AN artist beat off 92 other competitors to win Bolton Museum’s Open Art Exhibition Visitors’ Choice Award.

Brian Heraldsaw his painting, Escaping Criticism, crowned visitors’ favourite piece.

The painting, which took Mr Herald only a week to complete, is a modernised version of a painting of the same name from 1874 by Catalan artist Pere Borrell del Caso, entitled Escapando de la crítica.

It received 121 out of 1,217 votes.

Mr Herald, a full-time artist who has a studio at home in Pengarth Road, Horwich, said: “It’s a really nice feeling when people appreciate your work.

“It was a great exhibition, so I’m honoured to have won.

“I spent 10 hours a day on this painting and was up until midnight some nights, but thankfully it’s all been worth it.”

Pere Borrell del Caso’s painting featured a street urchin climbing out of the picture frame. However, Mr Herald’s work includes a man climbing out the frame, with a woman painting him.

The characters are based on two of Mr Herald’s friends, whom he asked to pose for the painting.

Mr Herald, aged 52, said he wanted audiences to decide the painting’s meaning for themselves..

He added: “The painting is open for interpretation — it’s not got a very strong message, but it’s quite seductive.

“I like the puzzle element of it, in that people can create their own stories about what is happening.”

Mr Herald was presented with a hamper containing chocolates and wine from Bolton Museum.

He is currently producing a number of paintings and hopes to soon have an exhibition of 12 works.

All entries were considered by a panel of independent judges, including Helen Stalker, assistant curator at Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, Vanessa McDermott, community development officer at Bolton at Home and Yvonne Hardman, art gallery officer at Touchstones art gallery in Rochdale.

To enter this competition, contestants had to live, work or study in Bolton.