A BOURNEMOUTH-born artist is celebrating her latest success after one of her pieces featured in a prestigious exhibition.

Stella Tooth's painting The Tightrope Walker was chosen to be shown at the National Open Art Competition's Winter Exhibition at London's Royal College of Art.

Her painting was one of 133 fine artworks selected from nearly 4,000 entries by judges Hughie O' Donoghue, David Lister, Rebecca Hossack, Vanessa Branson and Amanda Harman.

Stella, who splits her time between London and a flat at Alum Chine with husband Nigel, said: "I'm delighted to have been selected to exhibit in NOA's Winter Exhibition.

"I saw this tightrope walker in the backstreets of Venice. She hung onto the tree - anxious, getting her balance.

"There was a large crowd. Would she fly across the rope? Or would she mis-step? We held our breath.

"Behind is the moment of her walk - captured in black and white. It was less vivid for me. In the foreground - in colour - is the moment that most attracted me to her act. Her moment of questioning, of self-doubt."

Stella is an former print journalist who later worked in PR for the BBC and Sky News before turning her hand to being a figurative artist.

She trained for five years at the Heatherley School of Fine Art in Chelsea on the portraiture and post diploma courses, where she studied anatomy, life drawing, oil painting from models and also acquired skills in sculpture and printmaking.

Since embarking on her new career she has won a series of prizes in both the UK and abroad, having undertaken a project drawing well-known journalists, including Kate Adie and John Humphrys.

Stella is a founding member of the Lots Road Group of portrait artists that exhibits annually in London and teaches drawing at the V&A, Tate Britain and National Portrait Gallery.