Most Outstanding Piece winner

'Here's looking at Moo - watercolour painting of a Guernsey cow wins Most Outstanding Piece at the Skipton Art Festival 

The Skipton Art Festival announces 'Here's looking at Moo' by Sharmane Dodd as the winner of the Open Exhibition.

Island Life, the theme of this year's Open Exhibition, celebrates artists take on island life eccentricities.

The panel of independent judges was clearly 'mooved' by Sharmane's watercolour of a Guernsey cow declaring it the Most Outstanding Piece.

An avid wildlife artist, Sharmane was inspired to create her painting after visiting a friend's farm early one spring morning. Wildlife features prominently in Sharmane's work - between 1999-2003 she won several awards in a wildlife international competition called PAWS (Paint A Wildlife Subject).

Sharmane said: 'My original idea for the Skipton Art Festival was to paint a picture of cows crossing the road as a very 'Island life' traffic jam. But when I took some photos of the cows close up I just loved their expressions and one in particular inspired me to do a close-up painting - 'Here's looking at Moo''

Rather than painting at an easel or table, Sharmane prefers to curl up on the sofa with her cat, Sweety, and a travel palette of watercolours. Sharmane has won a £200 framing voucher donated by Mike Barnaby's Quay Gallery along with a framing lesson from Mr Barnaby.

Sharmane said: 'It was enough just to see my painting up in the Skipton Art Festival Exhibition. I wasn't expecting to win as there were so many amazing pieces. For me the most important part is the way a painting makes you feel. My cow's facial expression makes me smile and I hope it makes others smile too.'

Aaron Walden, Commercial Manager, Skipton International, said: 'We were very impressed by the turnout of talent this year for the Skipton Art Festival. I encourage islanders to take a moment to explore the exhibition as Sharmane's winning Guernsey cow is certainly in good company.'

Vivien Ferneyhough, Joint Coordinator and Deputy Chair of the Guernsey Art Network, said: 'I am delighted that the Skipton Art Festival is now open. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Skipton International for its continued support.'

The programme of events has something for all. From 1-31 August Islanders are invited to visit the exhibits and partake in the free adult and children's workshops. This year workshops are sponsored by Saffrey Champness with funds from their Rotary Walk.