Winner of Forest inspired art competition announced

Open Art first prize winner Sandra Binney (middle right)

Published Tuesday 18 July 2017

A stunning mixed media painting of a Highland cow has triumphed over a spectacular collection of artworks to win the fifth New Forest Open Art competition.

Sandra Binney’s ‘Well Hello’ beat 185 other entries to win first prize in the yearly contest, which was once again sponsored by ExxonMobil at the Fawley refinery and chemical complex.

Second place was awarded to Wendy Clayton for her mixed media textile work titled ‘The Mast Year’ and Zella Smith took third place for her mixed media piece ‘Tangled Oak’.

The contest is run by the New Forest National Park Authority and the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst, and recognises outstanding photographs, paintings and sculptures that have been inspired by the New Forest.

The results were announced at a preview evening at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst, where the free public exhibition of the competition entries is open daily until Saturday 7 October. Visitors are also able to buy selected artworks and around 10,000 people attend the exhibition each year.

This year’s competition featured a stunning collection of works, including Lidar (Light Detection And Ranging) imagery, driftwood sculptures, ornamented guitars and a photograph taken by a young local commoner of their New Forest pony who is now roaming the Forest.

Winner Sandra Binney, from Langley, said: ‘I’m absolutely chuffed to have won and didn’t expect it at all. I feel so privileged to live in the New Forest and be inspired by it every day. I hope others will take inspiration from this wonderful landscape and its wildlife and enter their work next year.’

New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: ‘Sandra’s painting was an excellent choice for first place in this year’s Open Art competition. Congratulations go to all the artists who entered, showcasing the fruits of their creative spirit. The ever-increasing high standard of work demonstrates how if you come to the Forest, you are sure to be inspired.’

The competition, which opened for submissions in May, is sponsored by ExxonMobil at the Fawley Refinery which provided the prize funds - £500 for the winner, £300 for second and £100 for third, as well as £100 for the People’s Prize winner.

The People’s Prize will be awarded to the artist who created the work that gets the most votes during the public exhibition. Visitors will be encouraged to post their votes for their favourite work of art in a ballot box, with the winner announced at the end of the exhibition.

New Forest Centre Manager Hilary Marshall said: ‘The Open Art competition is a highlight of the New Forest Centre’s annual programme and we are proud of the high number and quality of the entrants we receive. This year was no exception and we hope that our summer visitors will enjoy seeing the Forest through artists’ eyes at the exhibition.’

Alison Jones, Community Affairs Manager at ExxonMobil, Fawley, said: ‘I am always delighted to represent ExxonMobil at Fawley at the Open Art preview evening and to see the incredible talent of the New Forest’s creative community. The unique and creative pieces on display showcase so many qualities of the National Park and demonstrate how inspirational it is to both residents and visitors. The New Forest Open Art competition is a wonderful way to celebrate the Forest and I hope to see more inspired pieces next year.’

See more images of the exhibition at


Notes to Photo Editor:

Pictured left to right at the Open Art exhibition preview evening: Hilary Marshall, New Forest Centre Manager; Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, New Forest National Park Authority Chairman; Open Art competition winner Sandra Binney with her painting ‘Well Hello’; Alison Jones, Community Affairs Manager from ExxonMobil at Fawley Refinery.

Notes to Editor:

About the New Forest Centre

The New Forest Centre is a museum, reference library and art gallery conveniently located in Lyndhurst. The New Forest Centre aims to inspire its visitors to celebrate and conserve the New Forest. It does this by collecting, conserving and interpreting its collections and by providing educational activities and information to a broad range of audiences. In doing so, it acts in ways that are ethical, ecologically sensitive and intellectually accessible and affordable. It is owned and run by the New Forest Ninth Centenary Trust (reg. charity no: 279373).

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect.
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit to find out more.

Media contact:
Beki Mole, Communications Assistant
New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646639

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