Two Northants artists compete on Sky Arts' Landscape Artist of the Year

Landscape Artist of the Year presenters Stephen Mangan and Joan Bakewell at Herstmonceux Castle
Landscape Artist of the Year presenters Stephen Mangan and Joan Bakewell at Herstmonceux Castle

Two artists from Northamptonshire will be seen competing as wildcard entrants on episode four of Landscape Artist of the Year.

Stephen Mckeown and Louise Berrill were both awarded wildcards to paint the landscape at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex back in June.

Louise Berril, from Thorpe Malsor, is one of the 50 wildcard artists in episode four

Louise Berril, from Thorpe Malsor, is one of the 50 wildcard artists in episode four

The wildcard artists are separate from the main competitors but the one of the 50 wildcard entrants could have a chance of winning a spot in the semi-final if they impress the judges.

However, both Louise and Stephen were more enthusiastic about the experience rather than the chance of winning the £10,000 commission that is up for grabs.

Louise, a stay-at-home mother and artist from Thorpe Malsor, said: "I entered and was offered a wildcard, that is what I was aiming for."

She had not entered before and said: "I have always chickened out.

Northampton postman Stephen Mckeown is also a wildcard entrant in the episode

Northampton postman Stephen Mckeown is also a wildcard entrant in the episode

"I am glad I plucked up the courage to apply this year.

"It was such a brilliant experience all round."

Louise normally paints landscapes but usually from photographs in her studio, so it was different for her to be outside and spend just four hours working rather than weeks.

She said: "I didn't put any pressure on myself, I had a really great day.

"It was really lovely meeting like minded people. It was just amazing."

She said she had nice feedback from judges and enjoyed meeting the presenters.

"I saw Tai Shan Schierenberg [one of the judges] who kept saying my skies were really nice and my composition was great.

"[Presenter] Stephen Mangan came over, he is such a lovely guy," said Louise.

Louise said she loved the day and will definitely be entering next year.

Stephen Mckeown, a postman from Abington, Northampton, said: "It was a great experience in all. If I ever got the chance to do it again, I would."

He said he's entered by sending in some paintings and was then offered a wildcard.

"Landscapes are normally what I do. I do watercolour landscapes. I have always done drawing, ever since I was at school I was always drawing in pencil.

"Five or six years ago, I decided to start doing watercolour. I went to a night class and did a few lessons and got the technique," said Stephen.

Stephen also said the judges came round and spoke to him, he said: "Each one of them came around in turn and stopped and spoke to me and gave me some good comments on the paining, which was nice. I wasn’t expecting that."

Stephen said he had enjoyed meeting the other painters, which was a change for him.

"Usually I paint on my own. I have got a little spare room, I usually paint there. You can start a painting and four hours are gone like that, you lose yourself.

"To go outside with other painters and other people is quite nerve-wracking at first, but after a while you settle down and get on with it."

The episode will be on television at 8pm on Tuesday, November 5, on Sky Arts.

Landscape Artist of the Year will crown a winning artist who will be rewarded with a £10,000 commission to paint a landscape of Venice for the Royal Institute of British Architects.