New Forest Open Art Competition 2018 Winners Announced

A striking photograph of the National Park in autumn has triumphed over a spectacular collection of artworks to win the sixth New Forest Open Art competition.

Cathryn Baldock’s ‘All the Leaves are Brown’ beat 188 other entries to win first prize in the yearly contest, sponsored by ExxonMobil at the Fawley refinery and chemical complex. 

Second place was awarded to Paula Norris for her acrylic painting ‘Across the Forest’ and Jillian Fry took third place for her embroidery piece ‘Running Wild’. 

The contest, run by the New Forest Centre in partnership with the New Forest National Park Authority, recognises outstanding photographs, paintings and sculptures that have been inspired by the New Forest. 

This year’s exhibition, which features a stunning selection of works including woodturning pieces, natural sculptures and textiles, is open daily in the New Forest Centre Gallery until 8 September. Admission is free and visitors can vote for their favourite piece of artwork in the People’s Prize which will be awarded to the winning artist at the end of the exhibition. 

Winner Cathryn Baldock, from Dibden Purlieu, said: ‘I wasn’t at all expecting to win, it’s such a lovely surprise. The quality of work in this year’s exhibition is fantastic and I feel so privileged to live in the New Forest and be inspired by it. I hope others will visit the exhibition and take inspiration from the Forest and enter their work next year.’

New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: ‘Cathryn’s photograph was an excellent choice for first place in this year’s Open Art competition. Congratulations go to all the artists who entered, showcasing once again how inspirational this landscape is. The ever-increasing high standard of work demonstrates how wonderfully talented the creative community is within the Forest and how hard they work to capture its beauty for others to enjoy.’ 

The competition, which opened for submissions in May, is sponsored by ExxonMobil at the Fawley Refinery which provided the prize funds - £500 for the winner, £300 for second and £100 for third, as well as £100 for the People’s Prize winner. 

New Forest Centre Manager Hilary Marshall said: ‘The Open Art competition is a highlight of the New Forest Centre’s annual programme and we continue to be proud of the high number and quality of the entrants we receive. This year was no exception and with a wonderful selection of pieces on display, we hope that our summer visitors will enjoy seeing the Forest through artists’ eyes at the exhibition.’ 

Alison Jones, Community Affairs Manager at ExxonMobil, Fawley, said: ‘It is always a pleasure to represent ExxonMobil at Fawley at the Open Art preview evening and to see the incredible talent of the New Forest’s creative community. Every piece is unique and imaginative, and together they showcase so many qualities of the National Park. The Forest is inspirational to both its residents and visitors and the New Forest Open Art competition is a wonderful way to celebrate it. I hope to see more inspired pieces next year.’ 

See more images of the exhibition at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/openart.

Pictured left to right at the Open Art exhibition preview evening: Alison Jones, Community Affairs Manager from ExxonMobil at Fawley Refinery; Hilary Marshall, New Forest Centre Manager; Open Art competition winner Cathryn Baldock with her photograph ‘All the Leaves are Brown’; Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, New Forest National Park Authority Chairman; Simon Downing, Refinery Manager from ExxonMobil at Fawley Refinery.