Patonga artist shares her winning ways

Maughan uses brush, end of brush handle and her finger

The coveted annual Gosford Art Prize is now open for entries and the competition gets tougher each year so PP decided to talk to the last winner of the prize from the Peninsula, Patonga artist Jocelyn Maughan, about what it takes to be a successful teacher, artisan and winner.

Maughan won first prize in 2019 with her work Ken in Grisaille and has been a long-term supporter of the Gosford Regional Gallery, funding a series of prizes for children for “portrait drawing from life” at the end of each year.

Maughan has spent her life drawing, painting and teaching and is generous with her knowledge.

She spots subjects with strong features in all sorts of locations and invites them to pose for her.

Anyone who walks away with a portrait is asked to contribute to the Patonga Rural Fire Service (RFS).

Maughan is a willing, enthusiastic mentor – “your technique is fine you just need to do lots of composition,” she tells one eager local artist on his first visit to her studio.

“I have been a teacher all my life and I don’t know how my family survived my passion for teaching,” Maughan says.

Jocelyn Maughan is a doer – she started the arts school at Sydney’s Meadowbank TAFE when she was 26 and retired at 55.

“I had a mother who had art training in England, my grandmother who lived until she was nearly 100 and was a governess, a father who drew beautifully and was very supportive – the whole family drew.”

A morning with Jocelyn Maughan in her studio is a pure delight, surrounded by art, her materials, journals, photographs and the works of her partner Robin Norling who passed away in 2017.

She manages to encourage her subject, talk about technique and quickly paint a portrait in oils (“never used acrylic, it was invented after I was born”) all at the same time.

“I love the way you are sitting with one shoulder higher than the other, it is great,” she encourages her subject.

There’s no time to waste on an outline with pencil, Maughan goes straight to the brush explaining that it was Norling who pushed her to that: “he said ‘you draw very well so you don’t have to put a pencil down first just get on with it’.”

She provides commentary as she paints and tells the interviewee to make sure they’re getting it all down.

“I’m not worried about eyes or anything at the moment, I am just getting shapes and volumes working with a broad hand brush and I am quite willing to brush it out if you don’t like it, that’s easy done,” she says – and does.

For a young girl who started life wanting to be a motor mechanic, Jocelyn Maughan is inspirational as an artist – “I haven’t got tickets on myself mate,” she responds to praise.

“Learning to draw is learning to see,” she says arguing that the skills required to draw well, including with a brush, spill into other forms of “visual acuity”.

Artists from across Australia enter the Gosford Art Prize and entries for 2021 are now open.

A recorded breaking 900 artists competed for the $25,000 prize pool in 2020 and even more artists are expected to submit works this year.

The Gosford Art Prize culminates in an exhibition of finalists’ works at Gosford Regional Gallery.

Artists who submit works can compete across the following categories: first prize; second prize; Aboriginal artist prize; Gosford Ceramics Prize; highly commended; and viewer’s choice award.

Artworks for the Gosford Art Prize for 2021 need to be submitted online and entries close on August 22 with the exhibition running from September 25 to November 28.

If you need an inspiring mentor to get you going, just ask Patonga’s very own living treasure, Jocelyn Maughan of the Bakehouse Gallery..

Jackie Pearson