I’m not very good at drawing. I can get by, but it’s not exactly my strong point. That being the case, to be able to look back and say, “I won a prize for my artwork,” is quite an achievement.
Admittedly, it wasn’t a huge competition that provided me with my moment of glory - “Life Drawing from Nature,” 7 - 10 years category, at the local country fete, to be exact. The prizes on offer were numbered rosettes plus horse riding lessons, something I’d always fancied trying.
I worked on my drawing for hours, and the finished article was rather lovely if I say so myself. I created a detailed pencil sketch of a buttercup, one I’d yanked out of the bottom of my garden, roots and all. It was a good drawing, for an eight-year-old, and by far the best I’d ever done. Proud of my accomplishment, I mounted my sketch on a piece of black card and kept it inside a book so it wouldn’t get creased.
Imagine my excitement on competition day? All entries had to be submitted in person at the fete, so we hurried over there first thing. There weren’t many people around - three cars and a horse in the car park - but was early. They’d come.
My drawing was handed over and my name carefully written on the back by an ‘official.’ My masterpiece, imaginatively entitled “Buttercup,” was listed on the inventory then pinned up inside the Art tent on a huge blackboard. As the first entry, it took pride of place.
I was so excited. I’d never had any luck with art competitions at school or on Blue Peter, but this… this could be different. It wouldn’t be long ’till I found out: judging was in the afternoon with the results announced at 3.00pm.
The fete was rather small and never did get busy, but it was entertaining enough. My mum gave me money to buy sweets and held my hand while we watched the horse riding competitions and the dog shows. My sister, determined to prove that she’d tamed our dog, entered him in the obedience competition, which was highly amusing. Scottish terriers aren’t renowned for doing what they’re told, and he was no exception. Still, he got a rosette just for entering, so my sister was happy.
3.00pm. I charged over to the Art tent to check on the competition. There were five pictures pinned up, all of them with rosettes attached - first, second and third in the 10 - 15 years category, then two pictures in the 7 - 10 years category. I was stunned: there it was a blue rosette on my buttercup drawing. I’d got second place!
I tell you, I’ve never been so proud. Okay, so the lack of a third place drawing gives away the number of entrants in my age group, but my family never mentioned that and celebrated like I’d just won the Turner prize. My prize-winning drawing took pride of place on our living room wall for years. Brilliant.
What’s more, I won two horse riding lessons and took to the saddle for the first time that summer.
I wasn’t very good at that either.