Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Tax Tips for UK Artists - a Zoom Talk

Two weeks ago I delivered a Zoom Talk to recent art graduates about "Tax Tips for UK Artists" - and walked them through the process of starting out with their tax affairs with the HMRC and what they needed to do. 

You can find out what the Talk covers below.

Any art society or group of artists who'd like to me to deliver a Zoom Talk can get in touch with me via the Contact Form at the end of my 'Would You Like Me to Help Page' on Art Business Info for Artists

As well as preparing the Talk, I've also been updating the pages on my Art Business Info for Artists website about

Both of these contain much of what I cover in the Talk - plus HMRC Videos explaining specific aspects of importance.

Tax Tips for UK Artists - the Zoom Talk

The talk covers

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

British Art Fair: how to check out a lot of art galleries in one place

Art Fairs essentially benefit serious art collectors. They offer a very easy way to look at a lot of art - across all price ranges - offered by different art galleries and dealers in one place - with nice food and drink.

After the pandemic decimated art fairs, there's a lot of effort going into making sure those being held in 2022 are a great experience for buyers. Indeed, the British Art Fair is under new ownership for this year's Fair. 

Art Fairs with reputable art galleries also offer a benefit for artists. If you're keen to become a gallery artist and want to check out a number of galleries, then this could also be the place for you! 

You can check out:

  • the art by other artists represented by that gallery - and how it is presented
  • the people representing the gallery
  • what sort of art these art galleries think is worth paying a major fee to show to people with lots of money
  • the general "vibe" you get from the stand. Does it make you feel that this could be an art gallery you'd like to approach at some point in the future.
HOWEVER - and this is VERY IMPORTANT - an artist visiting an art fair is market research activity ONLY!
  • The art galleries are there to sell art to wealthy individuals. Period.
  • They are really NOT interested in talking to artists. 
  • The very last thing you should do is announce you're an artist looking for a gallery to represent them
  • If you pull out an iPad and start pitching your art, you'll get blacklisted and your name will be mud.
copyright making a mark publications

British Art Fair (BAF) 2022

View of the British Art Fair Homepage Cover Image:
Displays by Alon Zakaim Fine Art, The Nine British Art and Alan Wheatley Art at BAF 2019.
Image credit: Piers Allardyce

The 31st British Art Fair is being staged on all three floors of the Saatchi Gallery between 29th September and 2nd October 2022.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Diebenkorn's "Notes to myself on beginning a painting"

The year 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Richard Diebenkorn (1922–1993).

Diebenkorn was a distinguished American painter, draftsman, and printmaker

"Notes to myself on beginning a painting" by Richard Diebenkorn

Richard Diebenkorn was an introspective man who remained skeptical of his success as an artist throughout his life. Over the years he spent countless hours sitting in a favorite chair in his studio, contemplating and looking. Perhaps it was there that he wrote thoughts that came to mind on nearby pieces of paper, some torn from other uses. The Diebenkorn Foundation
These notes were found on paper in his studio after his death.They're listed BELOW.
You can also see a digitised version of the handwritten notes in the link above.
  1. Attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion.
  2. The pretty, initial position which falls short of completeness is not to be valued – except as a stimulus for further moves.
  3. DO search.
  4. Use and respond to the initial fresh qualities but consider them absolutely expendable.
  5. Don’t “discover” a subject – of any kind.
  6. Somehow don’t be bored but if you must, use it in action. Use its destructive potential.
  7. Mistakes can’t be erased but they move you from your present position.
  8. Keep thinking about Pollyanna.
  9. Tolerate chaos.
  10. Be careful only in a perverse way.
I first came across them on the RA website in relation to their exhibition of his work in 2015.

They're not the conventional dictums which appear again and again in many instruction books about painting. Some are impenetrable to people who are not Americans or not of a certain age

For example "Keep thinking about Pollyanna" only becomes clear when you understand that Pollyanna is a character in a 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter AND that she is an orphan with an unjustifiably optimistic attitude.

To me they're indicative of the characteristics of right brain thinking and an aversion to the factual, structured, linear, systematic approach associated with left brain thinking.

In fact they're the complete antithesis of "step by step" instruction. It's about an attitude of mind which seeks to be open to possibilities rather than learning systems for creating a painting.

This is a video of Diebenkorn speaking about beginning a painting.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2022

The Royal Institute of Oil Painters invite entries to the OPEN Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in November 2022. The deadline for entries is Friday 9th September 2022 so you've still got time to be get organised and get your entry in. 

This year’s theme is ‘Changing Times’, which can be interpreted widely. 

The last Private View of the ROI I went to - in 2018

I always like to give people a point of reference for entries in terms of images of the last exhibition

So I've spent this morning looking for my photos of last years exhibition - only to realise that the ROI has been really, really unlucky in that its annual exhibition is held late in the year and got caught by pandemic scares / lockdowns in both 2020 and 2021. I was being very cautious well before lockdowns, so I've not seen an ROI Exhibition since 2019!

However there is a video tour of the 2021 exhibition - which was hung - and the catalogue is available on Issuu

and a video of the 2020 exhibition - which is an hour and half long - see below
Peter Graham ROI talks about eighty of the works in this year’s show, including paintings by long-established ROI members as well as pieces by non-member artists selected from open submission.

Call for Entries - ROI Annual Exhibition 2022

You can find the official and FULL Call for Entries here on

Below is as a summary ONLY.

Interestingly I note the new website indicates on its home page that
The Royal Institute of Oil Painters was founded in 1882 and is the only major British art Society that promotes and exhibits work of the highest standard exclusively in oil paint.
However I note that the Call for Entries still states "Acrylic and water-soluble oil paint is acceptable if framed as an oil, so as not to spoil the general appearance of the exhibition." so I think maybe somebody needs to review the use of the word 'exclusively' on the ROI website.

Who can enter

  • The competition is open to all artists over the age of 18.
  • It is also open to international entries - you don't even have to be live or work in the UK. However International Artists need to make sure they read the Mall galleries/FBA Notice notice about the need to register for VAT to get your artwork through Customs and into the UK! You might also find my page about International Art Shipping: How to ship / export art to other countries useful.

What sort of artwork can you enter

  • Eligible media includes: oil. Acrylic paint or water based oils are eligible if framed like an oil painting. Below is a table I constructed from reviewing the works selected for hanging in previous exhibitions. Over 90% of artwork has been in oil in the last six hing exhibitions between 2014-2019.
Number and percentage of works - by medium - in the ROI Annual Exhibitions 2014-2019
  • Size: The combined measurement of works accepted will not exceed 8 feet maximum per artist
  • Age: Work must have been completed within the last three years 
  • Previous Exhibitions: it must not have been previously shown at Mall Galleries.
  • In terms of presentation there are some very specific guidelines 
    • Wide mounts between painting and frame, as in watercolours, are not acceptable.
    • Glazed work is not encouraged.
    • Unframed work can be accepted if on a well-presented box canvas.
  • For sale: Work MUST be for sale
    • the minimum sale price is £300. 
    • Note that any prices must allow for the deduction of commission @45% plus VAT %20% on the commission sum - so for a work priced at £500 you will receive £230 after the deduction of commission (£225) plus VAT on commission (£45). The price also needs to cover the cost of the frame and shipping (there and back if unsold). 
This year’s theme is ‘Changing Times’, which can be interpreted widely. Artists are encouraged to contribute a work on the theme, however it is not compulsory. If a work is on the theme, please elaborate on how in the artwork description box.

How to enter

All work must be submitted online - and pre-selection also takes place online.

If you make it through the pre-selection from digital images, you're then invited to take/send your artwork to the Mall Galleries for final selection for hanging in the exhibition - in front of a panel of ROI members.

This is the process you need to follow:

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Online Exhibition by the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators

If you've ever considered moving on from an interest in drawing and painting animals to becoming a Natural Science Illustrator, you may well be interested to view the Online Exhibition of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators.

It coincides with their 2022 Virtual Annual Conference which has finished the Core Conference - with workshops to come on 20–21 & 27–28, 2022.

2022 Juried Members' Exhibition by GNSI Artists

You can view the Online Exhibition here

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Raymond Briggs - from 'London Portraits' by Carl Randall

Yesterday Carl Randall posted his portrait of Raymond Briggs on Facebook to mark the news of his death age 88 on Tuesday.

Last night I watched two programmes about Raymond Briggs on BBC (links below are to the programmes on iPlayer) - both of which I highly recommend

  • The first was Raymond Briggs: Snowmen, Bogeymen and Milkmen - which was a portrait of his life involving interviews with Raymond Briggs and contributions from both friends and admirers (and there's a lot of those)
  • The second was Ethel and Ernest - which was a hand drawn animated film based on his award winning book by author and illustrator Raymond Briggs.
This was the point when the background to Carl Randall's portrait of Raymond suddenly made sense. It's the house at 65 Ashen Grove, Wimbledon Park where he was born and where he lived for the first 23 years of his life - apart from when he was called up.

Below are stills from the video of Carl painting Raymond and Raymond talking about the house. Carl made back the video in 2016 when he was creating the London Portrait series.
Plus the video about the series - set up to start at the Raymond Briggs section.

You can see the completed painting on Carl's website copyright Making A Mark Publications

Carl Randall painting Raymond Briggs

Carl Randall painting Raymond Briggs
Author/Illustrator Raymond Briggs chose 65 Ashen Grove as the backdrop of his portrait because he was born and brought up in the house, and it also features in his book ‘Ethel and Ernest’.

For more about Raymond Briggs see:

For more about Carl Randall's 

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

RIP Raymond Briggs (1934 - 2022)

There's not many people who went to the Slade School of Art who have achieved critical and popular success - among adults and children - for their illustrations and text and best selling cartoons and picture books.

Raymond Briggs CBE (18 January 1934 – 9 August 2022) was a British illustrator, cartoonist, graphic novelist and author. He was also a Patron of the Association of Illustrators. He died on Tuesday age 88 years old.

“Raymond liked to act the professional curmudgeon, but we will remember him for his stories of love and of loss. I know from the many letters he received how his books and animations touched people’s hearts. He kept his curiosity and sense of wonder right up to the last.” Hilary Delamere, Briggs’s literary agent.

[UPDATE: There's a wonderful film about Raymond Briggs and his book on iPlayer - Raymond Briggs: Snowmen, Bogeymen and Milkmen - BBC - I highly recommend it.]


  • 18 January 1934  -  born in Wimbledon. His Dad was a milkman and his Mum was a former Lady's Maid.
  • 1949 to 1953  -  studied painting at Wimbledon School of Art and typogrea[hy at Central School of Art
  • 1953 to 1955 - National Service conscript
  • 1955 - 1957 - studied painting at Slade School of Art
  • 1961 - 1986 - Briggs began teaching illustration part-time at Brighton School of Art
  • 1958 onwards - Illustrating books
Raymond Briggs - banner from his official Facebook Page


  • 1966  -  Won the Kate Greenaway Medal for The Mother Goose Treasury
  • 1973 - Won the Kate Greenaway Medal, for Father Christmas
  • 1977 - Francis Williams Award for Illustration (Victoria and Albert Museum), for Father Christmas
  • 1979 - Boston Globe–Horn Book Award (U.S.), for The Snowman
  • 1979 - Silver Pen Award (Netherlands)
  • 1982 - Children's Rights Workshop Other Award
  • 1982 - Francis Williams Award for Illustration, for The Snowman
  • 1992 - Kurt Maschler Award, for The Man
  • 1992 - Children's Author of the Year, British Book Awards
  • 1998 - Illustrated Book of the Year, British Book Awards, for Ethel & Ernest
  • 2012 - British Comic Awards Hall of Fame
  • 2014 - Phoenix Picture Book Award for The Bear

His own publications

He switched to writing as well as illustrating and producing his own picture books because it was much better paid. He explains how it took 10 years for this to dawn on him in the video below. Plus provides a few very pertinent tips for those interested in illustrating picture books for children. It's a fascinating listen!

The illustrated book is around for a long time and has much more permanence.

He initially produced his own work in comic book format. 

His own illustrated publications included:

Monday, August 08, 2022

FINAL Call for Entries: Society of Wildlife Artists Annual Exhibition 2022

You have until 12 noon on Friday 19th August to get your entries in for the Open Annual Exhibition 2022 of the Society of Wildlife Artists.

The Society of Wildlife Artists seeks to generate appreciation and delight in the natural world through all forms of fine art inspired by the world’s wildlife.
This is a very popular exhibition with a lot of art collectors who visit every year. It regularly achieves good sales from the display of c.350 original artworks from both members and non-members including paintings, drawings, original prints and sculptures.

The Natural Eye Exhibition 2021- part of the East Gallery

The Annual Exhibition is called The Natural Eye and I've always thought this neatly encapsulates two important aspects of the exhibition
  • firstly it's about very best of fine art inspired by the natural world
  • secondly, it's also about artwork which has been drawn, painted, printed or sculpted only after encounters with wildlife i.e. it's NEVER ever copied from another artist's photograph of a wild animal - and the members of the Selection Panel can tell!
The latter reason is why you won't see a lot of endangered animals or big cats which are much photographed and omnipresent in other wildlife art exhibitions.

Although art is submitted by members and artists who live all over the world, most of the artwork is typically much more focused on the wildlife in their own localities - whether on the land, in the sky or in the water - or in places they've travelled to in order to see the birds or animals.

Birds is another aspect you need to know about. This exhibition is BIG ON BIRDS!  Those who enter open wildlife art competitions will know there is a very large subset of fanatical birders who create art - and this exhibition is no exception.

View of part of the The Natural Eye 2021 in the West Gallery

Call for Entries 

Below is the "what you need to know" to send in an entry. 

ARTISTS: Who can enter

  • Any artist over 18 may submit.
  • It's is NOT restricted to artists who live/work in the UK. 
  • If you're an international artist you can submit artwork to this exhibition - but first make sure you understand that involves.

ARTWORK: What can you enter

  • Work should be 
    • based on representing the world’s wildlife and 
    • should have beencompleted within the last three years.
  • A maximum of six artworks - and if you are successful, all six will be hung!
  • All artwork must be for sale.
  • Acceptable media
    • Work may be in any medium including drawing, painting, sculpture and original prints (if prints, please detail edition and how many are available). 
    • The SWLA is keen to embrace new and innovative mediums and will accept computer-generated images as ‘original prints’. However, a digital print is only considered an original print if it was created by the artist to be realised specifically as a print. 
  • Ineligible media
    • Reproductions of paintings or photographs will not be accepted. 
    • Photographic reproductions or mechanical prints, giclée prints, etc., that are often promoted as ‘limited edition prints’ are not acceptable.
  • Inadmissible artwork
    • Work exhibited previously at Mall Galleries is not admissible.
    • Artwork which is about botanical subjects, pets and domestic animals, or decorative wares (such as vessels or tiles).
  • Artwork which will NOT be hung
    • Artworks that are poorly presented 
    • or differ significantly from the photograph entered will not be exhibited.
Some of the fine art prints in the 2021 Natural Eye Exhibition - North Gallery

ENTRIES: Deadline

  • The deadline for all online entries is 12 noon on Friday 19th August 2022
  • you need to
    • complete the online form
    • pay your submission fee
    • upload your digital image(s)

MONEY: How much does it cost to submit an entry and how should I price my art?

Sunday, August 07, 2022

21st UKCPS Annual Open Exhibition 2022

The 21st Annual Open International Exhibition (2022) of the UK Coloured Pencil Society is now online. 

It's particularly interesting for me as I was one of the Judges this year in terms of reducing 250 images from coloured pencil artists from aropund the world to the 83 images in the exhibition which can now be viewed online. All we get as Judges was the digital image (online), the unframed dimensions and a spreadsheet to include our marked for each work. The other Judges were

  • Richard Rees PPS - President of the Pastel Society
  • Nuala Henry - UK Marketing Manager, Hahnemuehle
Alyssa Tidwell - Editor of International Artist magazine was the Judge making the awards

YOU too can be a Judge and VOTE for the image you think deserves the People's Choice Award. All you need to do is:
  • click the images to see a larger version of each image
  • complete the form on The People's Choice Award Page - and then click the submit button

The 21st UKCPS Annual Open Exhibition Award Winners

Links in the artists' names below go to their websites where you can see more of their art.

Best Picture in Show 

Best Picture in Show - Black Sea by Megan Seiter (Pic No. 241)

Megan Seiter is an American artist specializing in colored pencil still life drawings. Originally from Rhode Island, she received her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, and in 2009 moved to California. Megan has shown her work internationally, in galleries and juried exhibitions hosted by the International Guild of Realism, American Women Artists, the Colored Pencil Society of America, and the UK Colored Pencil Society, among others.

This for me was the standout drawing in the show in terms of its HUGE impact and technical proficiency. I remember looking at it very, very closely to check it wasn't a photograph!

Reserve Best in Show

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Melissa Scott Miller paints from Tower Bridge Walkway

Melissa Scott Miller has been painting from the Walkway at the top of Tower Bridge. This summer she's been its official Artist in Residence

Melissa is a portrait and urban landscape artist who has been commissioned by the Trust which runs Tower Bridge (which is owned by the City of London) to create a panoramic painting of the views from the West Walkway at the top of Tower Bridge - from City Hall and the Shard on the South Bank, across the Thames, to the views of the various buildings old and new in the City of London on the North Bank of the Thames

You can find out more about #ABridgewithaView and Melissa on this page
To immortalise the very same views in 2022, we have commissioned English artist Melissa Scott-Miller to paint what she sees from the West Walkway. A Bridge with A View is a celebration of London and an ode to this vibrant city. The project takes place throughout the summer, and will include public workshops and family activities. Visitors to the attraction will be able to observe Melissa painting during their visit and see how the artwork progresses.
The intention is that the painting will be 150cm x 100cm - or maybe a triptych - and that the City of London will sell the painting at a charity auction later this year.

This is a video of Melissa painting her second painting in response to the views of Tower Bridge’s West Walkway - which covers the Upper Decks of HMS belfast to the Dome of St Paul's Cathedral.

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Imaginative and stimulating art in "Planet Future" Exhibition

The theme of the annual art exhibition for sixth form colleges is "Planet Future"

This is the national art exhibition for sixth form college students. It contains a lot of very thoughtful imaginative and creative art from students at various sixth form colleges in the UK.

I was impressed by the diversity of media used, topics tackled and different approaches used to portraying messages about sustainability and the current and future risks to planet earth.

"The sustainability agenda has never been more important and the exhibition highlights students' hopes and fears about the future, while also showcasing their enormous creativity and innovation,"
Alex Burghart, former Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Education - who launched the exhibition.
As I began to look at the art it struck me that there's a bit of a gulf beginning to open up between art created by younger people - who are focused on things which matter a lot to them - and artwork by much older people in other exhibitions where the artwork seems to be more traditional and very often demonstrates little interest in topical issues.
My favourites included the following. 
  • Click the links in the title to see a much larger image online. 
  • I've also included links to the students where I could find them online.

Hope for the future by Ruby Currie

I particularly liked the use of the textile art and its use of various messages addressing many different aspects of contemporary life and issues of concern and the designs she used to catch attention. 

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Pricing "Winners"

Today I'm commenting on the prices of artworks sold during the first 2-3 days of the "Winners | Award Winning Artists 2020-2022" Exhibition at the Mall Galleries. (Note: I'm going to be writing a long post about pricing in the context of the current economic climate in the near future.)

This follows my two previous posts

This post includes 
  • a chart of all sales (to date) analysed by the size of the artwork and the price category of the sold artwork.
  • commentary on my conclusions about the chances of artwork selling - by size and price categories
Winners Exhibition - View of West Gallery last Friday

As most of you know, most sales in an exhibition occur during pretty early in an exhibition. Notably 

  • when it goes online and 
  • at the Private View before it opens to the public, 
  • then in the first few days after that. 

I'm not going to Private Views routinely at the moment - and indeed I'm still walking round with a mask on given the fact Covid infection rates are rampant in London - and I've still not had it....

However I did visit last Friday - after the PV on Tuesday evening (and the rail strike on Wednesday) and the last thing I did before I left the gallery was to walk round and photograph every artwork which had sold.

I've also checked what sales have since occurred online and it's pretty much the same.

So today is an analysis along the lines of those done in previous reviews of exhibitions in these galleries. I've crunched the numbers and created an excel file with a data sheet and a chart. All sold artworks are categorised according to

  • price categories are those which I observe most sales in this location
  • sizes are new - and includes small, small medium, large medium and large - scaled according to the size of the artwork and NOT the framed size.

General observations on pricing

First of all though I'm going to make some general observations

Monday, August 01, 2022

REVIEW (Part 2): "Winners" Exhibition at the Mall Galleries

Yesterday I reviewed the Winners Exhibition at the Mall Galleries. In this post I'm going to comment on the artwork which stood out for me. 

Artwork worth a mention

I've grouped images of artwork I liked according to broad subject matter / genre.


I'd be entirely unsurprised if I had seen this double portrait painting in what used to be the annual exhibition of the BP Portrait Award. It's large and expensive....

Emily Gillbanks completes her MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art in September and this painting was included in her degree show in June. I predict we'll be seeing a lot of her work in future.

Four Things by Emily Gillbanks
Oil, 160 x 190 cm, £16,588

EMILY GILLBANKS (b. 1999) is a Painter and Researcher who grew up on the Essex and Suffolk border, United Kingdom. Emily was most recently awarded the Royal College of Art’s Fribourg Philanthropies Painting Prize 2022, and in 2021 her painting Three Things was awarded The de László medal for Excellence by The de László Foundation.
Frances Bell's portraits are getting better and better and she seems to be much in demand for commissions - and I'm not surprised! She has shown in the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition since 2005. 

Edd in the Window by Frances Bell RP AROI
Oil, 80 x 80 cm (94 x 94 cm framed), £7,800

Curtis Holder, Winner of the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year in 2020 (see 
Curtis Holder wins Portrait Artist of the Year (Series 7 Autumn 2020) and PAOTY Commission: Curtis Holder draws Carlos Acosta
has two large and impressive drawings in coloured pencils in the show.

Left: Will You Hear Me? by Curtis Holder
Coloured pencil, 120 x 120 cm (130 x 130 cm framed), £4,250
Right: Sunday 5:04 am by Curtis Holder
Coloured pencil, 140 x 120 cm (145 x 124 cm framed), £4,500

I'm a fan of those who paint paintings by other artists - particularly if they are paintings I recognise and also like a lot - such as in this smallish painting by Robbie Wraith.

Keys & Postcards by Robbie Wraith RP
Watercolour, 41 x 28 cm (53 x 43 cm framed), £3,500

I very much liked these two black crayon drawings by Shaun Duke - who's a new name to me. He won The Pastel Society Young Artist Award in 2022. However it's very easy to see that he's got considerable skills in drawing people. I also prefer his line drawings to his paintings.

Two drawings by Shaun Duke
both in Black crayon, 56 x 38 cm (75 x 53 cm framed), £650

The transient nature of the sittings is of great importance. To provide an honest account, marks are rarely erased and his works on paper are never altered after a session has ended. Duke wants to record instances in time between people and believes that only through documenting these small moments can we reveal a truthful view of contemporary culture.


As some may be aware I'm very engaged by those who draw or paint plants.

I loved these two stylised and organised paintings of Euphorbia Leaves II and Silage Grass VI by Gareth Brown RSMA. Gareth has a way of being able to see abstracted shapes and forms in natural subject matter. I'm a big fan and I've been repeatedly highlighting his paintings in reviews of the RSMA exhibitions