As some sort of card-carrying optimist, I’m a life-long enterer of competitions, for writing, for art, for photography. And not winning (though being occasionally hung) has not dampened my hopes that maybe next time……

And finally, just weeks before my 75th birthday (or, as my younger brother put it, my 3/4 century), next time finally came. And it was as much of a thrill as if – or maybe even more than – it had happened much earlier in my life.

My local council has set up an annual International Women’s Day Art Prize, open to all forms of art media, and I’ve entered it before, with one of my photographs. Not even short-listed that time.

But this time, in 2017, both my husband and I thought that one of my choices had a special quality. Here is it, so you can decide for yourselves;

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It captured what was for me a perfect sight, seen from the back garden of my Canberra daughter late last year, when a flock of galahs positioned themselves musical-note-like on the wires against a clear blue sky. I called it Birdsong, and it’s a theme that I love capturing whenever I see birds on the wires like that. But this one – we thought – just had a lot of special features coming together.

And we weren’t alone in that thinking. We were actually in Canberra on the day of the awards, so my Sydney daughter and grandchildren went as my representatives (as I’d been told that I’d been shortlisted). And suddenly, I got an excited call: I had won the Councilors’ Commendation Award. And not only that, but one of the councilors wanted to buy my picture.

Oh, what a feeling, indeed! And having since seen some of the tough competition that I was up against, in a variety of media, I was even more thrilled (there are a lot of talented people out there).

Next up, an entry in the Olive Cotton (Photographic Portrait) Award, run by the Tweed Regional Gallery. It did hang one of my very early entries, back in the 1990s. So, who knows what might happen this time?

And the take home message? Keep on trucking – it might well be worth it before The End.

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