Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 - Call for Entries

Sky Arts  starts screening the programmes for Portrait Artist of the Year 2017 tonight.
PLUS entries are now open for Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2018Below is a summary of:
  • the new series of Portrait Artist of the Year 2017
  • what you have to do enter Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 - before the deadline of 3rd March - for filming in April
  • how the competition works

Portrait Artist of the Year 2017

There are nine episodes in total in the 2017 series.  The first episode is being transmitted at 8pm tonight (Tuesday, January 24th 2017) on Sky Arts and on demand.

Sky Arts got hundreds of entries which were reduced down to just 54 artists (9 per heat).

Sitters for the third series of this show include
  • first episode: Stanley Tucci, Indira Varma and Freddie Highmore.  
  • subsequent weeks:  Richard E Grant, Sue Perkins, Rick Wakeman, Nina Sosanya, Phil Davis, Trevor Eve, Lesley Manville, Sian Phillips, Adrian Chiles, Katie Kissoon, Dave Myers, Raleigh Ritchie, Parminder Nagra, Ben Okri and James Norton.
  • Semi-Final (week 7): Imelda Staunton 
  • Final (week): Tom Courtenay.  The winner is awarded a £10,000 commission to paint a portrait of a very well known celebrity, which will be displayed in the National Gallery of Ireland.
  • The Commmission (week 9): The prize portrait commission for the winning artist was revealed on New Year’s Eve as television presenter and comedian Graham Norton.

The programmes are presented by Frank Skinner and Joan Bakewell - with the latter being a leading figure in the arts for nearly six decades.

Frank Skinner and Joan Bakewell return as the presenters of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2017

The portrait paintings are judged as previously by


The Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2017 Winners Exhibition can be viewed at the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square in London between Tuesday 7th March, 2017 - Friday 31st March, 2017.

Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 

The winner of Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 will be awarded a £10,000 commission and £500 to spend on art materials at Cass Art.

The deadline for Applications for Portrait Artist of the Year closes on 3rd March 2017.

There is a page of terms and conditions and entry is online

Who can enter

The Competition is open to all artists – amateur, professional or hobbyists - but there are some restrictions.

You can ONLY enter if YOU:
  1. are aged 16 or over as at 1st December 2016
  2. hold a valid passport. 
  3. have been LEGALLY resident in the UK, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Channel Islands and Republic of Ireland for at least one year on 1st December 2016
  4. can provide documentation to support all of the above (ie. birth certificate; passport, any relevant documentation relating to your immigration/residency status).
Also if you are aged under 18 your parents MUST
  • provide written agreement to you entering 
  • written consent to you being filmed prior to filming.
  • accompany you at all filming - or send a nominated adult.

Note also this is NOT a competition where your Mum, your best mate or your spouse can enter you without you knowing!  People can help you with the entry process but it must be YOUR ENTRY.

You are NOT able to enter if you have been a finalist or winner of ANY previous Artist of the Year competition run by Sky Arts.

How to enter

You've only got one chance with this competition so make sure you get your entry right first time.

This is what you need to do:
  • YOU need to complete/submit the online application form 
  • YOU need to upload digital images (low resolution JPEGS, no less than 800KB and ideally no more than 1.5MB) of paintings created by YOU. These are:
    • a great self-portrait MINUS frame. (one image only). If you've never painted a self-portrait before now is the time to get started!  This is an artwork which MUST NOT include photography, video, sculpture and all forms of digital media.
    • one image only of another portrait - ideally from life as you won't be painting from photos in this competition!
    • a further image of another painting (if you want to). Make sure both the work and the photo is good.
    • One passport style photograph of yourself

Sky Arts has some advice about how to photograph your art

The emphasis on YOU means that only YOU can enter unless you are under 18 in which case your parents need to complete and submit the entry. (You can help them!)

You will also be asked to
  • describe yourself as an artist and your background, 
  • detail whether you have entered or won any other art competitions - and how far you got.
  • state details of any television programme you've been on before
  • explain why you painted your self-portrait and how you painted it

Heats / Filming open to the public

The competition invites artists shortlisted from the entries to one of six heats in London in April 2017.
“Portrait Artist of the Year brings together some of the most talented painters with some of the most striking personalities. We see artists use brush, paint, pastels, charcoal to capture the elusive beauty of people whose faces we think we know. But art reveals more: and in each programme we watch it happen.”Joan Bakewell
Sky will be filming all  six heats of the Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 in the courtyard of the Wallace Collection. All the heats are open to the public - filming takes place on these dates:
  • 5, 6 and 7th April 
  • 10, 11, and 12th April.
  • The semi-final will be filmed at a London location on Monday 24th April 2017

As a result, the Wallace Restaurant (a great place to eat!) will be closed from 3 – 12 April inclusive to facilitate the filming of the programme.

Shortlisted Artists will be asked to produce an artwork depicting a Portrait of a Sitter allocated by the Producer (i.e. you don't get to choose!)
The Shortlisted Artists will have a maximum of 4 hours over a 6 hour period (or such other period as the Producer at its discretion may determine) to complete their Heat Artwork.
Your painting is judged on the results produced at the end of heat, whether you think the artwork to be finished or not.
One aspect of the "quid pro quo" for the celebrity sitters is that they each get to choose one of the finished portraits to keep for themselves – regardless of whether that artist went through to the next stage.  So even if you don't get through you may be able to say your paintings is now in the sitter's collection.

It can change your life even if you don't get to the final!

The Final

Finalists will be asked to complete a further two Portraits (“the Final Artworks”):
The first ...will be artwork of a Sitter chosen by the Producer to be produced within a 2 week period.....
The second  ...is intended to be an artwork created and filmed at a location in London (“the Final Location”) on Tuesday 30th May 2017

The most recent winner was Christian Hook who was crowned ‘Portrait Artist of the Year 2014’ with his stunning portrait of Sir Ian McKellen.


  1. Has there been any pencil drawing submissions? Thought I remembered one from heats a few years ago but not sure if my memory is deceiving me?!


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