Monday, October 19, 2020

Call for Entries: Landscape Artist of the Year (Series 7)

The Call for Entries for Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year (Series 7) has opened.  The deadline for entries is currently NOON on 30th April 2021 - although this deadline has sometimes been extended in the past.

Below I provide

  • my overview of  the call for entries - plus tips
  • links to my reviews of past episodes - which also contain quite a few tips
Landscape artist of the year
The order below is
  • Key Features of the competition
  • So you want to paint landscapes on television?
  • Who can enter
  • Eligible Landscape paintings - for submission
  • Your digital entry (and what will disqualify you)
  • What are the Judges looking for?
  • My Reviews of Previous Heats in 2018 and 2019
To receive information on filming dates and locations and updates about the series, you can:

Key features of the competition

  • Filming the heats of Landscape Artist of the Year is planned to take place around the UK 
    • during June & July 2021 (subject to government guidelines).at sic diprobably at three locations - which offer two alternative venues (i.e. they only do three long-haul journeys - and this summer they only moved around London!)
  • The programme will (probably) be broadcast in early 2022.
  • 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. (see my note about the taxation of prizes for professional and amateur artists at the end)
    • PLUS 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 (serie 6) competition. (There are none for this specific competition i.e. Series 7 as yet) 
    • Be sure to read them thoroughly.
  • The deadline for submission of your digital entry is NOON on 30th April 2021 - and entries are now being accepted online.
NOTE: Series 6 - which should have been broadcast by Sky Arts round about now - has been replaced by Portrait Artist of the Year. Effectively the two competitions have swopped places - and series 6 will be broadcast early in 2021.

So you want to paint landscapes on television?

You never ever know what you're going to be asked to paint/draw/print

My view is that the television producers aim to get a good mix and diversity of artists in terms of background, media used, ethnicity etc. 

If I'm right this makes the people painting more relatable to the viewing public.
I THINK (i.e. don't know) that they choose the 48 artists for the Heats on the basis of their art alone. However my view is that:
  • for those longlisted, the competition organisers  should also look at their websites and/or social media sites - as I do - to see if they have the capacity for producing consistently decent artwork.  
  • Their choices would be a lot more robust if they looked at their websites as well - some of the things the Judges sometimes say about a painting are self-evidently not true/representative of that artist's work on their website. 
  • Plus it serves to validate whether the person painted the painting!
I THINK (i.e. don't know) the Producers choose who goes in which Heat so there is a good mix ie.e.
  • they don't make the mistake of putting all the good ones in one heat and 
  • the weaker ones in another heat. 
  • Plus they mix it up on gender and ethnicity and what they do etc.
We do not cast for characters – instead, our expert judges select participants based purely on the quality of their submission artwork. The success of the show depends on the standard of the art produced, so from the outset the programme is a genuine celebration of good art and an intelligent, fascinating examination of the artistic process. Sky website 


It is so annoying when you see people in the wildcards who are obviously used to painting plein air who are painting better than those in the pods - and I am never ever surprised that this happens given the existing terms of entry.

I'd love to see this the competition being restricted to artists who have already painted plein air - and have evidence to show this. (i.e. look at the websites!!!!!)

I cannot tell you the times I've been disappointed by paintings in the heats where the artist was evidently out of their depth given that they had
  • never painted outside before 
  • totally "at sea" when it comes the changing weather and light (i.e. four seasons in one day - with wind)
  • have absolutely no strategies for how to cope with this
  • have never ever painted to a time limit (as plein air artists do all the time - because of the changing light, weather etc!!)
wildcard artists in Yorkshire - in the rain

Does Sky really need to embarrass people every year because individuals get selected who don't realise what they're letting themselves in for?

The only people I have ever seen who cope reasonably well are those who are extremely experienced artists who paint on a very regular basis and hence they know all the basics and are only having to work out how to paint to time outside!

You may be out of pocket....

....depending on the location and where you live.

Bottom line you have to be able to get
  • your entry artwork
  • plus all painting gear
  • plus overnight 'stuff'
  • to a Heat which might be located anywhere in the country
  • for a very early start - which for most means 
    • staying at or very near the location the night before
    • and/or having a driver who can get you there for the very early start!
If you are chosen as a Shortlisted Artist, or a Reserved Shortlisted Artist, the Producer will make an ex gratia payment of £50 (fifty pounds) towards your travel/hotel and subsistence costs incurred in attending the Heats. 

Anywhere means anywhere - these artists had to be at Loch Fyne in Scotland before 7am 

For the avoidance of doubt:
  • You are responsible for transportation of Your Landscape Entry and Additional Works of Art to and from the Heats
  • the ex-gratia payment is payable in cash on the day of the heat which you are attending - and not before.
Bearing in mind the distance some people have had to travel to get from home to the heat location I'd say you need to be VERY KEEN to be able to paint in a pod to enter this competition as £50 goes absolutely nowhere if you have to travel any distance and hence stay overnight. Even more so if you bring a supporter with you.

Who can enter

Any artist - amateur or professional or hobbyist, who is aged 16+, enjoys good health
(and you can be certain that will be tested in various ways!!); and has been resident in the UK for at least a year (as at 16.10.19) - can enter the competition

Terms and conditions

Where there are dates I (not the organisers) am updating them to what I expect them to be.

YOU can ONLY enter IF you:
  • are aged 16 or over as at October 2020
  • are in good health
  • know of no reason which might prevent you from participating in the competition
  • hold a valid passport (worth checking if yours has run out!)
  • have been LEGALLY resident in the UK, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Isle of Man, Channel Islands and Republic of Ireland for at least one year in October 2020
  • can provide documentation to support all of the above (ie. birth certificate; passport, any relevant documentation relating to your immigration/residency status).
In addition, you MUST be available for filming in June and July 2021 (I predict dates will become clearer nearer to the deadline for entries)If you are chosen as the Winner, you MUST also be available between the Final Date and another specific date in (November?) 2020 to
  • attend the Winner’s Prize Location and 
  • produce the Winner’s Prize Artwork on exact dates to be determined by the Producer.
Any artist who is less than 18 years old MUST
  • provide written agreement from his or her parents (or legal guardian) to you entering the competition
  • written parental consent to you being filmed prior to filming.
  • be accompanied by a parent / legal guardian / a nominated adult at all filming.
Those excluded from the competition are
  • finalists or winners of ANY previous Artist of the Year competition run by Sky Arts - which means all previous wild card artists can apply again! (i.e. there is a bonus to being a semi-finalist who didn't make it to the Final!!)
  • those connected to those companies or people who commission, fund or deliver the programme (the conditions spells this out in a lot more detail)
  • an artist is selected to appear in Portrait Artist of the Year 2021 (i.e. which is filmed in 2020 - and you can only do one in any year.)
  • Artists with a relationship or an affiliation with any of our partners (e.g. any of the judges / Sky / Cass / Storyvault ) that could be deemed a conflict of interest MAY not be eligible to take part.
    • The onus is on YOU to declare any potential source of conflict / relationship. If you don't and they discover it later expect to be deselected.
    • I made a comment in 2018 about what looked to me some slightly unethical behaviour and was very glad to see that ethical conditions came to the fore for series 6
If an insufficient number of entries are received have satisfied the entry and judging criteria, then
  • the deadline might be extended (it has certainly happened in the past).
  • I do know that sometimes artists are approached to enter - and it's often at this stage that the programme-makers start actively looking for possibles.

Eligible Landscape paintings - for submission

Artists are selected to attend the heats based on the artwork submitted as part of the entry.
The Landscape Entry submitted must be a painting of a landscape vista, and can be produced in any material excluding photography, video, sculpture and all forms of digital media. Collage and mixed media works are all allowed. The work may be abstract or expressive as long as it is recognisably a representation of a landscape that has been produced within the last five years. It should be a maximum of 1220 x 914 mm (48” x 36”). The Additional Work(s) of Art submitted, at least one compulsory, can be any size, and can also be in any material other than photography, video, sculpture or any form of digital media.


Your digital entry

Only one entry can be submitted per person. Entries on behalf of another person will not be accepted.

Your digital entry comprises

  • a completed form
  • four photographs/images as follows
    • A photograph of your main landscape submission. 
      • This artwork must have been made in the last 5 years’. 
      • The photograph should not include the frame or surroundings
    • A photograph of an additional landscape.
    • An optional third photograph of art from your portfolio. This does not have to be a landscape.
    • One passport style photograph of yourself.
Sky Arts has some advice about
Each photograph uploaded should be up to a maximum size of 1.5mb, photographs of a greater size may not be able to be uploaded. Your passport style photo of Yourself should be a maximum size of 500 kb
Images of landscape paintings that are eligible for submission are defined as follows:
  • MUST be a painting of a landscape vista
  • MAY be may be abstract or expressive
  • MUST be recognisable as a representation of a landscape
  • MAY be produced in any media - including collage and mixed media works - except those not allowed i.e. MUST NOT include photography, video, sculpture and all forms of digital media.
  • MUST be produced in the last five years.
  • MUST be no bigger than 1220 x 914 mm (48” x 36”) unframed
  • MUST each have a file size of at least 800 KB and ideally no more than 1.5MB.
  • Additional Work(s) of Art submitted can be any size, and can also be in any material other than photography, video, sculpture or any form of digital media.


You will be disqualified if
  • Your entry is incomplete;
  • You do not meet the entry criteria;
  • You are not eligible to enter the Competition;
  • You cannot be contacted;
  • You do not respond within 48 hours of being contacted by the production company in relation to your competition entry;
  • You are not reasonably available to participate in the Series in accordance with the production requirements of the Series

What are the Judges looking for?

Well first of all they're looking for decent photos of your landscapes - because the judges will view artists’ submissions on a screen.

Ske Arts want them to see photos that have the maximum impact and do the paintings justice.

Landscape painting is a peculiarly British fascination and this country has produced incredibly innovative artists such as Turner and Constable in this discipline. As the competition evolves and we introduce ever more interesting and complex locations, we hope to find artists who will rise to the occasion and emulate those great artists in a fresh and contemporary way.
Landscape painting gives artists a real opportunity to be creative and thoughtful. I'm not looking for something 'correct' or 'accurate,' rather I want to see a particular scene through someone else's eyes. I really recommend applying, everyone tells us how much they get out of it.
Kate Bryan
I want to see artworks that celebrate the great, the good, the bad and the ugly of our fabulous landscapes. Landscape in the broadest and most challenging sense. Whether you're a confident old hand or a tentative beginner, we can't wait to see what surprises are in store for us.
Kathleen Soriano

Taxation of Art Prizes

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.
See my webpage on see Tax on art awards and prize money | Art Business Info. for Artists

The prize is: 
  • taxable if you are a professional artist
  • in theory not taxable if an amateur artist 
    • HOWEVER winning a prize of this sort instantly converts your income into taxable - plus any other income from art that you earn i.e. you can't be an amateur if you earn more than £1,000 from your art. 
    • Your free gift includes a self-assessment tax form from HM Revenue & Customs.

My Reviews of Previous Heats in 2018 and 2019

To help you have a think about whether you want to enter - why not take a look at my reviews of the last two years - which includes lots of pics. 

Or better still watch the last two years in a major binge on Now TV - where all episodes are available

I'll be also reviewing the series filmed at various venues in London in 2020 when it is broadcast in January 2021. You might want to defer your application until after you've seen what the covid-19 precautions look like.

2019: SERIES 5

Below you can find
  • the link to my review
  • THEMES for each of my reviews are highlighted under the link for each review of the episode
  • links to blog posts written by the participants - always very helpful!

EPISODE 1: Review: Episode 1 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 at Smeaton Tower, Plymouth Hoe

Review: Episode 2 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 at Herstmonceux Observatory 

  • Finding clothing / kit solutions for extremely challenging weather
  • Skies are important: what to do about a grey sky which keeps on changing
  • The value of a coloured support
  • Don't dodge the complexity (What to do when you don't like the subject)
  • Where have the tablets all gone?

Review: Episode 3 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 - Millenium Bridge Gateshead

  • How to crop a complicated view
  • Sketching as preparation
  • How to work out the wildcard winner before the announcement
  • Tools: masking tape and sharp edges
  • Game Plans and time management
  • Use the Heats to enhance your preparation

Review: Episode 4 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 at Herstmonceux Castle

  • What to do when it's a grey day with bad lighting
  • Buildings versus nature
  • What to do about a very BIG building which is very full on?
  • Practical tips from a pod artist

Review: Episode 5 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 at the Tyne Bridge

  • Studio Artist vs Plein Air Painter
  • How many different ways can you paint the same view
  • Where is the sun?
  • To shadow or not to shadow
  • Don't be twee!
  • Different tools for different folks

Review: Episode 6 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 - Drake's Island

  • Submission paintings reflecting last year's venues
  • Which view to choose in bad weather?
  • Which medium to use in changing weather?
  • Lush oil and interesting brushwork
  • Hold back on the kitsch
  • Not a lot of tablets

Review: Semi-Final of Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 at Cromarty Firth

2018: SERIES 4

HEAT 1: Review: Episode 1 of Landscape Artist of the Year (Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire)

  • the importance of the submission piece to the outcome
  • why experienced plein air painters can paint to a deadline

HEAT 2: Review: Episode 2 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 (Viking Bay, Kent) 

Learning points included:
  • Save yourself some guesswork and research the location
  • Practice painting plein air
  • Practice completing a painting in four hours - in changing weather
  • Have a PLAN!

HEAT 3: Review: Episode 3 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 at Loch Fyne (Loch Fyne, Scotland) 

The themes which jumped out for me were
  • Dealing with a lot of landscape and changing weather
  • Knowing what format works best
  • Knowing what to leave out and when to stop
  • The importance of a sense of place

HEAT 4: Review: Episode 4 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 at Studley Royal Water Garden

Learning Points and themes were
  • be different
  • get out of your pod
  • what to do when you don't know what to do
  • visual trickery
  • when is a landscape a landscape

HEAT 5: Review: Episode 5 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 - Broadstairs Beach 

The themes this week are:
    • People in a landscape
    • Editing a complex scene / landscape
    • Of the now or of the past?
    • What you submit might be what you get
    • The importance of being true to YOU! 

HEAT 6 Review: Episode 6 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 - Inveraray Castle 

The themes this week are:
  • Disney versus Dreich: a Scottish colour palette and flat light (a.k.a. or what to do when you can only see grey like Tai!)
  • How to stand out from the crowd - and avoid painting the obvious
  • Atmosphere versus Detail
  • The interesting technique tip 

SEMI-FINAL: Review: Semi-Finals of Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 - Felixstowe Docks

  • the heat; the view; the wind;
  • the interruptions from the camera crew, judges and presenters
  • - and moving ships which obliterate the scene!


The main learning point for me were
  • how demanding the location can be for a final
  • the importance of the Challenge Paintings (i.e. it's not just about the Heat Painting)
  • the fact that the Judges went back over ALL the paintings produced by the contestants during the ENTIRE COMPETITION in reaching their decision.


  1. I would like to know the name of the artist who was one of 3 finalists on Episode 4 of 2015. First name Debbie, last name Grass? Gratz? Gross? I loved her painting and would like to se more of her work. Thanks you

  2. Do artists get compensated for the painting that is chosen as a gift?


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