Jolomo Awards 2011

Last Friday, (24th June) I was invited along with my partner Anita, to the Jolomo Awards 2011 for Scottish Landscape Painting. The event was held in the very grand surroundings of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow and as winner of this bi-annual award in 2009, I was asked to say a few words!

As in 2009, seven artists had been short-listed for the awards and, similarly, they had the nail biting wait through the evening (with a very fine dinner included) before the results were announced. In 2009 I hardly ate any of the meal and probably heard little of what was said by the various speakers. On Friday though, despite being quite nervous about having to stand up and speak myself, I enjoyed all the preliminaries to the final award announcements.

I had been asked several months ago if I would say a few words on the evening and had spent much time thinking about this in the run up to the event. About four weeks ago I sat down at my computer and spent several hours converting these thoughts into writing and then quite a while longer honing these down to something that would fit the five minute time limit I was given. Then of course I had to try and get it into my head ….my sight is far too poor to be able to use a script or even prompt cards. On the night I’d just have to stand up and speak.

The short speech I put together was all about what winning the Jolomo Award had meant to me, how I’d been using it, how it had benefited my work etc etc. Even though I say it myself, it seemed quite good and I spent a lot of time over the intervening weeks going through it in my head. Nothing worse than ‘drying up’ mid speech, especially when you’re stood in front of 100 or so people …many of them very influential in the Scottish arts scene.

So then, all was set ….I knew what I was going to say and I could still squeeze into my dinner suit …and then, as I reported last week, on Thursday, (the day before the Jolomo event) we went walking….and everything changed!

When we reached the top of Doune Hill we’d decided that we had enough time before heading back, to sit for half an hour and have a bite to eat and just enjoy the wonderful surroundings. I decided I might as well go through my speech one more time while sat there and as I did so, I suddenly realised that it would be much better if I spoke about the walk we were doing ..and then simply link it to my work and the Jolomo Award. The awards are after all, specifically about Scottish landscape painting and my regular trips into the Scottish hills are the primary source for my work. After all the time I spent on the speech, I decided just 24 hours before giving it ..that I’d say something completely different! What am I like?!!

In the end, it went well, and as it turned out my tale of our walk in the Luss Hills seemed to go down very well and it certainly reminded folk that the event was about artists and their relationship with the Scottish landscape. When I sat down after my five minutes I reached for my glass of wine …but couldn’t take a sip due to my hand shaking so much ….but my bit was over and I could just enjoy the rest of the evening.

The work of the seven short-listed artists looked great and I can believe the judges when they said that it was a very difficult decision. In the end the three awards went to (1st) Callum McClure, (2nd) Beth Robertson, (3rd) Kate Pope.

Congratulations.

I’m afraid there are no photos to go with the blog, but you can find out more about the awards by visiting: http://www.jolomofoundation.org/

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