AND THE WINNER IS: This painting, by Glen Mackay, is the winner of the Bentley Art Prize. Pictured here is the managing director of Richmond Dairies Chris Sharpe and judge Helen Grant, editor of Australian Artist magazine.
AND THE WINNER IS: This painting, by Glen Mackay, is the winner of the Bentley Art Prize. Pictured here is the managing director of Richmond Dairies Chris Sharpe and judge Helen Grant, editor of Australian Artist magazine. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Chickens lay golden egg in this year's Bentley Art Prize

IT WAS the chooks who took it away.

A colourful, masterly, backyard scene of a flock of chickens, stole organisers' and the judges' hearts in the major Open Painting prize of this year's Bentley Art Prize.

Judge Helen Grant, of Australian Artist, said the painting by Lismore artist Glen Mackay "spoke of experience and confidence in the brushwork".

"There was a mature understanding of tone and the background held the painting together and led the eye through it."

She said the work was also a favourite among the hangers.

"It was a very hard decision, though, as there were three or four other extremely good contenders for this prize," she said.

This year's Bentley Art Prize attracted 650 artists, much to the delight of co-ordinator Helen Trustum and sponsors.

"We had some brilliant work including submissions by students, from schools including St Marys in Casino, Lismore High and Doubtful Creek," she said.

The Richmond Valley Council Acquisition Prize was won by Margaret E. Brown with a classic, pastel landscape.

"Again it reeked of experience, with perfect composition and a depth of field enhanced by the use of light," Ms Grant said.

The Casino RSM Aquisition prize was won by Nev Logan.

"This was a classic, simple, understated watercolour," Ms Grant said.

"It was a very experienced use of the medium."

Other prizes included the In and Around Bentley Prize, the Library Acquisition Prize and the Other Than Painting Prize.

The Bentley Art Prize has been held annually at the Bentley Public Hall since 1985.

"The Bentley", as it is affectionately known, is a vehicle for emerging artists to showcase their talent to the wider community and sponsored by many organisations including the major sponsors Casino RSM Club, Richmond Dairies and Richmond Valley Council.

The full list of winners is expected to be posted on the Bentley Art Prize website soon.