Vancouver artist Colleen Heslin is the latest winner of the RBC Canadian Painting Competition, capturing the $25,000 prize for a vibrant mixed media creation that blends painting with textile art.

Almost young and wild and free by Colleen Heslin

Colleen Heslin's winning work Almost young and wild and free was created with ink, dye and acrylic on cotton. (RBC Canadian Painting Competition)

Heslin, who paints and also works in collage, sculpture and installation art, was named winner for her piece
Almost young and wild and free at a gala in Ottawa Tuesday evening.

Created with ink, dye and acrylic on cotton, Heslin’s winning work was praised by the jury for its fresh approach to the painting tradition. The artist was praised for moving beyond convention by using stitchery and staining as well as for her allusions to “mending and making” in the medium of textiles.

The RBC Canadian Painting Competition was created in 1999 to recognize and support emerging Canadian artists.

Jurors also awarded two honourable mentions: to Ottawa’s Colin Muir Dorward for his work Labyrinthineon and Toronto’s Neil Harrison for Fig. 13 Knowledge. Dorward and Harrison each receive $15,000. The winning works will join previous winners in RBC’s century-old collection of Canadian art.

To celebrate this year's 15th anniversary of the competition, organizers are also awarding $5,000 to each of the remaining 12 finalists.

“Canadian artists have consistently stood with the world’s best. And the calibre of this year’s finalists and winners reaffirms that fact,” said Ann Webb, executive director of the Canadian Art Foundation and publisher of Canadian Art Magazine, which helps administer the award.

Colleen Heslin

Vancouver artist Colleen Heslin paints and also works in collage, sculpture and installation art. (RBC Painting Competition)

More than 500 artists submitted works for this year's competition, which was judged by a panel that included Canadian artists, gallery directors and curators.

The paintings by this year's finalists will remain on display at The National Gallery in Ottawa until Oct. 13, after which they will be displayed at the Art Toronto show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from Oct. 25 to 28.

The works will also be published in Canadian Art magazine and on its website.