Anne’s life transformed after competition win and national exposure

Robert Love with Anne McAulay-Edmond by her painting in the Tate Galleries, London.
Robert Love with Anne McAulay-Edmond by her painting in the Tate Galleries, London.

A Bute woman is celebrating what she calls ‘perhaps the highlight of my life’, after the transformative experience of having one of her paintings included in a national exhibition.

Anne McAulay-Edmond (61) of Rothesay made a trip to London last month with her friend Robert Love to see her own watercolour piece ‘Our Corner Shop on the Square’ - depicting the cornershop in Rothesay’s Guildford Square - exhibited as part of the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, one of 78 pieces whittled down from more than 3500 submitted works.

The 78 winners were exhibited in the Mall Galleries from September 19-24, and Anne stayed in London for the week and visited the galleries everyday to see her own painting and those of her peers.

Anne told the Buteman in a letter this week: “I soaked in every moment, the whole ambience.

“There was a lovely quiet atmosphere - peaceful, but very busy too, with hundreds coming from all over to view and enjoy.

“The highlight of the highlight was the private reception evening with my friend Robert accompanying me.

“It was the loveliest evening meeting the judges at length and accepting their opinions and compliments.

“What encouragement I received from each - a truly memorable evening.”

Anne finished the painting earlier this year, after a lifetime’s mental block of being unable to paint because of childhood heartbreak.

She was encouraged to try her hand at art by Bute’s Ruth Slater and her art group after retiring to the island.

The result was her first ever watercolour painting, and she was encouraged by Ruth to submit it for the Sunday Times competition.

Anne says Ruth’s encouragement and the group have had a huge impact on her life.

She said: “There is plenty of continuing scope for my learning, and hopefully progression will continue.

“Ruth pushes you from your comfort zone with professional teaching and gentle guidance, continually supporting and encouraging.

“It’s such a special little group - they’re my friends!”

The group organised an afternoon tea at the Glenburn Hotel for Anne on her return from London.

Now she has her sights set firmly on the possibilities of the future.

She said: “All being well in the days to come, I will continue drawing for the sheer pleasure of it, ideally sitting at my window being inspired by that wonderful view over the water - and maybe even enter the odd competition!”