Main Content Anchor

Ringwood Art Society announces 2017 Artist of the Year

Published on 19 October 2017
  • Arts and culture
  • Community

The Ringwood Art Society has named local artist Julie Fenton as the 2017 Artist of the Year.

The winning artist was announced at last night’s opening ceremony of the Ringwood Art Society’s (RAS) Artist of the Year exhibition at Maroondah Access Gallery, located within Maroondah Federation Estate in Ringwood.

Maroondah Mayor Councillor Tony Dib said the Artist of the Year exhibition showcased new works by artists from RAS, and was the society’s most prestigious annual event.

“This exhibition is the Ringwood Art Society’s major annual event, showcasing new artwork by many of the talented local artists we have in Maroondah. I congratulate Julie Fenton for winning the award from such a talented pool of artists,” Cr Dib said.

“This is the third time Julie has won the award, having taken out the prestigious title last year and in 2014, after only joining the society in 2013,” he said.

Each entrant in the Artist of the Year competition must produce three pieces of work that meet the requirements of three themes: portrait, landscape and still life/animal study/life study. The works must also show skill over two different mediums and have been produced within the past two years.

This year’s judge was Healesville resident Janet Hayes, an internationally celebrated and award-winning artist, whose works have been exhibited in New York, London, China and across Europe.

Hayes said it was the detail in Fenton’s large oil portrait of Federal Member for Deakin Michael Sukkar that drew her attention.

“On closer observation of the large oil portrait, ‘Michael Sukkar M.P.’, I noted the fresh strokes of paint make this a lively, animated portrait. The tonal handling of the skin colours and whites in shadow are superb,” she said.

Hayes said equally as impressive was Fenton’s landscape painting ‘Red Centre Memories’, which for her showed “an exceptional composition’’ and a “wonderful handling of tones”.

Special commendations went to Janet Demond, Lisa Higgs and Cathie Berry.

“I’d like to congratulate all of the artists on the standard and presentation of their artworks. Each artist has portrayed their original viewpoint with a sense of individual style and technique to create an engaging exhibition, full of interest, whilst showing the culmination of their artistic efforts,” Hayes said.

Cr Dib said that what started out as several artists meeting at the homes of members in 1966 had grown to around 130 RAS members who have since 2015 called Council’s Maroondah Federation Estate home.

“The society is an active community of artists based at Council’s very own community, cultural and arts facility, Maroondah Federation Estate, and a testament to the vibrant arts scene in Maroondah,” Cr Dib said.

The Ringwood Artist Society Artist of the Year exhibition will be on display at Maroondah Access Gallery,in Maroondah Federation Estate until 27 October. All works featured in the exhibition are available for purchase.

Maroondah Federation Estate is at 32 Greenwood Avenue, Ringwood. For further information call 9298 4553 or email

Winning Artist Julie Fenton

This is the second consecutive year Julie Fenton has won the prestigious title of Ringwood Art Society Artist of the Year, and the third time since joining as a member in early 2013.

“I’m very pleased and quite humbled, and it’s always something special,” Fenton said of being named this year’s award winner.

“I don’t like to think that because I’ve done well in the past that there’s an expectation that I will do well. You never have that expectation that it’s going to happen,” she adds.

Fenton’s winning portrait ‘Michael Sukkar M.P.’ was also entered into this year’s Archibald, one of the most recognised and highly prized competitions in the country.

“I decided to enter the Archibald this year, knowing full well that my chances of being hung were remote. Nonetheless I decided to have a go, and tick another item off my bucket list.”

For Fenton, it’s not about receiving acclaim or recognition, but more about painting for the simple pleasure of it.

“I’ve never wanted to do anything else but paint. I’ve enjoyed my time with the Ringwood Art Society and I’ve made a lot of friends since joining. It’s been a wonderful social activity with like-minded people.

“I’m just a woman who loves to paint.”

Read more about Julie Fenton and to view her works

Lifestyle Gallery Pop-Up

RAS members also have their artwork on display and for sale throughout the year in the Lifestyle Gallery pop-up, which is a continually changing pop-up display in the corridors at Maroondah Federation Estate. Judged exhibitions with varying themes run continuously throughout the year.

Ringwood Art Society: Spring exhibition

The Spring exhibition is the Ringwood Art Society’s final exhibition on its events calendar that highlights the range of talents of its members. 

For this inclusive exhibition, all RAS members are encouraged to explore new styles and mediums and to showcase their talent without the confines of guidelines and specific requirements. The Spring exhibition runs from 30 October to 25 November.

Read more about the Ringwood Art Society Spring exhibition

Back to top