One of the things we love most about the Prize Exhibition is the variety of work which gets short-listed by the judges. This was particularly evident in 2015 when all kinds of media and styles were represented on the walls, giving people plenty to choose from when it came to the tig Visitors’ Choice Award.

After James Naughton had scooped the prize at the Bowes Museum, we waited on tenterhooks to discover whether the visitors to the Mercer Gallery in Harrogate would go for the same work or not. As it was, they chose something completely different: Steven Lawler‘s oil painting ‘Portrait of T.C.’

Steven Lawler, Portrait of T.C.

Steven Lawler, ‘Portrait of T.C.’

Steven told us more about his work and what winning the Visitors’ Choice Award had meant to him.

How long have you been a practising artist?
For 17 years.

How did you first hear about New Light?
I think it may well have been via a fellow artist.

What made you decide to enter the Prize Exhibition?
To be honest, it was because it was held somewhere that I could actually get my work to without the expense and hassle of London-based competitions.

Steven Lawler

Steven Lawler

What did winning the Visitors’ Choice Award at the Mercer Gallery mean to you?
It meant a lot because people who didn’t have to vote took the time to do so, and they cared enough to remember my painting and my name.

What are your artistic plans for the future?
Just to keep painting.

If you could take one piece of artwork to a desert island, what would it be and why?
Rembrandt’s The Night Watch  – I could look at it forever.

Rembrandt, 'The Night Watch'

Rembrandt, ‘The Night Watch’

You can discover more about Steven and his work at

The 2017 New Light Prize Exhibition is currently open for entries. The exhibition launches at the Bowes Museum in County Durham before touring to Huddersfield Art Gallery. Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle and, in June 2018, to the Bankside Gallery in London.

All you need to know about entering can be found on our Prize Exhibition page.

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