I have some very good news - my painting has been awarded the top prize at Plein Air Bermuda this weekend!
The biennial festival was created in 2015, but this was my first time in Bermuda, and what a trip it has been!
My boyfriend Mark and I arrived in Bermuda last Thursday, a little nervous yet excited to meet our host Linda, a painter from Bermuda who offered to accommodate us in her home for 10 days over the festival week. We were delighted to find that she lives in a beautiful house with water both sides and a private dock looking out over the bay - wow! I was so excited to find that I could see the sunrise across the water that I got up each morning to make a dawn painting before breakfast!
We hired a scooter to get us around (visitors cannot hire cars here) and set out to explore the island, I was looking for the visual elements of the landscape that would make good motifs to use in paintings, distinctive characteristics like the white roofs on all the buildings here, or the local tree shapes that make great subjects for paintings that really feel like Bermuda.
The festival started last Saturday with 67 artists from Bermuda and overseas meeting for drinks and starting to make friends and acquaintances.
We painted each day in a different location, the organisers chose some great places for us. We were taken to an exclusive beach and tennis club on our first day, day two saw us welcomed to a beautiful private residence with extensive gardens, day three was in Hamilton, capital city of Bermuda for day and night time painting (yes, painting the city lights in the dark), we then visited the Royal Naval Dockyard on day four, the historic town of St George's on day five and finished with a free day to paint anywhere we liked.
On Saturday morning we handed in up to 7 paintings each to be exhibited in the Bermuda Society of Arts Gallery in Hamilton. Judging took place in the afternoon and the show opened for just 3 1/2 hours of intense viewing and sales from 4-7:30pm. After such a fantastic week I was overwhelmed to hear that I had been awarded the prize for 'Best Painting in Show' for my artwork "Afternoon Glow".
It is the first time I have won a competition of this size and I'm delighted to come away with such a great prize. It has been a very busy week, I have painted all over the island but the skies have been particularly incredible. I found a way to load the scooter to carry all my painting equipment so that I could be independent and paint where and when I wanted. That's how I made my winning picture. I spotted a great view from a dock near our host's house so I went to make a study. I had to go back 3 times, always at around 4pm when the light was best, until I had completed the painting. The dramatic golden glow in the painting only happens for a few minutes each evening, so I had to keep returning each day until I had managed to complete all the parts of the scene. It was quite tricky to transport the wet painting on the scooter, but I'm glad I persevered!