Sunday, December 08, 2019

Fujiko Rose won Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 in Final at Battersea Power Station

The Final of Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 was broadcast last week - and tomorrow is the 'final' programme in this year's series. It's about the winner's journey to paint Venice for a £10,000 commission for the Royal Institute of British Architects.

the final six paintings of the competition

This is a commentary on the Final. 

After this there's one more post where I'll be trying to round up and summarise what we learned from the Heats, Semi-Final and Final this year.  (That's for those who are already contemplating entering for next year - see Call for Entries: Landscape Artist of the Year 2020)

The Final is always something of a bit of an odd show since 5 other participants are missing and there is the need to recap the journey to the Final

This one had an extra participant since Kate's new Baby (Juno) also came along for the evening (although I'm sure she was sent home for sleep).

The Location

After the Landscape Artist of the Year first of an all woman final we had another first - painting at night!

They went for a night painting at Battersea Power Station - an architectural icon which is currently undergoing a major reconstruction.

It's very clear to me that all the Heats were leading up to the subject for the Final.
  • So many verticals and/or dominant structures
  • So much architecture. 
  • So little natural landscape!!!
Was it a good choice as the location (and time) for the Final? 
Emphatically NOT in my opinion - and you only have to look at the results to see why.

Battersea Power Station with cranes and the red warning lights looking like fairy lights!

To my way of thinking - once whoever decided on Battersea Power Station as the location, somebody else probably remembered that Whistler used to paint his Nocturnes around and about this area of the Thames (Whistler and the Nocturnes certainly got a mention on the programme).

Hence the idea of night time painting at Battersea Power Station and producing Nocturnes was born.

SOMEBODY forgot to think about the additional issues and pressure this might present for the finalists - or decided this was a good idea! "Somebody" was both ignorant and wrong in my opinion.

Nocturne: Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge 
by James Mcneill Whistler
By using the word 'nocturne' I wished to indicate an artistic interest alone, divesting the picture of any outside anecdotal interest which might have been otherwise attached to it. A nocturne is an arrangement of line, form and colour first - attributed to Whistler in Dorment and MacDonald, p.122
Note - Whistler didn't get this good the first time he tried a nocturne!

The artists all agreed the location and timing were a major challenge AND that there was a lot of detail!

A TV Journey

All good reality competitions on the television like a "Journey" so I thought I'd record what I'd noted - and what was reiterated by the Judges in the programmes.

NEW Ethical slant on 2019 Power 100 "The most influential people in art"

Last month, the Annual Power 100 was published by ArtReviewThis annual listing of influential people in contemporary art has been described as a barometer of influence in the artworld - and tracks people over time as well as up and down the listing.

What's unusual is that the nature of the power players has changed in the Power List for 2019.

Campaigners and activists are now very prominent in the list following their efforts to name and shame those that are deemed to:
  • receive funds from patrons and sponsors who are now considered toxic in more ways than one
  • exhibit art stolen from other cultures
The 2019 list was compiled in consultation with a panel of 30 artists, curators and critics from around the world. It continues to reflect a shift away from the traditional power hubs.

If you click the arrow icon to the right it explains the rationale for the choice of the individual and their placement in the Power 100 - see

The top 10 of the Top 100 in ArtReviews 2019 Power 1000  

Campaigners and activists - beyond the contemporary

Art and artists can and do effect change in the real world.

They have also now gone way beyond the contemporary art world per se - insofar as they are challenging sponsorship of and artefacts in museums and art galleries housing art which is emphatically not contemporary i.e. it's about heritage too.

The campaigners include:
  • Nan Goldin - a photographer who has questioned the ethics of philanthropy and spearheaded protests against the Sackler family over its implication in the opioid crisis in the US and for its engagement in the ‘artwashing’ of profits from the sale of OxyContin by family-owned Purdue Pharma. Her campaign has led to the refusal of Sackler funds by various institutions around the world including the National Portrait Gallery and the Tate. Only last it was announced that the Smithsonian would be rebranding its Arthur M Sackler Gallery - despite the fact Arthur M Sackler died before Purdue Pharma was created by his brothers!
  • Felwine Sarr & Bénédicte Savoy (6) - both undertook an investigation and authored a ground-breaking report Restitution of African Cultural Heritage. Toward a New Relational Ethics (in French: Rapport sur la restitution du patrimoine culturel africain) commissioned by President Macron which has been instrumental in questioning the function of the museum. They also advocate for the unconditional return of art obtained in suspect circumstances by Western institutions.
A GROUNDBREAKING REPORT published in November 2018 declared the restitution of Africa’s cultural heritage was “impossible no more.” Commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron, the document is authored by French art historian Bénédicte Savoy and Senegalese economist Felwine Sarr and examines the history, inventory, and display of ill-gotten artifacts and art objects of questionable provenance in French museums (70,000 at the Musee du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, for example) and other Western institutions. The report calls for transparency and a restitution process that meets the demands of affected sub-Saharan African nations whose cultural wealth was plundered in the colonial era and beyond. | Culture Type
You can read more commentary on this topic - and see who else gets a mention - in

A radical rethink about how galleries show art

In a year – and era – marked by disruption, protest and bitter conflict between outsiders and the establishment, not least over the question of who gets to represent culture, institutions have been forced to respond with convincing arguments or risk being sidelined.
I'd venture to suggest that the status on #1 on the list that Glenn D Lowry gets as Director of MoMA in New York reflects
  • an ever present lean towards the USA in this listing
  • the completion of a new $450 million extension at MoMA creating more and better space; and 
  • a thorough rethinking of the museum model at MoMA - which is now leading the way in presenting a more global perspective of art
  • (despite the fact that some - like the Tate - has been doing this for years at Tate Modern! ....and back to the American leaning.....)
Lowry’s goal is for a museum offering a more global representation of art’s history, and a better representation of the diversity of artists working now and across the decades.
Others in the same vein are:
devoted her career to ‘creating space’ for the expression of diverse voices, which she describes as a ‘cultural act, but also a political act’.
  • Maria Balshaw, Director of the Tate is 9th on the list for the Tate’s recent efforts to decolonise and ‘decentre’ its own collection. 
Banksy also landed back in the top 100 at #14 for the first time since 2008. He's described as Street artist taking on the global artworld media spectacle and
The artist Banksy (14) makes this list precisely for the way in which his existence highlights institutional willingness (and struggle) to accommodate an artist who has no need for the establishment. As the battle for control over who gets to represent culture plays out, the dominant institutions and narratives will continue to come under pressure to adapt.

Lest we forget

The listing is also still dominated by the rich, powerful and well connected (see example)

But for how long?

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Oil Residency in London

How do you fancy being the artist in residence at Winsor & Newton? 

Last week I discovered an Oil Residency in London is being offered in London in 2020 by Winsor & Newton.

It was launched on Thursday at the Winsor & Newton "Discover Oil Colour" event at the annual exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters at the Mall Galleries.

The thing is I can't find any reference to this specific Residency Online online (although it does appear that W&N have previously offered a residency. It's not on

  • EITHER the Winsor & Newton website for the UK
  • OR the Royal Institute of Oil Painters website 
So I've decided to print off my rather crumpled, folded launch guide that I was given and give you the email address for further enquiries.

Key Features


  • Sole use of a 34 square metre studio "at Winsor & Newton". I assume this means their registered office and trading address at The Studio Building, 21 Evesham Street, London W11 4AJ although this is not clear.
  • Art Materials will be provided for the period of the residency
  • Professional mentoring by ROI members and W&N staff
  • Open Studio event at the end of the residency
  • Local accommodation provided if winner lives outside London +  weekly £100 living allowance


  • Residency: Start and Finish Dates - 1st June - 3rd July 2020
  • DEADLINE for applications: 1st March 2000
  • Judging: Mid March 2020
  • Winner to be announced on 20th March 2020

How to enter

    • Within 5 years of graduating. Unclear whether this needs to be in art. 
    • Not stated whether eligibility is limited to UK citizens and/or current legitimate UK residents (they've forgotten to state the legal niceties re. legal right to be in and study/work in the UK that they need to comply with to avoid problems with UK Immigration)
  • ELIGIBLE ARTWORK: Nothing mentioned re. actual artwork or digital images
  • TERMS AND CONDITIONS:  No link for formal terms and conditions and very necessary legal niceties re personal data (eg GDPR)
  • HOW TO ENTER: Send images and a brief synopsis (Of what? Do they mean a CV? Or why you want a residency - or both?) to
[Note: Winsor & Newton is one of the brands owned by Colart]

Friday, December 06, 2019

Review: Annual Exhibition 2019 of the Royal Miniature Society

Yesterday, I finally got to visit the 2019 Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters Sculptors and Gravers 2019 at the Mall Galleries yesterday. 

As with the ROI Exhibition this was one I had planned to visit more than a week earlier. My ankle had other ideas!

It was good to see the display cases back in the North Gallery and to see old favourites as well as new work.

The display cases for the Miniature Artwork in the North Gallery at the Mall Galleries.
You can:

Do also take a look at and/or follow the RMS Twitter and RMS Instagram Accounts

Past and present - old and new

The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers is a very old art society having been founded in 1896. Its Patron is HRH The Prince of Wales - who also awards one of the prizes.

The old.....

The Society's Aims are to Esteem, Protect and Practise the traditional 16th Century art of miniature work, emphasizing the infinite patience needed for its fine techniques.
Miniature painting of course has a very long tradition. The exhibition always pays respects to its history. This time it had images of its founder and also a memorial display by one of its eminent past members.

I was looking at the names of exhibitors and it struck me that some of the artists that I used to view are no longer with us while others are completely new.  Maybe it's just that I'm getting older myself - but I'm not quite sure we ever get really used to seeing art which is not quite what it used to be - and then not seeing any art at all.....

...and the new 

However the other side of the coin is that new miniature artists are emerging all the time - in part because this exhibition encourages artists to try miniature art.

One of the benefits of this exhibition is that it is always very good about having a miniature artist working in the gallery on most days of the exhibition (although there won't be one there on Sunday as it's a half day).  You can see how they work, view stages of a completed work and take a look at the brushes and media they use for their stippling.

Media used by Michael Coe - Schminke watercolours are stippled on vellum

One such artist who is new to miniature art is Dorian Radu who this year won The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Gold Memorial Bowl award for his painting of The Cigar Aficianado

The Cigar Aficianado by Doria Radu
The Cigar Aficianado by Doria Radu

Jade (acrylic on board) by Raoof Haghighi 

What's interesting is that both Dorian and Raoof Haghighi are artists I first met in relation to other open art competitions. Dorian participated in Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2019 and Raoof has been selected more than once for the BP Portrait Award.

For those artists who are skilled in working in detail, miniature art can add another dimension to their artistic portfolio.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Review: Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2019

The 2019 Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters opened last week and has been holding a number of events. Including the one I attended today - when I finally got to see the exhibition after a very bad week with a very painful ankle. (see Why I'm not reviewing the ROI and RMS Exhibitions - yet!)

oil paintings in the main gallery - in the centre three by David Curtis

The exhibition comprises:
  • an exhibition within an exhibition - with paintings on a theme of "London in oil paint"
  • 304 paintings in two galleries - the Main Gallery and the Threadneedle Space at the Mall Galleries.
  • until 1pm on Sunday 8 December 2019
It's also being holding lots of events
  • ROI Paint Live was held last Saturday - with oil painters out painting plein air within half a mile of the Galleries - these are the people who prizes at the end - I love the Ian Layton painting.

  • There was also an Art Event Portrait Evening 
  • Two painters John Walson and Natalia Avdeeva - painted in the gallery during the art event with Winsor & Newton yesterday 

Lots and lots of people at the Winsor & Newton "Discover Oil Paint" event

Anyway - expeditions with my ankle the way it is at the moment make me incredibly tired afterwards so what I'm doing is this.
  • below I'll give you the edited highlights of the exhibition
  • tomorrow I'll reflect on whether I want to say or add in any more.

Review of the ROI 2019 exhibition

I'm really sorry I missed the Private View for this exhibition as I very often attend. As it is it clashed with another Private View which is the one I went to - and stood up for too long - hence my inability to walk afterwards.

If like me you're unable to get to the exhibition in person for any reason you can see:
However I'm puzzled.

I don't quite understand why

  • there are works on the walls and in the online listing of works which are not in the exhibition catalogue.  
  • there are works in the exhibition and in the catalogue - but are not in the online listing. 
Given the amount of sales which now start online (as I understand) I can think of no good reason not to list every work online.....

A corner of the Threadneedle Space

Oil means oil! 

95% of the annual exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters comprises paintings in oils. Less than 5% is in acrylic. See the figures below for trends over the last six years

I very much like the fact this exhibition is EXACTLY what it says it is i.e. an exhibition of oil painters.  If you want to see good oil painting this is the exhibition to come to!

Number and percentage of works - by medium - in the ROI Annual Exhibitions 2014-2019

One wonders why we can't also have 95% of annual exhibitions of watercolour societies in traditional watercolours i.e the ones where the paint remains soluble after it dries if you apply more water!

View of the ROI 2019 exhibition in the Threadneedle Space

Which artists are doing well

I now count sales for analysis of the exhibition metrics.

Congrats to those artists who have three or more sales as at 10 days into the exhibition
. It's interesting to see that a wide range of subjects appeal to buyers!
  • Adebanji Alade VPROI - urban London scenes with people
  • Linda Alexander SBA ROI - realist still life with silver and fruit/flowers (who is a consistent good seller at every exhibition)
  • Jeremy Barlow ROI - paintings of sunshine in places in southern Europe and north Africa
  • Lucy Marks - abstracted landscapes
  • Barry Peckham ROI RSMA - boats on the coast
I'll be doing further notes about the sales and the pricing later.

London in Oils

I really liked the exhibition within an exhibition of the paintings of London.

Views of London #1
Looking at the sales it would be no bad thing to do this on a regular basis. I've always wondered why more societies don't take advantage of the fact that people like to buy paintings of views they know or places where they live - and that the paintings have much more impact when hung together. 

More views of London #2

The Hang

The hang of the rest of the exhibition slightly irritated me. The reason being that there was no candidates' wall and their work was split up around the exhibition.  

Spreading candidates artwork around the exhibition as a whole requires all the members voting to 
  • find all the paintings by the candidates spread around the exhibition and then 
  • retain these images in their heads and then 
  • assess which candidates they like the best while NOT having their artwork in front of them. 
I much prefer the approach adopted by other FBA societies of hanging all the candidates work together and next to one another. That way it's 
  • much easier for the members to choose who they want to elevate to membership
  • much fairer to all the candidates because they know that members saw all their work hung in the exhibition.  
  • It also provides a very good baseline for those applying for candidature in the future in terms of the standard they might need to aspire too.
The wall used by other societies to hang the candidates artwork

The exhibition didn't quite 'grab me'. Maybe it was because there was so much else going on in the Main Gallery.  But the hang keeps niggling - I think what was in the exhibition could have looked better on the wall. I suspect this year has seen a change in who hangs what.

The Small Works

While there was a lot to like among the small works, I think there needs to be a bit of a pep talk to some of the members. Small works should also be excellent i.e. no less good than those bigger paintings that a member or open artist might produce. Some works stood out while others didn't - or did - but for the wrong reason.

The public knows this and spends their money on those who produce good work.

In addition the small works didn't read for me. Certain exhibitions achieve a great "read across" - but this wasn't one of them. Grouping is what matters not a chequer board hang.

Scope to improve the hang of the small works to generate a better impact
PS I also don't like seeing small works hung low on a wall (see Threadneedle image two above). That's rather like saying they're insignificant.... to which my response would be to ask why you're hanging them at all.

Previous Exhibitions

You can find links to my previous reviews of exhibitions below.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Call for Entries: Landscape Artist of the Year 2020

Tonight is the FINAL of Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 

Which means it's time for the Call for Entries for Landscape Artist of the Year 2020!

Artists enter with a landscape artwork. Those selected to take part in the heats have four hours to paint a specific landscape within the UK.

Key features of the competition

For 2019, the winner of the competition will paint Venice for the bicentenary of John "the Stones of Venice" Ruskin
although hopefully they'll be on the ground not up in the air!
  • The winner is awarded
    • a £10,000 commission from a national organisation to paint a particular place. You should think of it more like a job with a reasonable fee of £10,000 than a straight prize per se. (There's an interesting tax conundrum relating to how your status affects whether or not prize money is tax-free - see Tax on art awards and prize money | Art Business Info. for Artists . However you can't be an amateur if you earn more than £1,000 from your art and any amateurs would have get a free gift of a self-assessment tax form to complete as well. I wonder if Sky Arts got any tax advice before they came up with the prize?)
The key issue is whether the prize is something that many artists try to earn. If it is a 'professional receipt' then it is taxable.
    • a £500 cash prize from Cass Arts for art materials
  • These are the Terms and Conditions of the Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2020 competition. Be sure to read them thoroughly.
  • the programme will be televised in the Autumn of 2020.
  • The deadline for submission of your digital entry is 17th April 2020 - and entries are now being accepted online. 

Who can enter

Terms and conditions

Any artist - amateur or professional or hobbyist, who is aged 16+, enjoys good health and has been resident in the UK for at least a year (as at 16.10.19) - can enter the competition