Lichfield Festival of Folk Art overall competition winner.
I checked my emails one morning and I had an email forwarded by the treasurer of the Newquay Society of Artists. It was advertising a competition on the theme of 'Early One Morning'.
I love a good theme for an art competition and it inspired me. The first thing that came to my head was a memory of some beautiful photos I took a few years back. Taken from a once-in-a-lifetime trip on a hot air balloon.
As far as I can remember I have never talked about going up in a hot air balloon, so to be surprised with this as a present for my birthday was mildly alarming as well as exciting. After some investigation I discovered that on a trip to Leeds Castle one day there was a tethered balloon, that is a balloon safely tethered to our good green earth, and I commented that I would quite like to go up and see the view from there. However because my partner Kev isn't good with heights, I knew it's not something we would never do together.
However the seed of an idea had taken shape in his head and somehow turned into a hot air balloon ride. Something I potentially would have never chosen to do, but absolutely loved it. It was a trip for two, as above you may remember that Kev doesn't like heights, therefore my poor dad got roped in. He loved it too!
We were very lucky with the weather, it was idea hot air ballooning weather and with some trepidation my dad and I climbed into quite a small basket with a handful of strangers, under a very big balloon.
It was a bright, calm and clear morning, we took off from The Hop Farm in Kent and enjoyed a peaceful excursion across the fields of Kent. It was the photos taken from that experience which inspired this painting.
I hadn't painted fields from the air before, so it was a new challenge, but one which felt perfect for this competition.
I was over the moon to discover that I was the overall winner of the competition and my painting was on exhibition in the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum over the weekend 23rd-26th October 2021. There was a small award ceremony and rather appropriately I went with my rather proud dad.
You can see in the below photos, it's a stunning building and there I am chilling out with the local dignitaries, somewhat under-dressed for the occasion (as pointed out by one of my good friends when I posted these photos on Facebook)!