ARTISTS of all ages and abilities are being invited to get out their paintbrushes and enter the annual Lancashire Artist of the Year competition.

Held for the first time in 2023, the competition was won by Martin Williamson, who had recently moved to the county and impressed the judges with his painting of Lytham Hall. This year's winning entries will feature in the Lancashire Artist of the year 2025 calendar, with proceeds going towards activities for care leavers in Lancashire - last year, £2,725 was raised from the sale of the 2024 calendars.

Organised by Lancashire County Council, artists can produce a piece of artwork depicting their favourite view in spring, summer, autumn or winter - such as Weets Hill, Barnoldswick, Pendle Hill, a view of the Forest of Bowland, or even Bancroft Mill museum, Barnoldswick.

Entries must be painted in landscape, or wide; not portrait, or upright, and submitted by Wednesday, June 12.

Last year's winner, Martin Williamson, who lives in Freckleton, said winning the competition was a "real honour".

"I nearly didn’t enter. My wife and I had only recently moved house into the county to be closer to our daughter and she sent me the link.

"Landscape, buildings, heritage and history inspire my work and despite only living in Lancashire a couple of months I had already created a few loose paintings of places and locations that caught my eye.

"I eventually entered a springtime painting of the gateway to Lytham Hall and thought nothing more about it, so to get selected as a finalist was a real surprise. To then be awarded the title was quite astonishing and a real honour.”

Preston artist Norman Long, Sarah Haworth from Lancashire Adult Learning and Alex O’Toole from Arts Lancashire return to the judging panel this year.

Along with the other judges, they will be tasked with whittling down the entries to produce a shortlist, which will then be put to a public vote.

The artwork with the most votes will become the overall winner and feature on the cover of the new 2025 calendar, with the artist behind it being named Lancashire Artist of the Year 2024.

County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services at Lancashire County Council, said: "From the panoramic views from atop of Pendle Hill to the rich and diverse landscapes found in The Forest of Bowland, Lancashire is filled with areas of natural beauty.

"Lancashire Artist of the Year is an opportunity for us to celebrate the landscape of Lancashire, and the many artists we have in our midst.

"This is an inclusive competition, and we want to encourage artists of all abilities and ages to enter.

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