IT was a dark and stormy night, but that didn’t deter the large crowd who gathered at the Tea Gardens Hotel last Friday for the opening of the annual ‘Winter Warmer’ Exhibition.
Among the art enthusiasts, was Port Stephens MP Kate Washington.
“These events are so important for our wellbeing, our quality of life and good for the soul,” Kate said.
“To be able to come and support such a beautiful event like this, I’ll keep doing it for as long as I’m asked.”
This year’s theme for the ‘Galleries in the Gardens’ artists was ‘Habitat’.
“We’ve had some terrific results,” GIG President Lee Anderson said.
“We’re thrilled with the turnout.”
The difficult job of judging the works of art, ceramics and sculptures went to Kim Blunt, Senior Curator at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery.
“As a judge, I spent several hours going through the artworks,” Kim told News Of The Area.
“The standard was very high and I got down to a shortlist of 15 and then to get it down to three was really difficult as you need to be fair across the different mediums.”
First prize went to Wendy Earnshaw for her painting ‘Going Home’.
‘’I was absolutely shocked and thrilled,” Wendy said.
“It was a painting I put my soul into because I love this area.”
Local artist Cheryl Cook won second prize for her landscape ‘Myall Dunes’.
Cheryl was also thrilled, her painting also selling on the night.
“I’ve been painting since the age of four.”
Cheryl added, “My first prize was a pair or rosary beads for a painting I did at primary school.”
Third prize went to long time artist Gail Morphett.
The art enthusiasts dined out on delicious canapes and mulled wine, courtesy of the new hotel owners, Emily and Ben Hanson.
The couple also introduced a Publican’s Award which went to artist Chez Rands.
By Margie TIERNEY