Local artist gets painting award at Czech festival

Tommy pictured receiving his award from IWS Global President Mr Atanur'Dogan.
Tommy pictured receiving his award from IWS Global President Mr Atanur'Dogan.

A painting by well know Banbridge artist Tommy Barr has been exhibited in the International Watercolour Society’s Festival in Prague, in the Czech Republic.

The painting, entitled “Paper Boy”, was developed from a drawing made on St Valentine’s Day this year, in Solitude Park. It is an unusual painting where the watercolour image of the little boy carrying flowers to his mother was painted over a collage of clippings from newspapers bought on St. Valentine’s Day in five different countries.

The exhibition, which was presented in the Manes Gallery, was opened by Mrs. Petra Smolikova, Deputy Minister for Culture for the Czech Republic. In her opening remarks Mrs Smolikova welcomed guests and spoke of her sense of pride that such a festival should be held in Prague. She passed the thanks of her Department to the organisers and participants.

Since he works almost exclusively in oils and is not a member of the society, Tommy readily acknowledges that his invitation to participate as an honoured guest was indeed special and exceptionally generous. He is also quick to acknowledge his gratitude to all who made his involvement possible and in particular to curator Alexandra Bryksa. The International Watercolour Society is a truly global organisation, active in over 60 countries and boasting a membership which includes many of today’s watercolour masters. Tommy was able to attend many of the organised events and particularly enjoyed watching the demonstrations by recognised masters.

As part of the festival Tommy was able to visit many interesting sights in Prague, such as Charles Bridge, the Castle and the Old Town Square. However it was his trips outside the city that really impressed. Prague is surrounded by some truly beautiful towns with fairytale castles, and picturesque old town centres. The pace of life is slower there allowing the visitor to really enjoy them. Locals also enjoyed something of a treat as during these trips the towns were alive with festival artists creating beautiful little sketches and watercolours.

In an unexpected turn of events during the opening ceremony Tommy was awarded his painting prize. He considers this a great compliment and admits to having felt very pleased. But more was yet to come. Tommy’s painting has been selected by curators as one of a much smaller collection which will be exhibited as a touring exhibition over the coming year. The next stop is the picturesque city of Strakonice in Southern Bohemia.

After completion of the tour the painting will be presented to the permanent collection of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council on behalf of all of the citizens of our region. Tommy describes the whole event as a great encouragement, explaining that such experiences are a priceless part of the life of any artist.