French travels inspires Irons Prize winning art piece
WHEN artist Wayne Gilholm saw the "smoke" theme for the Irons Prize art competition, he was immediately taken back to his early times in France.
"In my twenties I travelled to the cafes in Paris and remembered the smoke filling the air of the cafe de Flores, which was a haunt of Picasso and Hemmingway," he said.
"And everyone there was smoking Gitanes and the room was just smoke everywhere."
With this inspiration, he created what turned out to be the winning piece; a work of acrylic on paper for the prize, titled "avec mon ami Gitanes cafe de Flores" - or "With my friend Gitanes at the cafe de Flores."
"It was a huge surprise," Mr Gilholm said of his win.
"My wife and I went to Irons and Craig around 11.30am, and initially couldn't find the painting among the 60-odd entries, and then to find it on its own as the winner, it was unbelievable."
Mr Gilholm describes his style as expressionist, and says the freedom and colour of the style is something he and his students respond well to.
"I think art gives the kids a freedom to create, and a feeling they can be successful as well," he said.
"I had one student tell me he loved art class, it's something everyone can be good at, and achieve something.
Mr Gilholm guides his students through a variety of techniques, and says he encourages them to think of art as a process.
"I just think it's great that they get to use their hands, get paint on their hands and constantly work on something - we can work on something often over a period of three or four weeks," he said.
"I often tell them I think you never finish painting, you just abandon it at a particular point."
Mr Gilholm said it was great to see a local business support the arts scene, which was echoed by prize judges James Moloney and Sue Hughes.
"I think it's great to have privately sponsored support by the arts," Mr Moloney said.
"We looked for artistic merit and response to the theme. The high standard and diverse approaches still presented a challenge but there was a high level of agreement in our short-list."
Irons and Craig owners Antony Perring and David Barnier said they were pleased with the inaugural year of the art prize, with both the number and diversity of the entries on show.
"We want to continue the support the local artist and are already planning for next year's theme," they said.
The exhibition of works is on display at Irons and Craig until the end of August daily from 7am-3pm.
Winner: Wayne Gilholm - "amec mon ami Gitanes au Cafe de Flores".
Highly commended: Hilary Austin - "Smoke on the Water".
Commended: Duncan Fawkes - "Smokeforms #1: The Horse".
Commended: Graham Mackie - "Where there is smoke there is fire".
Commended: Morgan Parkin - "Kilmarnock".
Commended: Joelle Webber - "Fireplace framework".
Commended: Danielle Gorogo - "Smoking ceremony".