BUDDING artists from across the Borders are being encouraged to dig out their brushes.

The organisers of the Borders Art Fair have this week launched a special competition for primary school children.

To mark Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, children aged from four up to12 are invited to send in artwork that celebrates the region’s rivers, coastline and lochs.

And the best entries will be displayed alongside work from some of the region’s finest contemporary artists at this year’s Borders Art Fair in March.

Frances Fergusson, director of the Borders Art Fair, told us: “The Borders Art Fair is a great opportunity to see a huge selection of work by some incredible artists, in a friendly and welcoming environment.

"This region is home to many exceptionally talented artists and we hope that our programme of activities for young people will help to ensure that future talent is encouraged and nurtured.

"Maybe some of our budding young artists will return to the Borders Art Fair in future years to show their work.”

The competition has two age categories - Primary 1-3 for four-to-eight year-olds, and Primary 4-7 for eight-to-12 year-olds - and prizes include a variety of art materials as well as £100 of art supply vouchers for the schools or youth groups of the overall winners, kindly donated by the Arts Society Borders.

The competition is part of the Borders Art Fair’s education outreach programme, which also includes a ‘Meet the Creatives’ event for high school pupils.

This will offer students the chance to hear from a range of people involved in creative jobs.

A number of free, drop-in workshops and art sessions for children of all ages aimed at encouraging an interest in creativity will also be taking place at the Borders Art Fair.

Frances added: "The 2020 Borders Art Fair will feature around 70 artists, galleries and collectives in addition to artist-led talks and workshops.

"Visitors will have the chance to take advice from galleries, speak to the artists about their work and inspiration, and have the opportunity to purchase beautiful and unique pieces of art."

Information on entering the children's competition will be sent to schools and youth groups this week.

The deadline for receipt of entries is March 1.

This year's Borders Arts Fair takes place at Springwood Park near Kelso on the weekend of March 13 to 15.