Jocelyn Maughan winner of the Gosford Art Prize.
Jocelyn Maughan winner of the Gosford Art Prize.

Local gallery a magnet for national art

AT 80 YEARS old, Jocelyn Maughan has been creating and teaching art all her life and although she officially retired from her long-time teaching post years ago, it hasn't stopped her painting or helping others discover art.

Jocelyn is not only still creating but her art is still winning praise - and prizes.

She has just taken out the Gosford Art Prize, the Central Coast's most prestigious art award, announced at a formal ceremony at Central Coast Council's Gosford Regional Gallery earlier this month.

Though she is no stranger to the prize, entering it many times over the years, it's the first time she's taken the major award - winning for her work Ken in Grisaille, oil on paper (Patonga).

Now 50 years after its inception in 1970, the Gosford Art Prize attracts entrants from all over Australia drawn by its reputation in the art world and the chance to compete for a $25,000 prize pool.

"I've entered every year for more than 20 years, I've won some smaller prizes but never the big won," she said.

"My partner, Robin Norling, won the prize some 10 years ago.

"We were together for 26 years until he died (in 2017).

"He was a lovely partner and I was lucky to have him later in life. I think he would be pleased for me (winning the prize)."

It is a fitting reward for someone who has dedicated her life to art and comes hot on the heels of her OAM awarded last year for her services to visual arts and education.

She has touched the lives of many artists around Australia, having taught at Meadowbank Tafe for many years.

"I was born in Sydney in 1938," Jocelyn said.

"I was fortunate to grow up with encouragement and support for my artistic passions.

"My grandmother, who lived with us 'til her 100th year, had been a governess and, ever the teacher, presented me at the age of four with plasticine to sculpt animals and people.

"My mother, a gifted pianist who had received art training, taught medrawing and observation.

"My father was an accurate and talented draughtsman with an engineering background. Both were highly competent (although not professional) artist draughtsmen."

At 15 she left school and began five years of full-time art study (30 hours a week, 36 weeks a year) at the National Art School in the old Darlinghurst Gaol, Sydney.

"My family thought that I should take advantage of my youthful enthusiasm, talent and imagination," she said.

And while Jocelyn's has been a life dedicated to learning to draw and paint and is still one of exploring new techniques, she believes it is never too late to start to learn to draw.

Expensive equipment isn't necessary either.

"You really only need some A4 copy paper, a clipboard, a soft 6B pencil and a soft rubber," she said, encouraging anyone now retired with time on their hands to give art a go.

Council Gosford Regional Gallery team leader Tim Braham was delighted the Gosford Art Prize was not only attracting artists from across Australia but alsosupported local talent.

"This year we received 532 entries and the judges faced the difficult task of whittling it down to 153 number of finalists," Mr Braham said.

"Pleasingly, 70 per cent of the total entries came from Central Coast artists.

"There was also a noticeable changing of the guard in entries this year, with the award drawing the highest number of first-time entrants."

A selection of entries have been included in the Gosford Art Prize exhibition, being held at Gosford Regional Gallery until November 3.

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