If you've been following along with my recent watercolour adventures, you will know that I have been planning a trip up to Nottingham to collect my Artist of the Year certificate from the SAA! Although I was not one of the main category winners, receiving an SAA award as one of the 100 paintings selected from nearly 3000 entries was a real honor. After all the preparation of getting the painting framed, packaged, and delivered, the private view evening finally arrived last Friday ~ and despite looming rail strikes and torrential rain I made it there (and back)!
As I arrived in Nottingham the heavens opened and I was beginning to regret travelling light and without a coat! However, my hotel was only a short walk away and the exhibition space was just around the corner from the hotel, so I decided to seek out the venue first, in preparation for the event later that evening so I wasn’t trying to navigate in the dark!
Luckily, the exhibition space was really easy to find and was made even easier to spot from the large poster hanging from the scaffolding outside ~ particularly (as to my surprise), it featured my painting!
With slight trepidation, I stepped inside and immediately spotted my painting ~ despite having just seen it on the poster, there was still that nagging thought that perhaps it had never arrived, it had got damaged en route or I had dreamt the whole thing up!
I was so relieved and pleased to see it there, hanging amongst all of the other amazing entries. Needless to say, I couldn’t resist a quick scoot around the gallery to see the other work despite the fact that I would be returning in a few hours for the official private view.
Luckily, for my return trip later that evening, the rain had slowed to a steady drizzle so I managed to arrive without looking too bedraggled! I was greeted by the lovely SAA Marketing Director, Tara who gave me a warm welcome and ushered me in, out of the rain for a welcome glass of fizz. It turned out, that she had already made a note to talk to me about the watercolour videos I previously submitted as part of the SAA 30th anniversary celebrations. To my delight she was most complimentary about them! Tara then introduced me to some of the other members of the SAA team to discuss the possibility of producing some more creative content in the future. To be honest, I couldn’t have wished for a more fantastic start to my evening ~ fingers crossed, that this seedling of an idea might evolve into something bigger in the near future.
I met some truly talented people during the evening. It was so enjoyable to chat to like-minded creatives and have the chance to discuss their work, their ideas and experience. Being surrounded by such skill and diversity was inspirational.
As the evening progressed, it was soon time for the presentations ~ above you can see the winning entry for the best wildlife category. This pastel painting was absolutely stunning in real life. Even up close it looked photographic!
So here's me collecting my certificate and posing for the official photograph with Alison Board (right) who is a professional artist with the SAA and Melanie Sallis, Group Marketing Director (Left).
Final thoughts... I'm so glad I decided to attend the private view. I have found that the SAA competition is one of the most inclusive, as it encourages all age ranges and levels of experience to get involved. I was even lucky enough to get the chance to chat to the youngest winner who was only 7 and he proudly offered me one of his business cards! What a fantastic way to encourage and inspire a new generation of artists.
If you haven’t yet considered entering the SAA Artist of the year competition I would encourage you to seriously think about it. Keep your eye out for the call for entries next year and submit some work ~ you never know, you could be a 2023 winner!