Sunday, March 19, 2023

Call for Entries: The Great Pottery Throw Down (Series 7)

One of my favourite television series about art and crafts is The Great Pottery Throw Down
  • I'm a fan of ceramics and love seeing what's possible with clay.
  • I think the series often exhibits more creativity and imagination than many of the other art competitions I see on television and real life! 
  • I like the fact it tests a team of potters across a range of knowledge, skills and practice - and accepts that not everybody is good at everything
  • It's very inclusive - especially in relation to age. Nice to see 
    • some older people getting a chance to shine! 
    • lots of very nice people from diverse backgrounds and absolutely nobody who falling into the truly awful "I wannabe on the telly" or "been practising selfies a lot" categories
  • It's also joyful and is a very definite feel good programme!
  • Plus the Judges are skilled PRACTITIONERS who are very respectful and appreciative of those who take part - which is a VERY good reason for taking part.
(Why can't more art competitions be judged ONLY by those who are experts who practice their art or craft? Nudge nudge Sky Arts!)

Note: you can read a longer version of the above in The Great Pottery Throw Down is back!

I also love and highly recommend their Facebook Page which celebrates both the potters and their handiwork.

Call for Entries: The Great Pottery Throwdown Series 7

For those who need a prod - here's a quick summary of how to enter by 12 pm on Monday 17th April

Who can apply

  • aged 18 years (or over) on 26th February 2023.
  • resident of the UK (incl. Isle of Man and Channel Islands).
  • able to commit to all the filming days (currently expected to be up to 30 days over a 9 to 10 week period during AUGUST, SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER 2023)
  • in no way associated with Love Productions - who make the programme
You MUST NOT be:
  • a professional potter, meaning that you do not work full time as a potter, either at home or in a professional environment, nor does your main source of income derive from commercial ceramics or pottery.
  • a Fellow or a Selected member of the Craft Potters Association (CPA) 
    • nor have ever been,
    • nor can you be judged, by us, to be at that level.
  • somebody who has been convicted of any serious crime. Details of convictions should be listed on the application form.

What you need to supply

You have to provide evidence of what you can do.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

New Light Art Prize now open for entries - Northern Artists ONLY

The New Light Prize Exhibition is now open for entries

A montage of some of the artworks
which have won the £10K New Light Art Prize in the past

One of the features of this blog is that over the years I've only featured Art Competitions with EITHER prestigious reputations and/OR a first prize of £10,000 or more (sometimes a lot more!).

I've also - as many of you will be aware - lamented over the disappearance of many long-running art competitions.

But new art competitions also surface and in 2021, I highlighted one of these for the first time in my post about The New Light Prize run by New Light Art, a charity dedicated to encouraging passion about the visual arts in the North.

This post looks at:

  • the nature of the New Light Art Prize: History / Prizes / Exhibition
  • Call for Entries
    • what you can exhibit
    • who can exhibit
    • submission 
    • selection and Judges

About the New Light Prize

The New Light Prize is a biennial art exhibition:

  • It was established in 2011 to celebrate and promote Northern Art - and celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2020
  • It offers some of the region’s best awards and opportunities for aspiring and established artists.
  • In the last decade it's become one of the UK's largest open exhibitions of contemporary art, showcasing well-known and emerging artists.
  • The exhibition tours art galleries in the UK - with a focus on the north


Prize winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 29th September 2023 at The Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in Birkenhead where their artwork will feature in a prestigious launch exhibition. 

The full list of prizes include:
  • The £10,000 New Light Valeria Sykes Award – open to all artists over 18 with a connection to the North of England, whether through birth, degree level study or residence 
  • The £2,500 New Light Patron’s Choice Award – presented on the night of the private view where all exhibited works are considered 
  • The New Light Emerging Artists Prize sponsored by The Saul Hay Gallery – offering mentoring, professional advice and exhibition opportunities including a solo show 
  • The New Light Printmakers’ Prize sponsored by Zillah Bell Gallery – all forms of original printmaking are eligible; the winner will be offered a solo exhibition at the Zillah Bell gallery in North Yorkshire, host to some of the UK’s very best printmakers’ shows
  •  The New Light Visitors’ Choice Award – visitors are asked to vote for their favourite work at each venue 
  • New Light Purchase Prize – the winner’s work is purchased by the charity to add to its Collection 

Exhibition Dates

Exhibitions (and PVs) are being held around the North and in London - at:
  • The Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead: 29 Sept 2023 Prize Exhibition Launch & Prize-Giving - closes 22 Dec 2023.
  • Bankside Gallery, London: opens (+ PV) - 27 Feb 2024 - closes 3 Mar 2024 
  • Rheged Gallery, Penrith: opens 14 Mar 2024 - closes 2 Jun 2024 
  • The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle: opens 21 Jun 2024 (also includes the launch of the New Light Sculpture Prize-Giving & Exhibition); closes Early Sept 2024 
  • The Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate: opens 12 Sept 2024 - closes 21 Dec 2024 
“This is a wonderful opportunity for new and established artists to get their work seen by thousands of people in some of the finest galleries in the UK. Those shortlisted will exhibit their work across the UK, from Cheshire to Yorkshire, Northumberland, Cumbria and London.
Our aim is to support Northern artists; whether that’s artists who grew up in the North, studied or currently live in the North – it is an area that breeds so much talent. At this time of financial uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to support artists by providing opportunities to exhibit their work. We are delighted to be working with The Williamson Art Gallery and Museum to create a fabulous launch and awards ceremony and the following tour is our biggest yet, spanning 14 months.” Rebekah Tadd, Development Director of New Light Art. 
A number of these who have entered in the past already had successful careers prior to this prize being established - but it is very notable that RAs enter this competition!
Past New Light shortlisted artists who have had huge success with exhibitions across the UK and further afield include Norman Ackroyd CBE RA, Anne Desmet RA, Maxwell Doig, Mark Demsteader, Christopher Cook, Mandy Payne, James Naughton and Jo Taylor. 
You can view past prizewinners on the website. 

Call for Entries for The New Light Prize

What you can enter

The Prize is open to all artworks
  • static and capable of being wall-hung (using mirror-plates) without requiring any power source.
  • produced within the last 3 years
  • no bigger than 
    • 175cm for the largest dimension of a 2D artwork
    • three-dimensional work cannot exceed a depth of 25cm from the wall.
  • All forms of original printmaking are acceptable.
  • Digital processes are allowed but have to be declared on the entry form.
This year sculpture can be entered for the first time.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

What do you do if you don't respond to the PAOTY call in 48 hours?

Today I received a query about somebody who has entered the Portrait Artist of the Year (Series 10)  competition which will be filmed shortly - and was then contacted.

But there's a problem!

What do you do if you don't respond to the PAOTY call in 48 hours?

I'm going to repeat the query below - after removing all identifying information - as my comments might be applicable to more than just the individual who wrote to me.

I recently applied for Sky POATY. I received two phone calls from them last week, which I unfortunately missed since [legitimate explanation].  

I have since written 2 emails to them about this, but have received no reply, and I am slightly worried since the T&Cs state applicants can be discounted if they don't respond to contact attempts within 48 hours.

Since you have written such helpful blog posts on the series, I was hoping you could tell me what this means, and how I can get in touch with them? 
  • Do you know if there is any way I can contact Sky directly, 
  • Or whether they would actually discount an applicant for not returning a call? 
Don't worry if you don't know anything about this, but I thought it was worth asking your advice since you are so knowledgeable about the programme! I look forward to hearing back from you.

First the BAD NEWS: On the whole, I think the moment of opportunity has passed.

Organising heat artists from some 2,000+ applicants is tedious and complicated. 

  • First they have to sift through  all the applications and discount all the "no hopers" and come up with a long list
  • Then lots and lots of phone calls to lots and lots of people - and of course you won't get everybody first time.....
  • Next, they need to talk to the long list to see whether they can do the dates for the heats - which will fill up as they progress through the phone calls. My guess is they probably have two lists 
    • people we really really want
    • people we're happy to have if we don't get all the first group
  • if they don't provide a phone number it's because they don't want lots and lots of people who want to be on the television ringing them up and begging to be allocated a place in the heat! ;)
The reason for having a deadline for you to get back to the PAOTY organisers is because they need to get on and complete the arrangements for the heats because these will be filmed in April.

So - bottom line - I think the moment passed before you contacted me....

One thing which is worth bearing in mind - to improve your chances - should you want to apply again, is that you could have 

  • either included an explanation as to why you have limited access to a phone on occasion AND indicated 
  • either another person to call 
  • or times when you will be able to respond (or not respond - whichever is most appropriate)

For what it's worth, I'd be completely useless at entering a competition like this as I won't answer numbers I don't recognise!

TIP: ALWAYS Pay attention to all dates and times highlighted in any of the Call for Entries information relating to Artist of the Year

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Review: Society of Graphic Fine Art Annual Exhibition 2023

The Society of Graphic Fine Art is holding its Annual Open Exhibition in the East and North Galleries of the Mall Galleries this week (13th - 18th March 2023) - and I went to see it yesterday after it opened at midday.

View of the East Gallery of the SGFA Annual Exhibition 2023

You can view the artwork ONLINE:
There are also a number of Demonstrations in the East and North Galleries being used for the Exhibition - see details at end. 
  • HOWEVER please note that there is no underground service on Wednesday and a reduced service on London Overground on Thursday and Friday although the buses will continue to run - but might well be a bit busier than usual. I'd avoid the commuter rush hours if possible. (Check status for a specific date with TFL as the situation can change)

About the SGFA

This is an exhibition by an art society which also calls itself 'The Drawing Society'. It focuses on drawing and the graphical qualities of fine art. Consequently it's an exhibition which should be of interest to anybody interested in drawing
Founded in 1919, the Society promotes fine drawing skills in both traditional and contemporary media. Today there are more than 130 elected members of the SGFA across the UK — professional artists from all areas of the art world who work in all drawing and printmaking media.
You can find out more about the activities of the SGFA and see artwork by its members in its bulletins which are available online e.g. SGFA Winter Bulletin 2022.

The Artwork

One of the interesting aspects of the exhibition is to look at the very many different ways in which drawing can be expressed across paintings, drawings and original fine art prints - from conventional graphite and charcoal - through ink in all its many forms - to coloured pencils and watercolour which are most typically used to add in colour to artwork. However there are also examples of silverpoint on gesso and needlework being a couple of examples I spotted yesterday

I found LOTS of monochromatic examples of drawings in graphite, charcoal and ink.

Monochrome artwork in the far north gallery

There are also very many drawings in coloured pencils and/or soft pastels or oil pastels in the show - and some which mix media.

More colourful artwork

In terms of paintings, there were many excellent watercolours - but I did find some paintings which puzzled me in terms of not being artwork I normally associate with SGFA.

One interesting aspect I noted this year is that more and more artwork is being produced by artists who have earned their membership of FBA art societies (the Mall Galleries is the home of the Federation of British Artists).  That's not to say that all are also members of the SGFA but rather that other FBA members (eg Ian Sidaway RI) are sending entries in via the open entry

Monday, March 13, 2023

A timely art business reminder

It's a timely reminder for me! 

In the days of digital calendars we can set up reminders to renew:

  • website hosts
  • domain name registrations
  • any other service we pay for relating to our website
The thing is we tend to input credit card details or include a balance on the account to pay for these - thinking everything will just rollover automatically when it comes time to pay. No need to worry

Forgetting that our cards all have expiry dates - and when the card is expired - as mine did at the end of last month - it cannot be used to make the automated payment.

I just spotted the email in time to get things sorted - as my payment was due and the notice about my card having expired had been issued 

This was the notice I got this week.

It's really very easy to lose an email if you get a lot (as I do) and they race off your front page or you're very busy and don't look at your emails for a few days - or you get ill!

  • keep a note of the credit card used against each website service / domain name and WHEN it need to be updated
  • input the renewal dates for all relevant services to your digital calendar - with an alert set up for a week beforehand and an annual reminder turned on
Otherwise your website or your domain name could end up like VERY MANY I've come across in my time looking for artists websites - offline and potentially dead and buried.

To be honest, the most common problem seems to be the failure to renew the domain name. I've come across many websites which indicate a domain name renewal problem.