To ensure every genre of art is appreciated equally in our Jackson’s Open Painting Prize, we are awarding 6 Category Prizes to our 350 Longlisted works! Upon entering, artists had to tag their work the most appropriate subject matter, choosing between Portrait/Figure, Animals, Still life/Botanical, Abstract/Non-representational, Landscape/Cityscape/Seascape and Scenes of Everyday Life. Jackson’s Judging Panel will choose one winner from each category so that all Longlisted works can be judged against works with a similar subject matter, alongside being considered for the other prizes. All 6 category prize winners will win £500 and will automatically be placed in the Shortlist.
Animals Award Winner: ‘Pretty in Pink’ by Nicola Wilkinson
‘Close up of a flamingo, highlighting the birds rich colours and beauty.’
Debbie Chessell: How long have you been working on coloured pencil animal portraits?
Nicola Wilkinson: I have been drawing on and off since I can remember. It was at the start of 2014 when I came across a beautiful photo of a barn owl I became inspired to dust off my coloured pencils and have a quick attempt at capturing the beauty of that photo in coloured pencil. After that I couldn’t put my pencils down and quickly invested in a much larger set and some better quality paper, I have been hooked ever since.
I love the lighting in ‘Pretty in Pink’, it’s so atmospheric! How do you choose your subjects?
I think emotion plays an important role for me. When looking at potential subjects and references I have to get some emotional reaction from it, if I have that excitement right from the start then I believe it shows in the work I produce. I always feel inspired to draw animals I have actually seen in the wild, it always makes me feel more connected to what I am drawing. I guess it is why I love drawing British Wildlife so much. I am so lucky to live in Northumberland where I have so much wildlife on my doorstep to inspire me. When looking at potential references to draw I am always drawn to animals with a dynamic contrast between highlights and shadows, I am fascinated by the way light changes how we perceive colour. That and the general composition are really the deciding factors on what I decide to draw.
What inspired you to start using coloured pencil as a medium? Which materials are your favourite?
Coloured pencils are a medium I always seem to come back to no matter what other mediums I experiment with. Growing up I always loved colouring in, it always gave me such joy and I don’t think I have ever grown out of that. I’m always drawn to detail and one thing I love about coloured pencils is the amount of detail you can create with them. Watching something slowly come to life on a blank piece of paper and then seeing the final result inspire me to keep going and to keep trying new things. Because of this, I am always experimenting with new materials and new techniques to constantly try and improve. All my pieces, however, are created using Faber Castell Polychromos pencils – investing in the full set was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made. Depending on the piece and the outcome I want I usually use either Fisher400, Stonehenge or Fabriano Artisitco Paper, all fantastic papers which give different but beautiful results.
Do you have any upcoming projects? Where can we see more of your work?
I’m currently planning a British Wildlife series of portraits which I am really excited about. I have just started on a red squirrel whose progress can be found on both my facebook (www.facebook.com/nicolawilkinsonart) and Instagram pages (www.instagram.com/nicolawilkinsonart) as well as images of other pieces I have completed.