Monday, July 15, 2019

Art Instruction Books: 10 years after

Ten years ago I wrote two very long posts about Art Instruction Books. I posted one to my Making A Mark Facebook Page this morning and it seems it still has a resonance with my followers.

The two posts are:
This post is about what they're about - and what I think has happened since and what may well happen next.

a small section of my Art Book Bookshelves - before I rearranged them again.

Different ways of Learning - in summary and since


The first post Art Instruction Books #1: different ways of learning summarises some of my thoughts back then on:
  • the way people learn
  • the way people learn about art
  • how this all relates to art instruction
It took different models of the way people learn - and extrapolated this into how this applies in relation to art instruction (but not art instruction books)

It strikes me as interesting that over the last ten years
  • in some ways art instruction has remained the same (for some) in terms of how it works
  • in other ways it has changed hugely.
For example technology has well and truly arrived :
  • Lots of artists now teach students remotely - as a matter of routine
  • Lots of artists now control their own websites and online learning schools / video output / podcasts - and are not beholden to other publishers / platforms etc to deliver their content and generate their own followers in terms of students
  • It's normal to have art students who don't live in the same country as you
In order to do that art instructors have had to become good at making videos and/or podcasts and/or modular instruction.

What I find very interesting - as somebody whose first degree is in education and who has initially formally trained as a teacher - is that most people are doing this with no idea about how to teach.

So we have 
  • on the one hand - democratisation around publication of art instruction; and 
  • on the other - there's an awful lot of utter [expletive deleted] out there - because there is no accreditation and there are absolutely no quality controls. Anybody can produce complete rubbish!
  • not forgetting that some artists are proving to be excellent instructors despite no training 
For the most part, people have not been so much into writing art books as they are about writing content - of a chunked up modular kind, which sometimes has - but often doesn't - an underpinning structure of what needs to be learned. No matter what kind of art.

The Economics of Publishing - in summary and since


I think I was absolutely spot on with Art Books #2 - the economics of publishing! However it's difficult to summarise briefly - so read the post!

 In fact I'm somewhat amazed that I was quite so prescient. But for the fact that I used to have a boss who periodically used to roll me out in front of the management team peers and ask me to perform my party trick - which was to tell everybody what was going to happen in the next 5-10 years. Based on the fact I seemed to have developed an uncanny habit of being able to tell what was going to happen over a strategic time period. In fact I was only ever doing what on any sensible R&D set-up would do - which is keep both eyes and ears open and read around to see what everybody else was doing and what new developments were getting underway and building traction. That way you assimilate the clues that are out there and sooner or later they begin to make a coherent story which either becomes even more convincing or morphs and changes into something slightly different.

Which is why I always knew the UK would vote for Brexit if they ever got the chance!  But that's a different story....

In terms of publishing what I predicted would happen has happened. 
  • publishing hit the same buffers as the music industry due to the changes technology and the means of production - and a lack of experience within the industry about how manage change and how to cope with new ways of working. For example see 
  • even if some of the same publishing names exist, they've often been bought up within a global conglomerate which retains the name as a brand 
  • others have gone bust or no longer print art books
  • more or less all printing is now done in India or China and timelines have to accommodate the time for shipping books actually via a ship!
  • the entry level / amateur hobby market continues to obsess publishers
  • so much so that many books are printed now with very little instruction and lots of blank pages so that people can fill them in like a workbook. My jaw dropped when I saw one of these for the first time. I couldn't believe people were actually buying them - but they do!
  • colouring books took over the world - a bit like 'paint by numbers' did when I was a kid - and totally invaded every known category of art instruction books on Amazon. Apparently a colouring book is now to be regarded as an art instruction book!
  • books seem to have more pictures and fewer words - because that's actually cheaper and suits an audience which has become image obsessed and text light
  • people are publishing small quick guides online
  • more or less all art instruction books must now be made as ebooks as well as the printed version
  • which has implications for both content and how they are formatted if they are to work well as e-books (but not all the authors have made that change!)
  • publishers now LOVE authors with major online followings - half their marketing can be done for nothing by the artist!
  • those that stick with conventional publishers now understand the real financial benefit comes via the workshops which can be sold off the back of the book rather than through the book itself - when you take the opportunity cost of taking time out to write and produce a book into consideration 
When I wrote my book it was made very clear to me that the only way to make it economic to publish was to sell the international rights around the world. The spin-off was that the content had to be capable of being acceptable to different audiences around the world - which accounts for why no brand names appear on the art media in my book - because not all art media exports around the world!

So what happens next?


What I'm doing next is buying up second hand versions of older books on the basis that "text on paper" is a disappearing commodity. 

The future will be more of the same for the time being
  • rather less artists having a bread and butter job as an art teacher in schools and colleges - as their second job - and rather more running an online art school
  • too many untrained people teaching others despite the fact they only have a partial grasp of some of the basics of art
  • fewer experienced people creating art instruction books
  • too few decent art instruction books - unless lovingly produced by an artist who cares deeply about passing on good art instruction in relation to his or her specific area of expertise
  • more and more publishing companies going under - unless small independent operations which are resistant / immune to the overtures of the corporate big boys flashing their wallets!
  • much more art instruction via video and online modules and much less via art instruction books

I have hopes though that we may also see an emergence of the in-depth manual for advanced artists by those recognised to be expert in their craft - and a re-emergence of a high regard for knowledge about the craft of making art - in different media.

I know of one in the offing - being published by a specialised art society in the USA. It occurs to me that in fact art societies are excellent vehicles for creating specialised texts for the future. Maybe we shall see more?

Maybe I'll write another one of these posts in another ten years. The scary bit is I can include a reminder to self on my iPhone!


Do let me know what you think! Comments on my Making A Mark FB page please. 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Watching people just like the Kardashians - in the past - in paintings!

I've just come across this Rijks Tube Video Why Vermeer would have loved The Kardashians in their Is This Art? series

It's very instructive and definitely worth a watch. 

crop of "The Love Letter" (De liefdesbrief) c. 1667–1670 by Johannes Vermeer
Oil on canvas, 44 x 38.5.cm. (17 3/8 x 15 1/8 in.)
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
I've skipped the 2 minutes of endless pics of the Kardashians and set the video below to start when the 'host' highlights out how portraits in the past where exactly like watching the "lives of the rich and famous" - and how they dressed and what they owned and what they did.



The proposition is that in addition

  • daily life paintings show real life - and interiors - which can vary from the chaotic and risque to the calm and serene.
  • there are techniques used in Dutch paintings in the past which are still in use today - so that we feel as if....
    • we are invited in 
    • and/or are spying on people
  • we love watching other people because it helps us understand who we really are
So how come if the Kardashians and other 'reality shows' are so popular we see so few contemporary paintings which are reflecting on daily life?

Photographers frequently show daily life - but artists don't for some reason.

I wonder why!  Could it be the need to develop skills in painting more than one person? Possibly?
Welcome to Is This Art? Where we take a closer look at pop culture and try to answer the age old question: Is this art?

Friday, July 12, 2019

RA Friends Annual Subscription vs. Paying for Exhibitions you want to see

Every year, round about this time, I ponder on my continued Friends Subscription to the Royal Academy of Arts.

When I retired I made a point of taking out the annual subscriptions to various art galleries and museums - the Royal Academy of Arts (which I was already a Friend of) plus the National Portrait Gallery, The Tate and the National Art Fund (along with various ones associated with Heritage and Gardens!) . I do so in part to show support for these institutions not because I expect to exploit my membership / Friends status for every organisation.

However I have begun to feel in recent years that I have been financing the build of the RA development for its 250th anniversary.

The Entrance to Burlington House - home of the RA

Let's look at the numbers - which is interesting of itself - because I don;t recall receiving clear reminders about how much the subscription goes up by every year - and what the new direct debit figure is.  I think there are rules above changes to direct debits and I'm not sure the RA is compliant.

All I can say that the RA Friends Subscription has way outstripped inflation - and every other indicator going - re the increase in the subscription fee since I retired.

So the options for me are as follows


OPTION 1: PAY £130 per year 


For that I get
  • Free entry to exhibitions for you and a family guest
  • Previews to our exhibitions before they open to the public
  • Exclusive extended hours to select exhibitions
  • Priority booking to all RA events, including in our new Lecture Theatre
  • Private views and exclusive Friends events
  • All-day access to the Keeper's House
  • RA Magazine and a weekly email newsletter
  • 10% discount in the RA shop
Burlington House Courtyard - Summer Exhibition 2019
The reality in recent years is that 
  • I simply haven't been to every exhibition - and wouldn't want to go to some.  They've been making some very curious choices in recent years
  • For very popular exhibitions Friends now need to book in advance to get their free admission and that for me loses the crucial point of being a Friend - of being able to turn up when you felt like it
  • The Summer Exhibition was awful this year and I feel less and less like going. Indeed I only go because I can for free. (Although I would have cheerfully paid for Grayson Perry's curation last year)
  • Previews are nice - but they are now so very crowded. There's a point when promoting Friends can work against the Scheme!
  • Plus many of the activities are of no interest to me. Of those Friends Events that are, the members who seem to know when the new events are publicised have already booked all the tickets and the events are already sold out.  I was absolutely amazed that I got in to a talk about the RA Library recently
  • All day access to the Keeper's House is of no consequence since I don't use it.
However
  • It is nice to be able to go to the good exhibitions more than once - but the number that tempt me to do so are few and far between (I went to the Hockney Landscapes 4 times - including the very last night - see Review: David Hockney RA - A Bigger Picture)
  • The RA Magazine is good - but I can read it online without being a member - if I could just remember how!

RA Friends in April 2010
I always used to say that the reason I was a Friend were the black leather Chesterfields in the Friends Room which were a wonderful way to relax after a long time spent viewing an exhibition. Plus I used to sketch in there all the time.

RA Friends September 2011
However the powers that be decided that Friends need to sit on hard chairs and the Chesterfields had to go. Plus the Friends Room got busier and busier to the point where I now take myself over the road to Fortnum & Mason for tea or lunch or gossip with friends who I've not seen for ages - as it so much more relaxed, civilised and comfortable!  Plus I now arrange to meet Friends in the National Dining Rooms which are much more civilised in terms of being able to stay sitting at your table for ages if you time it right!

The RA also upgraded the Members Room and made it into the clubbable bit - for which you now need to spend an extra £400 to get access. 

No way!

Plus I haven't sketched in the Friends Room for ages. Indeed I can't remember the last time I had a cup of tea in there.

It basically feels that the Friends Membership has been downgraded - and what I used to be getting for being a Friend now comes with a huge price tag attached.

Option 2: Pay for art exhibitions as and when 


This is the considerably cheaper option. It means 
  • I lose out on previews (no big deal since I stopped covering exhibitions religiously)
  • I can't have a Pimms at the Summer Exhibition Preview - but then I went this year and the Pimms Bar had disappeared in any case to be replaced somewhere else by a botanicals gin thingie.
  • I can't use the Friends Room - but as explained I've already switched to Fortnum & Mason for better food and more comfort!
  • I don't get the Magazine - which is not a big deal for me
  • I can still book for events which are not exclusive to Friends 
Plus I have to pay (say) £18-20 admission for some of the exhibitions (i.e. the ones I want to see such as - in 2019-20
  • Lucian Freud Self Portraits (Sackler Galleries - 27 October 2019 — 26 January 2020- cost £18 - but since Friends have to book a timed ticket as well there is no bonus to being a Friend other than saving the cost of the ticket.  (Besides which I saw the Lucian Freud Portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in 2012 and I doubt I'm going to see anything new - see Review: Lucian Freud Portraits at National Portrait Gallery
  • Picasso on Paper (Main Galleries 25 January — 13 April 2020- cost £18-22 - no current proposals to require bookings by members presumably because it will be in the Main Galleries which are much bigger
MUST BOOK A TIMED TICKET TO GO FREE!!!
I can go to both exhibitions twice and still be "quids in" compared to the cost of a Friends Membership.

Writing this out has been very therapeutic. I'm now off to cancel my direct debit!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Call for Entries: Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2019

The Call for Entries for entries to the Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters has been open for over six weeks.  It closes on Friday 30 August (12 noon) in just over six weeks time.

This post highlights the following:
  • An increasing emphasis on oil painting
  • Exhibition - a summary of venue and number of paintings to be exhibited
  • Summary of the Call for Entries process
    • who can enter
    • what you can enter
    • how to enter
    • the timetable
    • a summary of the prizes and selection process
  • Reflections on statistical data relating to previous years - which many will find interesting
Plus what this exhibition has looked like in the past. At the end are links to all the blog posts I've written in previous years about the exhibition, who won prizes and who got selected - and links to their websites!

An increasing emphasis on oil painting?


Pete Brown's palette - from last year's talk!

I think I detect a new emphasis in the Call for Entries for the Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters on oil painting!
The Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) seeks work in oils and is the only national art society devoted to oil painting
That might seem an odd point to make, however it has been conventional in the past to treat acrylics as if they are oils - and quite simply they are not!

BELOW are some statistics on the topic of the media for works in the exhibition over the last five years
Number and percentage of works - by medium - in the ROI Annual Exhibitions 2014-2018

In 2018 there was a marked change in media selected for exhibition. There was a new President and this is how the numbers changed
  • the number of paintings exhibited INCREASED from the previous year (but were similar to 2015 and 2016)
  • the number and percentage of paintings in acrylic DECREASED (i.e halved)
  • a tiny number of artists continue to mix oil with other media (5 or fewer paintings each year)
  • none of the young artists worked other than in oil - as per previous years
I regard this as a very positive move. My view is that if you are going to have a media based society then you should stick to that media! (I'd like to see an exhibition by an art society of acrylic painters)

It should be noted that those producing acrylic paintings are primarily existing members.

I'm guessing that it is now 'de rigeur' that you MUST consistently paint in oils if you want to become a member

Exhibition


The exhibition will be held at the Mall Galleries between Wednesday 27 November and Sunday 8 December 2019 - making 11.5 days in total. Hours are 10am - 5pm but the exhibition closes at 1pm on the last day .

Last year it was only held in the Main Gallery and the Threadneedle Space. My challenge to the ROI is to join the "premier league" of those societies who exhibit at the Mall Galleries and....
  • use the whole gallery and increase works hung; and 
  • generate more sales for their exhibiting artists.

The Private View in 2018

I like to provide feedback about the exhibition metrics associated with the previous year's exhibition and the success of non-members in getting their work hung

Below is a table of the numbers relating to last year's exhibition from my analysis of last year's exhibition


ROI 2018 Open Entry Exhibition statistics - for artists and artworks

The key points are as follows
750 artists submitted 1,900 artworks to the exhibition this year. Of these
  • 16% of artists got 10% of the artwork past the initial digital screening stage - and submitted work for final selection.
  • 10% of the artists who submitted work have work hanging in the exhibition
  • Only 6% of the artwork submitted was selected for the exhibition
  • This suggests that quite a lot of artists submit a lot of artwork.
The Good News - this is a competitive open entry but at least a third of the exhibition will be by artists and artwork from the open entry.


The CALL FOR ENTRIES - Process and Key Points


What follows is a summary of the KEY POINTS
  • Submit artwork in oils - framed or as box canvases but not matted or glazed
  • The deadline for submissions is Friday 30 August (12 noon)
  • "London" is the special theme for 2019
  • Entry for the 2019 competition is digital and ONLINE.
  • Images must be in JPEG format and under 5MB
  • Submission fee which includes Free Admission to the exhibition (normally £4)
  • £18 per work at the time of submitting
  • £12 per work for artists aged 35 or under
  • Make sure you read ALL the Terms and Conditions if you don't want to be disqualified

I RECOMMEND that:
  • You review the images from past exhibitions (see blog posts reviewing past exhibitions at the end of this post)
  • Have a go and enter two of your best works. The cost relative to the achievement and the experience is negligible
  • This exhibition is particularly supportive of Young Artists and all those oil painters under the age of 35 should feel encouraged to apply


Who can enter

  • The competition is open to all artists over the age of 18.
  • It is also open to international entries - you don't even have to be live or work in the UK. However 

What you can enter

  • Eligible media includes:
    • oil
    • acrylic paint or water based oils are eligible if framed like an oil painting.  
    • BUT I think they ought to make the point that other media also needs to be used like oil paint can be 
    • AND I think all those thinking about entering ought to take a long hard look at the statistics - and then paint in oils!)
  • Presentation:
    • Wide mounts between painting and frame, as in watercolours, are not acceptable.
    • Glazed work is not encouraged.
    • Unframed work can be accepted if on a well-presented box canvas.
    • Paintings should be completely dry at the time of delivery.
  • Size: NEW The combined measurement of works accepted will not exceed 8 feet maximum per artist.
  • Age: Work must have been completed in the last three years and NOT exhibited in London previously.
  • For Sale
    • All work must be for sale (except for portraits). 
    • Minimum sale price: £300
  • Number: Maximum of six works submitted. (Maximum of four works selected)

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that anybody proposing to enter work for the exhibition -- whether member or open entrant has a READ of my Review: ROI Annual Exhibition 2018 + commentary on pricing

You'll see why when you read it - assuming you'd like to boost your income! However I'll give you a clue....
nearly 75% of the sales relate to small and small/medium works which are selling for under £2,000 - with most selling for less than £1,000


Special theme in 2019


Brilliant idea! People who live and/or work in London buy paintings of London - as do tourists!
This year’s Annual Exhibition will include a 'show-within-the-show’ of paintings on the theme of “London”, to which members and non-members alike are invited to submit works for consideration. It is hoped that the display will capture the country’s capital city in all its character and complexity through the eyes of contemporary artists, and complement the broader exhibition of more varied subjects in the same medium.


Prizes & Awards


There are many prizes and awards available to win, including those listed below. I've categorised them according to the type of prize.

Entries are reviewed and assessed by The Selection Committee
. This comprises artist members of the Society and membership is rotated annually - which means the tastes influencing who gets chosen will also change on an annual basis and your submission may find favour this year!

There are many prizes and awards available to win - and winning prizes enhances your CV re getting a Gallery!

NEW Prizes

I congratulate the ROI on introducing three new prizes for 2019

The Small Works Wall in 2018
  • NEW The Tony Merrick Memorial Prize - An award of £250 in memory of the late Tony Merrick ROI (1948-2018)
  • NEW The ROI Emerging Artist Prize - A prize of £250 and the opportunity to spend a day with one of the Institute's members, for an artist aged 30 or under at the time of submission
  • NEW The Small Painting Prize - An award of £250, open to members and non-members, for the best small painting on display (maximum dimension of 12 inches / 30.5 cm, excluding frame)
In my view, other art societies could well adopt the latter two prizes as well!

Cash prizes

  • The Phyllis Roberts Award - An award of £2,000 for an artist aged 30 or under
  • The Alan Gourley Memorial Award - An annual prize of £1,000, awarded for a painting of outstanding merit
  • The Stanley Grimm Prize - Two awards totalling £700 (first prize £400, second prize £300), to the painters whose work receive the most votes from visitors to the exhibition
  • The Menena Joy Schwabe Memorial Award - An award of £250 for an outstanding oil painter

Art Materials Prizes

  • Winsor & Newton Young Artist Awards (for artists aged 30 or under) - 
    • First Prize: £1,000 Winsor & Newton Fine Art Materials 
    • Second Prize: £600 Winsor & Newton Fine Art Materials 
    • Third Prize: £400 Winsor & Newton Fine Art Materials
  • Winsor & Newton Non-Member Award - £150 worth of Winsor & Newton Fine Art Materials
  • L. Cornelissen & Son - An award of a contemporary version of a Victorian Oil Painter's equipment
  • Frank Herring Easel Award - An award of a versatile easel

Publication & Other Awards

  • The Le Clerc Fowle Medal - In memory of Anne Le Clerc Fowle, presented annually for an outstanding group of paintings
  • The Artist Magazine Award - The winning artist will be featured in a forthcoming issue of The Artist magazine, print and digital editions
  • The Dry Red Press Award - The winning work will be published as a greeting card by Dry Red Press in their 'Prize Winners' range


Previous Exhibitions


You can find links to my previous reviews of exhibitions below.

Top tips for travelling artists - oil painters 15 Aug 2011
The Best Books about Oil Painting

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Review - Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition 2019

There are 514 artworks in total in the 2019 Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of British Artists. They comprise paintings, fine art prints, drawings, sculpture, ceramics and other 3D work in all kinds of media and but mainly (but not exclusively) a figurative / representative style - and you can see them at the Mall Galleries until Sunday 14th July.

This post covers:
  • About the Exhibition - what you need to know
  • Exhibition Metrics and the Open Entry
  • Prizes and awards
  • Artwork I liked

Strong paintings and 3D work in the Threadneedle Space

I turned right on entering and encountered a very impressive hang in the Threadneedle Space. Lots of variety in terms of style, size and media - and some very eye-catching work

A view of the Threadneedle Space

In fact my first reaction to the very first paintings I saw was "Proper paintings - this is going to be a good one" - which is a pretty good way of influencing somebody who is going to review a exhibition!

This is an exhibition which has packed in the artwork - and some might say that it looks crowded. However I much prefer to see good art - the only time I'll complain about crowded walls is when some of the artwork should have been weeded out!

In general I liked the hang - except for the end wall in the Main Gallery which to me seemed to lack the type of "look at me" pieces that the wall demands. A woman in skimpy clothing in front of a bulls eye does not rate as "look at me" in my eyes - quite the reverse.

One odd thing I noticed is that it's a bit of a cats and dogs exhibition - I spied many more cats and dogs than I normally do - and they seem (as I also note at the RA Summer Exhibition - to be very popular!)

While there is a some variation in quality between artworks - with some outstanding pieces - the overall standard of the exhibition is good to very good. The RBA continues to maintain its improvement in exhibition standards of recent years

Works on the mezzanine level (above the stairs) to the right of the entrance
- made me think there was more good work to see beyond!

About the exhibition



View of part of the RBS Annual Exhibition 2019 in the Main Gallery


  • Venue: Mall Galleries - The Mall, St. James's, London SW1, UK (link is to Google Maps)
  • Dates: 4th - Sunday 14th July (closing 1pm on the last day)
  • Open: Daily, 10am to 5pm during exhibitions (unless otherwise stated)
  • Admission £4, £2.50 concessions, 50% off for National Art Pass holders, Free for Friends of Mall Galleries, RBA Friends and under 25 year olds

View images online

If you don't visit the exhibition you can also view images online

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Call for Entries: ING Discerning Eye 2019

This is about the Call for Entries for the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2019 at the Mall Galleries between Thursday 14 November – Sunday 24 November 2019

There have been some changes this year and you are recommended to read the Call for Entries carefully.

Very oddly the exhibition page on the ING Discerning Eye website lacks a link to the Call for Entries website run by artopps - although it is there on the Home Page.

artwork in last year's exhibition

Below you can find:
  • information about the exhibition
  • a summary of information about prizes
  • a note about the judges - with links to their websites (or other information about them)
  • Call for Entries - How to Enter:
    • a summary of the information for artists e.g. who can enter what etc.
    • information about the deadlines and dates and where to find information about regional collection points
    • links to websites and my blog posts showing images of the art selected and hung in past exhibitions for those unfamiliar with this art competition.
NOTE: The Deadline:
  • to pre-register: 27 August 2019, 5pm
  • Submission of artworks Deadline: 7th September 2019, 4pm

It also ("sort of") explains why one of the Selectors won the main cash prize in 2018! 
(Note: This post has been revised slightly since it was first published)

THe ING Discerning Eye Exhibition


The 2019 exhibition is open to the public from Thursday 14 November – Sunday 24 November 2019 between 10am and 5pm daily, at the Mall Galleries. Admission is free - and it's certainly an exhibition that I recommend people going to see.
The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition is a show of small works, independently selected by six prominent figures from the art world. It has established an outstanding reputation among artists, collectors and enthusiasts for its unique curatorial approach, providing a rare opportunity for lesser-known artists to exhibit their works alongside internationally recognised names. (Mall Galleries)
This art competition and open exhibition is promoted by the Discerning Eye which is a charity promoting visual art and sponsored by ING.

(Images are from the 2018 exhibition).

What's the same as other open exhibitions


  • Drawings, paintings, fine art prints and sculpture are exhibited
  • It's an opportunity for works by lesser-known artists to be hung alongside contributions from better known artists.
  • All works are for sale.

What makes this open exhibition different?


The exhibition is unusual for a number of reasons
  • The exhibition is large but smaller than it was (c.500 artworks rather than the c.600 in the past) but the artworks are all SMALL
  • It includes divergent styles and media -  it also includes mixed media works, ceramics, photography and film
the 2018 ING Discerning Eye exhibition attracted a record-breaking number of entries. A total of 491 works by 240 artists were selected for the exhibition.
In the 2018 exhibition 78% of the artists and 63% of the works are from the open submission. Painting and drawing make up over 47% of the works, mixed media and sculpture about 30%, printmaking about 13%, and photography and film about 10% this year. ING Website - 2018 Exhibition archive page
  • There is no selection committee; in order to get selected you only have to please one selector. Each of the six invited 'exhibition curators' - two artists, two art collectors and two art critics - operates independently of the other curators and compete with them for artwork submitted via the open entry
  • The exhibition comprises SIX small and diverse exhibitions - one for each selector/curator. Each small exhibition (of c.70-100+ works) represents the individual interests, taste and style of that individual curator
  • Some of the artwork exhibited will be by INVITED artists the curator likes and wants to include in their mini-exhibition - hence the open entry is smaller than 600 pieces. (see very welcome statistics re 2018 below) If a selector leans very heavily towards artists they know/favour and have invited to exhibit (as has happened on occasion in the past eg one educator selected all her students!) then this disadvantages the open entry.
  • works by artists from the open have tended to sell better than work by invited artists 
  • Last year, works by Selectors were exhibited (for, I think, the first time) - and one of them won the main cash prize - to the surprise (and embarrassment?) I guess of most concerned.
This was my review of last year's exhibition - see Review: ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2018 - which was written more with a view to informing those artists contemplating an entry in 2019.


The ING Purchase Prize 2018 (£5,000) went to one of the selectors! 
I'd say that caused some "unnecessary disappointment" 
(see Non-Broadcast CAP Code below)

Prizes


Interestingly the information about prizes has been expanded to state who chooses the prize after the total embarrassment surrounding last year's top prize. 

It does NOT excuse what happened.

The 2019 exhibition prizes total over £10,000 and are:
  • ING Purchase Prize* – £5000
  • The Discerning Eye Founder’s Purchase Prize** – In honour of Michael Reynolds - £2500
  • The Discerning Eye Chairman’s Purchase Prize** – £1000
  • Meynell Fenton Prize* – £1000
  • Wright Purchase Prize* – £500
  • Humphreys Purchase Prize* – £750
  • Discerning Eye Sculpture and 3D Work Prize** – £250
  • Discerning Eye Original Print Prize** – £250
  • Regional Prizes** – There will be up to 8 prizes of £250 each awarded to an outstanding entry from the national regions
  • St Cuthberts Mill Award* – £200 worth of paper
  • Parker Harris Mentoring Prize*: Parker Harris will give a one-to-one mentoring session covering all aspects of professional development to a selected artist.
Importantly an EXPLANATION has been provided as to the meaning of the asterisks re. who selects the prizewinners.
*  These prizes are selected by the individual prize givers, not the selectors. 
**  These prizes are selected by members of the Discerning Eye Educational Board, not the selectors.
Now all we need is an assurance that Selectors' work will NOT be exhibited in the exhibition and/or will NOT be eligible for prizes!! To do otherwise would be to downgrade this "open" exhibition in the eyes of very many artists and, in my view, would be non-compliant with the CAP Code - see below.

 I'd just like to remind the organisers and the sponsors that there are RULES which apply to advertising open art competitions/exhibitions - which can be found in the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code)
UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code) is the rule book for non-broadcast advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing communications (marketing communications). 
08 Promotional marketing  An important section about promotions (e.g. competitions, prize draws, instant wins, front page flashes, charity promotions etc) and incentive schemes. The rules cover the administration of the promotion, as well as the publicity.
and specifically
Promoters must conduct their promotions equitably, promptly and efficiently and be seen to deal fairly and honourably with participants and potential participants. Promoters must avoid causing unnecessary disappointment.
I know a lot of artists who were very disappointed by the behaviour of those who selected the main cash prize last year.

In addition, why should anybody need to explain that it is extraordinarily disappointing - and brings a competition into disrepute - if one of the selectors wins a prize?  ING and the organisers should have known better than to let this happen. However, having said that, I feel pretty confident in saying it won't happen AGAIN!

If a bank wants to enhance its reputation by supporting an art competitions then it would do well to remember ethics and integrity count for a LOT i.e. if you want to buy work by an artist for the bank then just do it - but don't do it via the Purchase Prize in this competition! Actions speak louder than words when it comes to reputation.

The 2019 ING Discerning Prize Selectors


The Discerning Eye and ING have announced the 2019 selectors:

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 - Heats and Semi-Final Locations



A follow up on my earlier post about Wildcard Artists wanted for Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 - this time focusing on
  • the Heats which have taken place - with pics wetting our appetites for the broadcast in the Autumn!
  • the Heats next Wednesday and Thursday - and where to go if you want to watch
  • the LOCATION of the Semi Final!


HEAT 1 & 2: Herstmonceux, East Sussex


Looks like I got it precisely right for the two locations at Herstmonceux, East Sussex.

The Observatory Science Centre at Herstmonceux certainly featured on the first day



and it looks like it was Herstmonceux Castle on the second day


HEATS 3 & 4: Plymouth, Devon

I also guessed right that a likely location for the second set of Heats was Plymouth Hoe






although I'm not sure it was quite the weather they wanted on at least one of the days


HEATS 5 & 6: Gateshead, Tyne and Wear


Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 are filming two of the competition heats NEXT WEEK - on the banks of the River Tyne in Gateshead

They've also told us the location

Venue: HMS Calliope, next to Baltic Square, NE8 2BE.
Dates: Wednesday 3rd July and Thursday 4th July.
Hours: 10am - 6pm

You're invited to join the filming on those days to soak up the atmosphere and support the artists - anytime between 10am and 6pm

Don't forget to let us know on social media what it looks like!

The Semi-Final


I can also tell you that the semi-final will be somewhere at Cromarty, Nr Inverness in Scotland. Which makes for a long hike for those who want to watch!