A LOCAL artist has picked up a prestigious gong at the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour 137th Open Annual Exhibition.

Michael Durning RSW, who lives in West Kilbride, has won the Walter Scott Award at the Exhibition which opened at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh on Monday, February 5.

Talking about the inspiration behind his award winning painting River Gods of the Damnonii, he said: “It is a reference to the ancient people that lived on Dumbarton Rock – the ancient capital of Strathclyde, and to the affection held for the Clyde paddle steamers.

“The “PS Ryde Queen”, older than the Waverly, was built at Denny shipbuilders in the shadow of Dumbarton Rock. The ship was run aground and left to the elements; it can still be seen decaying on the Isle of White slowly disappearing from memory like the ancients.

“I am hugely honoured and grateful to receive the Walter Scott Award. The generous prize demonstrates how important the Scottish exhibiting societies are to Scottish art and artists.”

He is a former president of Paisley Art Institute, currently the Archivist, and studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Gray’s School of Art. This is his second RSW award; he received the Hospitalfield Residency Awards in 2002.

The exhibition is open until March 8 and features over 180 new paintings by both established and emerging artists from across Scotland including works by new graduates from the 2017 Degree Shows.

There is a free artist demonstration on February 24. For more details, visit www. rsw.org.uk