Monday, October 17, 2016

The Pastel Society - a final Call for Entries

Did you know that if you work in pastels, oil pastels, charcoal, pencil, conte, sanguine, or any dry media you can submit work to open annual exhibition of The Pastel Society?

Below is an overview of the details for those wanting to submit work to The Pastel Society (PS) Annual Exhibition 2017 at the Mall Galleries.

You have three weeks to get a submission together if you want to enter.

The deadline for your digital entry is Friday 4 November 2016, 12 noon

At the end of this post are links to past exhibitions which I've reviewed on this blog so you can see what sort of work gets exhibited by members and those selected from the open entry.

A panoramic view of the Private View of the 2016 Pastel Society Exhibition at the Mall Galleries


Who is eligible?

  • This is an OPEN exhibition and is not limited to work by members
  • Any artist over 18 may submit. 
  • There is no restriction of where you live and the exhibition often has works exhibited by people who live overseas.  The exhibition is open to artists in the UK, EU, and outside the EU.

Artists who are not resident in the UK but are resident in the EU are welcome to submit work. If your work is sold at the exhibition you have a responsibility to register and account for UK VAT with H.M. Revenue & Customs. Artists submitting work from outside the UK and EU must be registered BEFORE they submit online.
View of a corner of the exhibition in 2016

What media and images are eligible?

Eligible media

  • Pastels, oil pastels, charcoal, pencil, conte, sanguine, or any other dry media are all acceptable media.
  • I must confess I'm always surprised by the oil pastels. If the new watercolour sticks or the art marker sticks called them pastels would that mean that they too became eligible media? For me personally, the criteria ought to strictly limit artwork to dry media in all its various forms.

Eligible images

  • Works should not be larger than 2.4m (7.8 feet) along the longest dimension.
  • Work must have been:
    • completed during the twelve months prior to the exhibition and 
    • not have been exhibited elsewhere.
  • Number of works:
    • Maximum of six works submitted. 
    • Maximum of four works selected.
  • Minimum price: £300.

Submission: key dates and points to note

The Call for Entries for the Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2017 can be found on the Mall Galleries website. This includes details of the numerous prizes on offer.

The website ALSO has the FULL Terms and Conditions for all 'Calls for Entries' for exhibitions at the Mall Galleries
  • ALL work must be submitted online at
  • You must complete the registration form and upload your digital image (in JPEG format and no bigger than 1MB) no later than Friday 4 November 2016, 12 noon when registration closes.
  • The submission fee is £15 per work (£10 per work for artists aged 35 or under) - with no further hanging fee.
  • CHECK if your work has passed the digital screening by logging on from Friday 11th November 12 noon.  
  • If pre-selected you now have two months to get your work framed prior to delivery for the second round of selection.
  • IF PRE-SELECTED you need to deliver your work for the second round of the selection process
    • Works should be delivered unwrapped with forms and labels.
    • Artists sending work from abroad should use a picture carrier.
    • Deliver your work on the Receiving Day - Saturday 7th January 2017 between 10am - 5pm.
  • Selection takes place on Monday 9th January 2017.
  • CHECK if your work has been selected for exhibition on Tuesday 10 January, from 12 noon.
  • Be prepared to collect unaccepted work on Thursday 12th January 10am - 5pm
Drawings in Charcoal at the 2016 exhibition

TIPS for potential entrants

  • Read the FULL terms and conditions for entry on the Mall Galleries website carefully
  • Don't leave registration and uploading your image to the last minute. 
  • Measure your work precisely
  • Make sure the framed size does not render the work ineligible.
  • If you live outside the UK make sure you read the conditions about VAT very carefully and don't think you can get away with skipping registration if it applies to you!  This is both law and tax and this condition is NOT flexible!

Exhibition - Key dates

The exhibition opens to the public on Tuesday 21st February. It's then open every day (10am to 5pm) until 3pm on Saturday 4th March. The Private View is on Monday 20th February 2pm - 8pm

I will be reviewing the exhibition as per normal that week!  To see what previous exhibitions have looked like see below.

Past Exhibitions of the Pastel Society


  1. As a oil pastel user, who is not a member of the Pastel Society (yet!) that had a piece selected for this competition, I feel that oil pastels are a great, underrated medium that doesn't get enough exposure - and I am definitely in favour of their inclusion in this show.

    However, if oil pastels don't pass muster, what do you think about the mixed-media pieces? I saw a very nice acrylic landscape, with a few touches of chalk that apparently qualified as a pastel piece - which is too loose a definition in my view.

    Maybe it was a member of the Pastel Society, which is why it was selected. I have a big framed mixed-media self portrait, that was shortlisted for another prize. The piece is a combination of oil pastel, paint and collage, thinking about entering it - since it appears that anything goes...Love your blog by the way!

  2. Interestingly there's been discussion in the past that I'm aware of about pieces being selected for exhibition which had too little emphasis on the dry media. Or should I say rather too much prominence given to other media i.e. paint of whatever sort.

    My perspective is that it's entirely OK to use other media as an under-painting or whatever however for me any artwork would not meet the criteria for this exhibition - as indicated in the call for entries - UNLESS the primary emphasis of the piece was dry media.

    That is in part why I'm puzzled about oil pastels - and also why oil pastels people don't enter their work in the Royal Society of Oil painters exhibitions! If the oil people accept acrylics then surely they will accept oil pastels too!

  3. I am rather confused I have to be honest. Presumably this means that graphite and coloured pencil are accepted considering they are dry media however they are hardly pastel? Is this the status quo in most societies now as I note that you say that the RSOP accept acrylic. Does this not defeat the object of having societies for a set medium? I would love to hear your thoughts on this Katherine

  4. Pastels is maybe rather different because charcoal is regularly accepted and is different in terms of content and processing from soft pastels - and yet produces the same sort of mark-making properties on supports (minus the colour). Pastel artists often employ other dry media in their work - and essentially they all work in the same way

    However acrylics masquerading as oils and/or watercolour just plain annoys me.

    When is the medium going to grow up and celebrate its medium in its own right rather than fooling the public by slipping in under another name?!

  5. Completely agree and I just can't get my head around the fact coloured pencils are accepted as they are totally different to pastels. If it were a case of pastel pencils then I could understand as I myself favour these as I am too OCD for my own good and pastel dust tends to grate on my nerves however with coloured pencil being oil or wax based I just don't get it

  6. Coloured pencils on an abrasive surface look incredibly like soft pastels. I know - I use both!


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