THE rich and colourful work of one of the region's artists has rewarded her with her first gold medal.

Captured by the beauty of plants and their blooms, Bridget Gillespie was rewarded for her efforts by winning the top honour at the Royal Horticultural Show.

Having spent hours with her paintbrush, Mrs Gillespie submitted 14 watercolours focusing on different varieties of plums, both old and new. She was one of two artists at the show to receive the medal and a certificate.

"I find that plums make such beautiful pictures and I decided to really get to know my subject," she said.

"I learned quite a bit from painting at the Ampleforth orchards and within the walled garden at Newby Hall."

Having painted for almost 15 years, Mrs Gillespie, of Beadlam, North Yorkshire, holds her own workshops to aspiring watercolourists of all ages.

The classes, which focus on botanical illustrations, take place during the open season within Helmsley Walled Garden.