2019 Lancashire Life Artist of the Year
- Credit: Pics; John Cocks
We reveal the winner of our prestigious Artist of the Year competition
Ken Roberts has been crowned the winner of our Artist of the Year competition.
His painting of the kite festival at St Annes caught the eye of judges Giles Hepplestone of Hepplestone Fine Art and Lancashire Life editor Paul Mackenzie and won him the first prize.
Liam Dickinson from Manchester and Darwen's Ian Morris made up this year's top three.
Giles said: 'We had a very difficult task to select the winner this year. There were scores of entries and the standard was very high. Any one of the top three could have taken the top spot.
'In the end we chose Ken's vibrant and lively painting of the kite festival because we felt it had a lovely sense of nostalgia about it. Ken really captured something about that scene which we thought a lot of people would connect with. It's a painting that takes you somewhere in your mind.
'The top three were all very accomplished paintings and it was impossible really to compare such contrasting works. But in the end there was something about Ken's painting which made it stand out from the others.'
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Ken, who lives at Fairhaven, between Lytham and St Annes, said: 'I have entered the competition before, without any great expectations and I'm delighted to have won.
I hope it will help raise my profile. The loft will fall in if I don't sell some paintings soon!
'I am a little frustrated not to be more famous - that sounds arrogant but I don't mean it to. I just feel it's very hard for an artist to get known. The demise of the high street and the growth of online shopping have made things so much more difficult in recent years.'
Ken won £250 and the paintings that made the top three will be on show at the Hepplestone Fine Art Gallery at Heskin Shopping Village this month.
As a boy growing up in Hutton, Ken had dreams of being a sportsman and playing football and cricket for England. He didn't quite reach those heights but he was accomplished in the Sunday league and was on the books of Bury FC for a time in his youth.
Instead of a career on the sports field, he worked as a production manager for a Manchester textile company before moving to work in sales and marketing for Crown Paints in Darwen. And when he wasn't at work or playing cricket, he was painting.
Now retired, the former president of the Lytham St Annes Art Society paints in a ground floor studio at home, overlooking the back garden.
He said: 'I have always painted in oils and I'm influenced by the Impressionists. I work from photographs and sketches and I tend to have three or four paintings on the go at any one time. It's handy to be able to move on to something else while you're waiting for the oils to dry.
'It occurred to me last year that the kite festival would make a good subject. I wanted to do something different and went along with my camera. The final painting isn't exactly what I photographed that evening, I have taken some artistic licence and have moved some people and kites around.'
Plans are now underway to launch the 2020 Lancashire Life Landscape Artist of the Year competition and we are delighted that, once again, Hepplestone Fine Art will be our sponsor. Keep an eye on future issues as will be revealing details soon.