This year's Cover Competition was won by Michael Carrington. The two runners up were Kate Stone and Alan Kingwell. Read more about our winners below.
See a gallery of the shortlist here.
Born in Essex in 1955 and painting from an early age I originally chose architecture as a career. A change of direction in 1980 found me joining a small commercial studio and gaining valuable experience in all aspects of graphic design, illustration and print.
Six years later and London bound, good fortune placed me alongside a highly experienced airbrush illustrator, the old clumsy strokes were now replaced by those as thin as a pencil and over a period of time the airbrush was to become an extension of my own hand.
Later I returned to work in Essex as a Graphic Designer where I met my future wife, and, in 2004 I was an exhibited finalist in The Mail on Sunday's "Not the Turner Prize" competition.
Although still partially involved in graphics I am now a full time artist specialising in hyperrealism. Over the years I've airbrushed practically everything from cars to cigarette packets and even the odd duck or two!
Pictures can take several months to complete as considerable emphasis is placed both on detail and accuracy, a cityscape for instance will be exact to the last window and a bird to the last feather.
I am a self taught artist, coming from an artistic family. When I left school, I became a scientist, but I have always drawn and painted and I sold paintings in my first exhibition when I was 18.
I can't imagine a day without a paintbrush or pen in my hand. I enjoy dabbling in any medium, but my favourite is oils, where the paint is mobile for days and I can "push it around." I love the vivid colours of oil paint and, through my work, I try to encourage people to look at paintings for their colour as much as their subject. I have several pictures in progress at any one time and my style is detailed. I exhibit and sell locally and in London and if you would like to see more of my work, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be pleased to email photos of my recent paintings.
The oil painting I entered for the competition was inspired by a walk along a Devonshire beach on a wet day. The rain made the colours of the stones shine out and, by the time I left, I had pockets full of beautiful pebbles, which I wanted to reproduce on canvas as a memory of the day. This particular work uses a limited palette of colours, which is unusual for me, and took about 2 weeks to complete. I have enjoyed doing several similar paintings, thanks to the beauty of nature.
First of all, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who voted for me in this competition.
I started painting professionally in 1985, having previously worked for the Forestry Commission. In recent years I have derived great pleasure from teaching students on my Oil Painting courses the techniques that I have discovered and taught myself over the many years I have been painting. I also have produced numerous oil painting tutorial DVDs which I regularly send all over the world.
On YouTube I have over 250 oil painting demonstrations on my channel, some of which are full tutorials showing the painting from start to finish. Details of my Oil Painting Courses, workshops, DVDs, available original oil paintings and reproduction prints can be found on either of my websites.
The oil painting I chose for the competition is a place near where I live in Cornwall where I spent many nights filming badgers. The painting is on a panel and is 71 x 61 cm and the title is East Castick Farm