed third.
The contest is run by the New Forest National Park Authority and the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst, and seeks to recognise outstanding photographs, paintings and sculptures that have been inspired by the New Forest.
The results were announced at a preview evening at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst, where the free public exhibition of the competition entries is open daily until Saturday 12 September. Visitors are also able to buy selected artworks.
There were two runners-up – ‘New Forest Drift – Heading for the Pound’ by Hugh Lohan and ‘Traveller’s Rest’ by Roger Voller.
Winner Andrea Hook, from Poole, said: ‘I was both surprised and delighted to be awarded first place – there are many beautiful artworks in the exhibition, any one of which could have been chosen over mine. I am extremely grateful that the New Forest Centre, New Forest National Park Authority, and ExxonMobil provide this amazing opportunity for artists to celebrate and promote the beauty we have on our doorstep.
‘I would urge everyone to visit the exhibition and vote for their favourite artwork, and if anyone is thinking of entering the competition for the first time next year…give it a go!’
New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: ‘Andrea’s painting was a worthy winner of this year’s Open Art competition. I congratulate her and all the other entrants on the impressively high standard of their work, which demonstrates what an inspiring place the New Forest can be for artists.’
The competition, which opened for submissions in April, was sponsored by Exxon Mobil at the Fawley Refinery which provided the prize fund – £500 for the winner, £300 for second and £100 for third, as well as £100 for the People’s Prize winner.
The People’s Prize will be awarded to the artist who created the work that gets the most votes during the public exhibition. Visitors will be encouraged to post their votes for their favourite work of art in a ballot box, with the winner announced at the end of the exhibition.
New Forest Centre Manager Hilary Marshall said: ‘We were thrilled to receive so many entries this year and to welcome so many new artists to the Centre. The judges had an enormously difficult task and it’s thanks to them, and to all our volunteer helpers, that we are able to stage the New Forest Open Art for the third year.’
Alison Jones, Community Affairs Manager at ExxonMobil, Fawley Complex, said: ‘I was delighted to represent ExxonMobil at Fawley at the Open Art preview evening and to see the high standard of art work on display. Living in the New Forest as I do, I appreciate what an inspiration the area is. The New Forest Open Art competition has a unique atmosphere and I hope to return next year to see more inspired pieces.’
This exhibition coincides with National Parks Week 2015. This nationwide celebration of all that is good about the UK’s National Parks family takes place this year from 27 July to 2 August.
For more information on National Parks Week visit http://www.nationalparks.gov.uk/visiting/national-parks-week-2015.
View an online photo gallery of the exhibition at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/openart2015.