Monday, December 10, 2018

Call for Entries - New English Art Club Annual Exhibition 2019

The Call for Entries has gone out from the New English Art Club for its Annual Exhibition which will be held between the 14th and 22nd June 2019.
The New English Art Club seeks work which demonstrates excellence in both concept and draughtsmanship Mall Galleries
The deadline for digital submissions is Friday 22 February 2019, 12 noon.

Below you can find
  • my commentary on the nature of this open exhibition
  • a review of the metrics associated with the annual exhibition in June 2017 - including the number of works selected from the open entry, the number of non-member artists who got to exhibit and the average number of artworks hung by a non-members.
  • a summary of how to enter the next annual exhibition.
One of the advantages of now having the NEAC Exhibition in June is it coincides with the first week of the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts - and lots of people now travel to London to see both exhibitions!  In fact you can easily walk between the two!

The New English Art Club

This is how NEAC explains its purpose and remit as follows
The New English Art Club is an elected society of contemporary painters whose ethos resides in art informed by the visual world and personal interpretation.

Our Annual Exhibition is a showcase not only for its members but also for aspiring artists: with a history going back more than a hundred years, it is an opportunity for work to be seen alongside some of the best artists painting today, held at Mall Galleries in London.
While some in the past have tended to see it as a staging post to entry to the Royal Academy, for my part, I tend to think of it more as follows
"NEAC" is after all the set of initials that other FBA society members want to add on to their existing signature member status - probably because it was originally a spin-off from the RA. Review: New English Art Club Annual Exhibition 2018 #1
For information on how to become a member see the NEAC website - Artist Membership Application Process 

An annual exhibition under a NEW President

The NEAC website "Calls for Entries" to submit work to the annual exhibition.
This is an image of the Selection Panel in action
in the basement of Carlton House Terrace, in the room where artworks  are delivered 

While selection is by a panel of members, I'd expect a new President to set the tone for what he'd like to see happen. However, bear in mind when submitting work that there is a limit to how much time each work submitted can be viewed - and that this is the distance that most works are generally viewed from! (see the pic above)

There was a point when most of the Presidents of the FBA Societies were older than me - and now I'm older and many are younger! However, in recent times, there's been a bit of a sense at the moment of the "new guard" taking up the responsibilities of President from the "old guard".

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Review: ROI Annual Exhibition 2018 + commentary on pricing

This is my review of the 2018 annual exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, following on my from my initial impressions and prizewinners included in 126th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters

The feature end wall of the Main Gallery
This one includes:
  • statistics about the open entry for all those who submitted their oil paintings in the hope of getting them on the wall of the exhibition
  • some of the paintings I really liked in the exhibition - which feature throughout this post
  • artists who have done well in terms of selling their work
  • some of the things I liked less about the exhibition
  • commentary on sales and an idea for how to stimulate more sales in future

Thames at Richmond by the new President of the ROI Tim Benson PROI NEAC
oil 41x 36cm £1,500
I've been telling Tim Benson for ages that I really like his landscapes! Just need to persuade him to put them on his website too now.....

ROI 126th Annual Exhibition - Open Entry Metrics

I've made it my practice in recent times to include statistics relevant to all those endeavouring to exhibit in the annual open exhibitions of national art societies!

The idea is to show people what sort of chance they have of getting their work in the show

Below is a table of the numbers relating to this exhibition and below that I've summarised the key points

ROI 2018 Open Entry Exhibition statistics - for artists and artworks

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.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 - the Final

I highly recommend that those who have viewed the FINAL of Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 watch it again and LISTEN. 

The Judgement Process for Landscape Artist of the Year
I've become convinced with this series that there are lots of people who look at the pictures only (social media has got a lot to answer for!) and don't pay a lot of attention to what is being said.

The reason I say this is two fold - because:
  • while writing my blog posts I end up watching the programme about three times - and I'm always amazed at what I miss watching first time round. 
  • I see people making comments and asking questions on Facebook and Twitter and and I just sit there and think "did they open their ears as well as their eyes?". I end up wondering whether people were watching the same programme that I was watching. 
For example.....
Q. Just watched the final. Why did someone win who can't paint the actual view in front of them?
A (me) because people who are literal tend to think artists are ONLY people who can paint in a literal way - but not everybody thinks in a literal way.....
Q. But the winners picture didn't look anything like the view she may as well have sat at home and painted, it looked more like a beach but there was no beach in sight
A (me) You have just made my point for me. Watch it again and listen VERY CAREFULLY to the comments made by the Judges.
Now it's not that I'm suggesting that Judges always get it right. Goodness knows I've disagreed with the outcome of art competitions often enough.

However this is one of the few occasions in an art competition where
  • Judges actually EXPLAIN why they make a decision and WHY they think what they think of paintings. 
  • Which means there's a LOT OF GOOD POINTS that those aspiring to be artists can learn from what in this programme.
I'm not saying you have to agree with everything they say - and I don't - but it's always worth a LISTEN!

The Final 

The Location: Greenwich Park

The spot at the top of Greenwich Park - right on the Meridian - is one I know well (I live just behind those towers you can see) and I've also sketched from there as well.

This was my version - Greenwich Park Panorama - of "the big one" done during the Olympics (click for the bit bigger version!) when the arena for the show jumping was covering Jen's 'cross' on the grass. This is literally everything you can see from the exact same spot as they were for the Final (and I've edited a lot out of the foreground!) - minus the Equestrian Arena!  You can see Jen's "nice tree" just right of centre.

MY VERSION of The panoramic view from the top of the hill in Greenwich Park
- complete with Equestrian Arena for the Olympics 2012
pen and ink and coloured pencils,
11" x 48" (3 double page spreads in A4 Moleskine Sketchboook)

The thing is if you're seeing it for the first time it is completely and utterly overwhelming. It takes a long time just to take it all in and work out what you're looking at.
"This view is awesome, daunting, challenging and basically quite frightening" Jen Gash
It's certainly not a landscape I would want to try and paint for a competition with a £10,000 prize - and complete in 4 hours.

It's emphatically one where you first need to answer 'What?' and 'Why?' as opposed to 'How?'

Monday, December 03, 2018

£35,000 BP Portrait Award 2019 - How to enter and how to improve your chances of being selected.

2019 will be the 40th year of the BP Portrait Award and the 30th year of its sponsorship by BP. It's grown in stature over time as the number of entries from around the world have increased. The entry for the BP Portrait Award 2019 will be no different.

This is my annual guide to the BP Portrait Award - it's somewhat encyclopedic (but I've been analysing this competition for well over a decade!)

  • great reasons for entering the BP Portrait Award 2019
  • how to give yourself a better chance than most with your entry
  • how to enter the competition - the deadline is 21 January 2019

Why you should enter the BP Portrait Award

1. You can change your life!

This is the sort of art competition / exhibition that changes people's careers and lives.  Just getting selected can be enough to get taken seriously and after that it's up to you.  If you are or aspire to be a serious portrait artist you need to think very seriously about entering the competition that in the past has been characterised as "the Oscars of Portraiture".

Winner of the BP Portrait Award 2018
Miriam Escofet with her mother and Miriam's portrait "An Angel at my Table"
- this could be YOU in 2019!

2. Awards

There's a £74,000 prize pot. If you win, you cash out of the competition as you won't be able to enter again. Ideally you get to win second or third prize before winning!
  • First Prize: A cash award of £35,000 with a commission valued at £7,000
  • Second Prize: £12,000
  • Third Prize: £10,000
  • BP Young Artist Award: £9,000 (All entrants aged between 18 and 30 will automatically be considered for both the BP Young Artist Award and the BP Portrait Award, but an individual cannot win both.)
  • BP Travel Award 2019: £8,000

3. International

This competition has serious international standing. It regularly attracts
  • over 2.5k entries annually from some 80+ countries all over the world 
  • about half the entries are from outside the UK
  • it also regularly has prizewinners from all over the world!

4. Audience

A HUGE number of people come to see this exhibition.
  • You could be an exhibition lasting several weeks for a major art prize in a major national art gallery right in the centre of London. 
  • Every year, this is one of the top exhibitions in the UK, regularly attracting more than 200k visitors to the exhibition - BEFORE it tours to other parts of the UK. 

5. Profile & Status

"Selected for the BP Portrait" is the sort of entry on your CV that galleries like to see! This is the competition that artists boast about being selected for - and galleries like to boast about your selection too!

6. Exposure

Your portrait painting could hang outside the National Portrait Gallery on a banner - or be on all the posters around the Underground and London!

The artworks chosen for the publicity materials are usually not those shortlisted. Consequently a few lucky artists each year will get seriously major exposure for their artwork via the publicity materials.

7. Marketing / Commissions

The point about the exhibition is to be in it - the prize is just a bonus

Being selected can be as big as winning a prize. The big thing about this exhibition is to get selected for the exhibition.

Benjamin Sullivan RP NEAC, the 2017 Winner of the BP Portrait Award is crystal clear that participation is everything
Ben emphasises in the video that the REALLY IMPORTANT important thing is to be included in the exhibition rather than win a prize. Winning a prize is a wonderful bonus but shouldn't be the aim. He says being in the exhibition over the years has given him lots of exposure and lots of commissions! 
Interview with Benjamin Sullivan, Winner of the BP Portrait Award 2017 - plus his BP portraits 2006-2016

It's one enormous shop window for those who want to accept commissions for painting portraits. It instantly raises your profile as somebody who has a serious claim to the title "portrait artist". However you need to have geared up for this in advance or else it's a wasted opportunity.

8. Have a great reason for visiting London

Many international artists choose to come to the previews and can be around for the events at the beginning of the exhibition.

9. Network and make lots of friends.

In 2014, David Kassan (Third Prizewinner 2014) suggested that the networking and friendships that painters make with fellow artists also exhibiting in the show are "unbeatable".

10. Get Interviewed by me!

I try to interview the BP Portrait Award Winners every year - and you can see the interviews - and the tips that past winners have to offer on my BP Portrait Award Playlist on my MakingAMark Videos YouTuBe Channel  (The one with Aleah Chapin in 2012 is now up to 142K views!)

How to improve your chances of being selected for the exhibition

Why it's very unlikely you will be selected

The BP Portrait Award 2018 received 2,667 entries from 88 countries. Judged anonymously, 48 portraits were selected for the exhibition.
The chances of getting selected are remote! Just 1.8% of the entries were selected for the exhibition last year. So you need to:

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Painting at Greenwich - Wapping Style c 1956

I thought people might like to see a video I came across this week while looking to see what was available in terms of painting and Greenwich. (On Tuesday, the Final of Landscape Artist of the Year will be screened. The final takes place in Greenwich Park.)

It's a newsreel film of the Wapping Artists in 1956 by British Pathé - over 60 years ago - engaged in their favourite occupation - painting the River Thames. It looks as if this was preferably from a favourite public house which has a terrace allowing them to paint, puff on their pipes and quaff their chosen beverage.

The Wapping Group was established in 1946 and limited to 25 artists.
The Wapping Group of Artists was formally founded in 1946 and initially met to record the busy life of London’s dockland. Since then the Thames, the land either side of it, and the activity related to it have all undergone significant changes. As a result the group now meets to paint at venues anywhere between Henley and the Thames Estuary.
This is a page about their history on their website

This is a list of past members who will include the members painting in this film

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Exhibition - Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2018

The Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 Exhibition - an exhibition of paintings by the semi-finalists of the Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 is at the Mayfair branch of Clarendon Fine Art Gallery in Dover Street London between 7th - 15th December 2018 (near Green Park Tube).

The exhibition opens to the public three days after the Final - on the Meridian Line in Greenwich Park, London - is aired on Tuesday 4th December.

The exhibition will showcase three paintings from each of the eight finalists and including the winning landscape.

So I think that means

  • Semi-Finalists: submission, heat and semi-final paintings
  • Finalists: submission, heat, semi-final, challenge (i.e. the August at home painting) and final painting (I think!!)

The Private View is on Thursday 6th December - between 6.30pm and 8.30pm

You need to book a time slot!

Apparently last time they had an exhibition for Landscape Artist of the Year 2017 at the Wallace Collection absolutely hordes of people turned up!

(Although to be honest IMO if you have an exhibition in a public gallery you're going to get all the LAOTY fans AND all the visitors that day to the Wallace Collection so no wonder they had hordes!!)

So this time around, Sky Arts is quite keen to make sure people have a reasonable viewing experience. So the Clarendon Gallery will be having a pre-booked timed entry to the exhibition so as to keep numbers from peaking and the experience from becoming unpleasant.

So a bit like the popular exhibitions at the RA!
In order to enable everyone good viewing exhibition time, this year we have put in place a timed attendance. Please RSVP with all of your details and a date and time which you would like to attend.
I'm not sure the gallery has totally worked out how this works (see below for their links). The words say one thing and the links do another but hopefully it will be sorted soon.

Just send them a note to say you want to see the exhibition - and when you want to see it - to

The SEVEN semi-finalists are listed below. Links to their websites are embedded in their names and links to their social media sites are given where known.
  1. Carl Knibb (Facebook) - see Review: Episode 1 of Landscape Artist of the Year
  2. Paul Alcock (Facebook Instagram) - see Review: Episode 2 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2018
  3. Brian Ramsey (Facebook | Instagram) see Review: Episode 3 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 at Loch Fyne (Loch Fyne, Scotland)
  4. Greg Mason (Facebook Page | Twitter | Instagram) AND 
  5. Lucy Smallbone (Facebook | Instagram) - see Review: Episode 4 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 - Studley Royal Water Garden
  6. Jen Gash (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram) - see Review: Episode 5 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 - Broadstairs Beach
  7. Allan Martin (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram)- see Review: Episode 6 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 - Inveraray Castle
Who do you think is going to win? 
Comments on my Facebook Page please - as I've suspended them on here.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

126th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters

The 126th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters marks the visible start for a lot of people to the presidency of Tim Benson.

The consensus so far is that it's looking very different - and very powerful - with lots of excellent paintings.

The Private View of the ROI 2018 - the Main Galleries were packed!
It was difficult to see them all properly at the Private View on Tuesday because the Mall Galleries were absolutely packed with people - and indeed was still very full when I left at 5.30pm. A packed PV is the sign of a well supported art society - and effective communication with known supporters.

I'm going to go back and visit it again before it finishes on the 9th December so I can take more time and stand back and see the pics without passing people!

Exhibition Dates: 28 November 2018 to 9 December 2018 at the Mall Galleries

A new approach

In this post I'm featuring some of the points made by Tim Benson said at the Opening of the Exhibition and the Awards Ceremony.

Tim Benson, President of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, speaking at the opening of the exhibition
His own website has a strapline of "building awareness through painting" and he seems very focused on carrying this theme over into the activities of the ROI.

He finished
it is this very diversity, (of age, of gender, of ethnicity, of background) that makes the ROI such an exciting organisation. I believe that this is reflected in the work that you see around you on the walls today. Each painting represents the artist that painted it, each painting offers a window into their lives, a deeply personal lens that tells of daily routines, inspirations and dreams.”
Vice President Adebanji Alade - with his portraits of his children - who also paint!
Certainly I felt the exhibition has a different look to it. Not least because the walls of the Main Galleries and Threadneedle Space are packed with some 301 paintings in oils and acrylics - but mainly oils! (see below for further comment)

Prior to this he was talking about:
  • how could the ROI be a ‘progressive’ organisation? 
Now more than ever there is a schism between the world of painting and the ‘contemporary’ art world. Surely this disadvantages the art world at large? Surely in a time of increasing fracture and division the Art world should be unified? The ROI is in an incredible position to bridge that very gap, a place where painting of all genres is encouraged with neither a bias towards subject matter nor a ‘house style’. We are free to champion works that transcend traditional notions of painting just as we are free to celebrate them.