New York based Mexican artist Jessica Alazraki won the Emerging Artist Award and excitingly, Portugal based artist Lena Rivo was selected as the winner of the Animals category award, winning a cash prize of £500 with the piece entitled “Sleeping Sasha”. Most significantly, “Sleeping Sasha” was one of 8674 entries to Jackson’s Painting Prize this year.

Lena Rivo lives and works in Portugal. She uses a variety of subjects for her work including landscapes, still life scenes and figures. Lena’s primary medium is gouache, whilst also using oils and acrylics for larger works. She principally works on location, along the Portuguese coastline and fishing ports. She described how “light and colour are her principal influences. Portugal’s landscapes, cities, and idiosyncrasies play a large role in the subjects I choose. I take an abstract visual approach to my subjects, keeping the painting as simple as possible, focusing on the mood or atmosphere of the scene as opposed to the visual details. Colour, contrast and light take priority in my paintings.” When I asked Lena Rivo about whether Portugal is where she takes inspiration as an artist, she told me that: “I could talk about how much I love Portugal for hours. It’s an amazingly beautiful country which I am in love with. It’s a paradise for landscape and seascape painters. There are so many gorgeous painting locations here for those who love to paint beaches, rivers, rocks, fishing ports, old towns and villages. The weather is good throughout the year and the people are always nice and kind. I have visited many different countries but wherever I go, I look forward to returning to Portugal.”

Jackson’s Painting Prize was first established in 2016 to celebrate and champion the work of the community of artists who came for their art materials. “We wanted to provide a platform for them to share their work and meet other artists, as well as supporting them through the chance of winning cash and material prizes”. This year’s panel consisted of Juliette Losq (Contemporary Artist), Tabish Khan (Art Critic), Ruth Murray (Artist & winner of Jackson’s Painting Prize 2020), Gita Joshi (Curator & Art Dealer), Kimberly Klauss (Contemporary Artist) and Elizabeth Dellert (Affordable Art Fair UK Fair Director). All six judges select the shortlist from the longlist. As well as the Jackson’s Painting Prize of £6000, the Emerging Artist Prize of £1000, and a £500 Jackson’s voucher for the People’s Choice Award, there are six category prizes each with a cash prize of £500 each: Animal, Landscape/Cityscape/Seascape, Non-representational/Abstract, Portrait/Figure, Scenes of Everyday Life and Still Life/Botanical. Also new to the awards programme is the Outstanding Watercolour Award with a £500 Jackson’s voucher, created especially to recognise watercolour artists. You can see all the winning works on the Jackson’s Painting Prize website. A note from Gary Thompson, Director of Jackson’s Art Supplies was that “Jackson’s Painting Prize is an excellent opportunity for artists to share their talents with the rest of the world. We are very pleased to see a wide variety of media used this year, as well as artists of all ages and abilities submitting their work”.

Each year, the competition is growing and the number of artists and entries this year was no exception. Approximately 3800 artists submitted 8675 artworks. The competition happens once a year with submissions opening in early December. I asked if the winner of the Jackson’s Painting Prize can draw or paint anything or whether they must adhere to specific categories, he said, “Artists may paint whatever theme or subject matter they like, but each entry must be submitted into one of six categories which are designed to encapsulate the themes in fine art. Additionally, they only accept two-dimensional fine art paintings and drawings.” If you are interested in seeking more information about the Jackson’s Painting Prize, please check out their website at www.jacksonsart.com/paintingprize or their Instagram @jacksons_painting_prize. Finally for further enquiries please email jpp@jacksonsart.co.uk.`