The winner of this year’s Greenbushes Art Trail Awards, Vikki Cook, picked up her paintbrush for the first time in 10 years to enter the awards and says the award has given her the confidence to return to her passion.
Mrs Cook, who moved to Balingup earlier this year when husband Ross took on the Operations Manager’s job at Global Advanced Metals in Greenbushes, says she has been unable to paint until now due to the death of her good friend and Pilbara based artist Kathy Donnelly.
“Somehow after the death of Kathy who was my mentor, I just couldn’t paint,” she said.
Mrs Cook took up painting aged 37 after studying a Certificate 111 in Visual Arts at Pundlemurra Tafe and went on to exhibit at the Cossack Art Awards with her art proving popular and eventually selling with large price tags.
“My first painting sold for $150 and then my art took off after winning Best Pilbara Artist in the Cossack Art Awards and I now have art acquired for different collections and galleries. But then I left it all behind when I left Port Hedland when Ross moved to a new job in the Eastern States,” Mrs Cook said.
“I went from being a successful artist to being unable to paint,” she said.
Mrs Cook said the move to the Balingup area had given her the impetus to try again.
“When we moved to the area I had been thinking about trying to do some small paintings and when I saw there was a local art competition I initially went to Jackson’s to buy a small canvas but found myself walking out with a big canvas, it was intimidating at first,” she said.
Her winning entry in the “People’s Choice” based award, which carries a $1,000 cash prize, is of a tree in the back yard of her new home in Balingup.
“It’s a monster tree that’s been struck by lightning out in the back yard of our house and to me it’s exciting and frightening,” she said. “I painted it seven times and on the night before it was due to be hung, I just scooped up paint and started throwing it at the canvas.”
The painting, which cleverly illustrated this year’s Greenbushes Art Trail Awards theme of “energy” struck a chord with people visiting the exhibition.
“I think a lot of people were lost with the theme of “energy” but to me it was about lightning and our connection to the energy of the earth - it can be deadly but also inspiring. I am so surprised to have won but want to thank the sponsors and the community,” she said.
Greenbushes Art Trail Coordinator Leanne Green, who is joint coordinator with Shannon Fraser-Butler, presented Mrs Cook with her award sponsored by Auswest Timbers at the Greenbushes Primary School end of term assembly on September 18.
The Greenbushes Primary School took out the award for Best School Entry for their depiction of an old jarrah tree in the schoolyard entitled Tree of Life. The winner of the Junior Award was Greenbushes Primary School student Gypsy Barton.