Bendigo artist Ben Winspear has been named the Victorian Artists’ Society’s artist of the year.
Winspear won the inaugural Mavis Little Artist of the Year Award last week against a field of 32 other artists.
To win the award and the $10,000 prize, Winspear had to show his work at two out of three Victorian Artists’ Society exhibitions.
Fellow artists then voted for their favourite artists. Artists with enough votes were then invited to a final exhibition which decided the award winner.
“It is still sinking in and that it is an inaugural award is an added bonus,” Winspear said.
“For it to be judged by my peers is even better. I was among a lot of great artists, so it was an honour to be voted for.
“The artists were of a high calibre and with a significant cash prize, a lot of great artists entered.”
Winspear, who works with oils and watercolour, said he was happy with his work through the year.
“I thought I may have a chance but some artists had been working for this for a number of years,” he said.
“People weren’t voting for a painting, they were voting for their favourite artist.”
On the same night Des Parkin won the Noel Waite Exhibitors Choice Award and Judith Leman received the Land and Sea Sculptor of the Year Award.
Winspear has been an artist for more than 10 years after turning to painting in his 30s.
“It has been a great journey and I have made some lifetime friendships and got good support form artists and friends,” he said.
“Becoming an artists was a definite tree change. I come from a creative family but I wasn’t pursuing art until I was in my early 30s.
“I have been working hard at this not only from the professional business side of things but also personal side by honing my skills and learning as much as I can.”
Winspear and five other artists will be featured at Gallery 369 in Hargreaves Street early next year.
“It’s an honour to be invited to exhibit in that very professional space,” he said.