A GRAPHIC designer from Portland is hoping her work will feature in a national exhibition.

Becky Blake’s painting of ‘Dave the Mackerel’ could feature at The Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Marine Artists after reaching the pre-selection stage.

Becky’s painting has already come through the first round of entries, submitted in April.

Judges will now decide whether it should be hung at the Mall Galleries in central London.

Becky said she was thrilled to have got this far in the competition.

She said: “It was quite a shock.

“I wasn’t expecting it, not at all.

“Artists don’t tend to be very confident when it comes to their own work.

“It was quite an honour to just get selected. Getting hung is what it’s all about.”

The exhibition is recognised as a showcase for the best in contemporary marine art, with selected work by non-members included.

She said: “It’s very difficult for an outsider to get in. I’m up against some amazing artists but I’m so chuffed to get through to the pre-selection round.

“It’s great to think that there’s going to be a representation of Portland art. There is so much talent on the island.”

Becky said she decided to enter after reading an article written in The Observer that described Weymouth as a ‘graveyard of ambition’.

Whilst the article’s author, Tracy McVeigh, focused on Weymouth specifically, Becky said she knew many others that were upset by it.

He said: “I did it for Portland.

“That’s probably what spurred me to enter. That article upset quite a few people.

“There are some brilliant artists. They’re really talented.

“People don’t realise how much there is over here. We are really lucky to have it on our doorstep.”

‘Dave’ already features as part of Becky’s ‘Whilst Out with the Dog’ exhibition, which pays tribute to Portland’s diverse wildlife.

Becky said: “It was just to raise awareness of the wildlife we’ve got on Portland. We are very lucky here.”

Becky was inspired to paint ‘Dave’ after her husband caught a mackerel whilst paddling in his kayak just off Chesil Cove.

This year’s exhibition will be open to the public between the 15 and 26 October. Becky will find out if her work is selected for exhibition on Thursday, August 21.