Tuesday, February 28, 2023

RBA Bicentennial: Sales before opening!

The Royal Society of British Artists Bicentennial Exhibition (200th Anniversary) is being held at the Mall Galleries next week - opening on Thursday 2nd March.

The Royal Society of British Artists was founded by a group of painters in 1823 and in 1887 the Society was granted the ‘Royal’ prefix. The RBA has remained one of the world’s premier art societies and has attracted world-renowned artists as members for nearly 200 years.

The Society has attracted many noteworthy painters and sculptors, such as Philip de László, LS Lowry and Henry Moore.

It's become customary for the Societies who belong to the Federation of British Artists to display the selected artwork online - for sale - via the Mall Galleries website, BEFORE the exhibition opens in the Gallery. That way they start out with some red dots before the first customer walks through the door.

I've been looking at the artwork selected for the exhibition online - and noticing a few sales - 14 in total - which fall into different price bands as follows

  • Under £500 x 4
  • £501 - £1,000 x 4
  • £1,001 - £2,500 x 3
  • £2,501 - £5,000 x 2
  • £5,001 x 1
This is pretty typical of previous data I've collected on sales at the Mall Galleries - and I'd again recommend people to be mindful that this is typically a gallery frequented by middle class middle England rather than by megabucks individuals!

So here's who's sold prior to the opening of the RBA Bicentennial.....

Beside the Seaside by Hun Adamoglu 

  • Octavia (£1,800) by Sarah Harrold (Collage, cardboard, gold leaf and inks, 80 x 80 cm / 80 x 80 cm framed)
  • Paris Roof Garden (£1,800) by Nicholas Verrall RBA ROI (Oil, 32 x 38 cm / 43 x 48 cm framed)
  • Swimbles (£3,000) by Nicola White (Acrylic, 80 x 80 cm / 86 x 86 cm framed)

Monday, February 27, 2023

About the SGFA: 102nd Annual Exhibition at Mall Galleries in March

The 102nd Annual Open Exhibition of the Society of Graphic Fine Art is at the Mall Galleries from midday on Monday 13th March until 5pm on Saturday 18th March.

Flyer for the 102nd Exhibition

The SGFA Exhibition focuses on original artwork (paintings, drawings, original prints) which emphasises excellence in drawing and draughtsmanship, demonstrated by hand in various media used for drawing and graphical art.
Established in 1919, the Society of Graphic Fine Art exists to promote and exhibit original works of high quality in colour or black and white, with the emphasis on excellence in drawing and draughtsmanship, demonstrated by hand. This includes all media including pencil, pen, brush, painting, charcoal, conté and any of the forms of original printmaking.

Demonstrations during the Exhibition

Four female members will be giving talks and demonstrations during the exhibition. Note that the middle two are back to back on the same day.
  • Tuesday 14 March, 2 to 4pm | Jackie Devereux PPSFGA - Loosen up with Ink and Watercolour - Wild Ones - Floral Impressions
  • Wednesday 15 March, 12:30 to 2pm | Louisa Crispin SBA FPS SGFA - Look Closer - Drawing Insects with Louisa Crispin
  • Wednesday 15 March, 2 to 4pm | Felicity Flutter RI SGFA - Drawn to the Sea
  • Friday 17 March, 12:30 to 2pm | Kaye Hodges SGFA Heads Up - Drawing a Portrait

About the SGFA

  • Annual Open: The SGFA used to exhibit regularly at the Menier Gallery but have recently switched to the Mall Galleries. 
  • It also has an Annual Members Only exhibition which have been held at various regional locations.

  • A regular Bulletin is issued and you can read online copies on the website
  • Regular Drawings Days are held on a not quite monthly basis - but these are typically focused on London and the South East. A Facebook post about one of the most recent is shown below.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

View the VERMEER exhibition at the Rijksmuseum - from your own home

The Vermeer Exhibition at the Rijksmuseum is not only iconic - having reunited 28 of his 37 known paintings in one place - it's also extraordinarily popular and has sold out! 

There are no more tickets available at the moment.

The Rijksmuseum is working hard to give more people the opportunity to see the exhibition. From 6 March, we will provide a new update via the Rijksmuseum website.

It says (bottom left) "There are no more tickets available at the moment"

The exhibition opened on the 10th February and continues until 4 June 2023.

  • the museum is limiting tickets to make the artwork accessible
  • there is no waiting list
We are continuously looking at ways to give more people the chance to see this exhibition.

Keep an eye on the website and social media channels for updates on ticket availability.
So I thought I'd highlight how you can see the artwork in the exhibition without a ticket.

How to see the Vermeer Exhibition without a ticket

I think the popularity of the exhibition has maybe prompted the Rijksmuseum to make the exhibition more accessible ONLINE to those who cannot get tickets and/or to those who live outside the Netherlands.

Here's how you can get a guided tour of the exhibition.

Rijksmuseum Website: there is a tour of the exhibition narrated by Stephen Fry in English

  • Closer to Johannes Vermeer - it covers particular themes of his work and draws attention to a number of aspects which you might not be aware of - even if you know work by Vermeer well.

Rijksmuseum on Instagram: there are guided tours next week - in both Dutch and English

    On Tuesday, Maeike, one the the Rijksmuseum's guides, will give a live tour of the VERMEER exhibition on the Rijksmuseum's Instagram channel and answer the most frequently asked questions.
  • Dutch: Tuesday 28 Feb. / 6 - 6.30 PM cet
  • English: Tuesday 28 Feb. / 6.30 - 7 PM cet

Plus this article on ArtNet has an image of every painting in the show - see In Pictures: See Every Single Artwork in the Rijksmuseum’s Vermeer Show, a Once-in-a-Lifetime Exhibition That Is Already Sold Out.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Review: Semi Finals of Landscape Artist of the Year 2023

This is a review of the Semi Finals of Landscape Artist of the Year 2023 which took place at the edge of the Thames Barrier Park - in the Royal Docks area of the London Borough of Newham - with a good view of the Thames Barrier.

The Thames Barrier from the Thames Barrier Park in Newham 
- with Woolwich in the background

It's going to be very different from my previous reviews of the Heats of Landscape Artist of the Year 2023.  Not least because I've highlighted who has got to the Final before I comment on the paintings. It just seemed to make more sense that way round!

  • Location & Weather
  • Themes & Learning Points 
  • Decision - the Finalists (and comments on the Judges Approach)
  • My take on the Semi Final Paintings

As always I'll be offering TIPS on the way through! NOT guaranteed in any way to help you do better - but they might! People have told me they've appreciated them!

The Artists

The artists waiting to hear their fate

The Artists were 
  • all the Heat Winners - We already know who all the artists are - and I did a recap of them yesterday in my post LAOTY Semi Finalists + PAOTY Call for Entries Deadline extended - so no section devoted to artists in this post!
  • plus the chosen artist from the Wildcard Winners. The Wildcard Winner selected for a Pod was 17 year old school student called Luke Sturgess. His work was different in that he drew in monochrome using pen and ink. Which left me wondering whether being a wildcard whose work did not look like any of the other semi-finalists' work.          
The Artists in the Thames Barrier Park

Location & Weather

The view was of the Thames Barrier, which is one of the largest movable flood barriers in the world. It spans 520 metres across the River Thames near Woolwich. 10 steel gates can rise and protect 125 square kilometres of central London from flooding caused by tidal surges.

The location for the pods was the north side of the River Thames on the edge of the Thames Barrier Park run by the GLA. Yet again, I'm reminded that the programme is beginning to seem more like a marketing exercise for anniversaries and new sites 

Opened in November 2000 it was London’s largest new riverside park for over 50 years.

This is a link to the Google Map of the area should you want to visit or have a go at painting the Barrier for yourself!

Interestingly, although the barrier seemed very big on screen, I think it probably looked a lot smaller from the pods. I think that's because most of our views were from drones and involved close-ups. I don't think we ever saw a long view from a pod.

Here's a couple of views which suggest it might look other than we think it looks to the artist.

The Pods on the edge of the Thames Barrier Park.

What the Thames Barrier looks like from just above a pod.
Doesn't it look an awful lot smaller?

The weather was mostly grey - which meant artists had to work much harder at both tones and colours. Personally I thought the clouds in sky were rather interesting quite a lot of the time.....

LAOTY Semi Final Locations

I wrote this in a previous semi final post!
The location for Landscape Artist of the Year Semi-Final
....MUST be:
very different
include huge and difficult structures
Accompanied by water - and reflections

I did a tot up of all the venues for the semi finals in recent years - and almost all had one thing in common. Large complex structures often near water. Links in the list below are to my reviews of each semi-final - where you can see pics of the structures

  • 2015 - Potters Fields Park in central London - painting Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the City of London
  • 2016 - Margate Harbour - painting views of the harbour
  • 2017 - Castle Farm in Kent (the exception which proves the rule - given what happened the next year) - painting enormous fields of lavender 
  • 2018 - Felixstowe Docks - a container port with very big cranes and ships and stacks of containers - complete with an ocean going container ship turning up halfway through. (The eventual winner of the series knew it was coming as given a vague idea of where the semi finals were she'd had the foresight to look up both tide tables and arrivals and departures!)
  • 2019 - Oil Rigs in the Cromarty Firth - extremely peculiar vertical structures sat in the middle of the Firth?
  • 2020 - change of timing of broadcast (the year of two PAOTYs)
  • 2021 - the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at Stratford in East London (filmed under Covid constraints in 2020 and broadcast changed to Jan-March slot in 2021) - looking south down the River Lee - towards the Olympic Stadium and the ArcelorMittal Orbit in the distance.
  • 2022 - Forth Bridge - a VERY meccano set over the Firth of Forth
  • 2023 - Thames Barrier - next to the River Thames!

TIPS For LAOTY Semi Finalists (and Pod artists)

  • Expect a big structure at some point - polish your perspective chops
  • A panoramic format might be a very useful option for your support
  • Take suitable tools for drawing/painting structures e.g. take 
    • a ruler (for measuring) 
    • large pieces of stiff card (for very fast delivery of sharp edges)
    • flexi curve or french curve for bends
    • Binoculars - because sometimes the structure is a VERY long way away!
  • Make sure you know how to paint effective water quickly and easily
To my mind, this preponderance of structures is fine IF you've not had anything complex as a structure BEFORE this semi-final stage.

BUT in Series 10 we've had piers, rollercoasters and giant grandstands! I just don't see the point of yet another weird structure. A very ordinary green landscape would be a much better test of the artists at this stage given what's been thrown at them so far!

It's also divisive in the sense that
  • such locations won't suit those who lean towards greenery, vegetation and a more natural environment (most landscape painters!)
  • but may well suit those who like structures but are awful at vegetation.
PLUS I cannot make any connection between the locations chosen in this series and the commission required - based on the fact I saw the Van de Veldes Exhibition in the Queens House at Greenwich at the press preview on Tuesday this week!

Although one person commenting on my Facebook Page made the case for the barrier structures looking a bit like sails on a sailing ship - which is a reasonable point.

Bottom line, whoever has been selecting locations for the series in 2023 needs 
  • a very stern talking to; and
  • needs to try getting out and about in the UK countryside a bit more!
The weirdness of the locations needs to be explained. My theory is that "somebody" (any guesses?) decided that the series needed to be made more interesting and changed up a gear and become more innovative - and that while they were at it they could reinvent landscape art as well! 

To which I have one response. Poor choice. You're losing your core audience! 

I suggest a return to basics in the next series if you don't want to lose your audience altogether. 

We'd all very much like the series to continue. If anybody is bored then there's always the option of moving on.......

    Themes, Learning Points and Tips

    Wednesday, February 22, 2023

    LAOTY Semi Finalists + PAOTY Call for Entries Deadline extended

    Portrait Artist of the Year 2023

    The deadline for entering your submission for Portrait Artist of the Year 2023 (Series 10) - has been extended:
    FROM: 12pm (midday) on Friday, 24th February 2023
    TO: 12pm (midday) on MONDAY, 27th February 2023

    So basically you've got three more days to get your entry in.

    Don't forget what my recommendations about this Call for Entries and submissions generally:
    • READ my tips in my blog post covering the Call for Entries. See
      Portrait Artist of the Year 2023 (Series 10): Call for Entries

    • Make sure you submit a self-portrait which:
      • does not like very common formats for self portraits - makes yours about you and make it different!
      • demonstrates what you can do it you had more time - as a proxy as to whether or not your commission (should you win!) could be impressive
    Interestingly the first episode of Series 9 suggested that the self-portrait submission could be regarded as evidence of what an artist can do when not constrained by time.

      • has a style which could be consistent with what you can do in 4 hours i.e. the submission gets considered alongside the heat painting in determining who wins the heat from the three artists who are shortlisted - and a coherent, consistent, unique, mature style is important. (That's mature as in you've painted a lot of portraits and learned how you paint best - and has nothing to do with age)

    Landscape Artist of the Year 2023 - The Artists

    It's the semi final tonight and the subject is the Thames Barrier. WHY yet another gigantic architectural construction when there is so much else in the landscape to paint?

    Below are the pics of the winning artists in each heat - see if you can spot who's got a chance of being a Finalist.

    I'm identifying who I think at the end of this post - but make your mind up first before you read what I think!

    HEAT 1: Finn Campbell Notman

    Finn Campbell Notman: submission and heat painting

    Finn Campbell-Notman (Facebook | Instagram | Twitter) - a professional painter and illustrator. Born in London in 1970, he grew up in rural England as part of an artists' commune. His art education also includes BA (Hons) in Fine Art at U.W.E. Bristol and at Wolverhampton (to 1993), a double First Class B.A. (Hons) in Illustration from Falmouth College of Art, Cornwall, UK. (1998-2001) and an M.A. in Communication Art & Design from the Royal College of Art, London (2002-04). You can see his illustration work here. Since 2020 Finn has been without a studio or permanent home and divides his time between Bristol and Andalucia.

    HEAT 2: Susanna Macinnes

    Susanna Macinnes: submission and heat painting

    Susanna Macinnes (Instagram) - Lives in South London a BA (HONS) degree in Fine Art from Manchester Metropolitan University. Member of and Secretary to the friends of the Chelsea Art Society. She has been painting landscapes for 20 years and is an experienced plein air painter. She has exhibited in various locations over the years. Painted from her roof during the first lockdown. 

    HEAT 3: Stefano Ronchi

    Stefabno Ronchi: submission and heat painting at Castle Ward

    Stefano Ronchi (Facebook | Instagram) - from Italy, lives in Hackney and can work big. He describes himself as a "punk surrealist painter". He has been influenced by Leonardo, Brueghel, Dali, and Hieronymus Bosch mixed with comic book art. His very large impressive submission was called The Hill (Acrylic on canvas, 120x80 cm 2017)

    HEAT 4: Ann Byrne

    Ann Byrne: submission and heat painting of Blackpool Pleasure Beach

    Anne Byrne (Facebook | Instagram) - retired marketing Executive from Chester and a contemporary landscape painter interested in a contemporary take on traditional approaches to landscape painting. Trained at St Helens School of Art in the late 70’s. Currently represented by The Harbour Gallery in Portscatho, Cornwall. Her work suggests she knows how to create a composition. Works in oil with big brushes relative to format size.

    HEAT 5: Steve Nice

    Steve Nice: submission and heat painting

    See Review: Episode 5 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2023 - Ascot
    Steve Nice - a retired IT consultant from Nottingham. His submission was large and mostly monochromatic. He appears to have no presence online.

    HEAT 6: Helen Lloyd Elliot

    Helen Lloyd Elliot: submission and heat painting

    Plus one wildcard artist

    This I think is always the most difficult to predict. In part because I think they choose somebody who is NOT like the other artists and also because we never got to see their submission.

    I'd like to see Matthew Timmins-Williams (Instagram) who did the very panoramic view of the garden of Castle Ward - but he is quite similar at least two other artists

    As is Jo Burns who I think might be the other contender.

    Who will make it to the Final?

    I identified who I thought had a good chance of making it to the Final when I wrote my reviews.

    The three artists are:
    • Finn Campbell Notman
    One look at his website also tells you he's a very accomplished draughtsman and painter.
    • Ann Byrne
    I must confess, I did the profiles of the artists yesterday afternoon before I watched the programme and I'd already decided - on Wednesday afternoon - that if I were judging I'd be picking Anne as my winner.

    Indeed I'd go so far as to say, bearing in mind the pic in the intro part of each episode which presumably relates to the commission, I think she has a good chance of making the Final and might even win! She can certainly handle sky!
    • Helen Lloyd Elliot
    The winner was Helen Lloyd Elliot - and very deserved it was too. I thought she might get edged because in some ways she's very close to the winner at Blackpool in Episode 4.

    I think Helen will be in the final. She talked about the win giving her confidence. I don't think she needs it, I think she just knows how to respond to a scene and how to paint it.
    Based on what's happened in previous years, appearing in the opening credits (which change every week) is a pretty good indicator of who wins - in which case Helen Lloyd Elliot will go through to the Final and win!

    If you fancy having a go and would like to be a pod artist or wildcard this summer, you have until to NOON on Friday 28th April 2023 to submit an entry

    READ MORE about the call for entries - plus my tips - in my blog post about Call for Entries: Landscape Artist of the Year 2024 (Series 9)

    Tuesday, February 21, 2023

    "The Big City - London painted on a grand scale"

    A new exhibition about London - The Big City: London painted on a grand scale - has opened at the Guildhall Art Gallery. 

    It focuses on the world’s most extensive collection of supersize paintings of London

    Venue: Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, England, EC2V 5AE
    Dates: until Sunday 23 April 2023
    Hours: Mon to Sun: 10:30am-4pm (last admission 3.45pm)
    Admission: Pay What You Can i.e. you can pay as much or as little as you like for your ticket or visit for free.

    It's a unique exhibition which 
    • celebrates the exceptional talent of 19 artists and 
    • showcases some of the largest paintings in the the City of London Corporation's, including works that are not normally on public display.

    The Big City: London painted on a grand scale includes:
    • a series of pieces by David Hepher (b.1935), on display in London for the first time. The works were gifted to the City Corporation by the artist in 2022 and is the largest donation in the Gallery’s recent history. His career spans six decades and for the last 40 years he has focused almost exclusively on London, in particular, the inner-city estates of the 1960s and 1970s.
    Graffiti tags, based on Hepher’s own observations, adorn the paintings in various colours, while the canvases themselves are primed with a mixture of concrete, PVA, and wood to create the illusion of tower-block walls, onto which Hepher has applied paint to mimic the small streams of slime that often stain concrete structures.
    • a four-piece panel installation by John Bartlett (b.1960) - one of the largest items in the show
    • gigantic works of art from Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962) and Terence Cuneo (1907-1996) that have never been displayed side-by-side.
    I've not seen it yet - but it's one I'm planning to visit in the near future. I must confess I'm more interested in historical views of London and having done a search of Art UK, I'm interested to see which artworks they've selected for the exhibition. 

    Some I'd love to see are
    but I'm not sure they're big enough....

    I will be reporting back after I've seen the exhibition

    Sunday, February 19, 2023

    Society of Wood Engravers Annual Exhibition

    On Friday I visited the Bankside Gallery in London and viewed the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wood Engravers

    The exhibition opened on 7th February and continues to 26th February and I'd very much recommend this exhibition to anybody interested in fine art printmaking

    • There are a lot of high quality artworks in this exhibition
    • More importantly many of them are very affordable (i.e. less than £500 - with some less than £100)
    The Society of Wood Engravers was founded in 1920 by artists including Eric Gill, Gwen Raverat, Robert Gibblings, Philip Hagreen and Lucien Pissarro. A break during the war years and then again in the 1970s meant that their annual exhibition ceased for a time; since their revival in 1984, they have built a reputation for excellence, attracting exhibitors and collectors from around the world

    View of one corner of the exhibition

    I've included an album of my photos from the exhibition in a folder - Society of Wood Engravers Annual Exhibition 2023 - on my Facebook Page.

    It starts with images of the prizewinners followed by gallery views of the wood engravings in the exhibition.

    View of some of the artworks in the exhibition - indicating the variation in size

    I'm somewhat puzzled by where I can find a list of the prizewinners on what appears to be the two websites of the Society of Wood Engravers

    Images from this annual exhibition can also be found on the https://www.societyofwoodengravers.co.uk/shop or the Bankside Gallery's exhibition page https://www.banksidegallery.com/exhibitions/92-the-society-of-wood-engravers/works 

    SWA Feature Artist 2023: Angie Lewin

    The feature artist in the exhibition is Angie Lewin

    In 2006 I was elected to The Royal Society of Painter Printmakers and in 2008 to The Society of Wood Engravers. In 2010 I was elected to The Art Workers Guild. In 2016 I was elected to The Royal Watercolour Society.

    What's rather odd is that the artworks are not all wood engravings.

    Thursday, February 16, 2023

    Review: Episode 6 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2023: Strangford Lough

    This week, in the final heat of Landscape Artist of the Year 2023, we finally got a PROPER landscape! 

    Absolutely no entertainment centres - whether on a pier, a pleasure beach or a racecourse - and no country houses either! 

    Instead we had lot of natural greens, greys and ochre colours - in the water, shoreline, grass, hills, grass and lots of trees. It was a pleasure to watch despite what was a very grey day at Strangford Lough, County Down in Northern Ireland.

    It is however linked to that other entertainment vehicle - Games of Thrones - as being within the area of Winterfell

    Pods at Strangford Lough, County Down

    As always, my review covers:
    • the location and weather
    • the artists' profiles
    • themes arising during the episode
    • who was shortlisted and who won

    Episode 6: Strangford Lough

    On a spit surrounded by water - which was receding as the wide went out


    The pods were located on a spit jutting out of Strangford Lough - next to Strangford Sailing Club - in the area knows as Winterfell in Games of Thrones - nearer to the sea than most of the rest of the lough.

    The pods were looking across the water to Audley's Castle built in 15th Century which overlooks the entrance to the sea lough from the sea.

    One aspect which complicated matters for those that didn't know or notice is that Strangford Lough is a sea lough and consequently is tidal - and the tide went out - revealing a lot more foreshore over the course of the filming.


    The day of the heat was grey with flat light - but it stayed consistent all day with slight variations in the sky.

    It appears to have been the sort of day which works well for those accustomed to working with light and looking for the colour which exists even on a grey day. Which is what happened and it was a pleasure to watch......

    The Artists in the Pods

    Artists in Episode. 6
    (L to R back row: Andrew, David, Laura, Helen, Beth;
     L to R Foreground: Elliot, Lewis and Chi Yen)

    Episode 6 pod artists are listed BELOW in the alphabetical order of their surnames.
    • Links to their websites are embedded in their names.
    • Social media platforms are also referenced.
    The info in my profiles comes partly from the programme but also from their websites. How much depends very largely on much bio info is online!

    You can also see videos of them painting on https://www.skyartsartistoftheyear.tv/landscape-profiles/

    The pod artists in this episode were:
    • Laura Gill [Facebook] - A retired interior designer who lives in Dunblane, Scotland.
    • Lewis Graham [Instagram] - Born in Birmingham and currently an art student living in Worcester. Graham explores the rural landscape and depicts it through large-scale charcoal drawings, painting and printmaking.
    • David Hamilton [Instagram | Twitter] -  a retired art director for an international company that produces themed sets for the entertainment industry and occasional TV extra from Portadown in Northern Ireland. "very chuffed to have exhibited with the RA, RUA, RHA, NGI and the AR." He has also been selected for the RA Summer Exhibition, London, 2016 and  shortlisted twice for the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery
    • Beth Horner [Linktr.ee | Instagram] - graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Painting in 2020, having received a BA in Painting from Wimbledon College of Art in 2017. Currently a Digswell Arts Fellow and works from her studio in Letchworth Garden City.
    • Helen Lloyd Elliot [Instagram] -  live and work in Dorset and London. Primarily a landscape and portrait painter - and a nature lover. Has exhibited at leading open art exhibitions in England. She's made a print of the painting she completed in the heat. Tai described her as a colourist and I agree.
    • Andrew Mart [Instagram] - a musician and teacher from Nottingham
    • Elliot Roworth [Facebook | Instagram] - a former architectural designer from Brighton. He's inspired by architecture and intrigued and energized by light effects and reflections. He's one of a few artists in this series whose paintings on his website have impressed me.
    • Chi Yen Snow [Facebook | Instagram] - Relocated to Clevedon, near Bristol from London in 2017. Mother to two young girls. Graduated with a degree in film and animation. Spent over 15 years working as a graphic designer. Works in acrylic and oils and started working in pen and ink during lockdown. Participated in a pod in Episode 2 of Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 at Herstmonceux Observatory
    The Artists Pods at Strangford Lough

    Wildcard artists

    As always, there were 50 Wildcard Artists painting in the same area

    The Wildcards painting on the edge of the lough

    We heard in this episode that Judges can be drawn towards your wildcard painting by the aesthetics of your set-up!

    The general consensus was that there were some exceptionally strong Wildcard artists and that the Wildcards had a very good day. 

    Maybe because they'd been given a proper landscape at last?


    seven of the eight pod artists with their submissions
    (David Hamilton is missing)

    It's taken until the last heat to see the wall of submissions properly - albeit only 7 of the 8 artworks.

    Interestingly the really big one is by David, the only artist from Northern Ireland. Most are on the small side

    Submissions from the Pod Artists are considered at the outset

    At the beginning of the programme, after having seen the submissions I always write down for myself who I think will be shortlisted just on the basis of the submissions - and got two right - and wasn't sure who I'd make my third artist.

    Themes, Learning Points and Tips

    What follows are themes talked about or observed during the day and what we can learn from them and tips with how to deal with various challenges

    Wednesday, February 15, 2023

    Artist of the Year Gallery: Artwork for Sale

    This year the Artist of the Year team at Storyvault Films Ltd (SF) have developed the offering to artists past, present and future by creating a website which enables pod artists to sell their artwork.

    It has some good points - and some significant weaknesses on the finance side - but nothing which cannot be addressed. Better sooner rather than later.

    Artist of the Year Gallery Website
    Artist of the Year Gallery Website - Home Page

    What's on the Gallery Website

    You can see:
    • the artists - Artists are listed in order of their appearance on our programmes, most recent first. However not all artists are participating - partly because this is a new initiative and partly because some artists will have existing arrangements for selling their art which they won't want to compromise.
    • the artworks - are produced by artists who have participated in the programmes - but not all artworks have been produced for the programmes
    • The How It Works explanation
    • Terms and Conditions (very important) - The Terms and Conditions need to be accessible via a PDF printable document for Artists to file - for the record - which they are not at present.
    It's an interesting proposition because one of the things many artists struggle with is selling their artwork online - which is much less straightforward to do properly than people might think.

    Consequently, just as any artist has to who is trading online and distance selling artwork has to do, this SF ecommerce operation MUST comply with all the rules and regulations around
    (Note: These links go the relevant pages of my Art Business Info for Artists website)

    BUT IF they're doing everything properly (see below), this site could be a BIG saving in time and effort for an artist in terms of mastering all the ins and outs of online distance selling of artwork! 

    I haven't checked the site out thoroughly for ALL the aspects in detail but I assume they've done the wise thing and had 
    • an expert ecommerce lawyer advising on what they must do and cannot do - and 
    • an expert ecommerce adviser telling them what's the best approach for an operation like this.
    • a VAT expert checking to make sure they got all the VAT aspects right.
    However on a quick review, I ended up feeling a bit like "a party pooper" as I have reservations about whether SF have been wise in the approach they have adopted to 
    • robust and secure monetary transactions / payment processing
    • money laundering regulations for art galleries / dealers / agents
    • VAT liability, transactions and associated documentation
    At the end you can see how it works. 

    Immediately below is a summary of the financial weaknesses I spotted which I think need addressing.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2023

    Call for Entries: John Moores Painting Prize 2023

    The John Moores Painting Prize is a very prestigious biennial PAINTING competition - with a £25,000 First Prize - plus a £5,000 prize for an emerging artist.
    • It opened for entries for the 2023 exhibition yesterday.
    • The Prize is open to all UK-based artists working with paint.
    • The deadline for an entry is 24 March 2023
    • All entries are judged anonymously over a two-stage selection process - but I strongly recommend you take a look at the Judges profiles first.
    • It culminates in an exhibition next year at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool (16 September 2023 to 25 February 2024).
    In the absence of all those art competitions which have fallen by the wayside in recent years, this is one art competition that all painters should take very seriously - not least because who has won it previously


    The John Moores Painting Prize (JSPP) 2023 Exhibition will be on display at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool from 19 September 2020 - 14 February 2021

    Kathryn Maple - who won the JSPP in 2020 - also has an exhibition Under a Hot Sun by Kathryn Maple at the Walker Art Gallery between 11 Feb 2023—30 Apr 2023

    About the John Moores Painting Prize

    The John Moores Painting Prize has awarded more than £685,000 in prize money across 31 exhibitions, which have showcased more than 2,350 works of art. It presents a rich history of post-war painting in Britain. The first exhibition was held only six years after the Walker Art Gallery re-opened following the Second World War.

    Previous winners of the John Moores Painting Prize have included artists such as

    Aims of the JMPP

    The competition is named after the sponsor of the prize, Sir John Moores (1896 – 1993). It was originally intended as a one-off, however it's now a biennial event and this will be the 32nd exhibition since its launch in 1957.
    The original aims of the John Moores Painting Prize was:
    'To give Merseyside the chance to see an exhibition of painting and sculpture embracing the best and most vital work being done today throughout the country'
    'To encourage contemporary artists, particularly the young and progressive'
    Now the aim is
    Supporting artists from all over the UK – whether they’re undiscovered, emerging or established in their careers – the prize provides a platform for artists to inspire, disrupt and challenge the British painting art scene today.
    Hence the competition aims to support artists who paint with two important dimensions:
    • all entries are judged anonymously
    • to bring to Liverpool "the best contemporary painting" from across the UK
    and after that it's whatever the members of the jury care to place an emphasis on.

    In terms of "anonymous entry and judging" this competition is much more thorough than most. During the Stage 1 Review of the digital images the process is completely anonymous
    • all artists are allocated a unique entry number
    • jurors are not given the names of the artists
    • jurors are only provided with information about the title, size and medium of the painting.
    You can read more about the The Judges for the 2023 JMPP at the end of this post.


    All paintings included in the exhibition are eligible for a prize. The jury will select a final shortlist of five paintings and award the prizes.
    • The first prize winner will receive £25,000 and a solo display at the Walker Art Gallery in 2025. 
    • A shortlist of four other paintings will also be awarded £2,500.  
    • Plus a NEW £5,000 Lady Grantchester Prize for emerging artists (see below) PLUS 
      • a month-long residency and display space at Elephant West in West London  plus local accommodation and a basic allowance if the artist lives outside LondoN; and 
      • £2,500 worth of art materials from Winsor & Newton.
      • Professional mentoring by Winsor & Newton
    • The Visitors’ Choice Award (worth £2023) sponsored by Rathbones. - Visitors to the  JMPP 2023 exhibition will be invited to vote for their favourite painting to win the popular 
    New for the 2023 edition of JMPP, the Emerging Artist Prize has been re-named in honour of the late Lady Grantchester, an avid and loyal supporter of the John Moores Painting Prize, which was created by her father, John Moores in 1957.

    The Lady Grantchester Prize is open to recent graduates, who are within two years of graduation, and students who are currently in their final year of a UK-based arts-related course, degree (eg. BA, MA, PhD) or alternative learning programme. 

    Call for Entries

    Summary of information provided by the organisers can be found on

    Above is the short version. Below are the details.

    Who can enter?

    The last edition of the show had almost 3,000 entries including works by both established and early career artists.

    Artists MUST be: