‘The Last Flowers of Summer’
Carole Thirlaway Chair of Nework Artists North East was the judge, here are her comments and some examples of her work (you can see more of her work on Network Artists website.
"Thank you for asking me to judge this excellent exhibition, it is an honour.
I am a printmaker who enjoys experimenting with texture and colour. I use Wood Engravings and Collagraphs as the main focus of my work. I find the contrast between the controlled discipline of wood block engraving and the freer unexpected results from Collagraphs both interesting and exciting.
The Oak and the Broom (Wordswoth Poem) Old Walls and Sky
I would like to say, before I reveal the competition winners, that the entries were a real delight. It certainly cheered up these last days of Summer for me. I enjoyed the breadth of styles and differing approaches to the subject. When looking at the entries there was a perfusion of colour which was uplifting. My artist journey began with paint and I was reminded of how rewarding and versatile a medium it is. I found singling out winners extremely difficult as this implies losers of which there are none!
In first place I selected No.6, ‘Fading Lily Pads’ by Geoff Stables
I found this reminiscent of my visit at this time of year to Monet’s garden at Giverny. I loved the quiet stillness of the scene after the business of Summer and before the calming down of Autumn. The colours reflect this peacefulness. The painting is quite abstracted with the stylised trees and lily pads. I felt a certain sadness in the piece, once again speaking of the passing of Summer. Delightful.
In second place I was torn between several entries but in the end settled upon No 18, ‘September Garden, 2020’ (Pauline Hughes)
This painting is a truly a perfusion of colour. It is nature giving us the last burst of energy before retreating to conserve itself for a period of rest until the summer of a different year. It is a painting of hope. How lovely to look at this during the darker days ahead and remember that life regenerates and the colour of this garden will be back. It seems a metaphor for our current situation.
In third place I selected No.14, ‘Allotment Sketchbook’. (Alan Dordoy)
I have a real love of sketchbooks. I always promise myself that I will be more diligent about filling my own but often fail. As a result, I really appreciate the sketchbooks of other artists and find it a real treat if I visit exhibitions where they are on display. I guess its like being able to read famous people’s diaries. It speaks a lot about the person. I was delighted to see this entry from a sketchbook. The colours are lovely, and each sketch tells us that it is the end of Summer. Beautifully drawn and painted. I would guess this artist’s sketchbook is full of treats, especially from the allotment.
Well that is the end of my selection. Art appreciation is very much subjective, but I did find so much in this exhibition that delighted me and would love any in my home! I would like to congratulate you all and would love to see future exhibitions of your work, hopefully one day soon in reality.
These are some other observations regarding the remaining entries.
I loved ‘Carol in the Sweet Peas’(Monica Shaw) I was actually successful this year with sweet peas (for a change) and as I am Carole this could be me! Lovely use of colour and a fun painting.
I thought No15, ‘Bouquet for Katheen’ (Harry Bell) a particularly pleasing composition. It kept drawing me back. I liked the background contrast and the contemporary approach to the vase and table.
All the still life entries are very well composed and painted.
I enjoyed the iPad entries.
No.1 ‘Frilly Poppies and Seedheads’ (Judy Appleby) was another favourite. I like the use of aluminium as a base. I think that gave the painting luminosity. Having never worked on aluminium, however, I am only guessing at this.
No.9 ‘Iris, Victoria Falls’ (Josie McLaughlin) is a beautiful painting. I love the delicacy of the flowers and it is so accurate in its interpretation.
All were a delight to see and consider. The colours reflected the remit for the competition and the compositions very evocative interpretations.Thank you once again for inviting me and congratulations to you all."