Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2015 - Call for entries

Yet another art competition on television!  This time it's Sky Arts' Landscape Artist of the Year 2015.

It's very definitely worth a look for the career minded and/or aspiring landscape artist who doesn't mind painting in public or even on television!

Home Page on the competition's website
Here's what you need to do if you fancy painting landscapes on television. The information has been pulled together from a number of sites online. Comments from me about the process are in italics

Deadline for entries 

We'll start with the important fact in their call for entries!

  • 12pm (midday) on Friday 20th March 2015


The prize is a £10,000 commission for The National Trust. This makes this competition definitely worth a second look!

Who can enter

People who are
  • resident in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man or Channel Islands for one year or longer on 2nd February 2015?
  • landscape painters - that's because you have to submit two landscape paintings with your application!
  • a minimum of 16 years of age. If you are aged under 18, parental consent is required.

You are NOT eligible to apply if you won a heat or the overall competition for the Portrait Artist of the Year run by Sky Arts.

Note that if you have previously applied for Portrait Artist of the Year I'd guess that it's very likely that they will review what their decision was about you last time you applied.

Note also that this is a competition with a significant prize and I'd expect there to be stiff competition from professional landscape artists. There again, it's potentially high stakes for professional artists if they're not seen to be good enough to progress. I'd expect there to be a lot of entries from those artists making their own breaks into professional art. This one is too good an opportunity to miss.

What sort of landscape art is allowed?

  • any drawing or painting media. All of these media get a tick box on the form - Watercolour, Oil Paints, Pencil, Charcoal, Pastel, Acrylic, Alkyds, Mixed Media (including collage) "Other"
  • digital media is NOT allowed - hence photography, video, sculpture or any form of digital media are NOT eligible for entry

How to enter

  • Read the terms and conditions (LOTS of small print). Then read them again. Then read them again before you upload your entry.  I cannot emphasise too much how easy it is to miss or misunderstand an important point - and you'll be kicking yourself if you do!
  • Read the Frequently Asked Questions about the application process. This is a very helpful document - do read twice!
  • Complete and submit the online application form. Applications by post are not accepted.
  • Upload a passport style photo of yourself (maximum size of 500 kb).
  • Upload photographs of your art. Images should be in a jpeg format and as close to 1MB as possible with a minimum file size of 800KB. My advice would be to find the balance between pixel size and resolution used which provides the best presentation of your landscape art on screen.  Bear in mind the screening is very likely to be done using a digital screen (I'm checking this). I don't expect that they will be printing these out.
    1. A low resolution jpeg image of a complete landscape painting produced in the last five years. The artwork must not exceed 48"x 36" (1220 x 914 mm)
    2. Low resolution jpegs of up to two further works of art by yourself (one photo per artwork). At least one MUST be a landscape. 
    3. You do need to ensure that these are images where you can also provide a high resolution image if asked for one. My recommendation would be to start with the high resolution image in TIFF and then save it into a NEW jpeg FILE and ONLY after that adjust for pixel size and dimensions until you've got the best possible image of the artwork. In other words do not mess with the high res image! Also don't digitally 'enhance' your artwork or you'll find you're one of the ones going home early or marked down as a 'chancer'!
Note that the website provides advice on how to photograph your artwork - although I think I can improve on their advice for how to shrink a photo!

Only one entry can be submitted per person - by the individual artist. Entries on behalf of another person will NOT be accepted. (It just wastes their time if entries come on behalf of people who simply don't want to be televised.)

What does it cost to enter?

There is no entry fee - however....

In the event you are selected, you will be expected to pay for getting yourself and your landscapes to and from the location of your heat, and for any hotel and subsistence costs. The semi-finalists and finalists will have necessary travel, hotel and subsistence costs paid during their subsequent landscape tasks and at the final.

Locations and dates for painting heats

The locations and dates for this painting competition are listed below. The Links in the dates are to the Facebook Pages for these events. Looks like the artists are going to have an audience!

There is no guarantee which heat you will be allocated to.

Artists invited to a heat will be asked to produce an artwork depicting a landscape view within six hours.
you will be given up to six hours to complete your work of art, and all landscapes will be judged at the end of one day, whether they are considered complete or not by the artist. However, the landscape you submitted in the application process will also be taken into consideration during the judging process at the end of the day.
I've been talking to the producers and I'm going to try and get to one of the heats to report on the process.

The current plan is that:
  • The semi-final will be held on Wednesday 10th June
  • the second artwork to be produced for the Final will be created and filmed at the world famous landscape garden at Stourhead, near Mere, Wiltshire, BA12 6QF on Sunday 12th July 2015


The expert judges returning for this series are:
  • Tai Shan Schierenberg painter. I'd always thought of Tai Shan as being a portrait artist but his website indicates he's painted more than a few landscapes too.
  • Kathleen Soriano, former Director of Exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts and now an Independent Curator and Art Historian Twitter @KclSoriano
  • Kate Bryan, a former Director of The Fine Art Society and now Director of the London art fair Art15 Twitter @KateJBryan
Personally speaking I think I prefer the bias of the BBC Painting Challenge towards having judges who are primarily well known for being painters as well as curators and teachers.

How does the judging process work?

Landscapes will be judged on technical ability, originality and potential.

The shortlist of artists for the heats works as follows
The judges view the digital images on a screen on a high res screen by number - so they have no knowledge of whom the entry is from. To date we have filmed the process so it is completely transparent.
You'll find out whether or joy made the shortlist by or shortly after Thursday 2nd April.

At the end of each heat the Judges listed above will choose who goes forward into the next round as a semi-finalist. The semi-finalists will then compete for one of three places in the final.

Those reaching the final will produce two artworks and have 6 hours to produce one of their final landscapes.

One overall winner, the Landscape Artist of the Year, will be announced at a date and location to be confirmed in September.
If You are chosen as the Winner, You must be available between the Final Date and 30th September 2015 to produce the Winner's Prize Artwork on exact dates to be determined by the Producer.


Joan Bakewell and Frank Skinner continue to be the presenters.

Joan appears to be a tad bothered by the new competition from the BBC! I didn't have her down as somebody who would mind a bit of healthy competition. :)

Links to relevant websites

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