Its been just over a month since I took part in the Windsor and Eaton En Plein Air competition but even now I still can't quite believe that my painting landed me first prize! This came with a cash reward of £500 plus £500 pounds worth of Loxeley art vouchers who kindly sponsored the event. But the best bit, apart from the honor of being allowed to paint in the private areas of Windsor Castle, the best bit was that, after its been framed my painting will be donated to the Queens private collection. Am absolutely over the moon to say the least.
The competition organised by Windsor and Eaton Contemporary Art Fairs is in its 6th year. Originally it started as a one off event to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee. However following its huge success and public popularity it has ended up being an annual event. Anyone can enter, experienced or amateur artists, young or old for a nominal fee which gains entry to Windsor grounds with a chance to paint in private areas of the castle not normally open to the general public.
You have a chance to view photographs of selected sites and pick an area of interest where you would like to paint prior to the competition. Mine was the East terrace and private apartments, with views across the park lands of the Windsor estate. I had anticipated painting the castle, but on the day was struck by the stunning park grounds dotted with ancient trees stretching to the far horizon, in completely the opposite direction.
We had about 5-6 hours to paint , and I think I must have used up a good hour of it pacing around the grounds trying to decide what I wanted to paint. What snagged my attention most. In artwork one of my aims is to pick an unusual or striking composition, that I can clearly visualize on canvas. One that not only suits my style but that I know I can complete in the allotted time, with the additional challenges of painting outside.
In July, with the unpredictable British weather and invasions of wasps and a hot and bothered, very chatty husband I faced a few. Painting in traditional egg tempera on ampersand clay board, I had come well equipped with paint pigments and egg yolk. In the scorching heat I not only discovered that egg yolk can indeed start to cook and go lumpy, but also wasps find it quite appetizing. However despite this, I found that the quick drying properties of this unique medium enabled me to build depth and texture into the artwork adding multiple, luminous layers.
It was touch dry by the time I had to set up for the awards and pop up exhibition so not to tricky to transport. The standard of art was extremely high, and varied. When my art work was gifted its red winners rosette I was bowled over. I think my smile in all the photos says it all.
Currently the artwork is being framed. It will then be on display during the Windsor and Eaton Contemporary Art Fair in November before going to its final home in the Queens private collection.
To watch a video blog of the day click the link below.