Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2017 - call for entries

For all those undeterred by television programmes about painting, applications for Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2017 - run by Sky Arts - close on 28th April 2017.

You could win a £10,000 commission and £500 worth of art materials from Cass Art.

Landscape Artist of the Year 2017


We're coming up to two months left before the deadline for entries for this competition.


Who can enter


The Competition is open to all artists – amateur, professional or hobbyists - but there are some restrictions.

This is NOT a competition where your partner, your best mate or Mum can enter you without you knowing!  People can help you with the entry process but it must be YOUR ENTRY.


YOU can ONLY enter IF you:
  • are aged 16 or over as at 29th November 2016 
  • are in good health
  • hold a valid passport
  • have been LEGALLY resident in the UK, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Channel Islands and the Republic of Ireland for at least one year on 29th November 2016
  • can provide documentation to support all of the above (ie. birth certificate; passport, any relevant documentation relating to your immigration/residency status).
Also if you are aged under 18 your parents MUST
  • provide written agreement to you entering the competition
  • written consent to you being filmed prior to filming.
  • accompany you at all filming - or send a nominated adult.
You are NOT able to enter if you have been a finalist or winner of ANY previous Artist of the Year competition run by Sky Arts.

If you are chosen as a Shortlisted Artist or a Reserve Shortlisted Artist, you must be available for filming between 1st June 2017 and 20th July 2017.

How to enter


The emphasis on YOU means that only YOU can enter unless you are under 18 in which case your parents need to complete and submit the entry. (You can help them!)

You've only got one chance with this competition. This is what you need to do:
  • Read the terms and conditions (LOTS of small print). Then read them again. Then read them again before you upload your entry. I cannot emphasise too much how easy it is to miss or misunderstand an important point - and you'll be kicking yourself if you do! 
  • YOU need to complete/submit the online application form
  • YOU need to upload digital images (low-resolution JPEGS, no less than 800KB and ideally no more than 1.0MB) of landscape paintings created by YOU. These are: 
    • A photograph of your landscape painting NOT including any frame. See further notes on what the landscape should and should not be
    • A photograph of an additional landscape. 
    • An optional third photograph of a piece of your art. This does not have to be a landscape
    • One passport-style photograph of yourself. (max size 500KB) 
  • You will also be asked to
    • describe yourself as an artist and your background, 
    • detail whether you have entered or won any other art competitions - and how far you got.
    • state details of any television programme you've been on before
    • explain why you painted your landscape and how you painted it
Note you should NOT manipulate your images (using Photoshop or other digital image software) so they look better than they are.
The images of the Landscape Entry and the Additional Works of Art must not be manipulated in any way and must be of the work of art entered.

Eligible Landscape paintings - for submission


Artists are selected to attend the heats based on the artwork submitted as part of the entry.

If you are shortlisted you are required to supply high-resolution quality images of your Landscape Entry for marketing and publicity purposes.

Sky Arts has some advice about how to photograph your art

Images of landscape paintings that are eligible for submission are defined as follows:
  • MUST be a painting of a landscape vista
  • MUST each have a file size of at least 800KB and ideally no more than 1.5MB.
  • Eligible media for the painting include any material EXCLUDING photography, video, sculpture and all forms of digital media. 
  • Collage and mixed media works are all allowed. 
  • The work may be abstract or expressive - however, it must be recognisable as a representation of a landscape 
  • Aall paintings should have been produced in the last five years.
  • Maximum size is 1220 x 914 mm (48” x 36”). 
  • Additional Work(s) of Art submitted can be any size, and can also be in any material other than photography, video, sculpture or any form of digital media.
In addition, IF you are shortlisted (or added to a List of Reserve Shortlisted Artists), you MUST bring your original landscape entry and any additional works of art (submitted as part of your entry) to (and potentially from) the Heat. Paintings must be unframed, and substitutes cannot be accepted.

So bottom line that means you have to be able to get a minimum of two artworks plus all painting gear to a Heat which might be located anywhere in the country.


Heats / Filming open to the public


There are six heats in the first stage of the Competition which will take place intended to take place in three locations in 2017 across the UK and Ireland on the following dates at various location (to be decided):
  • Heats One and Two: on Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th June 2017 
  • Heats Three and Four: on Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st June 2017
  • Heats Five and Six: on Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th June 2017
You may be invited to any heat at any location. If you are a Shortlisted Artist, you can indicate a preferred Heat, but it might not be possible to accommodate your preference.

Further conditions include:
  • Each Heat Location/Date will have a Reserve List of standby artists who can take the place of a Shortlisted Artist who is no longer able to take part (eg forgot to bring their artwork with them!)
  • You are required to bring your actual artworks submitted as part of your entry to the Heat
  • You have to paint the Visa allocated - whether you like it or not! (Personally speaking, this is what would eliminate me - I can't abide people telling me which view to paint!  I've also been filmed painting for television and I can tell you that it this condition is quite simply OTT. By all means, indicate an area in which artists have to sit or stand - but do NOT tell me which view I connect with. I can't produce a good artwork unless I find a view appealing!)
The Shortlisted Artists will have a maximum of 4 hours over a 6 hour period (or such other period as the Producer at its discretion may determine) to complete their Heat Artwork. Your painting is judged on the results produced at the end of heat, whether you think the artwork to be finished or not.
The Semi Finalists will consist of the winners of each of the Heats and wil take place on Tuesday 18th July 2017

The Finalists will be asked to complete a further two landscape artworks



TIPS for potential applicants


DO NOT apply IF:
  • you don't like having your photo taken - you'll freak when you see what you like through a camera lens
  • you have never done any plein air painting. This is a landscape competition and it's not exciting watching people paint from photos or iPads - so you MUST be prepared to paint the landscape in front of you from observation.
When you apply, DO
  • submit landscapes which you have painted plein air.
  • explain clearly where the place was
  • how you painted it - ideally while painting plein air.

Sky Arts Artist of the Year Competitions: Other Posts


Landscape Artist

Portrait Artist


You can read more about Art Competitions on my dedicated webpage on this blog Major UK Art Competitions 2017-18

Monday, February 27, 2017

Review: The Big Painting Challenge - Episode 3 (Animals)

Episode 3 of the The Big Painting Challenge was painting animal antics and they were at Whipsnade Zoo.  They seemed to enjoy a bit of sun in contrast to the previous four seasons in one day experience of Hastings!


The First Challenge

As always, the first challenge was two hours. The aim was to capture a flamingo on canvas. Obviously, the notion that the media used was the artist's choice (from the first week) has gone out the window and we're back to oils and acrylics.

Flamingos at Whipsnade Zoo
The judges were looking for them to:
  • give their animals a sense of life
  • accuracy through observation
  • avoiding a cliche interpretation of a flamingo
Early in the programme, I thought David Dibosa was seriously losing touch with reality
It's all too easy to use cliches, but to actually look at a flamingo and turn that into a convincing painting, that's very difficult indeed.
As if we all walk around with cliche caricatures of flamingos in our heads all the time?

If it was a cat or dog I might understand the point - but flamingos? Really? (PS Suman found one later!)



It began to make sense when the cliche/caricature theme kept coming up throughout the programme. I came to the conclusion he was just parroting a pre-agreed theme rather than telling us his own thoughts.

The other really irritating nonsensical comment he made was during the judging.
It's a portrait and by deciding to make it a portrait we get a sense of character to give it the spark of life which is the thing we were really looking for
Obviously he's fixated with criteria and has never seen a portrait which portrays somebody dead from the neck up. It's NOT the genre of portraiture that gives the spark of life, it's an artist's talent, skill and experience!

So far I'm totally at a loss as to why he's a judge of a challenge/competition like this which basically focuses on the development of basic painting skills by amateur artists.

While he does make some intelligent comments, he frequently comes up with comments about the paintings which are completely at odds with the other judges who are actual professional artists. I back Daphne and Lachlan - I know them both personally and, although they won't always agree with one another on everything, they are both practising artists and both know what they are talking about! By way of contrast, I looked up David Dibosa's CV again and there's not a jot of practical experience as an artist in it. He's an academic, an art historian and a curator and while I might be very happy with him taking up the cudgels with Andrew Graham Dixon, I really don't see what he has to add to this programme for amateur artists - apart from possibly meeting the BBC's diversity challenge.

This interview with him summed up to me why he is so wrong for this programme - he simply hasn't got a clue about amateur artists or what sort of messages they need to hear!
Was it tough being a judge?
It was more serious than I expected it to be. I thought it would be more light-hearted but the contestants were so passionate about their art that it varied from shock and surprise when they got through to distraught contestants in tears when they didn’t.
Would you like to do more TV judging?
Yes! It’s fascinating to see amateur artists progress at that speed. It would be a pleasure to do something similar. I also loved the glamour and being made a fuss of – it’s a luxury having someone always checking you’re looking your best!
However, I come back to the query I raised last week as to why does this programme need SEVEN people other than the participant artists on screen?

Friday, February 24, 2017

RHS Botanical Art Show 2017

The RHS Botanical Art Show 2017 is open to the public today and tomorrow at the RHS Lindley Hall in Westminster.  Admission is free. I was at the Preview last night.

Bridget Gillespie with her RHS Gold Medal Winning exhibition of Root Vegetables: Lifecycle  
standing next to Beetroot Beta vulgaris which has won the 'Best Painting in Show' award
at the RHS Botanical Art Show 2017
In future, all blog posts about botanical art exhibitions are going to be on my website dedicated to Botanical Art and Artists - specifically on the News blog 

You can get every blog post emailed to you 

Best Exhibit in Show - Pandanus by Mariko Ikeda from Japan
Posts about the RHS Botanical Art Show 2017 to date are as follows:
Please join me on the Botanical Art and Artists News Blog for more about:
  • who won which medal
  • my review of the exhibition
  • top tips from RHS Gold Medal winners about how to exhibit at the RHS and do well
  • interviews with the RHS Gold Medal Winners
  • and this year, for the first time, hopefully a video!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

118th Annual Exhibition of the Pastel Society 2017

I went to the Private View of 118th Annual Exhibition of The Pastel Society at the Mall Galleries on Monday.  It's different this year - and I'll highlight the reasons why below. The exhibition continues until 3pm on Saturday 4th March.

A lot of people attended the Private View
This is the first year of the new President Jeanette Hayes who seems to have had a very positive impact in terms of changes made to date. I'm certainly liking what I'm seeing.  You can read an interview with her in last October's edition of The Pastel Society Newsletter (available to download from their website)
the Society is currently enjoying real momentum, thanks very largely to the efforts of recent Presidents. I think it is really important to maintain that momentum. 
The Exhibition was opened by The Right Honourable Michael Portillo who entertained the very large numbers at the PV with his speech.

The Right Honourable Michael Portillo opens
The 118th Annual Exhibition of The Pastel Society 2017
at the Private View on Monday.
On the right is Jeannette Hayes, the new President of the Pastel Society

Exhibition metrics - and the Open Entry


First some numbers for the benefit of those hoping to exhibit at future exhibitions.

There are 271 works in the exhibition

So far as the OPEN ENTRY is concerned..

OPEN ENTRY: 785 works were submitted by non-members for this Open Exhibition
ENTRIES SELECTED: 
  • 100 artworks selected from the open entry by 69 non-members
  • The ratio of members' work to non-members is 63:37 
  • The average number of paintings per non-member artist selected is 1.4.  
    • A number have two works selected
    • Those who are serious contenders to become full members have 3 or 4 works selected meaning that the majority of exhibiting non-members only have 1 artwork selected.
  • Open entries selected for exhibition: percentage selected is 12.7%. meaning...
    • Most artists have somewhere between 5-10% chance of getting an individual entry selected - based on fact some artists have 2 or 3 works selected. 
    • (Comparison: RA Summer Exhibition - chance of getting a work selected = 6.2-6.6%)
    • Probably the best way of improving your chances of getting selected is submitting more than one very good artwork in eligible media
I forgot to ask how many entries were received but will do that so I can highlight what percentage of entries were selected for the exhibition. [UPDATE: Now received and added in above]

Changes in the Gallery


The changes in the exhibition are subtle but incrementally they add up to a pleasing change in content.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Interviews with RHS Botanical Art Gold Medallists - from the UK and Europe

At the end of this week, the RHS Botanical Art Show 2017 opens in London in the RHS Lindley Hall.

This post contains interviews with five artists who won RHS Gold Medals for their botanical art in 2016.

I've been writing about the RHS Botanical Art Shows on this blog since 2007. In future, all my reviews about the RHS Botanical Art Shows and interviews with the artists will be on the blog on my dedicated website Botanical Art and Artists. (This has grown traffic fast and now gets two-thirds of the traffic that Making A Mark gets. Also, Alexa's 'similar sites' tool now ranks it as the top website in the world for botanical art!)

You can subscribe get every blog post emailed to you when you Subscribe to Botanical Art & Artists - News by Email

Interviews with RHS Botanical Art Gold Medallists in 2016

Now for the explanation behind this post!

In 2016, there were 13 Gold Medallists and I had to really rethink my normal strategy of including all the interviews with Gold Medallists in one blog post.

After the show, I wrote a number of blog posts about:
Then added their photos and mini-bios to my website pages about Botanical Artists in the UK and Europe and Asia and Australia and Africa....

....and completely FORGOT (I was pooped!) to write up the interviews with the five artists winning Gold Medals who lived in Italy, the Netherlands and the UK! Whoops!

So one year later here it is!
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