The Art Gallery of Leamington announces the winner of its annual open exhibition

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Mark Elsmore, the artist who created the winning entry Playlist’ – Watercolor Gouache for the Open 2022 exhibition at the Leamington Art Gallery and Museum. He is pictured with Warwick District Council Chairperson Cllr Mini Mangat, who presented him with the £1,000 prize. Picture provided.

Leamington Art Gallery & Museum has announced the winner of its The Open 2022 exhibition.

Mark Elsmore was selected from 350 submissions for his painting titled Playlist – Watercolor Gouache.

Mark Elsmore’s painting ‘Playlist’ – Watercolor Gouache which is the winning entry for the Open 2022 exhibition at Leamington Art Gallery & Museum. Picture provided.

Mark said: “Listening to music, deep in thought.

“’The Playlist’ she hears is the soundtrack of her life.

“I was in Vienna with the intention of painting architecture, but it was impossible not to notice that the young woman looked so interesting and painterly.

“I spotted her from afar, she was sitting in front of a church.

“She seemed lost in thought, but as I approached, I noticed her red boots tapping along to the beat of her headphones – lost in the music?

“She was a tourist like me, enjoying the sun.

“I tentatively asked if she would be okay with me taking some pictures for a possible painting.

Puzzled, she shrugged her shoulders in approval.

“The spell was broken as soon as she looked up, but I finally managed to get her back to the original pose.

“I worked on the painting at home.

“I tweaked a few things to help the narrative.

“The image is calm, a good contrast to the lively sounds and thoughts in his head.

“I changed her hair a bit to suggest a breeze and give an almost ethereal feel.

“I try to capture more than a still image.

“I have a theory that the music you imagine her listening to will color your own thoughts about her story.”

The independent jury of Stacey Barnfield, Victoria Smith and Otto Saumarez-Smith chose “highly regarded” pieces and these, along with all chosen entries, are now on display in the art gallery’s temporary gallery.

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Visitors can also vote for their favorite work, for which the artist will receive the People’s Choice Award and a prize of £500.

The winner will be announced towards the end of the exhibition in December.

Both prizes are offered by The Friends of Leamington Art Gallery.

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