Jennifer Riddle's Glover double the first in Prize history

POPULAR VOTE: Victorian artist Jennifer Riddle's No Man's Land - Bathurst Harbour won both the People's Choice and Children's Choice awards at the 2017 Glover Prize. Pictures: Hamish Geale
POPULAR VOTE: Victorian artist Jennifer Riddle's No Man's Land - Bathurst Harbour won both the People's Choice and Children's Choice awards at the 2017 Glover Prize. Pictures: Hamish Geale

Never have the people spoken so clearly as they did on the final day of the Glover Prize at Evandale on Sunday. 

For the first time in the exhibition’s history, the People’s Choice and Children’s Choice prizes were awarded to the same painting - Jennifer Riddle’s acrylic on canvas piece titled No Man’s Land - Bathurst Harbour.

One in a series of nine paintings inspired by Tasmania’s South-West, the work was a clear winner in both categories, a result Riddle said had come out of the blue. 

“I hadn't really considered that I’d be in the running,” the Victorian artist said.

“There's so many beautiful, strong Tasmanian artists represented here and to be named the People's Choice means that my work has connected to the people and at the end of the day that’s a big win for me. 

“Then to learn about the Children's Choice - having young children of my own and knowing that children had voted, I was quite emotional to hear that.”

Riddle has increasingly favoured painting Tasmanian landscapes in recent times, having previously looked closer to her home in Red Hill for inspiration.

No Man’s Land was inspired by Southwest National Park’s Bathurst Harbour.

“The water and tranquility in that harbour, it feels like you're landlocked with those majestic mountains and then these quite primeval islands are dotted there.

“You get these unique formations through the quartz rock where the root systems can’t penetrate deeply so you get these bonsai trees so it's really quite unique.”

Riddle said her prowess with the palette knife had been sparked and cultivated by her late sister Andrea. 

“I started painting 17 years ago and one of the reasons why I did that was my sister was terminally ill and she'd said to me ‘Jenny, you need to paint’. 

“We had this moment where we still hoped that she would get better and we discussed that list of things that you really should be doing and where your passion lies, and it really did awaken something inside.”

About two years after Andrea died, Riddle found her painting career began to take off. 

“She wanted to be a children's book illustrator and in many ways she sparked something within our whole family.

“She told my dad he should be writing and now he's writing childrens books, I illustrated the first two but now I think her daughter will illustrate the next.

“My brother is an actor, so we’re all creative but she kind of pushed the buttons in all of us, it's really special.” 

EXHIBITION DRAWS 9000

WARM WELCOME: John Glover Society events manager Jillian Aylett Brown and media director Mark Wells at the exhibition's final day.

WARM WELCOME: John Glover Society events manager Jillian Aylett Brown and media director Mark Wells at the exhibition's final day.

More than 1000 people made the trip to Evandale's Falls Pavilion on Sunday as the Glover Prize wound up for another year. 

The final influx of visitors pushed the exhibition's total attendance over the 9000-mark, making this year's instalment one of the most successful ever.

John Glover Society media director Mark Wells said the exhibition had also recorded just under a quarter of $1 million in sales. 

“Across the whole 10 days of being open it's been very successful,” Mr Wells said.

“We've had over 1000 schoolchildren in through our Glover in Education program which is quite important, because the whole idea of the Glover Prize in the first place was to educate people about the diversity of landscape art.”