There are loads of open art competitions out there when you look for them. I’ve entered a good number over the last three or four years and this year I had my first painting accepted to one.

I received notification that my self-portrait had been accepted to The Artist category of the competition back in April so made plans to visit the gallery hosting the exhibition at Patchings Art Centre and take in the festival.

My wife and daughter came with me and we had a lovely day exploring the site, taking in the surroundings and spending a bit of money in the art materials marquee.

When visiting the gallery space, to my surprise and delight, I discovered my painting had won an award! My self-portrait won the ProArte prize of £150 worth of paintbrushes. It was also really pleasing to see my work hung in the gallery next to Tom Hughes fantastic studio painting. He is an artist whose career I’ve followed for a number of years and have learnt much about plein air painting from him via his YouTube channel ‘Thoughts on Painting’. Also to share exhibition space with Haidee-Jo Summers is so rewarding as she is another artist whose career I follow and work I admire.

The whole exhibition looks great and I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to be a part of it. Thanks to the judges for choosing my work.