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The Prize

The Joan Purves Encouragement Prize is an annual $2,500 cash prize awarded to an eligible student attending an art class at the Waverley-Woollahra Art School on Bondi Road.

Each year the Art School will appoint a suitably qualified panel to determine who will be the recipient of the prize for that year. The prize will be announced and presented to the recipient at the End Of Year Art Exhibition awards’ night in December each year.

The purpose of the prize is to recognise an artist who shows great promise and commitment in their chosen media (2D oils, acrylic, watercolour, mixed media, printmaking, life drawing, pastels, ink and charcoal but excluding sculpture and ceramics).

The awarding of the prize will recognise the student who shows the highest artistic promise and flair while encouraging lifelong participation in art practice.

Further details about eligibility and awarding criteria can be found on Waverley-Woollahra Art School’s website by clicking here

The prize will be awarded each year in perpetuity.

For details of The Joan Purves Art Trust, click here

2022 prize winner Anika Zeman 

Anika Zeman says her lifelong love of poetry and literature has opened up a whole new world of opportunities and possibilities as she attempts to transfer those vivid images in her mind to the canvas.

Anika, the 2022 recipient of the Joan Purves Encouragement Prize, has always had a passion for poetry and literature from Manga fantasy and science fiction – including Japanese animator, director and Manga artist Hayao Miyazaki – through to fantasy illustrator Richard Doyle and on to Dali.

“We read all these highly descriptive passages in books, in poems and plays and we instantly create images in our minds of what the author is depicting, but we can each have a unique take on what the writer was describing,” Anika said.


“There’s literally no limit on what you’re able to express on the canvas, and that’s become a passion for me.”

She also has a love of Japanese sumi-e painting and ukiyo-e woodblock prints for their peacefulness and tranquillity.


Anika first joined WWAS tutor Yaeli Ohana’s class and then Lisa McKimmie’s class having only dabbled in art as a hobby at school.


“I was a bit apprehensive about enrolling in formal art classes at first but the openness and friendliness of my tutors and fellow classmates made it so easy and accessible, without any pressure. I became addicted to those classes very quickly!”


“There is such a sense of fun and humour in class. We’re treated as equals. It’s all so welcoming and brings the best out in students as we tap into our tutor’s vast knowledge.”

“Lisa and Yaeli gave me the feeling of absolute freedom to explore and express whatever I wanted to do in my art with no limits, but with the structure and required technique. They also impart the historical knowledge which is so absorbing,” Anika said.


Anika was particularly enthused by an experiment Lisa conducted with students in which she described a painting that was before her and the students had to paint it based on her spoken description only, without seeing the artwork. “Everyone’s imagination is different and the results were really interesting,” Anika said.

“I had the same feeling about Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream which has been subject to many great artists’ impressions and representations. But what sort of fairies do I think Shakespeare was describing? It’s limitless and truly exciting.”


Anika was chosen from 10 student artists nominated for this year’s prize which includes the $2,500 cash prize. Judge Ashley Frost said of Anika and her work: “I was struck by the intuitive use of colour and the playful application of pattern - somewhat reminiscent of Matisse - but retaining a unique stylistic approach. Anika’s work displays a confidence in the execution of composition and the variety of mark making in the work. The other determining factor in awarding the prize was Anika’s strong commitment to her practice in trying out different media including watercolour and acrylics.”


Anika praised her school English teacher for opening up the literary world to her along with dance, music, art and poetry.










“I’m now tossing up which class or classes I join next year!”

Prize winner Anika Zeman at the

2022 WWAS awards' night

Anika said she felt so honoured to win the prize and thanked the Purves family for sponsoring the prize.

“The world of art is so rich and I feel so privileged being a part of this wonderful journey,” Anika said.


After Hasui Kawase 2022 by Anika Zeman

Sunset trees 2022 by Anika Zeman

Thoughts 2022 by Anika Zeman

First movement 2022 by Anika Zeman

The fairy’s moon 2022 by Anika Zeman

2021 - no prize awarded due to Covid-19 

2020 prize winner Sharan Daly 

“My interest in art began as a teenager when I saw some beautiful books on Renaissance Art at school in Woolwich. My early years, until I was seven, were lived at Bondi Beach,” said Sharan Daly, the winner of the 2020 Joan Purves Encouragement Prize.

Art has always been important to Sharan who’s amassed a fine collection of art books and visited many of the world’s best galleries, with a particular focus on abstract expressionists.

“I love the German expressionists and was captivated by Gustav Klimpt’s Gold Phase when I visited the Belvedere Gallery in Vienna. And Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s works at the Brücke Museum in Berlin. I can’t get enough of them - Heckel, Bleyl, Schmidt-Rottluff, Nolde and Mueller.”

“I’m very fond of abstract artists Elisabeth Cummings, Cressida Campbell, Euan Macleod, Charmaine Pike and Nicholas Harding. North American Artists that inspire me include Lee Krasner and the Bay Area Artists.”


When her career and family commitments became less onerous, Sharan took lessons from teacher Gary Foy for several years before joining Philippa Hagon’s classes at WWAS five years ago.

“I was initially attracted to a class Pip [Philippa] ran titled ‘Towards Abstraction’. Her extensive knowledge of the broader art world was illuminating, making the journey all the more interesting, challenging and always exciting.”

“Pip’s classes are wonderful and she’s a marvellous tutor, constantly giving students individual tips on which painters to look into for pointers on style and technique. Not to copy anyone but to look for inspiration and alternatives in what they’ve done. It’s a very personal, individual approach which helps you move on and up to the next level.


“I have the great fortune to live beside a large house with a beautiful garden. I would pull up the blinds in the morning and see this long leaf of brilliant gold tucked among the vibrant green foliage of a banana tree and think to myself that is so beautiful I must paint it and I did paint it with much pleasure [Borrowed Landscape].


“My painting titled Balls Head came about when Pip took the class to do some plein air painting at Balls Head, a bushland reserve surrounded by water on the northside of the harbour. I did some rough watercolour sketches and photographed an area of bush with a background of a large rock face. This view appealed to me as it was unusual and I decided to try and capture it in paint,” Sharan said.

Pip says Sharan’s works “don’t necessarily take the easy path of the beautiful, being at times difficult, curious, humorous and sometimes ‘quite strange’. But always with an honesty and integrity, probing her sensibility, skill and subject matter. Her works are open, fresh and experimental allowing the paintings to evolve through a conversation between subject and aesthetic considerations: composition, colour and marks put down in each work.”

Sharan was selected from those students nominated by WWAS’ tutors and chosen by independent judges Peter Griffen, Sydney artist; and Alison Clark, Arts & Culture Coordinator North Sydney Council.











Borrowed Landscape -sharan daly 2020.jpg

Borrowed Landscape by Sharan Daly

Balls Head sharan daly 2020.jpg

Balls Head by Sharan Daly

After Giotto sharan daly 2020.jpg

After Giotto by Sharan Daly

Sharan Daly certificate 2020.jpg

David Purves presents Sharan Daly with her certificate for winning the 2020 Joan Purves Encouragment Prize at WWAS in early December 2020 (Joan Purves' Still Life With Flowers painting is in the centre). Prize winners receive a cheque for $2,500 from The Joan Purves Art Trust.

2019 prize winner Margie Waugh 

Margie Waugh is the 2019 recipient of the Joan Purves Encouragement Prize of $2,500 announced at the End of Year Art Exhibition at the Waverley Woollahra Art School (WWAS) on 12 December 2019.


Margie, who grew up near Parkes in central west NSW and now lives in the southern highlands, features the Australian bush and vistas in many of her works such as The Gorge.





























The Gorge.jpg

“I’m a country girl with her own Girl’s Shed where I can paint and do my wirework to my heart’s content,” Margie said in an interview conducted in April 2020.


“I was always painting at school and have painted all my life.”


Before enrolling at WWAS five years ago, Margie attended art classes in Willoughby and Balmain. In addition to her WWAS painting class each week, she had been attending Willemina Villari’s wirework class until it was suspended due to coronavirus.

In 2018 Margie won First Prize for Acrylics at WWAS’ end of year students’ show for her work titled Centennial Park.

“A sketch book is never far from me wherever I go and I just couldn’t understand some of my friends who kept saying how bored they were during the coronavirus lockdown. You can never be bored when you can just whip out your sketch book and away you go, sketching what’s in front of you right there and then or recalling a vista from your mind,” Margie said.

After the Fires is a collage Margie completed before Christmas 2019 and before the fires hit southern NSW on New Year’s Eve: “While the recent fires burned right up to our front fence, drought and bushfires were never far away from me during my childhood so I could recall vividly how the bush looked and smelled after a fire had ravaged it.”


Margie praised the group camaraderie under tutor Annabel Butler. She said Annabel makes her virtual classes so interesting and absorbing: “We have a marvellous group of students and while using the technology for virtual classes was a little daunting at first for some people, WWAS’ administrator Courtney Kynaston is a tech-whizz and provided wonderfully helpful guidance on how to use the technology so people could continue with their classes online and get the most out of the experience.”

“With up to 14 participants on-screen at any one time, all in their little windows, we can chat or put the class on mute while we work. And at the end of each class Annabel puts our works into a PowerPoint file and we all look and listen to Annabel critiquing the pieces we’ve just been working on. The engagement is marvellous.”


Margie said winning the prize was completely unexpected but a wonderful thrill.











“It’s given me a boost to keep working with renewed energy and not let those overworked canvases defeat me!”

The judges said of Margie’s art: “Her works are both competent and expressive in terms of style and technique, yet they possess a lovely subtle individuality which, with further studies, will ensure this artist continues to develop. We congratulate Margie and look forward to seeing what comes next.” 


Margie was selected from those students nominated by WWAS’ tutors and chosen by independent judges Peter Griffen, Sydney artist; and Alison Clark, Arts & Culture Coordinator North Sydney Council. The judges also awarded a Highly Commended award to Karine Boulanger.


The Gorge by Margie Waugh

Centennial Park.jpg

Centennial Park by Margie Waugh

After the Fires.jpg

After the Fires by Margie Waugh

Margie Waugh.jpg

“I just enjoy labouring away with my canvases, so the prize was not only an acknowledgement but it was of great personal encouragement to me,” she said.


“I am grateful to the Purves family for recognising the positive role art plays in the lives of amateur artists where a word of encouragement can mean so much.

2019 winner Margie Waugh

receives her certificate


Vessel by Margie Waugh

2018 prize winner Catherine Boardman 


Catherine Boardman won the 2018 Joan Purves Encouragement Prize of $2,500 at the annual prize night for the End of Year Art Exhibition at Waverley Woollahra Art School (WWAS) on 13 December 2018.









constantly challenging herself by stepping out of her comfort zone with a willingness to try new approaches and take risks which has greatly benefited her work.

“Over this year there has been a remarkable distillation of form and colour in Catherine’s paintings. Her preparation for every class is first rate and she often re-works paintings outside class time until she’s satisfied with the results,” Annabel said.

“Catherine’s enthusiasm also sees her take other painting workshops and she'd like to find a studio so she can further develop her painting practice,” Annabel said.

Catherine said she was thrilled to win the prize and while the prize money was a bonus, it was the recognition of tutors and judges in choosing her works that made it all the more special.

Catherine Boardman was selected from nominated WWAS students by judges Peter Griffen, Sydney artist: and Sam Dickerson, Director Dickerson Gallery Queen Street Woollahra:  

JPEP 2018 - catherine boardman.jpg
JPEP 2018 awards night _ WWAS.jpg

Sydneysider Catherine has been painting almost all her life but in the last few years took up formal tuition at WWAS.

Catherine won a highly commended award in the 2017 9x5 Landscape Prize at WWAS and has continued to develop and hone her skills. Catherine’s tutor Annabel Butler said Catherine is one of her most dedicated students, 

Catherine Boardman

Boardman - Mother's Chair.jpg

Mother's Chair by Catherine Boardman

Boardman - Figs.jpg

Figs  by Catherine Boardman

Artists, friends and tutors packed the auditorium for the 2018 prize night at WWAS

2017 inaugural winner . . .

Joe Manifold was announced the recipient of the inaugural Joan Purves Encouragement Prize of $2,500 at the annual prize-giving presentation for the End of Year Art Exhibition at Waverley Woollahra Art School on 7 December 2017.

Originally hailing from Dublin Ireland, Joe now calls Millers Point in Sydney home although he’s still keen on international travel.

While Joe was astonished he’d won, Joe’s tutor Josh McPherson praised his dedication and ability to push himself to execute great works. A fellow student said Joe was an asset to the class, was always positive and “really knows his stuff”.

Joe was selected from nominated art school students by judges Peter Hickey, Sydney artist, and Sam Dickerson, Director Dickerson Gallery Queen Street Woollahra. For further details on the 2017 Art Exhibition winners click here 


"Untitled" by Joe Manifold 

Joe Manifold 

From left to right: 2017 Joan Purves Encouragement Prize winner Joe Manifold receiving his certificate from David Purves while judge Peter Hickey and WWAS Board Member Robert Enemark applaud his efforts. Painting at right: Still Life with Flowers by Joan Purves

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