Hopeful Sheffield artists take on competition at national 'Landscape Artist of the Year' TV art show
Andrew Thackeray still recalls the first time he picked up a paintbrush.
“I was eight or nine, and watching Paint Along with Nancy during the summer holidays,” he says.
“I bought myself some paints with my pocket money and painted a seascape. It went off to Sheffield Graves Art Gallery where they displayed it for five or six weeks; it was brilliant.
“As I grew up, and real life took over, I stopped having time to paint. It was only about 15 years ago that I picked it up again after a visit to Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery with my wife.”
Andrew, of Stannington, is one of a number of wildcard ‘hopefuls’ that recently competed in a brand new series of Landscape Artist of the Year, which launched on Sky Arts earlier this month.
Presented by Stephen Mangan and Joan Bakewell, the show sees guest judges travel the country on the hunt for nation’s best landscape artist. Each week, eight artists use paints, pencils, brushes and biros to showcase their artistic flair in only four hours, in the hopes of winning the top prize - a £10,000 commission to create a landscape artwork of Venice for the prestigious Royal Institute of British Architects.
But they're not the only ones vying for the judges attention as 50 more artists are competing in each heat to try their luck as a ‘wildcards.’
Andrew, aged 55, said: “I’m a fan of the show, and was excited to be chosen as a wildcard. I usually spend up to 40 hours on a painting, so four hours was a challenge, but I really enjoyed the day, painting the Tyne Bridge, and I got some good feedback.”
Also representing the steel city as a wildcard on the day was 48-year-old Ayesha Heaton, of Beighton. Ayesha, a project manager at Weston Park Museum, ripped up magazines on the day to create a collage of Tyne Bridge.
She says: “Loads of people came to look and were stopping us to chat about what we were doing, and ask questions. It was quite nerve-wracking, especially with the cameras on us, but it was such a fun day, and there was great camaraderie among the artists.
“I quite liked having the focus of just having to get on with something, and not having the choice to linger over it.
Presenter Stephen Mangan adds: "I have the unbelievable pleasure of visiting some of the most beautiful and picturesque spots in the country and watching a bunch of talented artists produce works of art.
“It’s tough but somebody’s got to do it."
Co-presenter Joan Bakewell says: “It’s always fascinating to watch the artists grow and evolve their style throughout the programme and witness the incredible creativity in their interpretations of beautiful British landscapes – and to witness the debate amongst both the judges and viewers over which artist they believe to be the most-worthy winner.”
Andrew and Ayesha’s episode will air on November 12, at 8pm.