Art Club of the Year was launched at the start of 2016 by Leisure Painter and The Artist magazines in association with Jackson’s and Patchings Art Centre. All UK art clubs were invited to submit a total of five two–dimensional works that they felt represented their club, along with a written profile, including details about their club’s history, members and activities. The editors of Leisure Painter and The Artist magazines selected the top ten clubs to exhibit their five entries at Patchings Art, Craft & Photography Festival (9-12 June).
An overall winner and two runners-up were selected by Hazel Soan, and visitors were asked to vote for their favourite club for the People’s Choice Award. It was a spectacular exhibition, showing a wide variety of work, excellent technical skills and imagination, and demonstrated how individual members’ work can be brought together to create a strong cohesive show.
1st Prize (winning £500 worth of Jackson’s Gift Vouchers) was awarded to Leicester Sketch Club. They were also awarded the People’s Choice award winning an additional £100 in vouchers.
Judge Hazel Soan explains the reasons for choosing Leicester as her first place winner:
‘Leicester Sketch Club won first prize because the five paintings entered worked together perfectly as a team. They showed a wide variety of media, a broad range of styles and each represented different subject matter. Each emphasised a different aspect of painting: Boats at Blakeney, the power of line and perspective; Red Alert, colour and harmony; the figure, Exit, tone and form; Poppies and Scuttle, shape and texture; and the portrait of Anna, character and expression. The inclusion of each painting, excellent in itself, enhanced the others and made the whole group stronger. The artists in the art group obviously enjoy observation, drawing and challenge and they demonstrate a spirit of adventure.’
The two runners up each won £250 worth of Jackson’s vouchers. Below are Hazel Soans’ comments on the entries received from Gateshead Art Society and Guildford Art Society:
Gateshead Art Society
‘This group of paintings showed a variety of media, style and content which each enhanced the other through the obvious love and understanding of tone and a joy of pattern. The set had many narratives throughout, exhibiting a calming lyricism. The group of paintings worked as a whole, but lacked the strength of the winners.’
Guildford Art Society
‘This group entered five individually excellent paintings. They fulfilled the brief in that they represented a variety of media, content and showed the level of ability, scope and diversity of the group, but not its unity. Each painting was strong, but stood alone rather than together.’
The images at the top are two of the winning artworks from Leicester Sketch Club (L-R: ‘Anna’ by Tony Dwyer , acrylic, 231/2×191/4in. (60x49cm) and ‘Exit’ by Scott Bridgwood , oil, 3912/x211/2in. (100x80cm)