Landscape artists shine
By Adrian Miller
From the reds of the outback, to the green farming pastures and the blue, windswept skies, striking images abound among the finalists for the Country Energy Art Prize for Landscape Painting.
The $35,000 prize is Australia's richest annual landscape painting award, and is designed specifically for regional artists.
As the artworks are based on landscapes, it also attempts to highlight the unique beauty of the Australian countryside.
Two Clarence Valley residents are up for the top prize, with Grafton's Amanda Wynn and Yamba's Jill Bradshaw both chosen as finalists.
A total of 470 entries have been whittled down to 42 finalists, with half of them coming from the Mid North Coast, Far North Coast and northern regions of NSW.
Begun in 2003, the prize attracts top quality artists, some of whom rate it as highly as the celebrated Archibald Art Prize for Portrait Painting.
Country Energy Far North Coast regional general manager Brian Glawson said it was fantastic to see so many artists embrace the prize.
"It is both exciting and rewarding to see so many high quality entries," he said.
An exhibition of the artworks of the finalists will be open to the public at the Grafton Regional Gallery until October 16.
"The Country Energy art prize is obviously becoming a landmark competition in the story of contemporary Australian art.
"One artist even included this prize amongst the list of prestigious prizes, including the Archibald, Wynne or Sulman, that he aspires to win."