Palatinate illustration and photography competition: winners announced

Visual Arts is excited to announce the winners of Palatinate‘s illustrations and photography competition, and Alexandra Baker! The theme for the competition was Durham, and students were encouraged to be as creative as possible in capturing the spirit of their university city.

Lainey Lin

Winner of the photography competition.

What camera did you use to take the winning entry? 

I used a Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless camera.

I used photography as a way to get outside

Is photography a hobby or something you hope to pursue in the future?

I became really interested in photography last summer. I was doing my foundation year in Queen’s campus so when we had online-only classes I decided to use photography as a way to get outside.

What encouraged you to enter the competition?

I just wanted to participate – I wasn’t necessarily sure if my entry was good enough.

Where was your photo of the cathedral taken?

I took the photo at sunset down by the river, next to Hild Bede college. 

What kind of photography are you most interested in? 

Mostly photos of people or buildings. I would love to take more landscapes in England in the future after lockdown.

Do you have a favourite photographer or artist?

I really like David Hockney.

What do you think is the most important defining feature of a photograph? 

Composition is very important but I am most sensitive to colours.

Alexandra Baker

Winner of the illustration competition.

Talk us through your work and what inspired it. 

My piece is made up of two pictures. The first is a picture I took just before first term, when it was still sunny. It’s of my friends in a boat right next to one of the bridges in Durham. When I heard about the competition I knew instantly that I wanted to draw this picture of my friends. When I had finished I thought it was missing something, so I incorporated a completely different picture of the castle and few houses into the background. 

While I was working on my entry I had very limited art supplies because of the lockdown. I’m locked down in Poland and most of my materials were in the UK. However, I did find some pastels, some acrylic paint, and a pen that I could use. I made a base of oil pastel, layered some acrylic paint on top, then used the pen to provide the sketches and outlines. 

What I really wanted to capture was the magic of Durham  

What is it about Durham that captured your artistic imagination?

The first time I came to Durham I found it so fairy-tale-like and beautiful. It felt magical, like a small fairy town. What I really wanted to capture was the magic of Durham. No matter what the weather, Durham always looks so beautiful.

You mentioned lockdown’s impact on your competition entry. Do you feel that the pandemic has impacted you as an artist?

The pandemic has made me draw a lot more and made me try new things. I’ve actually learned a lot of new artistic skills because of the lockdown. For the first time I’ve had time to sit down and mess around with stuff, while before the lockdown I was really busy with lectures and work. Lockdown has helped find time to sit down and focus on my art. 

How do you balance art and student life?

I’ve never had a problem balancing art and student life. Whenever I have a free moment I just sit down and start to draw. When I have a study break or decide that I’ve done enough studying for one-day drawing helps me relax.  I’ve found it very helpful. 

What advice would you give to fellow or aspiring student artists?

I always tell people that art should be a source of fun rather than stress. It’s not a chore that you need to do, or something you need to get perfect. When I sit down to draw I certainly don’t strive for perfection. I just play around with different media and different shapes. If something doesn’t work out I try and make it pretty and if that doesn’t work I just start over. I just play around and try to have fun.  

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