Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Call for Entries: Landscape Artist of the Year 2024 (Series 9)

The deadline for entries for the art competition - Landscape Artist of the Year (Series 9) is NOON on Friday 28th April 2023. This is filmed in Summer 2023 and normally broadcast in early 2024.

This is a VERY LONG post!

The order below is
  • Key Features of the competition
  • So you want to paint a landscape in 4 hours on television?
    • Can SKY ARTS upgrade the competence of those in the pods?
    • You may be out of pocket....
  • 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 (2018 - 2022)
You might want to have a think about whether you want to enter and/or defer finalising your application until AFTER:
  • you've seen what the competition looks like on screen
  • read / view look my reviews of past series (listed at the end of this post) which include lots of pics and quite a few tips
To receive information on filming dates and locations and updates about the series, you can:

Key features of the competition

This is a televised art competition - made by Storyvault Films on behalf of the broadcaster Sky Arts.
  • Filming the Heats of Landscape Artist of the Year 2024 (Series 9) is planned to take place around the UK during Summer 2023.
  • Heat Dates are as follows (at locations to be decided - usually three locations which offer two alternative venues)
    • Heats One and Two: in the week commencing 12th June 2023 
    • Heats Three and Four: in the week commencing 19 th June 2023 
    • Heats Five and Six: in the week commencing 26th June 2023
    • in July(?) 2023 re. the Semi Finals, Finals (and Commission?) 
  • The programme will (probably) be broadcast in early 2024.
  • 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)
  • Around 40 artists are selected for the 8 pods in each of the 5 Heats
  • Around 50 artists are selected tas Wildcards to paint close to the pods at one of the 5 Heats
All applicants for the Wild Card Competition must have previously applied to the main competition to be eligible.
More details about how to enter are below. But first......

Painting is an activity you tend to do alone so I’m very conscious of needing to get out more, to meet people, and to try to promote my work. I regularly visit the arts blog Making a Mark to see what opportunities there are throughout the year, and it was there that I saw the call for artists for the next series. Camilla Dowse

So you want to paint a landscape in 4 hours on television?

My view is that the television producers almost certainly 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 40 artists for the Heats on the basis of their art alone.
However my view is that choices would be much more robust and help improve the level of competition and standard of painting produced by those in the pods IF the competition organisers / Judges also looked at:
  • the social media sites of those longlisted to see if they have the capacity for producing consistently decent landscapes.
  • 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 generally on their website.
  • Plus it serves to validate whether the person painted the painting!
I comment further below on this topic.

I THINK (i.e. don't know) that the Producers choose who goes in which Heat so there is a good mix ie.
  • 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 


Can SKY ARTS upgrade the competence of those in the pods?

EVERY SINGLE YEAR I've watched there have been artists painting as wildcards who are obviously much better than some of the artists painting in the pods.

It is so very annoying when you can see people in the wildcards pool who are obviously used to painting plein air and who are painting much better than those in the pods 

I am never ever surprised that this happens given the existing terms of entry.
  • i.e. not expected to provide info about previous plein air painting
  • not asked for any details of websites or social media accounts
If they are selecting on the quality of the landscape painting submitted, I can only think that there must be some very good wildcard artists who have been sloppy about the digital image of the landscape they submitted - in terms of subject, crop or file size.
The size of the digital photos you create will depend on a range of factors. For ... Landscape Artist of the Year, your submission painting photographs must each have a file size of at least 800KB and ideally no more than 5MB. How to Photograph Art
That said, 
  • the Judges think there are submission paintings which are good which I think are rubbish.
  • the Judges only see the digital image before selecting - whereas I have the benefit of seeing them hung at their real size on the programme - and can compare paintings when hung on the wall - albeit I have to pause my feed to do this!
Surely it's not too much to ask to indicate more clearly to Judges what the size of a painting is? They should NOT be surprised when standing looking at the submissions at the start of every programme. It just makes them look like they're incompetent at choosing the right people.

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 completely 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!!)
Does Sky really need to embarrass people on national television every year because individuals get selected to be in the pods who simply do NOT 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 a time limit outside!
IMO it's OK to let people try out first as wildcards if they've not painted plein air before - but NOT artists selected for the pods.  

wildcard artists in Yorkshire - in the driving rain

You may be out of pocket....

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

Bottom line you have to be able to get
  • all painting gear
  • your submission artwork (maybe)
  • 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!
They arranged to pick up artwork from PAOTY artists in advance - to make sure it gets there on time and undamaged.  I'm not too sure how it gets home again (can anybody elucidate? Do you take it on the day if you fail to win the Heat?). However the T&Cs suggest LAOTY participants are still responsible for taking it to the location.

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 - irrespective of where you live and where the Heat is.

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

For the avoidance of doubt:
  • 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.
  • there are separate arrangements for semi-finalists and finalists.

Who can enter

The Competition is open to all artists – amateur, professional or hobbyists
Any artist - amateur or professional or hobbyist, can enter the competition - 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 (since 5th October 2021

Terms and conditions

YOU can ONLY enter IF you:
  • are aged 16 or over as at 5th 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 since 5th October 2021
  • can provide documentation to support all of the above (ie. birth certificate; passport, any relevant documentation relating to your immigration/residency status) AND keep the organisers updated about your immigration status.
  • one of the winners or finalists of ANY of the earlier Series of Portrait/Landscape Artist of the Year (i.e. there is a bonus to being a semi-finalist who didn't make it to the Final!!)
  • one of the pod participating artists in Series 8 in 2022 (but may participate again in 2024)
  • selected to participate in the Heats for Portrait Artist of the Year Series 10 i.e. you can only participate in one competition each year
  • affiliated to any of the key players - see below. The onus is on YOU to declare any potential source of conflict / relationship. If you don't and they discover it later (or I do!) you can expect to be deselected / cancelled.
Artists with 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
In addition, you MUST be available for filming in Spring / Summer 2023  (see dates for Heats above)

If you are chosen as the Winner, you MUST also be available between the Final Date and another specific date in 2024 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.
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.  

I cannot emphasise enough HOW IMPORTANT THE SUBMISSION LANDSCAPE ISThis is the painting that:
  • gets you into the competition;
  • counts as part of the assessment of how you might deliver a commission - given there is no limit on the amount of time required for your submission painting
  • decides whether or not you will be a Heat Winner i.e. it will be lined up alongside your heat painting if you get in a pod and get shortlisted to determine who wins
  • goes to the Semi Finals and the Finals - should you get that far - and 
  • counts as part of the process for deciding the overall winner
In other words it's never ever JUST the Heat Painting which decides how you progress in the competition.

You have an excellent opportunity to help yourself progress by 
  • choosing and submitting a very good quality image 
  • of an appropriate high quality painting.

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 show the complete painting
  • MUST each have a file size no more than 5MB (NOTE: This has changed since earlier series and you can now submit much better quality higher resolution images)
  • 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.
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 1220mm [height] x 914 mm [width]. 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.
NOTE RE TRANSPORT OF ARTWORK:  the Terms and Conditions state that you must take the Submitted Artwork to the Heat (and potentially home again afterwards). Whereas I've been advised that PAOTY artists had their submissions collected from them in advance. It's worth getting clarification on this as it might affect what size painting you submit!!

Your digital entry

Only one entry can be submitted per person. 

Entries on behalf of another person will not be accepted.

  • a completed form
  • four photographs/images (each max.size 5MB) 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 (I.E. JUST THE PAINTING!)
    • 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 (max size 5MB)
The images of the Landscape Entry and the Additional Works of Art must not be manipulated in any way and must be of the work of art submitted for consideration (my bold)
Sky Arts has some advice about


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 very good digital images of your landscapes - because the judges will view artists’ submissions on a screen.

Sky Arts want them to see digital images 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

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 ad hoc art 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.
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.

My Reviews of Previous Heats (2018 - 2021) 


2022: SERIES 7

All the reviews in Series 7 include themes for reference by future participants - or plein air painters working to a time frame - in terms of problems experienced and challenges overcome.


Below you can find
  • the link to my reviews in previous series
  • THEMES identified in 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!

2021: SERIES 6

Filmed in 2020 after the first lockdown - and the production company were not travelling far from London!

EPISODE 1: Review: Episode 1 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2021 at Chartwell + themes

  • Artist profiles
  • Composition and completion
  • Simplification and what to leave in and what to leave out
  • The importance of shadows
  • Highly Coloured Grounds
PLUS participant blog posts:

EPISODE 2: Review: Episode 2 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2021 at West Wycombe Park + themes

  • Interpretation - producing something different
  • Things Tai-Shan Schierenberg does not like
  • Shifting conditions / "The water keeps changing"
  • Practice beforehand
PLUS Participants blog posts: 
  • How best to combine nature and urban landscapes
  • More of what Tai-Shan does not like
  • No scope for walking away to work out what to do next
  • Young painters
  • Sometimes the second paintings are better

EPISODE 4: Review: Episode 4 of Landscape Artist of the Year at Chartwell (the gardens)

  • Green, green and more green
  • A blue sky with nothing happening
  • VERY big views with a lot in the distance
  • Golden ratio and rule of thirds
  • Knowing how big to go for the time allotted
  • More about Tai's phobias

EPISODE 5: Review: Episode 5 of Landscape Artist of the Year at West Wycombe House

  • Working in different media - silkscreen printing and marker pens
  • Give the artists a proper chance to do well (one for the production team!)
  • How to use a frame to find a picture
  • Coping with the weather
  • What the artist likes to paint - and what happens if you avoid aspects you don't like
  • The darkest darks and the lightest lights

EPISODE 6: Review: Episode 6 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2021 at West Reservoir, Stoke Newington (again!)

  • What is a landscape?
  • Location: Do your research before the day
  • Why you need a hat and umbrella to cope with extreme heat
  • Having a strong base colour
  • How to capture time as well as a landscape
  • UPDATE: The need to train to generate your best result
“I had been called by the production company at the end of June to tell me that I had been selected. I knew I would only have four hours to paint something on the day, so set about training myself on days in July to create something acceptable in my style in four hours, I took some days off work and went off on my bike to paint for four hours in the open, so that on the day I would be used to sitting and painting for that time. It meant that on the day I was able to focus and not panic. In the end I think I did the best I could, but everyone can judge when they watch the programme." Stephen Jordan - Lecturer displays artistic talent on Sky Arts - who produced one of my favourite landscape entries for the competition (which had taken a while to paint).

SEMI-FINAL: Review: Semi Finals of Landscape Artist of the Year 2021 at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

  • What the Judges want to see
  • Who is most likely to do well?
  • Consistency versus Experimentation
  • Coping with changing light and challenging weather
  • Saying what you're painting
In my view those most likely to do well put very simply are
  • those who have a well developed method for painting i.e. they know what they're doing and they've done it lots of time before
  • those well used to painting plein air - and coping with all sorts of weather and variation of weather and light during the time you are painting
  • artists who focus on composition and how best to represent the view
  • those who produce the best paintings. It's not about style - it's about quality

FINAL: Ophelia Redpath wins Landscape Artist of the Year 2021 at Trinity Buoy Wharf

  • analysis of pod paintings and commission paintings

Commission and pod paintings respectively by:
(left to right) Shelagh Casebourne, Ophelia Redpath and Clare Lord

COMMISSION: The £10,000 Landscape Artist of the Year Commission


2020: 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!

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

  • A dominant vertical and a strong horizontal and an awful lot of water 
  • Being flexible with your formats
  • No game plan
  • Finding the beauty on the day - and avoiding the twee
  • and finally - don't arrive with a gimmick to market your normal artwork

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
Plus posts by participating artists

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

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


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
  • 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!

FINAL & EXHIBITION: Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 - the Final


SUMMARY: Learning Points from Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 - a summary

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

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