Friday, January 31, 2014

Who painted this? #59

Who painted this? #59
Lots of clues in this painting if you look closely - and not just the obvious ones!

There are two very interesting stories associated with the subject of this portrait painting and the person who painted this portrait.  Let's see if you can work them both out!

A bit of a challenge but one that's worth it........

How to participate in "Who painted this? #58"

PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.

Click this link to read THE RULES for participating in this challenge (this saves having to copy them out for each post!).

In short:
  • use your brains not software to find the answer - search using words only on a database of images 
  • leave your answer as a comment on this blog - do not leave the answer on Facebook! 
  • if correct it will not be published until the next post - which provides the answer 
  • if wrong it will be published 
  • the winner - who gets a mention and a link on/from this blog - is NOT THIS WEEK the first person to give me a completely correct answer for ALL the things I want to know. It's the person who does all this AND provides the BEST answer (see above)

Who Painted This #58 - The Answer

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How can an artist find out who bought their painting?

This is a response to a letter I received recently.  It concerns how an artist can find out the names of the people who bought a painting sold in an exhibition at an art gallery.

The post covers
  • what is normal practice in terms of sharing the name of buyers
  • commentary on the perspectives of art gallery, art competition and artist
  • alternatives which mean you always know the name of the people who collect your art.
The people and organisations involved have been anonymised for the purposes of this post and consequently the letter has been edited to keep the focus on the topic and not this specific example.

Letter from an artist who sold a painting

Hello Katherine

Having enjoyed your writing for some time now, my guess is that you might be able to throw some light on a question I've got. I suspect both the question and your answer may interest many other artists who read your blog. 

Last year I was lucky enough to not only get a painting into the [art competition] exhibition at [name of gallery] but a red dot appeared within minutes of the start of the preview. 

I'd love to know who bought the painting. A few emails have passed between [the competition/exhibition organisers] and myself in an attempt to find out the name of the buyer. 

My last email to them was fairly specific:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What can artists claim as business expenses - for tax purposes?

Here's a list of business expenses which can normally be claimed for tax purposes by an artist who is making a serious effort to sell art and make money. 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /
To be able to claim expenses and a self-employed status you must be conducting your business in a professional way and with the intention of making a profit.

In other words you must be able to show it's not just a hobby. The tax authorities will not allow you to make endless losses which fund your hobby as an amateur artist.

Also - you do need to have

  • registered as self-employed to claim expenses 
  • produced accounts.

Allowable Business Expenses for Artists

General principles

The general principal which applies to artists is you can claim items which you need to make and sell art - for a profit.

Thus you can claim for items which are:

  • directly and wholly related to making art 
  • generally accepted as normal and used by many artists when making art
  • not unduly excessive or extravagant.
Below I've included notes about normal business expenses

Do please comment and suggest anything else you think should be included.  I'll update this post with good suggestions - and give credit and a link to your blog.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ten More Tax Tips for Artists

Round about this time of year - just as I'm submitting my tax return to Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs, I write a blog post about tax - for artists.

Last year it was Ten Tax Tips for Artists.

Two tax collectors (1540s) by Marinus van Reymerswaele
This year I've come up with ten more tips about tax for artists.
  1. Get your submission in on time and avoid financial penalties
  2. Pay your tax on time
  3. Make sure you have funds available to pay the tax due
  4. Set up a savings account for funds set aside for tax
  5. Keep a clear distinction in your files for different years
  6. Have a summary worksheet page for your tax workbook
  7. Keep a note of the exchange rate you use for international income and expenses
  8. Only claim 100% of an expense if it is 100% a business expense
  9. Don't forget to make a note of all the business journeys you make
  10. A UTR is essential for all short-term contracts

So - if you're interested - read on and find out more.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sensing Spaces - pictures from an exhibition at the RA

Reproduction of the inside of one of the
Gallery doors by Eduardo Souto de Moura
How can you experience architecture in an exhibition when it's in another place?

It's sometimes easy to forget that one of the categories of members of the Royal Academy of Arts relates to architecture.

The challenge therefore for the RA is how to represent architecture in its exhibitions.

I guess a number of us will be familiar with the designs and small models of buildings in ever Summer Exhibition - but it's always so crowded it's not a room I tend to linger long in.

Which is really odd given I started off wanting to be an architect when I was age 8.

I used to go to the library in the early 1960s and track down every book I could find on Mies van De Rohe, Walter Gropius, Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier - and used to sit and look at the pictures and the plans for hours on end.

Sensing Spaces: Architecture reimagined

Seven architectural practices from six countries and four continents. 

23,000 square feet. 

72 days. 

One monumental exhibition.

Installation of split and laced bamboo infused with the oil of cypress by Kengo Kumar
I'm still partial to a good bit of architecture but much less well acquainted with what's going on in architecture these days.  So the new exhibition - "Sensing Spaces: Architecture reimagined" - at the Royal Academy of Arts is interesting to me from two perspectives:
  • how contemporary architects from across the world are designing structures and spaces
  • how the RA has created an exhibition about contemporary architecture within the confines of the main galleries.
The galleries have been given over to seven architectural practices from across the globe - although none are from the UK and none involve any of the academicians. (I must confess I'm struggling to understand an exhibition website which at no point has a page which names the works or the construction materials or the responsible architects).  These are:
Installation by Grafton Partners
I have to confess I tend to regard most of the exhibition as being massive installations of the sculptural variety. For example, from my perspective there's not a lot of difference between some of them and the Land Art created by Andy Goldsworthy. This impression is also reinforced by some of the architects also referring to them as "installations".

Installation in blue pine by Pezo von Ellrichshausen
That said it's amazing to see some of the spaces utterly transformed by the structures which took some three weeks to build within the galleries.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Who painted this? #58

A little bit different this week - it's a picture of people looking at paintings.....

Plus - a clue - there's another difference too.

Who painted this? #58

How to participate in "Who painted this? #58"

PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.

Click this link to read THE RULES for participating in this challenge (this saves having to copy them out for each post!).

In short:
  • use your brains not software to find the answer - search using words only on a database of images 
  • leave your answer as a comment on this blog - do not leave the answer on Facebook! 
  • if correct it will not be published until the next post - which provides the answer 
  • if wrong it will be published 
  • the winner - who gets a mention and a link on/from this blog - is NOT THIS WEEK the first person to give me a completely correct answer for ALL the things I want to know. It's the person who does all this AND provides the BEST answer (see above)

Who Painted This #57 - The Answer

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Most Revenue or Best Profit? What was the Best Place to sell Art in 2013?

This is my Annual Making A Mark Poll which aims to find out about the trends in how artists sold their art - in 2013.

I've moved it to after the end of the calendar year so that those who do their accounts on a calendar basis will know better:
  • which place generated the most revenue
  • which place generated the most profit
The last time I ran this poll in 2012, I split the poll in two to make a distinction between gross revenue sales ("most revenue") and net profit ("most profitable").

That's because those places which generate the "most money in art sales" are not necessarily the "most profitable" after the "cost of sales" has been deducted.

Interestingly, the fact that one place happens to be the most profitable doesn't mean to say that's where the most profit will be made - unless an artist has already identified this and is capitalising on this knowledge.

So what these polls will do is identify
  • The most (and least) effective places for selling art in 2013 - in terms of which places generate the most revenue and turnover (i.e. gross sales)
  • The most (and least) profitable places for selling art in 2013 - in terms of where did you generate the best profit (i.e. net profit - profit from gross sales after deduction of the cost of sales)
  • Trends in selling art in the last 6 years

There are two NEW Polls in the right hand Column. Both polls have identical options. Be sure to note the distinction between 
For those interested in what the results were in 2012 here are the results of these two polls and the trends observed in September 2012

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Drawings of Holocaust Survivors

In the latter half of 2013, a young man and art student called Gideon Summerfield developed a project to draw Holocaust Survivors called "From Generation to Generation (L’Dor V’Dor)". Gideon's pen and ink drawings in of the men and women pen and ink from Jewish Care's Shalvata centre are included in an exhibition which opens on Friday (details below).

I think they demonstrate an amazing level of sensitivity both in terms of his project and the actual drawings - even more so when you consider they were completed by a 17 year old.

Portrait of Holocaust Survivor Freddie Knoller
From Generation to Generation
© Gideon Summerfield 
You can see his drawings on YouTube (below) and also macro crops on Facebook where they are accompanied by a narrative about the life of the individual portrayed and the object of their choice which is important to them.

Read more about his project in a couple of articles:

It has been an extraordinary privilege to learn from people now in their 80s and 90s about their experiences as children and teenagers, how they survived the death camps and the Holocaust. For me as an 18 year old, it has been a formative, and at times traumatic, learning experience.”
Gideon Summerfield
More about the exhibition and more Holocaust Art at the end.
Prior to this Gideon had completed a project called 'Sketch a Day' in which he drew somebody who was in the news every day for 366 days.  Age 17 years old, he drew his final drawing sat in the BBC Morning News Studio - where he was also interviewed. Click the 'Sketch a Day' link to visit the relevant page on his website - then click a link in the grid to see a larger image of each portrait of the person for that day.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Society of Botanical Artists - Annual Exhibition 2014 - Call for Entries

Botanical artists have just under two months to get our entries ready for this year's Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists - which is open to entries from both non-members and international artists.  This post is an overview of the call for entries and the process.

Call for Entries - Society of Botanical Artists
Botanical Garden Annual Exhibition 2014
Note that this year, both the Receiving Day and Annual Exhibition are later than usual.

The Receiving Day for entries for the 2014 Annual Exhibition is Monday 17th March in the Aldersgate Room in the basement of Westminster Central Hall in London (11am - 4pm).  Here's a great blog post by Julie Whelan about last year's Receiving Day.

The theme of this year's exhibition is The Botanical Garden. It will include about 700 works of botanical art:
  • at Westminster Central Hall, Storey's Gate, London SW1H 9NH and is 
  • between Friday, 9th to Sunday 18th May 2014 (Daily from 11am to 5pm including Sundays)
  • open to the public - admission FREE

Below you will find:
  • the key points for those wanting to enter the Exhibition.  
  • links to previous posts on this blog which include images so you can see the type and quality of work which is accepted for exhibition and/or wins prizes
  • links to my resources for botanical artists

Saturday, January 18, 2014

David Shepherd's Wildlife Artist of the Year 2014 - deadline extended to 5th February

The deadline for entries for David Shepherd's Wildlife Artist of the Year 2014 (First prize £10,000)
  • WAS Monday 20th January
  • BUT is now midnight on Wednesday 5th February 2014
Below you can find the information about this very popular art competition for wildlife artists.

There are two new categories for 2014:
  • Wildlife in Monochrome - particularly suitable for those who work in fine art prints, graphite or charcoal
  • Silver Artist - for the Over 60s - which I think is a great idea!
The Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition will be held at the Mall Galleries, London Tuesday 3rd to Saturday 7th June 2014, 10am to 5pm (closes 4pm on final day).

The Private View will be held on 29th May 6-9pm. The Private View for this has an excellent attendance with lots of enthusiastic private collectors of wildlife art and lots of sales.  If you're a collector and want an invite I suggest you get in touch with the Foundation.

The David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year website page

Call for Entries Summary

Full details are available on the Wildlife Artist of the Year - Terms & Conditions page on the DS website.  They also have a Wildlife Artist of the Year - Frequently asked questions page


The Overall Winner wins £10,000 cash prize and title 'David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year 2014'. In addition:
  • Overall Runner-Up £1,000 cash prize. 
  • Remaining Category Winners £500 each. 

Deadlines for entries

The (extended) closing date is 5 February 2014. No entries will be considered after the closing date.

Who can submit

Friday, January 17, 2014

Making A Mark notches up 5 million Pageviews!

This morning Making A Mark hit and passed 5,000,000 pageviews - as counted by Blogger.  

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who read - and have read - this blog on a regular basis!  It would appear that many of you have also discovered the archives! :)

The 5 million pageviews cover the period since May 2007 - when Blogger started counting - when this blog was already 17 months old.

Statcounter has a slightly different take on the numbers but this chart shows you the steady rise in daily pageviews over the last 8 years from January 2006 when this blog first went public to this month.

Making A Mark: Daily Pageviews (January 2006 - January 2014)
I must finish off bringing the archives up to date so that they are more accessible!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

UKCPS Open International Exhibition 2014: Call for Entries

The deadline for entries to the 13th Annual International Exhibition of the UK Coloured Pencil Society is 5th February 2014.

The exhibition will be held between 28th April - 10th May 2014 at the RBSA Gallery, 4 Brook Street, Birmingham, B3 1SA.

The rules changed last year - with respect to the nature of the work that can be entered - and I'm not sure everyone is aware of that.

Here's a summary of what you need to know and do to enter.

Who can enter

This exhibition is open to all living artists who can demonstrate compositional and drawing skills and the ability to use coloured pencil..

That means:

What you can enter

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What's your favourite tip about drawing?

What's your favourite tip about drawing that you always share?  

Three of my tips about drawing

  1. Carry a sketchbook with you all the time and you will do a lot more drawing.  There are lots of occasions when you can pull out a sketchbook for a quick sketch - plus it records your life as lived! (The sketch below was done while waiting to see the Consultant at the Dental Hospital last week!)
  2. When drawing in life class work out where the middle of the body is. That way I stand half a chance of filling the page but not having to crop the head or the feet!
  3. Use a battery eraser to draw as well as to erase. Drawing involves changing the surface and that can mean removing media as well as laying it down.
The Queue at Reception at the Dental Hospital 7 January 2014
pen and ink in Moleskine Sketchbook

Why I'm asking for your tips about drawing

My reason for asking about your favourite tips about drawing is that I've got my head down right now - writing the book about drawing and sketching that I've been commissioned to do. (see previous posts I've been asked to write a book.... and I'm writing the book this week)

The book has five different sections so I have five different files on the go as I try to meet the criteria for the number of topics, number of words, number of double page spreads and number of images. Flex any one of four to create a problem! ;)

At the moment, I'm working my way through trying to complete the text for double page spread after double page spread.  I'm not a sequential writer - I tend to work pretty much as I draw. I start with sketching in the overall structure (the table of contents) - then start to pad that out (the flatplan) then start to add in content (sample double page spreads) and now I'm into the solid workload of actually producing text and images for 80 double page spreads!  Plus editing down the first pass on the content.

The fact of the matter is I've got too many tips at the moment(!) and I need to start editing down - so I want to know which are your favourites tips about drawing  to make sure these are the ones which don't get edited out!

The favourite ones are:
  • the ones you always remember, 
  • the ones that made a big difference to how you draw and sketch
  • the ones you always share and pass on to others
So - what's your favourite tip about drawing that you will always value and like to share?

To leave a comment click the link to the right of my name and date below.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Where to sell art is the wrong question

I received a query about selling art yesterday.  Below you can read the query and my response
Hi Katherine

I've been enjoying your "Making a Mark" blog for years, and I'm hoping that somewhere in the archives you address my question. If not, I'd love to have you do a poll!

I'm part of a professional art group, and we are in the process of developing a web site. Some members say we absolutely should have an online store for selling fine art; others, including me, say that anyone hoping to make serious sales that way is overly optimistic, and that it is very difficult to make significant sales online.

I believe the idea of selling fine art online is mis-represented, mostly by people who design web sites intended to help artists sell art online. What are your thoughts on selling fine art online? Is it viable - or not?

Thank you!
This was my response - which I have to say was written off the top of my head late last night in about five minutes!

It is however the distilled view of having looked at very many websites and the activities of very many artists over the last eight years
Both views are correct - however you have omitted the key factor in the equation.

  • There are a lot of websites which make their money out of persuading people who don't know any better that they can sell their art through their website. Wrong! The only way they will get traffic is if the artists generate it themselves and if they're doing that then they might as well sell via eBay or Etsy. There again there are websites where people list and sell virtually everything they list. The latter are people who have developed a following. Look at certain painters on Daily Paintworks to see what I mean eg Dreama Tolle Perry; Taryn Day; Jacqueline Gnott; Karin Jurick; Carol Marine etc etc They're good at what they do, they have a distinctive style, they have themes for subject matter etc. 
  • It all depends on your pricepoint. Galleries won't touch cheaper art - that needs to be sold direct by the artist. Remember there is no commission only the costs of putting it online. That means that some people will make more money out of selling large volumes of cheaper art direct than others will make from selling more expensive art selling via galleries.
  • Bottom line it's all down to the marketing. You will sell via:
    • a gallery if the gallery is good at marketing. If not then it will sit in their backroom gathering dust 
    • your own website if you are good at marketing
    • via an online gallery if you are good at marketing
So bottom line - I think your professional art group needs to get professional at marketing - because it seems to me they are looking at the whole question of how to sell art the wrong way round.

The channel isn't the issue.

Selling art is difficult period.

The issue is about how much time and effort you want to put into marketing! If you want to sell art then you need to allocate time to marketing and you need to ensure you are doing the right things in the right way.

Do the wrong things in the wrong way and it really doesn't matter how much time and effort you apply to marketing!
My view is that if professional galleries are selling art online - which they are - then professional artists should very definitely be selling their art online.

In fact a number of artists have been able to build a portfolio of bricks and mortar galleries to represent their art because they could demonstrate - via online sales - that their art sold and that they had a following.

What's your View?

How would you have answered the question?

Do share what your view is about the pros and cons of art groups having an online ecommerce set-up for selling art via their website.

Resources for Artists

You can find resources to help you sell art in my websites listed below

Monday, January 13, 2014

£15,000 Lynn Painter-Stainer Prize 2014 - deadline approaches

Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize - Deadline for entries is the end of this month
This is a reminder for all those intending to submit work to the 9th Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize - the deadline for entries is 29 January 2014, by 5pm.

I've been covering this Prize since 2007 and you if you don't know much about it you can find links to past blog posts and images of the exhibition and winners at the end of this post.

This Prize is a strictly British affair!
The Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize is open to living artists over the age of 18, who are resident in the British Isles. Only original, two-dimensional works in any painting or drawing media, that have been completed in the last three years, and that have not been previously exhibited, are eligible. All works must be for sale, except commissioned portraits.
Note the criteria with respect to

  • timescale and 
  • not having been previously exhibited.  

I wish I saw more art competitions putting more emphasis on the latter - it get's very boring at times seeing the same work in several different shows, even if it is good.


It's my practice to in general list only those competitions where the first prize exceeds £10,000.  In this instance the first prize is £15,000.  There are also:

  • 5 Runner-Up Prizes each at: £1,500
  • Young Artist Award: £2,500 - for an artist who is 25 years of age
Lynn Painter-Stainer Prize 2013
The Isabella Plantation by Ruth Stage NEAC
100x120, Egg Tempera £7,000

Information for Artists

I only started doing detailed posts for the Call for Entries because the websites or the paperwork providing the information were so difficult to follow i.e. not everybody can read tiny font sizes made more difficult by a difficult contrast between typeface and support!

However the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize has a very good website now and I need only point you in its direction of the Information for Artists and highlight a few key points and dates

It's also worth mentioning that most winners to date have won with figurative works. 'Large' and/or 'striking' and/or 'bold' are also words which spring to mind - although this has not happened every year.  Definitely a "do not be bashful or wishy washy" art competition.

Key Dates

  • Wednesday 29 January 2014 - Deadline for online entries, by 5pm
  • Tuesday 7 February 2014 - Results of initial judging emailed to artists by this date
  • Tuesday 14 February 2014 - c.200 Shortlisted artists submit works to FBA - not so wonderful for those with jobs and/or living elsewhere in the UK (however do take a look at off-peak train fares which have become a lot more reasonable)
  • Sunday 19 February 2014 - Results of final round judging emailed to artists by this date
  • Sunday 26 February 2014 - Unaccepted short listed works available for collection at the FBA 10am-5pm
  • 17 MARCH 2014 Private View and Prize Giving
  • 18 – 22 MARCH 2014 Exhibition at Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1, 10am-5pm daily

Previous Years

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Compendium of Composition and Design

While I'm writing the book, I'm going to highlight some popular blog posts from the past.

This post is about the posts associated with a major project on composition and design at the beginning of 2008.  It's particularly useful for those who like their art to be drawing or painting.
How the "Rule of Thirds" approximates to "The Golden Mean"
My diagram which compares "the golden mean" and "the rule of thirds"
plus identification of the 'sweet spot' area and how this can be used for the focal point
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

As a result of the project I created a website which is now called Composition and Design for Artists [being moved to a new website about Tips for Artists - I'll let you know when it's been republished]

You can also consult The Best Art Books - Composition and Design which was developed subsequently. [ditto - on the move]

I've also included subsequent posts reviewing books about composition and design.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Who painted this? #57

Who painted this? #57
An out of season still life this week.  Is the bowl a clue?

Don't forget besides wanting the answers to all the usual questions (see below) I'd also like to hear about what you managed to find out about the artist and painting - and the best answer wins this week's challenge!

How to participate in "Who painted this? #57"

PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.

Click this link to read THE RULES for participating in this challenge (this saves having to copy them out for each post!).

In short:
  • use your brains not software to find the answer - search using words only on a database of images 
  • leave your answer as a comment on this blog - do not leave the answer on Facebook! 
  • if correct it will not be published until the next post - which provides the answer 
  • if wrong it will be published 
  • the winner - who gets a mention and a link on/from this blog - is NOT THIS WEEK the first person to give me a completely correct answer for ALL the things I want to know. It's the person who does all this AND provides the BEST answer (see above)

Who Painted This #56 - The Answer

Thursday, January 09, 2014

RWS Contemporary Watercolour Open Competition 2014 & Associate Membership

This is a quick reminder for all those domestic and international artists who aspire to become members of the Royal Watercolour Society.

This year the Royal Watercolour Society has separated :

Previously the two have happened at the same time with some very confusing and no doubt irritating timetables for the artists making an application for election and entering work to the competition.

That said I'd still expect the RWS to pay a lot of attention to the people whose work gets selected and accepted for this very prestigious juried exhibition.

RWS Open 2013 at the Bankside Gallery

RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition 2014

The RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition is an annual open competition for artists working in water-­‐ based media. It is run by the Royal Watercolour Society to encourage fresh approaches to watercolour painting, and to showcase the latest innovations in the medium. Any professional artist who is not already a Member of the Society may enter.

The Entry Pack is more helpful than most - mainly because it's not trying to cram it all onto 2 sides of A4! Thank goodness for art societies which have realised that clarity is more important in the digital age than how few sides of paper you have to print!

Note that the entry pack is based on last year where the entry to the competition and application for election were horribly tangled up. They now have two separate pages on the website and two separate application packs and the processes run at different times of the year.

RWS Contemporary Watercolour Open Competition 2014 - Entry Form

The big bonus of this competition

The big bonus is that the open entry is not competing with members' work for space on the walls of the gallery. The open competition is just that - a competition amongst non-members to get their work hung.

Plus the members have three exhibitions a year - in the Spring, Autumn and around Christmas/New Year - which means election means your work gets seen more often than in some other art societies.

The Alphabetical Anomaly

Last year I highlighted things in my review of the exhibition which I've rarely had to comment on before.

To be frank - there was something downright odd about last year's selection.  I counted the surnames of selected artists and matched them to the first half and second half of the alphabet. The following is NOT statistically normal.
It's not usual for surnames starting with letters in the first half of the alphabet to comprise nearly 80% of the works exhibited. Maybe next year start the selection process at the other end of the alphabet?
In addition, I was NOT impressed with some of the works selected for the exhibition and this was a view which was very obviously shared by at least some of those who hung the exhibition.

Let's hope the selectors this year are fully refreshed from their seasonal activities, on their toes and mindful of the the need to ensure that those artists whose surnames come at the end of the alphabet do not get left out because there's no room left in the exhibition.

The RWS must also be very mindful of the fact that some artists can make their paintings look a lot more attractive on a digital file then they are in reality.  To my mind the only thing a responsible art society can do in these circumstances is to reject all works submitted which vary significantly from the works submitted online.  I'm certainly beginning to see why the RA's category of "selected but not hung" makes sense.

Having said that - read on to see what the RWS has to say about this year and the measures to address these issues.

Paintings in the RWS Open 2013

What can be entered 

  • All paintings in water-­‐based media, including watercolour, pen and ink, acrylic and gouache are eligible, regardless of style or subject matter, as long as they are painted on paper.
  • The painting must have been completed in the past four years by the artist entering it.
  • The painting must not be larger than 100cm x 100cm when framed.  

Who can enter

This competition is OPEN to
Any professional artist who is not already a Member of the Society may enter.
By implication, that means
  • people who are NOT members of the Royal Watercolour Society
  • people who do NOT live or work in the UK
  • people who are NOT amateur / hobby artists
  • artists of any age (not indicated - but no limit indicated either) 

Commission and Fees

For those confused by VAT, the way the commission works is that the Gallery will charge 40% + VAT of 20% when selling a painting. That means on a £1,000 painting, the Gallery will take £400 and include £80 in their VAT return to HM Revenue and Customs - which means you get £520. Which means your profit is £520 minus the travel/courier and framing expenses and entry fee of £14.  You write down your costs to marketing!


You don't enter this competition to win prizes - although there are some. You enter it to impress your friends that you got your work into an RWS show and.or to impress the members with your work and provide support for an eventual application for membership! :)

Special points to note

I'm trying to pick out here aspects which are NOT the same as the entry conditions for other art competitions.  Some are a jolly good idea and should apply to other competitions also!
  • Amateur artists are not eligible.  The use of the words "professional artist" may possibly need clarification - however it's clear to me that they want people to enter the competition who earn their living by being an artist.
  • Neutral rules! Ignore at your peril.
Paintings must be framed and glazed to be included in the exhibition. Frames must be of professional quality and should be white, natural or black wood, with a white or cream coloured mount.
  • Poor quality is out. It looks very much like last year's "oddities" will not be back this year. There's a very clear statement that works where the framing is not up to standard and requirements will not be hung - nor will paintings which differ significantly from the digital image.
Poorly presented paintings will not be exhibited. This includes paintings in plastic, metal, or clip frames; paintings with tinted, non-­‐reflective or no glass; or any painting that differs significantly from the photograph that was entered.
You can review past posts of past exhibitions in the links at the end of this blog post.

Election to Associate Membership

You can download the Application Pack for Associate Membership 2014

Applicants are invited to submit three framed, glazed paintings and a portfolio of supporting work to be judged by RWS Members. If elected, you will become an Associate Member of the RWS, eligible for promotion to full Membership after three years.
The bit you won't find in the application pack is that the convention is you can be a member of the RWS or the RI but not both. This is referenced in the election pack as follows

providing they do not belong to another London watercolour society
Personally I don't understand what past difficulties have to do with present membership.

Here's the nuts and bolts of the application process
  • Return your completed application form, a CV, a cheque for fee of £40 and a stamped address envelope to Bankside Gallery by Monday 10 March, 5pm
  • Deliver three framed paintings and a portfolio of small watercolour sketches, studies, drawings and sketchbooks to support your application to Bankside Gallery on Friday 21 March, 11am-7pm 
  • All work must be on paper and must have been painted within the past four years. 
  • Your paintings must be professionally framed and glazed, and must not exceed 1.5m x 1.5m.
  • Please ensure each painting is clearly labelled on the back with your name.
  • All submitted paintings must be available for sale - if you are elected the RWS will choose one of your framed paintings for the RWS Diploma Collection. The remaining two paintings will be exhibited for sale in the RWS Spring Exhibition at Bankside Gallery (Friday 28 March – Saturday 26 April).

Past Exhibitions

You can review my blog posts below about some of the previous exhibitions below. These include gallery shots of works in the exhibition and links to the websites of prizewinning artists.

For some reason this exhibition's association with winter months often finds me knocked for six by some bug or other - or otherwise curtailing exhibition visits due to very bad weather and my dodgy feet/balance - hence the gaps in some of the posts below. It's certainly an excellent exhibition and one I usually I try and get to see if at all possible.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Major Art Competitions in the UK in 2014

This is my annual post about Major Art Competitions in the UK. Below you will find a list of all ALL major art competitions in the UK in 2014 plus:
  • an overview of what each competition is about
  • links to more information
  • key dates - including the deadline for entry where known.
First a preamble about other useful information

Bookmark for Updates

Information is updated - as it becomes available - on Major UK Art Competitions Page (a static page at the top of this blog - just under the title).  Future information will include links to:
  • Call for Entries
  • Announcement of selected artists 
  • Names and websites of artists shortlisted for Prizes
  • Exhibition reviews 

Archive of Information about Art Competitions in the UK 

My website Art Competitions in the UK provides an archive of information about past art competitions and reviews of works selected for precious competition exhibitions. It also includes links to:

Tips for artists entering juried / open art competitions and exhibitions

You may find my blog posts from the past helpful

20 tips for entering art competitionsWhat do you need to know when thinking about entering an art competition? Here's 20 tips to help you.
Juried art competitions - does size matter?For those concerned about what size to paint
How to calculate the cost of entering a juried art exhibition

Pre-selected, selected, long listed, shortlisted, prizewinner - what's in a phrase?
For those concerned about how the expenses can mount up

A discussion of the terminology used to describe artists at different stages of an art competition
A Making A Mark Guide: Analysing the cost of entering a juried art exhibitionDownload my FREE spreadsheet which acts as a checklist and helps you to cost out your entry
The Websites of Contemporary Painters in the UKget your website sorted BEFORE you enter a juried art competition or miss out on the traffic when the names of selected artists are announced!

If you want to be kept informed about updates on major art competitions in the UK:
  • you can bookmark this blog on your blog - always appreciated!
  • bookmark the Major UK Art Competitions Page - which is regularly updated
  • subscribe to this blog (see right hand column).  Note that a subscription means you will either get an email or notification in your feed reader about every post I publish - and they're NOT all about art competitions, although you may well find some of them very interesting!  
  • Follow my Makingamark Facebook Page where I post updates about all major art competitions and open exhibitions in the UK
Please note that this post EXCLUDES 
  • Art Society Open Exhibitions. However I cover the major open exhibitions organised by national art societies which I will cover in  a future post Key Dates for UK National Art Society Exhibitions in 2014
  • art competitions based in the UK which have a first prize of less than £10,000 (unless they are the major award for that type of art eg Jerwood Drawing Prize)

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Who painted this? #56

Who painted this? #56
Not the usual subject for a painting that you associate with this painter.

Don't forget besides wanting the answers to all the usual questions (see below) I'd also like to hear about what you managed to find out about the artist and painting - and the best answer wins this week's challenge!

How to participate in "Who painted this? #55"

PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.
Click this link to read THE RULES for participating in this challenge (this saves having to copy them out for each post!).

In short:
  • use your brains not software to find the answer - search using words only on a database of images 
  • leave your answer as a comment on this blog - do not leave the answer on Facebook! 
  • if correct it will not be published until the next post - which provides the answer 
  • if wrong it will be published 
  • the winner - who gets a mention and a link on/from this blog - is NOT THIS WEEK the first person to give me a completely correct answer for ALL the things I want to know. It's the person who does all this AND provides the BEST answer (see above)

Who Painted This #54 - The Answer

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Major Art Exhibitions in London in 2014

Today I updated my Page on this blog devoted to Major Art Exhibitions in London to include all those taking place in 2014.

See Major Art Exhibitions in London in 2014 - in the top menu

I'm not going to list them all here - that's what the page is for.  However I will note those I'm looking forward to in a timeline below

A Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling (Anne Lovell?)
Hans Holbein the Younger
about 1526-8
National Gallery, London (Image from Google Art)

- part of the Strange Beauty: Masters of the German Renaissance exhibition

NEW Exhibitions in 2014 - my top ten

February 2014

April 2014

  • Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern. I should imagine this one will be very popular as it's the most comprehensive exhibition of work in this genre!

May 2014

  • Kenneth Clark at Tate Britain - examines Clark’s role as a patron and collector, art historian, public servant and broadcaster, and celebrates his contribution to bringing art in the twentieth century to a more popular audience.

June 2014

  • Colour at the National Gallery (Sainsbury Wing) - an exhibition examining the history of colour in art.

September 2014

  • Constable: The Making of a Master at the V&A - they're keeping quiet about this but here's hoping this is going to be a good one!
  •  Late Turner: Painting Set Free at Tate Britain - the first major exhibition to survey the achievements of the last works of J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851).

October 2014

November 2014
  • Painting Canada 2 at Dulwich Picture Gallery - I loved Painting Canada about Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven and I'm looking forward to seeing the work of Emily Carr - one of Canada’s best loved artists