Page last updated at 18:32 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 19:32 UK

Kyffin 'inspired' drawing winner

Deep Inside by Louisa Theunissen
Judges praised the 'power and poetry' of Louisa Theunissen's work

A woman who was inspired to become an artist after hearing a speech by the late Sir Kyffin Williams has won a national prize in his honour.

Louisa Theunissen, 29, from Wrexham, met Sir Kyffin, one of Wales' greatest artists, at an exhibition opening.

She said: "He lamented the lack of the teaching of drawing in modern art schools."

Ms Theunissen won the £3,000 Kyffin Williams Drawing Prize for Deep Inside, her charcoal of a derelict factory.

It beat more than 60 competitors from across Wales.

Judges said the compressed charcoal drawing "succeeded in creating an intense, sombre glow, and defining, at once, the dread of death's doom and awe".

Sir Kyffin, who died of cancer in September 2006 at the age of 88, was widely regarded as the leading Welsh artist of his generation.

In July 2008, a £1.5m gallery dedicated to his life and works opened at Oriel Ynys Mon, Llangefni on Anglesey, where the artist was born and lived.

Self Portrait by Dafydd Hedd ap Hywel
Dafydd Hedd ap Hywel's work was described as 'bold and expressive'

Ms Theunissen studied fine art at the North Wales School of Art and Design from 2001 to 2004.

She is a full time artist who now works almost exclusively in Wales.

She says she travels to find and explore derelict houses, factories, shops and warehouses and endeavours to capture the indefinable atmosphere felt in such places and express, through drawing, emotions that words fail to describe.

Speaking after the presentation by Heritage Minister, Alun Ffred Jones AM at Oriel Ynys Môn, she told how she met Sir Kyffin when he opened the Community Arts exhibition at Y Capel in Llangollen.

She said: "I was greatly motivated by his speech to follow my love of drawing."

Her work has become the centrepiece of 91 works entered into the contest and exhibited at the gallery and on a special e-exhibition on the official Oriel Kyffin Williams website.

Mr Jones said: "Sir Kyffin Williams' reputation as a great artist is well-known all around the world and so, winning a competition named in his honour should bring huge benefits to Louisa' future career.


"This prize is a welcome addition to the gallery, to help establish young artists in their artistic careers."

Chairman of the Kyffin Williams Trust and judging panel member, Professor Derec Llwyd Morgan, said: "Sir Kyffin would have been delighted with the range of work selected for the Prize Exhibition, and would have appreciated and enjoyed its quality."

Second prize was awarded to Dafydd Hedd ap Hywel, 31, of Aberystwyth, for his "Self Portrait."

Taking classic models as his starting point, the panel described his draughtsmanship as bold and expressive.

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