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I’ve been awarded the First Prize in the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists Portrait Prize exhibition (sponsored by the GMC Trust). I couldn’t make along to the opening because of the train strike, and I missed the telephone call to let me know that I’d won, and so it came as a lovely surprise to me. My piece is called ‘Mum’ and it’s a small silver and goldpoint drawing on gesso on board.

Here is it a description of the work used for the exhibition: “The starting point for this portrait is a tiny identity-card image of the artist’s mother. It has been endlessly re-drawn, over the course of a few years, in silver and goldpoint, and with needles, scalpel blades and sandpaper. The hope is always to get at something which feels true. Lines of hand-written text also form part of the piece. The repeatedly re-written lines of remembered speech are, as with the drawing of the face, drawn, scratched-away and re-drawn again and again. Only fragments and glimpses remain. Metalpoint lines leave an indelible but ever so slight trace; pressing the point harder will not make the lines any more strongly present. This is a drawing as a kind of meditation on human presence and memory.”

The piece has been worked on over the course of a few years and on sixty-eight separate days (I keep a note of the number of days’ work on the back of the drawings). I don’t think my drawings are ever really finished, though. I often re-work my drawings after they’ve been exhibited, and it’s often the case that my drawings are eventually destroyed by the re-working. An earlier incarnation of this piece was shown in an online exhibition at Anima-Mundi Gallery (St Ives), but it’s a subtly different drawing to how it was then. Seeing the piece in the real world is a very different experience to seeing an image of the piece. This may seem like an obvious thing to say, but I think you really need to be in company with this drawing, and to spend time with it, to ‘get it’. If you can make it along to the RBSA Gallery, then please do go and have a look.

The exhibition’s selectors were Jenny Page (Director of The Barber Institute of Fine Arts), Marta Kochanek (award winning photography artist) and John Devane RBSA (Professor of Painting at Centre of Arts, Memories and Communications, Coventry University).

A big thank you to the people at the RBSA Gallery, the selectors, the GMC Trust and to the people who came to listen to me talk about my work at the gallery a few weeks ago.

I’ve posted a short video tour of the exhibition over on my YouTube channel. It’s just a very brief glimpse of the work in show, and I realise I missed out some of my own favourites, but it gives a good impression of the show.

The RBSA Gallery is in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham City Centre, just a short walk from ‘Pigeon Park’ and very near to the wonderful St Paul’s Church.

There is an illustrated catalogue to go along with the exhibition which you can buy from the gallery shop.