Artwork Awards – 2020

Vicki Vella judged photographs of the artwork before they were revealed at the virtual Annual Exhibition of Microscopy on Wednesday 30th September 2020, and she had the difficult job of deciding which of the excellent submissions were of a sufficiently high standard to deserve a certificate. The entries that deserved certificates were announced after the lecture on Saturday 3rd October.

Vicki decided that certificates should be awarded to Joan Bingley (Crazy canvas), Chris Thomas (Detail of peacock butterfly wing) and Robert Ratford (Micrographia flea). In addition, the committee recognised Norman Chapman for his illustrations of pollen.

Click any of the images to see a larger version. (Click outside the image or click Image gallery Close icon at top right to return to this page.)

Chris Thomas

Detail of peacock butterfly wing – Artwork Award

Part of an eyespot on the wing of a peacock butterfly (Aglais io).
Medium: Chinese black ink with acrylic watercolour
Dimensions (including white border): 300 × 230 mm
Vicki Vella’s comments: Another vibrant piece of work. There is a naivety in the brush strokes that pulls you into the picture to notice more and more detail. If feels like, if you blow, the elements will ripple. Very nicely done.

Detail of Peacock Butterfly Wing(Click the image to see a larger version)

Gypsy moth antennae

Gypsy moth superhero poster

Combining a microscopical subject with a 50’s style B-Film graphics. Inspired by a macro photo of the antennae of the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) that Chris submitted for a Barnard Award.
Vicki Vella’s comments: What a witty piece as a whole and in its detail. From using members’ names in the ‘cast’ and using the moth antennae as a headdress… Certainly not to be sniffed at! Very nicely done.

Gypsy moth superhero posterFeaturing Chris Thomas as ‘Gypsy-Moth’, Lisa Ashby as ‘The Secretary’, Steve Gill as ‘Pseudoscorpion’, Robert Ratford as ‘The Cladoceran’, Joan Bingley as ‘The Traveller’, Alan Wood as ‘The Webmaster’, Phil Greaves as ‘The Editor’, Stephen Parker as ‘The Money Man’, Irma ‘Books’ Irsara, Paul Smith as ‘Zoom’. With Guest Star Nigel Ashby as ‘Watson’.
An Unlikely Quekett Production 2020
(Click the image to see a larger version)

Dawn Painter

Dawn’s notes on her drawings (PDF)

Vicki Vella’s comments: Astoundingly intricate drawings which capture the subject really well. I can only imagine the number of hours of concentration these took to complete. The tonal qualities and definition are great. I am sure Dennis Fullwood would be honoured by the dedication to him.

Fred Enock Hairbell Bee

Inspired by Fred Enock’s drawings of wasp mouthparts for “The First Papermaker” by Grant Allen in Glimpses of Nature published by The Strand Magazine, 1898.
Dedicated to the late and dearly missed Dennis Fullwood with whom much discussion was had regarding Enock, his slides and his illustrations.
Medium: Graphite pencil and digital drawing, A3

Fred Enock Hairbell Bee(Click the image to see a larger version)

Fairy fly (Caraphractus cinctus)

2 Illustrations for the upcoming Royal Entomological Society Handbook to British Mymaridae. Fred Enock spent much of his life writing a handbook to British fairyflies (Mymaridae). The work was later tragically lost/destroyed.

Fairy fly (Caraphractus cinctus)(Click the image to see a larger version)

Fairy fly (Caraphractus cinctus)(Click the image to see a larger version)

Gwyneth Thurgood

Floral bouquet

Oil painting, based on 6 chemical experiments.
Vicki Vella’s comments: What a vibrant piece of work. Working in oils is not easy, but the colours have remained clear and rich. There is a fluidity that gives the piece almost the feel of underwater plants/sea anemones perhaps?

Gwyneth Thurgood “Floral bouquet”(Click the image to see a larger version)

Joan Bingley

Crazy canvas – Artwork Award

Inspired by the similarities between the traditional embroideries of knot gardens and a photo of melted stearic acid under DIC (differential interference contrast). Variety of threads and beads on painted canvas. Original DIC image courtesy of David Linstead.
Medium: Textile canvas work
Dimensions: 35 × 36 × 1 cm.
Vicki Vella’s comments: This is such a vibrant piece I love the use of colour with the black giving the piece more depth. The detail in the stitching and the number of different techniques used is to be commended.

Crazy canvas(Click the image to see a larger version)

Lisa Ashby

Arrangement of plates, anchors and spicules

Inspired by microscope slides with careful arrangements of tiny sponge spicules etcetera.
Medium: embroidery
Vicki Vella’s comments: This is beautifully done, this monochromatic piece works really well and the use of a circular frame sets the piece off nicely. The accuracy in the stitching and the simple stitches give an understated charm to the piece.

Needlework plates, anchors and spicules(Click the image to see a larger version)

Knitted wood sections with growth rings

Inspired by Ernie Ives’ microscope slides of stained wood sections.
Vicki Vella’s comments: Two lovely pieces of work tying in the natural and the man-made. The use of colour in both pieces is particularly good and the use of an orange background really brings the second piece to life. I also like the idea of mounting the first piece on wood… wood, the material that inspired the work in the first instance.

Knitted with a variety of needles using an irregular textured yarn. Dimensions 20 × 14 cm, mounted on wood.

Knitted wood section(Click the image to see a larger version)

Knitted with variety of ply wools on oversized needles. Dimensions 64 × 47 cm, mounted on painted card.

Knitted wood section(Click the image to see a larger version)

Norman Chapman


Click the arrows to move through the slides. Click the symbol at bottom right for a larger version.

Robert Ratford

Micrographia flea – Artwork Award

Image of flea from Micrographia, hand coloured with various types of tea, cut out, and mounted on white canvas.
Vicki Vella’s comments: Absolutely stunning piece of work, the colouring and detail are exceptional. Working tonally is not easy. Cutting the piece out and applying it to the canvas has added that feeling of a specimen being mounted. It has made me want to go away and look at this book.

Micrographia flea(Click the image to see a larger version)

Roger Delpech

Vicki Vella’s comments: Theses three entries are just so well thought out, working at such a minute size under the microscope is quite a challenge. They are beautifully done, my favourite being the Breughel, although all have their own charm. The painter’s skill is quite apparent in all three.

Watercolour micropainting of a Breughel

Watercolour copy of a Breughel painting executed under a Meiji dissection microscope at ×7.

Watercolour micropainting of a Breughel(Click the image to see a larger version)

Watercolour copy of a Modigliani

Watercolour copy of a Modigliani painting executed under a Meiji dissection microscope at ×7.

Watercolour copy of a Modigliani(Click the image to see a larger version)

Two well-known ladies

Watercolour copy of a Vermeer painting executed under a Meiji dissection microscope at ×7.

Two well-known ladies(Click the image to see a larger version)

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