What kind of a year has 2023 been for you?

2023 has been a good year for a number of reasons. My work has been accepted in a few competitions and I was really pleased to have had a print in the Architecture Gallery at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition as I have always wanted to be exhibited within an architectural context. We are getting an extension on our studio lease which didn’t seem to be on the cards and am delighted that currently I have a solo exhibition ‘Time & Place’ at the Pasmore Gallery, Harrow. It is the first time I have put my exploration of movement in print, figures and horse racing monotypes alongside my city pieces. The major bonus of course was winning the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize which came as a complete surprise.

What has changed for the better?

Having a number of works exhibited, selling some prints and being able to plan a drawing trip abroad for the new year with the winnings from the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize. During 2023 I have also regained a sense of working rhythm which was so heavily disrupted by lockdown. The consistency of working habits is vital.

Jeanette Barnes, New Battersea Tube Station & Developments, compressed charcoal 150 x 213cms

What do you wish had happened this year that didn’t?

Despite things getting back to a more even keel I wish I had more time in the studio to have completed more projects. It would have been good to have gone abroad to draw the cities I haven’t explored and would have been nice to be involved in some more commissioned projects.

What would you characterise as your major achievement this year and why?

I suppose my biggest achievement would be winning the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize. It was great getting a larger piece in, as I have had only smaller work accepted for the Working Drawing Award in recent years and to win the main prize was amazing. I haven’t had a large drawing on display in a competition for a while so having one that will tour the country is fantastic.

Jeanette Barnes, Listed Buildings – Monotype, 60 x 100cms

How do you think winning the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize will impact your practice in future?

Well I think winning the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize has given me belief to carry on working the way I do. People have been saying some positive things about the drawing and that’s always nice to hear. The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize is one of the only competitions that has a physical hand-in rather than digital submission so hopefully people will want to see more of my larger drawings. It has also given me confidence to approach people with ideas for projects.

Drawing is central to your art practice. What is it that excites you about the medium?

I love being able to make a range of quick sketches with pencil or ink pen on location then take the information back to the studio to make larger drawings from these. These works are not about one moment in time. I work with compressed charcoal or willow charcoal, so I can put ideas down on the paper then erase, change and layer these as the work progresses. Drawing is a very immediate, physical process, you don’t have to wait for it to dry, you can just carry on building ideas on top of each other. I see my monotypes as fluid drawings and I am working with marker pens and using acrylic paint to erase areas. I love the way that drawing is such a varied and expansive territory.

Jeanette Barnes, Large Sketch – Cheesegrater, Poultry, pencil 73 x 52 cms

Do you have any advice for artists looking at applying for open exhibitions and prizes?

I would say don’t go in for everything, but instead carefully choose the ones where you think your work would fit in. Don’t be afraid to go in for big competitions. The odds may be against you, but if you do get in to them, so many more people will see your work.