The Cheshire Life Landscape Artist of the Year 2016 competition

PUBLISHED: 00:00 13 April 2017

Cheshire Life Landscape Artist of the Year 2016 competition

Cheshire Life Landscape Artist of the Year 2016 competition

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Our search for the county's best landscape painter finished at Attitude Art Gallery in Congleton. Words by Louise Allen-Taylor.

Jo JenkinsJo Jenkins

Our search for the county’s best landscape painter finished at Attitude Art Gallery in Congleton.

During a pleasant evening hosted by Attitude owners Sharon and Chris Eversfield, four finalists admired each others’ work on display at the gallery before leaving the judges alone to discuss the paintings.

Sharon and Chris, along with fellow judge art critic Michael Escolme, were unanimous in the decision that the winner should be Jo Jenkins, from Upton, near Chester.

'Sandstone Trail' paintings by Jo Jenkins, winner of the Cheshire Life Landscape Arist of 2016 competition'Sandstone Trail' paintings by Jo Jenkins, winner of the Cheshire Life Landscape Arist of 2016 competition

The judges said: ‘The finalists’ work was all of a very high standard, their love of painting and the inspiration with which the Cheshire countryside brings each artist is evident, albeit in very distinct and different ways. The judging process provoked much debate and went on well into the wee hours when a final decision was eventually made.

‘The overall winner of the competition was Jo Jenkins - a worthy winner. Her submissions demonstrated the hand of an accomplished and confident artist who took a somewhat unconventional interpretation of the brief which she delivered with a flourish. Her work, abstract in nature, was well-composed and beautifully presented with a true feeling of the colours, tones and bleakness of Cheshire’s Sandstone Trail and a real sense of the outdoors.

‘Richard Malisa’s work demonstrated a wonderful sense of texture resulting in work with real depth and which appears incredibly tactile. He achieves this courtesy of an in-depth knowledge of base materials on which he painstakingly builds layer upon layer of colour. We liked his choice of iconic Cheshire locations and were particularly impressed by his rendering of water and stone surfaces.

'Sandstone Trail' paintings by Jo Jenkins, winner of the Cheshire Life Landscape Arist of 2016 competition'Sandstone Trail' paintings by Jo Jenkins, winner of the Cheshire Life Landscape Arist of 2016 competition

‘Darius Smith is clearly an artist who is very passionate about his craft and this was evident in the dynamism and energy which shines through in his work. Particularly impressive was Darius’s adventurous use of mixed media, particularly in the way he added lustre and textures to his work.”

‘Sarah Connell’s works are beautifully composed and use space in a way which gives a real sense of being placed right at the heart of the Cheshire countryside on a cold, crisp winter’s day. Sarah uses colour, indeed a lack of colour, with complete confidence and there is a stillness and a calm to her work which is very pleasing, and also very refreshing.’

Winner Jo Jenkins, from Upton, near Chester, was thrilled by her success. The retired art teacher, whose Sandstone Trail paintings so impressed the judges, works mainly in oils and gesso on board or on canvas. Most of her work is landscapes.

'Sandstone Trail' paintings by Jo Jenkins, winner of the Cheshire Life Landscape Arist of 2016 competition'Sandstone Trail' paintings by Jo Jenkins, winner of the Cheshire Life Landscape Arist of 2016 competition

‘My husband Trevor and I do a lot of walking and I particularly like lighting, dramatic lighting. If a scene strikes me, I’ll do a bit of a sketch and maybe make a few notes about colours. I probably think about it for a while before heading to my studio to do anything. I never set out to do a photographic likeness of something. That’s not what I intend - I’m sure most cameras can do that better.

‘I’m interested in playing with paint and overlaying. A painting can take me months. I sometimes add things, make alterations and occasionally think “Oh dear, I’ve wrecked it now!” I also do abstracts and am working on some at the moment.’

Jo, who was recently elected as a member of Manchester Academy of Fine Art (MAFA): ‘I’m very pleased to have won. It’s quite thrilling. I just love art and painting and looking around galleries.’

Jo’s work has been exhibited many times. She was particularly pleased to have her art displayed in Ripon Cathedral, and also at Stockport Art Gallery. If you would like to see more of Jo’s art, please visit www.jojenkinsartist.me

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