A HAMPSHIRE painter has beaten competition from more than 2,000 other artists to win a national prize.

Claire Wiltsher, 55, from Lyndhurst has been named Artist and Illustrators Artist of the Year 2018.

Her winning entry Spatial Connection 3, a seascape, was loosely based on a landscape in Lytham in Lancashire.

Claire grew up there before moving to the New Forest ten years ago.

She does all her painting in a studio, but she loves to go walking in the Forest.

She takes photographs and sketches, either early morning or early evening, to use for the basis of her artworks.

There were 2,400 entries in the competition and Claire was shocked to be the chosen winner: “My work was probably one of the few more abstract styles on display.”

Spatial Connection has be on display at The Mall Galleries in London.

Her prize consisted of £1,000, a set of handmade brushes and a solo show at Panter and Hall Gallery in London at a date to be arranged.

Claire was a college lecturer in art but for the past five years she has solely focused on her own paintings, concentrating on landscapes and seascapes.

She said that her style links a sound knowledge of traditional landscape painting with contemporary ideas.