“ I have never before, in my long and eclectic career, been gifted with such an abundance of natural beauty as I experienced filming War Horse on Dartmoor.” Steven Spielberg.

Winners of Devon’s Best Young Landscape Artist Competition 2021

A painting by a ten-year-old girl from Dartmoor depicting a vista of Meldon Hill and a mixed-media artwork by a seventeen-year-old from Dawlish portraying a South Devon seascape have won first prize in the two age categories of Devon CPRE’s inaugural Best Young Landscape Artist Competition.

Matilda Baker and Christopher Moore have each won £100 and the prestigious title of ‘Devon’s Best Young Landscape Artist’ 2021.

Exeter-based landscape painter Kath Hadden brought her considerable expertise to the judging process after the local countryside charity rebranded its traditional painting competition for children in 2021 and opened it up to under 18s. Kath helped Devon CPRE Director Penny Mills select the winning entries from an overwhelming number of submissions from right across the county in a variety of media. Matilda’s painting and Christopher’s work combining paint and collage both stood out because of their composition, originality and clever use of the chosen media.

However, it was a close-run thing and the judges awarded a number of Runner-Up Prizes and a cash prize of £25 each to four other young artists whose work caught their eye. In the younger age category (7-11), nine-year-old Martha Murrin, eleven-year-old Thomasin Manley Frost and ten-year-old Olive Martin were runners-up. In the older age category (12-18 years), the runner-up was sixteen-year-old Claudia Tam and there was a commendation for fourteen-year-old Rosie Brazendale-Sweet.

Commenting on the results, Kath Hadden said, “I thoroughly enjoyed looking through all the artwork. Such a lot of effort had gone into the entries so big congratulations to everyone who sent something in. The youngest category was particularly hard to judge as there were some very strong entries, which showed talent beyond their years. Matilda’s winning entry was a perfectly captured Devon scene, with great attention to detail. Congratulations, Matilda! Thomasin’s screen print of Exmouth beach showed a brilliant use of colour and composition, and Olive’s piece was a familiar scene to anyone who has explored this area of South Devon, beautifully painted in acrylics. Martha’s image of a tree-lined road didn’t have a specific location, but I was impressed by her composition and use of colour.

“In the older age group, Christopher winning piece showed a creative approach in the way he manipulated the paper to create a clever collage, referencing a local legend about The Parson and the Clerk, which I knew nothing about. Claudia’s mixed media piece was a feast for the eyes – there was so much to see in it and I thought it was a brave approach to a tricky composition. I also loved her personal story behind the picture. I thought Rosie’s Devon flag, depicting four small Dartmoor studies with a very limited palette, was highly effective. Congratulations and keep making, drawing and painting everyone!”

Devon CPRE Director Penny Mills added, “The number and variety of entries this year was just amazing. It’s wonderful to see the very personal take on Devon’s landscape and scenery that our young artists brought to their compositions. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve had different opportunities to reconnect with Nature and the Great Outdoors and I think this renewed appreciation of the natural beauty that surrounds us in Devon shines through in all our winning entries. I’m already looking forward to next year!”