Sunday, April 03, 2016

BP Portrait Award: The Best of the Rest

I was sent an image today by somebody who did NOT get their work selected for display in the BP Portrait Prize Exhibition 2016. (Those selected will be announced this week).
Hello Katherine,
Thanks for the consistently excellent reads.This year, I am one of the selected artists for the BP Portrait Prize who did not make it into the exhibition. I thought I'd send along an image of my piece, The Big Time, should it be of any use for your article.
However it struck me, I've got a lot of BP Portrait Followers and it occurred to me I could offer a second bite of the cherry with a "best of the rest" virtual exhibition for anybody interested. 
  • Entries are strictly limited to those who entered the BP this year but were unsuccessful. 
  • An explanation of what you need to do can be found below.
Congratulations to Alessandro Tomasetti for having a good idea and prompting this blog post! This is his portrait which didn't make it.

The Big Time by Alessandro Tomasetti
50 x 65cm, oil on linen

"BP Portrait - Best of the Rest" - how to enter

Subject to enough submissions I'm happy to display "the ten best of the rest" i.e. of submissions sent to me for review which were not chosen for exhibition by the BP Portrait Selectors this year.

What I need from the artists whose entries were rejected is:
  • TWO digital images
    • your portrait as per the image you submitted (I want good images to review). I'll then downsize the images of the ten best and make them web-ready for the blog. They will be displayed @72 dpi with the longest dimension being no bigger than 600 pixels 
    • PLUS a scan or photo of your rejection letter from the competition showing the date, your name and the title of your portrait and the outcome of selection. (I'm no fool - I don't want to be drowned in portraits from those who forgot to send their entries in!). 
  • dimensions and media of the portrait in your email
  • your website domain name. I will provide a link to your website if your portrait gets posted - much as I do for the selected artists.
  • receipt of your entry by Friday 8th April.

Where to send your email entry

This web page gives you my email address - on the right under the pic of me.


  1. Great idea, it's always interesting to see what didn't make it.

  2. What a treat! Can't wait to see them.

  3. Is this only open to rejected artists from the judges selection 2nd round or also the previous digital first round too?

  4. I hadn't thought of that.

    I'm happy to leave it open to everybody who has been rejected.

  5. Already been done, except no one was turned away unless they didn't enter the competition. Look up the Salon of BP refusals pages in Facebook from years 2013 and 2014.

  6. Those pages have a very limited audience. Plus did you notice they didn't do it last year?

    I'm also suggesting something slightly different as well.

    I'm getting quite a few emails - with lots of interest I notice from overseas artists!

    1. Those pages still get views. It wasn't done last year because of time constraints. Just wanted to suggest, it's great for the ten you choose but remember some of these artists might still be bruised and a second rejection may be a bit painful. Plus choosing only ten out of possibly hundreds of top notch paintings is a tad unfair. Guess it also depends on how much artists hold your opinion in their esteem.

  7. @Jeawar - your comments seem a tad detached from reality!

    1. Any artist who puts their work into a competition better be prepared for rejection because that is the most likely result. The typical rejection rate for the BP is about 95% plus! Those with egos liable to be bruised need not apply. That's not to say it's not extremely disappointing for those who don't make it. I always choose to emphasise what the chance of getting selected is in my blog post explaining the Call for Entries . Doesn't stop 2k plus artists applying.....

    2. Selection panels choose a few paintings from very many competition entries all the time. I choose paintings to highlight when I review an exhibition all the time. It's not difficult. Most of them choose themselves - because they are distinctively different and read well. The difficult bit is getting it down to the predetermined number from a pool that's a bit bigger.

    3. Given that a number of artists who have put in for the BP have done so after reading my blog posts about it, I'm guessing many of them will be very happy to see their art getting an airing on my blog even if it did get rejected.

    4. Life is not fair - period! This is a learning point that we're all well advised to learn young and keep reminding ourselves of at regular intervals...

    5. Judging by the comments that get sent to me and the reactions when people meet me I have to say I'm always more than pleased with the feedback (esteem) I get from people who read this blog on a regular basis. I'm guessing maybe you don't?

    (PS The reason I do things like this is because at the very first BP Portrait Awards Ceremony I was invited to I found out that the Young Artist of the Year had only won the prize because he'd read my blog post and as a result decided to enter!)

  8. Do it. I for one would like to see them. Plus there is nothing wrong with additional AND different coverage. Coverage from another point of view.
    As for ..."some of these artists might still be bruised and a second rejection may be a bit painful." I would guess if they are submitting here then that would not be an issue, those bruised probably won't bother.

    Yes, on Facebook means a limited audience.
    And your #1 point. Upon entering be prepared for rejection. Yes.
    That % is roughly the same as for The National Watercolor Society here in the US. I know because I have helped hang a few of their shows. That means there is room in the gallery to hang about 80 to 100 paintings, depending on their size, out of typically between 1000 to 1200 entries per show.
    The competition is tough and lots of really great paintings must be edited out. Thats just the way it is. Only so much available wall space.
    I am glad I have had the chance to see how it works behind the scenes as it gave me a better perspective.
    I know the agonizing the selection panel goes through when down to the last selection round especially.
    Yes, the shows I do not make it into I am initially disappointed but that only makes me more determined. It is one way we get motivated to raise the level of our own work. As it should be.

  9. There's nothing like a rejection from something you really want to get into to make an artist "raise their game" as it were!

  10. Great idea thanks for all your effort. But pls allow them to be viewed at a larger size than BP do for those of us who cant travel 10,000kms to view:)

  11. The Salon of BP refusals has just had 21 views since I wrote here...thanks for allowing my comments in here. My point is, why not show more than just ten paintings (as your personal is obviously subjective) if your blog has the thousands of viewers that you seem to claim to have? You would be doing a much better service for those who choose to participate and I am sure it would increase your readership if that is what you're interested in.

  12. @Jeawar - I get well over half a million pageviews of this blog a year - plus views sky rocket whenever I put up anything about the BP award - BECAUSE of my comprehensive and in-depth coverage of this very prestigious award over the years. I can assure you that I'm not after more readers or concerned about my global readership in relation to BP!

    You seem to misunderstand the nature of the blog. My blog - and its audience - is the product of over ten years of blogging on a very regular basis. Bottom line I am not an art gallery nor am I advertising artists. The editorial content is determined by my personal interests and that means it covers what I want it to cover - not what you want it to cover.

    You or absolutely anybody else is very welcome to do the same thing if they want to and cover something different to me. Do have a go. It'll take quite a bit of time to get traction....

    Let's get back to the nature of competitions. Art is not equal. Judges are subjective. That's the way it is. I also have my personal preferences - and I also have a pretty good track record of calling the winner before the painting is announced.

  13. Pete - the problem with large sizes is file size and the increase load it places on the pageload speed i.e. reduces it significantly. There's a jolly good reason why each BP portrait selected is on a separate page. I'll go as big as I can and no bigger than what I've said to the artists.

    What I will do is include links to the artists' websites and if they choose to put bigger images on their sites then that'll work for you and others who are interested in seeing bigger images.

  14. Fair enough...and I did do the same thing, as mentioned previously. I originated the BP Refusals page for no other reason than to let artists post their works without judgement or prejudice. So as administrator of the BP Refusal pages in Facebook, I hereby invite any BP participating artist to send photos as well as proof that they entered this year and I will most happily post them for 2016. Just write to me via the Facebook BP Refusals 2014 page and we will see what we can do. Just one other thing, Katherine. If this page had/has such a limited audience, wonder how you found it and asked me to post something from your blog? Whatever, do what you wish here, it is your blog after all. But I am here for any artists who wish to have their paintings posted forever in Facebook for any of (how many millions?) of people to see at any given time. Thanks for the impetus to pick up where I left off.

  15. I used the Facebook search function Jeawar - it's not difficult!


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