Winners Announced! Belle Vue Arts Festival Art Competition 2021
17 Aug 2021
by Katy Rink

And the Judging is IN! The winners have been announced for the fabulous new Belle Vue Arts Festival Art Competition 2021 and there are some stunning entries across all mediums. 

Congratulations to Jane Beesley, who has won first prize in the Belle Vue Arts Festival Art Competition 2021 with her entry The Longing Mountain, an acrylic and pencil triptych on wood panels. 

Jane wins the opportunity to have her work on show in the window of The Soden Collection on Wyle Cop from September 24-26. 

Amazingly, Jane only started painting a year ago and was given a nudge by a friend to enter the competition. She said: "I am stunned and delighted. I had to read the notification several times to make sure I'd read it correctly. At school I was told not to bother continuing with art and only started painting last year. So this is a big reminder not to let people stop you from doing something you might love. Painting makes my heart sing."

Sculptor Halima Cassell MBE, juding the competition, said: "There is a wonderful selection and variety of work submitted to this competition, which made it more exciting and challenging to select from."

Fellow judge Jonathan Soden of The Soden Collection added: “Jane’s work has a contemporary touch which will complement the style of the gallery to perfection. She will be exhibiting alongside Joan Miro, David Hockney, Francis Bacon and many more as part of our Summer Exhibition, so she’s in great company!”

Katy Rink, editor of My Shrewsbury magazine, another of the judges, said: "We all loved Jane's work - there is a passionate intensity to it, that seems incredible for someone who has only been painting for a year. We were delighted to support this wonderful competition and help shine a light on some of the amazing talent in our town."

Sue Mann, of Bellevue Arts Festival, said she was hopeful that the competition will run again in 2022, adding: "We have really enjoyed working alongside The Soden Collection and My Shrewsbury magazine to present a brand new art competition. The Festival aims to create inspiring arts events and opportunities for the local community and beyond.

“This year, we have certainly reached new heights by offering such a high quality competition for artists in Shrewsbury. It has been so encouraging to receive entries from so many talented people.

“We would like to say a big thank you to all the judges for giving their time so freely. Thanks must also go to Soden Collection and My Shrewsbury magazine for donating the fantastic 1st and 2nd prizes and for showing such enthusiasm for this new festival venture."

Jane Beesley oil painting The Longing Mountain

1st Prize: The Longing Mountain, Jane Beesley

Jane said: "I particularly enjoy exploring wild and rugged land and seascapes, abstracting elements and using different tools to apply paint and mark making."

Jane’s work will be exhibited in the window of The Soden Collection from September 24-26.

You can find Jane at @jane.beesley

 Martina Risaliti painting Wavy Sea

2nd Prize: Wavy Sea, Martina Risaliti

Martina moved to Shrewsbury from Italy in 2017 and began her career as an illustrator, known as 'Mira'. Her entry, in gouache and coloured pencils represents the struggle of the character who is experiencing powerful emotions but is not able to communicate what she feels.

Martina wins a profile feature in My Shrewsbury magazine (keep an eye out next edition!)

You can find Mira at @illustramira

 Leisha Kemp Walker painting Columbine

3rd Prize (shared): Columbine Leisha Kemp-Walker

Leisha’s exquisite watercolour study of Aguilegia vulgarise is a stunning first attempt at a botanical study: “I tried to give an accurate representation of this beautiful plant with its delicate, swan-like petals," she said. 

 painting of Marc and Rachel by Morgan Bird

3rd Prize (shared): Marc and Rachel: 8 Today, Morgan Bird

Morgan’s striking portrait of his cousin and girlfriend was painted as a gift. He says: “I love all things paint and pigment and think oil paint in particular is a magical thing."

Find Morgan at @mvkpaints

Leisha and Morgan will each win a voucher for art materials donated by The Belle Vue Arts Festival.  

  • The competition was judged by Jonathan-Lee Soden of The Soden Collection, sculptor Halima Cassell MBE, Katy Rink, editor of My Shrewsbury Magazine, Mike Griffiths, former Head of Art at the Wakeman School and Sue Mann of BVAF.