Art Competition 2013 Winners

Welcome to the winner and runner up page for our 2013 London Art College Art competition. We had a really high standard this year and a record number of entries which we are thrilled about. All of the tutors and admin staff who attended this years annual conference had the difficult task of choosing a winner and runner up out of the finalists that had been voted for and selected by all tutors a week prior to the conference. All of the pieces of artwork were viewed on a giant projector and discussed in depth during the meeting. 

The voting was very close and however much we would like every student to win, the winner was Margaret Orchard, with her coloured pencil drawing 'Purple Moment' pictured below. If you click on the image you can view a larger version of Margaret's stunning and very detailed drawing of an iris. We would officially like to congratulate Margaret, we know that she has come a long way with her artwork over the years of being with us. Margaret has studied on two of our courses, the Pet Portraits Diploma where she gained a distinction and she is now currently studying on the coloured pencil course with Julie Douglas. We hope that Margaret is thrilled with her achievements. 

Our runner up is Alexandra Riley with her finely executed pencil drawing of her cat Boris - entitled 'Boris My Bengal'. You can click on the image to view a larger version and view its exquisite detail - just superb. Alexandra put a lot of time and into this drawing and her skill in creating realism is excellent. 

So there we have it for another year. The response to this years competition was overwhelming, we would officially like to thank all of our students who entered. We are looking forward to next years completion already! 

Winner 2013 Competition Margaret Orchard - Purple Moment

Winner 2013 Competition

Name : Margaret Orchard 

Student Number : 39683

Title of Piece : Purple Moment

Course : Coloured Pencil Course

Medium : Coloured Pencil 

My name is Margaret Orchard.  I am writing this having just learnt that I have won the LAC Competition for 2013.  I am absolutely thrilled to have won and would like to congratulate Alexandra for her delightful depiction of her cat “Boris” which was awarded runner-up.  Looking at this year’s entries, the standard was amazingly high.  It astonishes me that there is so much artistic talent about.

I thought you might be interested to learn a little more about me and the inspiration behind my entry entitled “Purple Moment”.
Most of my art is self taught.  I love reading magazines about art and read factual art books like novels.  I have now accumulated quite a library!   My love of art comes from watching my mother produce the most beautiful pictures when I was young.  When I was ill she would sit on my bed and draw to keep me amused.  Hers was an exceptional talent and I have inherited her love of art. 

At school I studied art at A-level gaining an A-Grade for work in Life Drawing, Still Life and Composition.  I also studied art as a main subject at Teacher Training College but here my skills were more useful in helping me design posters, worksheets and games for teaching purposes rather than individual pictures. Once my two children arrived I had little time to draw so it wasn’t until about five years ago that my love of art was rekindled, when I was given a set of paints as a present at Christmas.  I joined a local art group, which meets every week in my village hall and since then I have not looked back.  I love to learn new techniques and try them out myself.  This is when I discovered the London Art College. I am a reluctant driver so attending day courses any distance away was out of the question but the London Art College, with its superb selection of distance learning courses, has provided me with expert tuition from the comfort of my own home.  My first course was on Pet Portraits with Melanie Phillips.  I had previously shied away from pictures of animals but my daughter became involved in working with animals and bought an adorable rescue boxer dog and I found myself wanting to draw him whenever possible.  It was during working for one of the assignments for this course that I had to do one using coloured pencil. I really had no idea how versatile coloured pencil had become.  Realising that my work was lacking in techniques I enrolled on the coloured pencil course with Julie Douglas and now at long last I am able to add colour to my graphite drawing which is the medium I love the most.   I had not used coloured pencil since my school days and marvel at all the different techniques you can use with them whether dry or wet. 

If I had to choose my favourite subject it would be anything botanical.  Whilst visiting an Open Garden last year I was able to photograph one of my favourite flowers – the Iris.  I always carry a camera with me and take as many shots as possible from different angles.  Then I put them on the computer and crop them until I have the angle and size I want.   I usually have one copy in black & white, enlarge areas where it is difficult to see all the detail and make a copy of the picture in pixels to give me a better idea of the colour ranges.  When I have all this information to hand I go about doing a thumbnail sketch of the design.  I have no idea exactly how long each piece takes but it could run in to weeks of work.  Because I enjoy what I am doing so much time is irrelevant.

Well done to all those who entered the 2013 competition.  I have thoroughly enjoyed browsing through the vast array of wonderful pictures.  Well done to Alexandra for her lovely picture of “Boris”.  Thank you to the London Art College for your guidance and inspiration and thank you to all of those who voted my picture as the winning entry.  I am delighted!

Runner Up 2013 Competition Alexandra Riley - Boris my Bengal

Runner up Competition

Name : Alexandra Riley 

Student Number : 41321

Title of Piece : Boris my bengal

Course : Coloured Pencil Course

Medium : Pencil

I was really over the moon to receive runner up in the LAC Competition 2013 for “Boris my Bengal” My name is Alexandra, and I live in Maidstone, Kent.  I have been married to Alan, a forestry consultant, for 33 yrs and have a daughter, Lisa, and two grandsons.  

I have 3 cats, one Persian and two moggies; Boris was a fun loving, mischievous Bengal, who enjoyed playing with other cats and was also very friendly. Unfortunately he developed a tumour and had to be put down last year and it was a great loss.  The drawing is my way of remembering him.

I am a self taught graphite pencil artist, and have only been drawing seriously since 2010.   I was given “Drawing from line to life” by Mike Sibley, for Christmas and was so inspired by the detail in his drawings that I decided that I was going to adopt the same approach.  

I used Mellotex white 250gsm paper, Staedlter 780 clutch pencils (2H, B, and 2B), and my trusted Blu-tack eraser.  When I draw, I imagine that every 1” of my drawing could be a picture on its own right.  It takes me quite a long time to draw as I want the viewer to see the detail and more than just pencil strokes. I think I spent about 12 weeks drawing Boris until I was happy with the texture of the fur

I enrolled on the Coloured Pencil course with Julie Douglas, and have nearly completed the first set of assignments.  I want to be able to still use my graphite but also incorporate colour.  The amount of colour work that I have done so far isn’t much and I am getting to grips with the very different approach needed.  With graphite it’s a case of using all the different shades of black, but with colour there is so much more to think about.   

Finally I would just like to say thank you to Julie for all her advice, and I can’t wait to get back to my drawings.

Thank you


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