Saturday, December 10, 2016

Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2016 - Heat Winners & Finalists

The winner of Sky Landscape Artist of the Year 2016 on Sky Arts was declared at the end of November and The Turner Contemporary is currently holding an exhibition of the paintings of Margate by the finalists in the 2016 Sky Arts Landscape Artist of The Year competition

The exhibition also includes works submitted as entries by selected artists and is being held between 6 December 2016 and 8 January 2017 at the Turner Contemporary Gallery, Rendezvous, Margate Kent CT9 1HG

Below is a list of the heat winners, links to their website and interview and a synopsis about them.  I've summarised the tips from the finalists at the end from their interviews with Cass Arts.

The approach was to select 8 pre-selected artists and to host up to 50 wildcard entries at each venue

The Heat Winners and The Overall Winner

The Judges were
  • Award-winning artist Tai Shan Schierenberg, 
  • independent curator Kathleen Soriano and 
  • art historian Kate Bryan

Episode 1: Scotney Castle

The winner was Howard Weaver. This is:

Facts about Howard Weaver

  • grew up in Amersham, in Chiltern Hill
  • lives in Wales
  • Started as a scenic artist in the film industry age 18
  • for scenic art, he uses big rollers and six inch brushes to capture a scene for film
  • used to deadlines but found the 4 hour restriction for the competition painting a real challenge

Episode 2: Wray Castle

Eight more artists and 50 wildcard entries went to Wray Castle in Cumbria.

Gregor Henderson won Heat 2 at Wray Castle.  This is:

Facts about Gregor Henderson

  • lives in Kilsyth, just outside of Glasgow
  • works as a Youth Development Officer
  • graduated from Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Fine Art with Painting and Printmaking
  • he currently has paintings on show at Take me to another place II ' Winter Exhibition' in Angus in Montrose, Angus in Scotland.
One of the things that I wasn't really prepared for at all was the amount of starting and stopping we had to do in order for them to get the right shots. Obviously they need to capture as much of the process as possible so we were constantly pausing to re-position the cameras or repeat simple little motions. It meant the whole four hour time-frame was a bit disjointed and start-stop and at times it was difficult to get into any sort of rhythm.

Episode 3: Stowe

Heat Three was won by Philip Edwards. This is
The wildcard winner was Kim Whitby

Facts about Philip Edwards

  • born in Perth, Scotland in 1980
  • MA (Hons) Fine Art (With Distinction in The History of Art), from Edinburgh University and College of Art.
  • studied at Florence Academy of Art
  • has exhibited in New York, London, and all over Scotland
  • has won various awards
  • draws in charcoal and sanguine - but is very fussy about the brands he uses (see interview)

Episode 4: Scotney Castle

Titus Agbara won Heat 4 at Scotney Castle in Kent with this painting.  This is:
I’ve noticed that paintings selected are not often after the traditional landscape picture or just copying the landscape slavishly however, its often to do with people’s emotions and their subjective rendition of the space, not just copying what is directly in front of you.

Facts about Titus Agbara

  • Born in Nigeria, Africa
  • studied at the Auchi Art School, a Federal Polytechnic in Edo State
  • 1999: awarded Higher National Diploma in Painting and General Art.
  • works as a full time studio artist in Nigeria
  • moved to UK in 2007
  • lives and works in Manchester
  • now paints as a hobby
  • paints with a palette knife, mostly in oil

Episode 5: Wray

Anna Perlin won Heat 5 at Wray Castle - this is:

Facts about Anna Perlin

  • grew up in Oxfordshire
  • 2001: Graduated in Textile design and marketing
  • a self-taught artist
  • paints what pleases her and what she'd like to see on her own wall
  • full time artist
  • uses acrylic for initial layers; may add in cold wax medium and/or oil bars as she develops mixed media artwork\
  • usually works in her studio rather than plein air

She's also been shortlisted for the Artists & illustrators Artist of the Year 2017.
The exhibition will be held in the Threadneedle Space at the Mall Galleries from 23 to 28 January 2017
(I'm not quite sure what the rationale is for having an artist for a year which hasn't yet happened - but that's nothing to do with Anna!)

Episode 6: Stowe

Richard Allen won Heat 6 - this is

Facts about Richard Allen

  • He lives and works in Bournemouth.
  • He studied fine art - specialising in painting - at Central Saint Martins in London
  • He was awarded a Masters Degree in Illustration
  • He works as a professional illustrator. He has numerous prestigious and international clients
  • In 2012, he returned to painting
  • he uses Winsor and Newton, Michael Harding, Daler Rowney, and Schmincke Mussini paints
From what I know of the judges I think that they look for technical accomplishment and an idiosyncratic point of view.

Episode 7Semi-Final - Margate Harbour

Kim Whitby won the wild card and made it all the way to the semi final. This is:

Facts about 

  • BEd Art graduate from King Alfred's College in Winchester 
  • taught full time as an infant teacher for many years. 
  • recently relocated to Portsmouth
  • worked as a supply teacher in Hampshire
I had always been frustrated with my painting and as a teacher I knew that being around people who taught art all the time would get me much further more quickly
  • December 2014 - got a Fine Art Masters degree from Aberystwyth University
  • previously selected for exhibitions for:
    • the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition and 
    • the Kyffin Williams Drawing Prize
I gained some valuable feedback from judges last year which reinforced my suspicions that my better work is produced when I respond directly to my surroundings. I am now learning to trust my instinct about selecting my focus and subject matter.
  • works in ink on blotting paper
  • use a range of tools for making marks - large house painting brushes to sable watercolour brushes and Chinese ink brushes and tiny dipping pens.

Episode 8: The Final - Loch Ness

The finalists were Richard Allen, Kim Whitby and Gregor Anderson.

Richard Allen, Gregor Anderson and Kim Whitby

...and the winner of  2016 Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year  was - Richard Allen

This is the interview with Cass Arts following his win.

You can also read all the comments stimulated by the Final on the Sky Arts Facebook Page

If you watched what did you think about the competition?

Episode 9: The Winner

This episode follows the path of the winner to the Final and tackling the challenge of the commission for the winner to paint a view of Petworth House made famous by paintings of Turner.

Richard Allen is undertaking a number of commissions for the National Trust as part of his prize and an exhibition of his work will be at Petworth House, Church St, Petworth, West Sussex GU28 0AE, between 25 March and 21 May 2017

and finally......

Next summer, Landscape Artist of The Year will be filmed at locations around the UK in June and July 2017. Details of these and how to apply will be released in early 2017. Terms and conditions apply.

The video below shows you what the wild card entry was like this year.

TIPS FOR 2017 from the finalists

As for what makes a Sky Arts winner, I’m bound to say that I trust implicitly the judges’ critical faculties! From what I know of the judges I think that they look for technical accomplishment and an idiosyncratic point of view. Richard Allen
Have in your mind what you are capable of in respect of time, scale and materials. If you are not an experienced outdoor artist you WILL need to practice. There are any number of practicalities you will overlook when you first head out to work outdoors, which you can correct with experience, forgetting water pots, paper towel, even really obvious things like paint brushes can get overlooked. Kim Whitby 
firstly it's really important to think about what you can produce in 4 hours. Although some people work quickly and the time limit isn't an issue, for me it's only a tiny fraction of what I would usually spend on a piece so I had to work hard to condense my process and try and squeeze enough out of it to have a reasonably resolved painting at the end. I'd also say don't try something quirky or gimmicky to try and stand out - just concentrate on what you're good at and work hard to let that show. Other than that just go for it Gregor Henderson
All quotes from their interviews with Cass Arts 


  1. I love this show! Think the idea of a 'wild card' artist is very fair. Also love the fact that each artist is entirely unique, and all are so talented. The sites chosen are just beautiful!

  2. I love this show! The idea of 'wild card' artist is very fair. Also love that each artist is so unique, and so talented! Also, the sites that have been chosen are so beautiful.


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