Earlier this year, we launched a competition to give one lucky artist the chance to become the next J. Campbell Kerr.
Now, we’re happy to announce that we have a winner!
Just a select handful of people have had the opportunity to paint “The People’s Friend” covers over the years. Under the well-known Kerr alias, they have worked hard to produce the distinctive British landscape scenes our readers have enjoyed since 1946.
So picking the winner — and a possible future cover artist — is an exciting business. But it was also tough!
We received dozens of entries, and it was up to a crack judging panel (Editor Angela, Illustrations Editor Sarah, one of our current cover artists and poet and documentary writer Robin Bell, whose Robin & Eirwen Bell Trust provided the £300 prize money) to find their favourite.
The standard of entries was very high. So high, in fact, that the judges chose to introduce a “Highly Commended” and a “Special Mention” award, alongside two Runner-up positions.
Finally, the decision was made.
The panel recognised lucky painter Mike Weston’s watercolour of the Norfolk Broads as not only an excellent piece of art, but also as the most likely to be featured as a front cover for the magazine.
Take a look at the runners-up, highly commended and special mention entries below.
Hover over each image for credits.
Features Editor Alex caught up with Mike after he was named our winner.
“It was a total shock!” Mike said. “I thought I hadn’t made it. Then the post came and this letter was there. I opened it up and nearly fell down.”
Winning this competition has topped the lot!
Mike began painting in the early Nineties after an episode of poor mental health.
“When I came out of hospital, I sat and watched Alwyn Crawshaw and I thought, ‘I’ll have a go at that’. And that’s exactly where it started, in 1994.
“It gave me a little bit of peace of mind, and I enjoyed doing it.”
Familiar with our cover artwork, Mike was already an ardent fan of painting landscapes and seascapes. In fact, his mind is never far away from his art.
“If we go away on holiday, out comes the sketch book! I have about twenty-four sketch books full of the places that we visit.
“If we are out shopping, my wife will leave me and then say, ‘Well, I’ve found you a spot’ and I’ll do some sketching while she goes and does a bit of shopping. She helps me out and can see scenes worth painting.
“Art has made a big difference to my life, but winning this competition has topped the lot!”
Keep an eye on our Competitions page for our next great opportunity to win something.
We can’t promise you’ll be the next J. Campbell Kerr, but you never know!