Retirement awakens winning artist's passion
BRUCE Illingworth was "somewhat surprised" to find himself $1000 richer, having taken out the top prize in this year's Grandma Moses Art Competition for his painting Woy Woy Light.
The competition, specifically designed for over-50s and covering all genres and experience levels, gets more popular each year, attracting 142 entries in its 37th year.
Council's Connected Communities director Julie Vaughan said the essence of the competition, named after Anna Mary Robertson, who started painting aged 78, was that it was never too late to learn new skills.
For Bruce, it's been more a reawakening of his skills since retirement about six years ago.
Having attended art school "back when dinosaurs roamed the earth", he went on to become an art teacher, before swapping to teaching English, including stints in Japan, England and Australia.
A self-confessed "very finicky, detailed painter", he discovered pastels three years ago.
He said humbly "the results are sometimes pleasing ... I'm always surprised".
But it's not Bruce's first award, having previously won the Works on Paper section of the Central Coast Art Society Summer Exhibition.
Fellow CCASS member Marlene Palagyi won the watercolour section for the second time with her piece Lintern Channel.
Marlene also took out the main award in 2016. Having had a life-long interest in painting, she only seriously began pursuing it at 58.
Other winners were: Novice - Rose Dean for The Garden Gate; 50+ Centre Art Group Member - Beth Harrison for her untitled piece, and Central Coast Inspired - David Charles for The Magic of Cop.