Meet the three winners of the Winsor & Newton Young Artist Awards 2016 (for artists aged 35 or under) at this year’s Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) Annual Exhibition.

Alice Boggis-Rolfe, Rob Pointon and Tom Stevenson were selected by the judges who felt that their respective works demonstrated both creativity and talent in their use of the Oil Colour Medium. Here they tell us about their winning works, techniques and upcoming plans.


Alice Boggis-Rolfe

Alice Boggis-Rolfe is a travelling landscape artist. Her work, Canoes on The Dordogne, has been awarded First Prize in the Winsor & Newton Young Artist Awards 2016. It was painted en plein air over three hours on a ‘very, very hot day’. Alice carries out most of her painting as such; on site and in similar time frames ‘as then it is as true to that moment as possible’. She prefers to paint on bright summer days, when the light does not vary too much. In terms of technique, Alice tends to use oil paint quite thinly, building up layers of colour without it going ‘muddy’. She paints onto homemade gesso boards for the same reason as they are really hard wearing and the surface is quite absorbent so the paint dries quickly. When asked about winning First Prize, Alice said, ‘I still can't believe I have won the prize, I am so, so pleased. I think when I look at my work I only ever seem to notice the mistakes so it’s always really exhilarating when someone else likes it’. Alice has spent the last year painting around the UK and France, but now plans to travel further afield to destinations that are out of her comfort zone to push her work in exciting new directions.



Rob Pointon

Second Prize was awarded to Rob Pointon for his painting, The Red Door, Montmartre. During a springtime trip to Paris, Tom and his troop of Yorkshire plein air artists based themselves in Montmartre close to the steps up to the Sacre Coeur. Rob enjoys playing with wide-angle perspectives, so the dramatic staircase and description of height and depth provided by the Parisian architecture proved good subject matter. His companions mainly work alla prima, which has influenced Rob’s technique and sped up his process. This painting was completed on location with three separate visits to the spot at similar times of day and with similar weather conditions. On winning Second Prize, Rob stated, ‘I am delighted to have won Second Prize in the Winsor & Newton Young Artist Awards this year. I have been entering the ROI for years now and this will be the fourth time I have been selected. It is an honour to be in the same room as some of the finest painters in the country; I relish the networking and last year enjoyed the ROI Paint Live competition and will give that another go this time.’ Next year Rob plans to continue his travels. He is currently International Artist in Residence with Manchester Airport Group, involving two month-long trips a year to different direct destinations to produce bodies of plein air work to be exhibited in the airport. So far Rob has painted Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific and Doha with Qatar Airways. ‘Working with an airline can be handy in getting large crates of paintings back into the country!’ 

Keep up to date with Rob on Instagram.

Tom Stevenson

Tom Stevenson won Third Prize for his painting Beer, Devon. Completed en plein air in a single sitting last summer, Tom explains that Beer is a great beach for painting; ‘the combination of bright beach furniture and the high cliffs allows you to bring a lot of light down into the bottom half of the painting and move some of the shadow higher up, disrupting the usual format of a landscape with light sky and darker ground. On this occasion I was lucky enough to have a large red parasol to paint, marking the edge of the beach where the pebbles drop away towards the shore.’ Tom uses a simple palette; two blues, two browns, cadmium yellow and red, alizarin crimson, yellow ochre, oxide of chromium and titanium white. Regarding his method, he covers the whole surface early on, then works progressively, moving the painting forward altogether. He is ‘absolutely thrilled to have won the W&N Third Prize; the materials it will cover will be gratefully appreciated. This is my second time exhibiting with the ROI. In 2014 I won (jointly) The Phyllis Roberts Award, so I felt a certain amount of pressure to be selected again. To win the Prize was an unexpected pleasure!’ 2016 was a busy year for Tom, who participated in several exhibitions. He is looking forward to keeping up the pace in 2017, returning to many favourite local spots which have lots more to offer. Desiring to paint some snow this winter, he is planning some trips up country for early 2017, as Devon is not known for its snowfall. Keep up to date with Tom’s plans via twitter and Instagram @tpstevensonart. ‘Also, if anyone happens to see me out and about painting, please do come and say hello!’




The Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2016 runs at Mall Galleries until Sunday 11 December, 1pm.