Filed : Local and industry news .

A number of Central West artists have hit high acclaim this month including Rachel Ellis winning the 2017 NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize.

  • Bathurst artist Rachel Ellis was the winner of the 10th annual NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize, claiming the $20,000 prize.
  • Canowidra photographer Kate Barlclay was runner up (cell phone photo) in the 10th Julia Margaret Compton Award in Barcelona.
  • Orange Regional Museum won the Cultural Heritage Award in the NSW Tidy Towns Awards
  • Bathurst Region artist Nic Mason is a recipient of a $1,250 NAVA Artists’ Grant. Nic will develop new work through a residency at Centre d’Art Marnay Art Centre, France this month.
  • Bathurst’s Sophie Meridith finished 3rd at the NSW Poetry Slam finals.
  • Forbes raised musician Celia Pavey (Vera Blue) is nominated for an ARIA.
  • Sydney based Indonesian artist Jumaadi has taken out the 2017 Mosman Art Prize, with a work originating from the artist’s study trips between Cowra and Java.
  • Canowindra Arts received a $3,000 grant to extend their youth mentoring and tutorial program, one of 10 youth-focused projects in Orange supported by the Sally Foundation through FRRR. More…
  • Plus there were all the winner from the Lachlan Valley Biennial Art Awards  including winner of The Barbara Bennett Memorial Award Sampa Bhakta from Forbes.
  • Oberon sculptor Harrie Fasher is winning fans again with her work ‘The Last Charge’ at Sculpture by the Sea. She’s also recipient of the Helen Lempriere Travelling Scholarship
Read more below

A Brush With Nature Wins Artist $20,000 Landscape Prize. Rachel Ellis Wins 2017 Nsw Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize

Bathurst artist Rachel Ellis is the winner of the 10th annual NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize, claiming the $20,000 prize from a field of 44 other finalists. Ellis’ Bentinck St, Bathurst was selected as the winner by this year’s judge, Jane Watters – Director of S.H. Ervin Gallery, and was announced at an awards ceremony at the Parliament.

Rachel Ellis ‘Bentinck St, Bathurst’

As a dedicated proponent of the plein air practice Ellis said, “I remember feeling really encouraged that the NSW Parliament was initiating the prize 10 years ago to foster this very specific type of painting. I’d seen Corot’s paintings in the Louvre some years earlier, made en plein air in Italy in the early 1800s, and they made me aware of an unmistakable feeling when looking at such works that you are really there, encountering the subject with the artist.”

“Painting this way compels one to be open and direct in response to the light and conditions of nature, in the present moment.” Ellis said. “It’s an exhilarating challenge for any painter – which is why it’s so good we have this prize in NSW!” Ellis has won numerous painting prizes and art awards including the highly regarded Mosman Art Prize in 2013. She says it’s a thrill to be the 10th winner of this prestigious landscape prize. “I’m incredibly grateful to be the recipient of this award and feel spurred on to do more painting in the open air”, Ellis said.

 Bentinck St, Bathurst will now become part of the permanent collection of the NSW Parliament, joining previous winners of the prize including Robert Malherbe, Guy Maestri, John Bokor, Isabel Gomez, Rodney Pople, Euan Macleod and Noel McKenna.

“A decade of plein air painting is a significant achievement, and the Parliament is pleased to have spent that time supporting and promoting our local landscape painting community” said the Hon John Ajaka MLC, President of the Legislative Council.

“Each year we look forward to seeing these wonderful portraits of NSW,” said the Hon Shelley Hancock MP, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. “The Parliament’s Collection has grown immeasurably through the acquisition of the winning works and we look forward to welcoming Bentinck St, Bathurst into the Parliament.”

This year’s prize was once again sponsored by Telstra. Telstra Government and Enterprise NSW Director Oliver Blain commended the artists for their commitment to their craft. “As the proud sponsor of the NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize, Telstra is delighted to celebrate 10 years of this prestigious competition. The calibre of finalists is a tribute to the great tradition of en plein air painting and we congratulate Rachel Ellis on winning this coveted award.”

The 2017 NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize Exhibition is on now and will run through until 27 October 2017. Entry is free and doors are open Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. For more information about this year’s prize and exhibition, please visit

NAVA Visual Artists Grants

Meanwhile Bathurst region artist Nic Mason is a recipient of a NAVA Artists’ Grant. Nic will get $1,250 to develop new work through a residency at Centre d’Art Marnay Art Centre, France in November 2017. The work developed will be an exploration influenced by the location, utilising still life painting as a symbolic vehicle for contemplating issues of environmental loss and hope.

Read more here…

Central West photographer exhibited in Julia Margaret Cameron award exhibition in Barcelona


Canowindra based photographer Kate Barclay has a photo currently being exhibited in Barcelona as a runner up in the international Julia Margaret Cameron Awards! Check out the link here, scroll down to the Cell Phone category Runner Up. Beautiful photo called “Was and Now”.


Three theatre makers win Young Regional Artist Scholarships

Then there’s the story we covered last week: Jesse Alston, Johannah Williams and Ben Rodwell who have each received $10,000 Create NSW Young Regional Artist Scholarships.

Read the full story here…

Canowindra Arts supported by Orange’s Sally Foundation

Canowindra Arts received a $3,000 grant to extend their youth mentoring and tutorial program, one of 10 youth-focused projects in Orange supported by the Sally Foundation through FRRR. More…

Barbara Holmes ‘Cattle Grid’ , first place painting at the Biennial Lachlan Valley Art Awards.

Barbara Holmes

Bathurst painter Barbara Holmes recently won first place in the painting section at the Lachlan Valley Biennial Art Awards at Cowra Regional Art Gallery and second place at the Blackheath Rhododendron Festival Art Show in the Contemporary Section.  Barbara and husband Bruce are members of the Bathurst Arts Trail and their studio will be open on the first weekend in November. They also open a joint exhibition ‘Then and Now’, charting their artistic journey, diverse styles and influences, at Gallery Blackheath from 3 November.

Upcoming Events

Wed 17
Sep 22

Central West Choral Festival

Sun September 22 at 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm