Earlier this year, I was selected by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation jury for their 2020 Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibition – twice! I was knocked sideways by the news, as with exhibitions and representation up to then I’d become intimately acquainted with the latter part of the phrase “hit and miss”. From 1,200 entries, “Koala” and “Gorilla” were chosen among 157 others in the shortlist.
The selection of Koala, in particular, genuinely shocked me, as I tackled it with 9 days of pastels experience. It also warmed my cockles, as 100% of any profit for this my end goes straight to WWF Australia.
The event itself was conducted online, aided by the notable speaking skills of Georgina Lamb, whose hour-long presentation and delivery was insightful and flawless, and accompanied by the angelic voice of Laura Wright with her musical interludes, who also presented the awards. It was a real pleasure to be part of it.
I never expected a whiff of a chance in the award-giving, so I was happy to sit back and enjoy a drink with the presentation. When I consider the works that I know weren’t shortlisted, it really is an honour to have been chosen at all among such remarkable talent. My two pieces sold within a day, and I’m thrilled (partly as I’m able to straighten out a couple of IOU’s through the Gorilla sale).
The Gorilla has since received “Highly Commended” status by the exhibition. This is more than good enough for me!
During uncertain times, and in choosing a career that can be underpinned by uncertainty generally, the last couple of months have provided a much-needed morale lift. People who don’t know me from Adam are taken enough by my work to give me the time of day. While my existing following and supporters are the ones for whom I’m eternally grateful, this is something worth holding onto as well.
The snazzy badge of honour I was sent is a permanent reminder, and the whole process has been addictive enough to chase after that feeling again – create more compelling work, for longer hours, in hopes of perhaps being included again. Why not!
A huge congratulations extended to all winners, including an old school mate, Tom Middleton, who won the “Into the Blue” category with his stunning piece, “Silver Lining”!
The People’s Choice Award will be given once voting closes on 28th June – if either of my pieces is one of your favourites, I’d be eternally grateful for your vote! Here are the links for the voting: Koala and Gorilla. For those who’ve voted and publicised this already, your support means a great deal, so thank you!