Gold Coaster Candace Slager takes out Art Lovers Prize

Gold Coast artist Candace Slager has won the 2020 Art Lovers Artist’s Prize for her piece entitled ‘This is not a drill’.

The Art Lovers Prize is now in its fourth year and attracted over 500 entries from across Australia. Candace created her bold drawing of a firefighter in uniform amidst smouldering embers, using graphite and black pencil on watercolour paper.

Drawn in August 2019, Candace could not predict the devastation that would follow a few months later when fires destroyed much of the Gold Coast Hinterland and launched a catastrophic national fire season.

“The hidden face of this firefighter began to echo the brave, nameless heroes who put themselves in harm’s way fighting the Australian fires, with the mask portraying the hazardous air quality that firefighters and residents still live through,” said Ms Slager.

Candace’s winning piece ‘This is not a drill’

In 2019 Candace left full time work as a corporate project manager to dedicate her time to drawing as a profession.

“I am so honoured that my piece has won the Art Lovers Prize…it motivates me to continue on this pathway,” she told us.

Candace primarily works with colour pencil and graphite media and this technique involves a substantial number of hours, even weeks, to complete a single piece. The layers of fine detail require great technique, commitment and skill.

Most of her work focuses on realistic renderings of wildlife, portraiture and scenes from her travels. The inspiration for ‘This is not a drill’ came from a more mundane source: Candace was about to move to a new home and the smoke detectors needed to be upgraded!

Fittingly, the winning piece has found a home with a firefighter in America but limited edition prints are available through Art Lovers Australia at You can view more of Candace’s work at


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