Recognition for Carrick artist at London art gallery

John Cooney.
John Cooney.

A former Carrick primary school teacher has been awarded second prize in the prestigious Artist of the Year 2019 competition.

John Cooney’s watercolour painting of Hugh McGuinness won him the accolade in an event sponsored by Artists and Illustrators magazine, held in the Mall Galleries, London.

A portrait of Hugh McGuinness.

A portrait of Hugh McGuinness.

John painted the portrait of Hugh after meeting him in Moville, Donegal. His portfolio includes traders of St George’s Market, Belfast.

In 2017, his watercolour of Michael Battersby was selected by The Royal Society of Portrait Painters from the work of 2,000 artists to go on show at their annual exhibition at Mall Galleries, appearing alongside paintings by some of Britain’s leading portrait artists.

Previously, John has had paintings featured at the Royal Ulster Academy.

He was a primary school teacher “subbing” in Greenisland until recently but has given it up to concentrate on painting full-time with orders coming in from the United States and Canada.

A watercolour of Michael Battersby.

A watercolour of Michael Battersby.

He said: “I have now stopped teaching in order to devote myself entirely to painting. I paint in both oil and watercolours, depending on the subject and have no preference. I paint ordinary people in their environments and always try to make the commonplace interesting.

“The Artists’ Magazine has a big exhibition coming up and I have entered that. They have featured one of my entries online to promote the upcoming exhibition which is very nice.”

Another of John's portraits.

Another of John's portraits.

A market trader.

A market trader.