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Kate Bentley wins the 2017 Lancashire Life Landscape Artist of the Year competition

PUBLISHED: 16:57 19 June 2017

Kate with her winning painting

Kate with her winning painting

glynn ward

Three exceptional pictures made it to the final of our Landscape Artist of the Year competition but there was only one winner. Barbara Waite reports.

Sponsors and finalists  Clive Hepplestone, Michael Treanor, Giles Hepplestone, Diane Hepplestone, Sue Hepplestone, winner Kate Bentley, Kumar and Roger BorrellSponsors and finalists  Clive Hepplestone, Michael Treanor, Giles Hepplestone, Diane Hepplestone, Sue Hepplestone, winner Kate Bentley, Kumar and Roger Borrell

The winning smile says it all! A beaming Kate Bentley was crowned Lancashire Life Landscape Artist of the Year with an arresting image called Summer Storms.

Kate, an award-winning professional painter based in the Lyth Valley in the Lake District, beat off strong competition from dozens of talented painters to take the award at a presentation night at competition sponsors Hepplestone Fine Art Gallery of Heskin near Chorley.

Giles Hepplestone, who hosted the event, and Lancashire Life Editor Roger Borrell judged her moody, textured painting the winner and revealed the result at a reception for the short-listed three paintings at the gallery.

The three finalists  Michael Treanor, winner Kate Bentley and KumarThe three finalists  Michael Treanor, winner Kate Bentley and Kumar

‘The painting is a superb treatment of light and creates a wonderful feeling of scale and perspective,’ said Giles. ‘She is a worthy winner.’

Kate – a former Lancashire Life Artist of the Month – has a liberating way of working, taking prepared papers to work on outside and making the painting fit the mood and textures of the random marks found in them.

It has proved to be a highly successful way of working which has seen Kate awarded membership to the The Lakes Artists’ Society, the Birmingham Watercolour Society, and is an associate member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.

Last year she was presented with the Princess Michael of Kent Watercolour Award at the Mall Galleries in London and has a busy schedule of courses that she runs from her studio at Brigsteer, producing work for many exhibitions as well as commissions and work with holiday companies.

In announcing the judges verdict, Roger Borrell praised the Hepplestone family’s flair and dedication in creating a vibrant business which supports local artists. ‘Giles and I had an exceptionally difficult task in sifting through the many outstanding entries and the three paintings seen here tonight are all worthy winners.’

The two runners-up, though disappointed, were delighted to have got so far in a very high standard of competition. Michael Treanor is a self-taught watercolourist who devotes countless hours trying to create mood and atmosphere in his work.

A former teacher, he is inspired to achieve light and fluidity in his work, shown to great effect in his painting of Ruff Wood, Ormskirk, and has developed his own distinctive style from experimentation giving his work freshness and spontaneity.

Srirangam Mohankumar – Kumar to his friends and family – has sketched and painted from a very young age. He prefers to work outdoors, predominantly in watercolour. His fresh and fluid painting – The Packet House, Worsley – was an accurate representation and showed good use of the medium specially in the canal reflections.

A highlight of his career was being presented to the Queen Mother at an exhibition of British artists, where some of his earlier paintings were on show and he also exhibited at the Mall Gallery in London as well as galleries in Lancashire and Cumbria.

Both runners-up having tasted success now intend to devote even more of their time to painting and will be featured in Lancashire Life in the coming months.

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