Incredible portrait by Mayo teen wins Texaco Children's Art Competition

This year's winner of the annual Texaco Children's Art Competition really is something special.

The below portrait by 16-year-old Shania McDonagh from Co Mayo took the top honours in the evergreen contest yesterday, winning first prize in the senior age category (age 16-18 years) as well as overall top prize.

What's even more incredible about Shania's win is that is the fifth year in a row that she has topped her age category in the competiion, itself now in its 60th year.

The transition year student at Mount St Michael school in Claremorris, says she has had been drawing for as long as she can remember.

"I spend most of my free time at it," Shania told breakingnews.ie, "I might have two or three drawings going at the same time."

Her award-winning entry - entitled 'Coleman' - was taken from a photograph published in the book 'Vanishing Ireland', and completed using pencil alone.

The original photograph - by James Fennell - depicted fisherman and seaweed harvester Coleman Coyne, born in 1925 on the island of Illauneeragh off the south Galway coast.

"He just looked interesting," Shania said, adding that the piece took her about a month to complete.

(Picture: McInnes Photography)

Shania's family are naturally proud of her success.

"She's always been artistic but even as a girleen she was more interested in making things rather than drawing," Shania's mother Yvonne said.

"It was only when she went to school that the teachers really noticed her talent - she'd only been in primary school a few hours when the teacher came out and told us that she really was very artistic.

"Since then her teachers have provided great support to her."

The talented teen comes from a close family, with two brothers and a sister.

"Yes, they'd be artistic too," said Yvonne, diplomatically. "They probably wouldn't be as good as Shania though."

Shania's ambition is to go on and study art at third level, but where remains to be seen.

"I'd say so," she said. "But it's a while away yet."

By Conor Hallahan
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