Saturday, September 19, 2020

Haidee-Jo Summers wins first prize in the Oil Painters of America Virtual International Wet Paint Competition

This year the Oil Painters of America's Wet Paint Competition & Convention went:
  • International - with all registered attendees* able to compete for a minimum of $20,000 in cash and merchandise awards. 
    • OPA members vied for awards in both the studio and plein air categories. 
    • International artists living outside North America competed in a separate international category.
  • Virtual - with all the awards announced online

Oil Painters of America - Virtual International Wet Paint Competition

These were 
There were three divisions for entries as follows
  • Plein Air Division: open to OPA Members only. (i.e. open air) 
    • Paintings are executed outdoors as opposed to using photographs or models in a studio. 
    • Both painter and subject matter must be outdoors, and photographs may not be used. 
  • Studio Division: open to OPA Members only. 
    • Paintings are executed indoors. 
    • Both painter and subject matter must be indoors
    • photographs may not be used. 
  • Open Division: open only to non-OPA members and International artists
    • includes both plein air and studio paintings.
Awards were announced at an online awards presentation on Thursday, September 17 at 6:30 p.m. US Central Time. 

You can view all the entries - by division in turn.

Award Winners of the Virtual International Wet Paint Competition

You can read the names of the award winners on this page - scroll down to Virtual International Wet Paint Competition

Haidee-Jo Summers The crab hut at Wells-next-the-Sea 16” x 20”
Winner of 
The crab hut at Wells-next-the-Sea
by Haidee-Jo Summers

oil, 16” x 20”

Which is how Haidee-Jo Summers ROI RSMA came to win the First Prize in the Oil Painters of America wet paint competition, in BOTH
  • the international competition
  • the open division. 
    Such an amazing surprise to have won first prize in the Oil Painters of America wet paint competition, in the international and open division. Huge thanks to John Pototschnik and Oil Painters of America and Rosemary & Co Artists Brushes for sponsoring me to enter!
    Haidee-Jo Summers (Facebook Page)
The prize is valued at $4,460 (Funded by International Artist Magazine) - being one full-page advertisement and $1,000 cash funded by OPA 

Registration for non OPA members and International Entrants was $125 Non-OPA Members & International Participants and Haidee-Jo was sponsored by Rosemary & Co Artists Brushes.

You can follow Haidee-Jo on her Facebook Page at

More to come post Covid?

I think opening up competitions to an international body of painters is a brilliant idea - and I applaud the OPA for having the gumption to have a go t holding both a Virtual Competition and Convention - and opening it up to international artists.

It makes me wonder whether the 'normal' way of holding annual events and exhibitions is going to see a bit staid after all the novelty associated with trying to make things happen in a friendly but socially distant way.

For what it's worth I'd like to see more art societies doing this - on a regular basis!

P.S I'm already signed up to a Virtual 26th Annual Meeting and Conference via Zoom of the American Society of Botanical Artists which is taking place next month. All the benefit of the events and none of the flights or hotel bills!! :)

PPS Apologies for those expecting my review of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Exhibition - but the big supermarket shop this morning was rather tiring - and this is NOT a short blog post!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Five Videos about Commissioning a Portrait

This is about the process of commissioning a portrait and includes five very relevant videos to all artists interested in portrait commissions.

Today I am visiting the Mall Galleries to see the Annual Exhibition 2020 of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters - which opened yesterday.

Before I post a review of the exhibition (tomorrow) I thought I'd share with you some five recent videos about portrait commissions produced by the Mall Galleries.

  • One is about a portrait of Lord David Puttnam, the famous British film director by Hero Johnson in the current exhibition - with David Puttnam talking about the commission process and why he asked Hero to paint first him and his wife and then a portrait of him in the context of his work.
  • The next four are about the process of commissioning a portrait - in a series called "What Portrait Painters Need to Know For Commissions"
First a practical example of how portrait painters get commissions.

Hero Johnson paints David Puttnam's portrait - on commission

This video is told by David Puttnam and is the story of how Hero Johnson (Facebook Page, Instagram) got this commission and reveals both the first and second commissions she has painted for David Puttnam.

Lord David Puttnam by Hero Johnson
Lord David Puttnam by Hero Johnson

It just goes to show how EVERY portrait painted on commission can lead to more commissions if people see and admire the result of the first portrait.

What Portrait Painters Need to Know For Commissions

Annabel Elton is the lead officer responsible for the development and running of the Federation of British Artists's Fine Art Commissions Service.

In this series of YouTube videos she explains what portrait painters need to know when working to commission.

She's also written an article about Commissions" What artists need to know

The Royal Society of Portrait Painters also has an article about Five Steps to Commissioning a Great Portrait - from the client's perspective

Marketing & Promotion 

This has some very sensible advice about the content and accessibility of the artist's website from the perspective of the potential client. The emphasis is on driving interest to your website.

She also emphasises the importance of the press - and the local press - and the scope to provide them with both good stories and images.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Call for Entries: Virtual ING Discerning Eye 2020

The deadline for the call for entries for the brand new version of the ING Discerning Eye in 2020 is 1st October.

This post highlights what is the same and what is different in 2020 and - in the absence of lots of things to say about submitting art - I've turned this call for entries into a bit of a profile of the selectors!

since our first exhibition in 1990 - over thirteen thousand works by about four thousand artists.


What stays the same in 2020

The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition in 2020 will:
  • include only works constrained by size i.e. only small works are permitted (it must be less than 20 inches (50cm) in its greatest dimension.)
  • which MUST be an original creation by the artist
  • comprise works independently selected by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world
    • two artists,
    • two collectors and
    • two critics
  • each selector is solely responsible for their own selection
  • be OPEN to all artists resident in the UK
  • can submit up to six original works
  • all artwork MUST be for sale

Plus the Call For Entries site will be via ArtOpps

What will be different in 2020

For the first time in its history, this year's edition of the ING Discerning Eye will be held 100% virtually, helping artists display their work online! Now more than ever, the ING Discerning Eye is committed to helping artists increase their visibility among peers and collectors and to giving creatives a platform to grow.

  • The Selection will be entirely DIGITAL
  • each selector's chosen works will comprise at least 25% from the open entry. AT LAST!  A statement about percentages! (i.e. this exhibition may have always been open entry however it was very questionable whether the open entry was funding an exhibition by selectors' luvvies. Some selectors in the past have been utterly shameless in the past about selecting work by friends or people they have taught - and I have been repeatedly very critical of the lack of transparency which for me has verged on the legally doubtful!)
  • the Exhibition will be VIRTUAL - rather than at the Mall Galleries, In this context it's following in the footsteps of the Lynn-Painter Stainers Competition - which this year has decided to go online minus prizes plus all proceeds to charities supported.
  • the virtual exhibition will be LONGER - from 19 November until 31 December 2020 - and will be available 24/7 during that period for all those interested in viewing and/or purchasing artworks.
  • All exhibiting artists will be included in a fully illustrated print catalogue - which is a first!

The Prizes

Prizes selected by the Prize Givers

  • ING Purchase Prize* – £5000
  • Meynell Fenton Prize* – £1000
  • Humphreys Purchase Prize* – £750
  • Parker Harris Mentoring Prize*: Parker Harris will give a one-to-one mentoring session covering all aspects of professional development to a selected artist.

Prizes are selected by members of the Discerning Eye Educational Board

  • The Discerning Eye Founder’s Purchase Prize (In honour of Michael Reynolds) £2500
  • The Discerning Eye Chairman’s Purchase Prize – £1000
  • Discerning Eye Sculpture and 3D Work Prize – £250
  • Discerning Eye Original Print Prize – £250
  • Regional Prizes – Up to 8 prizes of £250 each awarded to an outstanding entry from the national regions

The Selectors

Monday, September 14, 2020

"Hold Still" digital exhibition on NPG website

Earlier this year, HRH Duchess of Cambridge - who has been the Patron of the National Portrait Gallery since 2012 - asked everybody to send images for the Hold Still Exhibition - to reflect what life was like during lockdown

Today a digital exhibition of the 100 portrait photographs selected from the 31,598 entries have been unveiled on the National Portrait Gallery website
the images present a unique record of our shared and individual experiences during this extraordinary period of history, conveying humour and grief, creativity and kindness, tragedy and hope.
Images #1-3 of the 100 selected for the digital exhibition "Hold Still"

Hold Still: Three Core Themes

There are three core themes to the exhibition
  • Helpers and Heroes, 
  • Your New Normal and 
  • Acts of Kindness.
Click here to view the images individually - and do take the time to read the narratives alongside each. Sometimes they are not what they seem.

View them all together in the video (below) released today by the National Portrait Gallery.
The final 100 present a unique and highly personal record of this extraordinary period in our history. From virtual birthday parties, handmade rainbows and community clapping to brave NHS staff, resilient keyworkers and people dealing with illness, isolation and loss. The images convey humour and grief, creativity and kindness, tragedy and hope - expressing and exploring both our shared and individual experiences.

Please note this exhibition includes text and images recording people’s recent experiences, which some visitors might find upsetting. If you have been affected by any of the issues reflected in the exhibition, and feel you need support, please click here for some suggested sources of support.

How the exhibition came about

The call for entries for the exhibition was launched by The Duchess of Cambridge and the Gallery back in May
Hold Still invited people of all ages, from across the UK to submit a photographic portrait which they had taken during lockdown. The project aimed to capture and document the spirit, the mood, the hopes, the fears and the feelings of the nation as we continued to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.
More images of lockdown in 2020

Judging Panel

The Judges

The Hold Still judging panel included: 
  • The Duchess of Cambridge - who is a keen photographer and is a Patron of both the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Photographic Society
  • Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery - who's grown a beard for the occasion!
  • Lemn Sissay MBE, writer and poet - who some will remember sat for a Portrait in the Final of Sky Portrait Artist of the Year 2020 - in the National Portrait Gallery
  • Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England and 
  • Maryam Wahid, photographer.
The criteria used for assessment of the images by the panel focused on the emotions and experiences they convey rather than on their photographic quality or technical expertise.

You can 

The Exhibition

A selection of the photographs featured in the digital exhibition will also be shown in towns and cities across the UK later in the year.

Note: International law firm Taylor Wessing are supporting the Hold Still project in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery. They are long-term supporters of the Gallery and have sponsored the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize for the past 12 years.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Beyond hazardous for some artists

Can we all spare a thought for the wellbeing of all those artists who are currently affected either by
  • either the terrible wildfires 
  • or the absolutely horrendous air quality 
  • in Oregon, Washington State and California, USA. 
The maroon areas are where the air quality is currently either Hazardous (300-500) 
or a new category of "Beyond Hazardous" - with readings above 500 on the index scale
(see Eugene and Portland below)

The most polluted cities in the world (13 September 2020)
The most polluted cities in the world (13 September 2020)

This is a shout out to people I know are who all live in areas that are badly affected.  
I've got a number of friends and people I've known online for many years who live in the areas which are affected - and sometimes putting a name to people affected helps raise the profile of the severity of the current situation.

Beyond Hazardous

Oregon is particularly badly affected 
Below are three artists who live in areas which have been producing air quality measurements which are beyond the Index for measuring air quality i.e. "BEYOND HAZARDOUS" areas i.e. 500 is the top end of Hazardous 

Carol Marine (Carol Marine Daily Paintings) lives in Eugene Oregon with her husband David - who created the Daily Paintworks website and their son.  [UPDATE: Despite the fact her blog still saying she lives in Eugene, it's been pointed out that her Facebook Account now says she lives in Missoula, Montana - and I gather this happened relatively recently]
  • The awful irony is that Carol and her husband, David and son all moved to Oregon after being completely burned out in Texas in a matter of minutes 
  • (and as a result now feature on my Insurance for Artists page on my Art Business Info for Artists website - among the examples of artists who have lost everything to natural hazards - and how you can start again if you are insured.) 
  • Eugene Oregon is suffering absolutely horrendous air quality as a result of the Holiday Farm Fire just to the east of Eugene.

Eugene, Oregon is "Beyond Hazardous" i.e. beyond the scale measured by the Air Quality Index
Source: AirNow

The EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI) measures five types of air pollution on a scale of one to 500. “Healthy” air gets a rating between 0 and 50. Things start getting dangerous in the mid-100s, especially for sensitive groups like those with a heart or lung condition. And an AQI reading of 301 or greater is considered “hazardous,” causing the EPA to declare “emergency conditions” for those who are exposed for 24 hours or more.

On Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, the area around Eugene, Oregon, clocked AQI values well into the 700 range on the real-time air-quality monitoring site PurpleAir, greatly exceeding the scale’s maximum value of 500.

(By way of contrast I live in East London where the air quality currently measures less than 20 on the air quality map).

Janene Walkky lives in Portland, Oregon and  Nicole Caulfield lives just over the river from Portland in Camas, Washington - where Janene is a garden designer and botanical artist and Nicole teaches art to schoolkids and sells her art via a regular stall at the weekend market in Portland. 

For those doubting climate change - and the impact it can have
Nine of the world's 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2005, and the UN warned this week that the five years from 2016 until this year will very likely be the hottest such period yet recorded. 
Oregon wildfires: Half a million people flee dozens of infernos


VERY Unhealthy in Washington State

More than 600,000 acres have burned in Washington State.

Botanical artists Jean Emmons (Vashon island) and Deborah Montgomerie (Whidbey Island) both live further north on islands near Seattle in Washington State - which is some distance from the fires and yet their area is currently rated as distinctly unhealthy - although ratings are only about a third of some of the areas in Oregon.

Air quality in Washington State from Seattle Times

An extremely smoky Northern California

Artists Jana Bouc and Ed Terpening both live in the San Francisco area where conditions got very much worse on Friday and the air quality ratings became much worse - see San Francisco Bay Area choked by toxic smoke-filled airTwo days later it's currently rated as unhealthy.

I'm hoping everybody is staying indoors - with all air gaps taped up - and that they're double and triple masking if going outdoors.

I know there's a lot more - and I'm thinking of you all.........

You can track air quality for specific areas via 
PS Please don't go out if you can avoid it without reading this article first re the after effects of exposure to toxic air Australian wildfires will claim victims even after they’re out - Harvard scientist suggests long-term exposure to smoke-filled air could lead to premature deaths.