Jamberoo artist Halinka Orszulok has taken home a prestigious $50,000 art prize at her first attempt.
Last Friday, Orszulok won the coveted Glover Prize for her painting based on Launceston’s Cataract Gorge.
Established in 2004 in honour of the successful British painter, The John Glover Art Prize has become one of Australia's most significant awards for landscape painting, open to artists from throughout the world.
It is awarded annually by The John Glover Society for the work judged the best contemporary landscape painting of Tasmania.
Orszulok won $50,000 and a bronze maquette of Glover.
A first-time Glover Prize entrant, Orszulok’s work, Ponies, was inspired by a photograph of the playground at Cataract Gorge.
Last December, with the entry closing date looming, Orszulok decided to commit herself to submitting a piece for the competition.
“I travelled down there and took a walk through the Cataract Gorge where the photograph was taken.
“I didn’t know exactly what I was going to photograph, I just knew I was going to photograph that location.
“Then I was really excited when I saw the ponies. I just thought, ‘wow, they are a fantastic subject’. It was enjoyable to paint because I was excited to paint it.”
She described the vibe of the work as “moody, with a hint of nostalgia”.
“I’ve subsequently found out that the ponies are very well-known around Launceston,” she said.
“A lot of people have enjoyed them in the day time, but maybe not at night time.
“But obviously when you photograph and paint things (as) night time scenes, there’s an entirely different interpretation.”
She said the win “was an absolute surprise”.
“I had a strong feeling about this painting, and you always try and talk yourself down, try and be sensible.
“But I couldn’t help having that extra bit of hope for this painting, because I really liked it and felt really good about it.”
There were 42 finalist artworks – selected from a record 405 entries – and it is anticipated that the 2018 Glover Prize will attract more than 10,000 visitors over the duration of the exhibition.
The John Glover Society will acquire the winning artwork for its collection.
Orszulok, 39, has been painting and exhibiting since graduating from university in 2002.
This has included a number of solo shows and group shows interstate.
Orszulok, who also teaches martial arts, hoped this win would help take her artistic career to another level.
“I hope to build on this win and see where it might take me,” she said.
“I definitely intend to enter more art prizes this year.”