Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Which PAOTY Semi Finalists will be in the PAOTY 2023 Final?

Tonight is the semi-finals of Portrait Artist of the Year 2023.

Can you predict who will get the three places in the Final - based on the self portrait submission and their heat painting?

PAOTY 2023: The self portrait and heat paintings by the seven Heat Winners

Check them out below. I've listed all the Heat Winners and included the images of the self portrait and heat painting below.

My prediction is the finalists will be

  • Gail Reid
  • Sara Reeeve; and 
  • Wendy Barratt
I say that mainly on the basis that:
  • they are all experienced portrait painters
  • they all produced very good heat portraits (judged against the seven as a whole)
  • they all seem to have the sort of temperament which means they mobilise quickly and complete within the time limit.
What's your prediction? (Answers please on my Making A Mark Facebook Page before 8pm!)

Heat 1 - Anna-Louise Loy

Anna-Louise Loy is a music student from Liverpool. Graduated this year from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with an Honours Degree in Music (as a a Tenor/Bass Trombonist). Her self portrait is part of a series of annual self portraits.

See Review: Episode 1 Portrait Artist of the Year (Series 10) 11 October 2023

Heat 2 - Gail Reid (Instagram | YouTube | X)

Gail Reid is a Bristol based full time artist. She writes a blog and share livestream and edited video demonstrations on YouTube and Instagram. On her YouTube channel she has a large collection of demos and other material. READ my blog post about her blog post about Preparing for Portrait Artist of the Year - Gail Reid shares her experience and tips. I think she might also be limbering up for LAOTY by drawing and painting her way around France on her family holiday this year

See Review: Episode 2 Portrait Artist of the Year (Series 10) 18 October 2023

Heat 3 - Lorena Levi (Instagram)

Lorena Levi graduated Edinburgh University with an MA in Fine art 2021 where she won awarded the Astaire Prize at the end of her course. She was the overall winner of the 2022 Jackson’s Painting Prize. If the Judges knew those credentials, they'd be taking her seriously from the off... Her self portrait submission is below.

Heat 4 - Davide di Taranto (Instagram

Davide di Taranto is a miniature portraitist and fresco restorer born in Italy, but has lived in the UK since 2010 and currently lives in Southampton. After graduating at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze (Academy of Fine Art) in Florence, he worked on restorations all over the world. His self-portrait can be seen up close - and was exhibited in the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition 2018

Heat 5 - Sara Reeve (Instagram)

Sara Reeve is a Brighton-based painter who predominantly focuses on portraiture and also works as a wedding officiant. She is also a Tutor at Draw Brighton as a life drawing session leader and runs evening classes in Painting Portraits in Oils. She is also a proud @artcanorg member. Previously she worked for 12 years as a wedding photographer - so I'm guessing she knows a few things about how to make people look good.

See Review: Heat 5 of Portrait Artist of the Year (Series 10) 15 November 2023

Heat 6 - Wendy Barratt (Instagram)

Wendy Barratt is a graphic designer and artist who lives in Worthing. She specialises in portraiture and the human figure and teaches art in her spare time.

See Review: Heat 6 of Portrait Artist of the Year (Series 10) 22 November 2023

Heat 7 - Ed Lawrenson (Instagram

Ed Lawrenson is a professional full time artist based in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Studied at Winchester school of Art and the École Nationale Superiere des Beaux Arts in Paris. Currently works as a Studio Manager for a contemporary artist. (I'm pretty sure that's Damien Hirst who has one of his Science (UK) Limited Studios in Stroud). He is also a painter working primarily in figurative oil painting, with an interest in the renaissance and Impressionism. His self portrait was intended to poke fun at how seriously he takes himself. He is is currently working on a large body of mythological painting; fusing elements from the Bible with contemporary science fiction and historical painting motifs.

see Review: Episode 7 of Portrait Artist of the Year (Series 10)

Monday, November 27, 2023

Review: Episode 7 of Portrait Artist of the Year (Series 10)

This was the last of the Heats. The next programme on Wednesday evening is the Semi-Finals so we maybe need to start thinking about who's going to make it to the Final!

However first of all we need to identify who is the Winner of Heat 7 and the will be the seventh and last participant in the Semi-Finals.

(Apologies to those of you who have been emailed two copies of this post. 
This is due to an error in the html link for the post)

Episode 7 Portrait Artist of the Year 

(series 10 / broadcast 1 November 2023)

Two sitters: Daryl McCormack on the left and Lenny Rush on the right

Episode 7: The Sitters

All the Sitters were young and are:
  • Lenny Rush - a British BAFTA-winning actor age 14 who is best known for comedy drama series Am I Being Unreasonable? and on the BBC One series Dodger. I think he's the first sitter with a disability - spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita (SEDC) - a rare condition that results in short stature and skeletal anomalies. He had just had an operation and hence was unable to mobilise - and his special object was the Segway he normally uses to get around.
  • Daryl McCormack - an Irish Actor, age 30, who featured in Peaky Blinders and was nominated for a BAFTA for his acting in the title role in the film Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (2022). His special object was a wrap gift from Emma Thompson.
  • Joe Sugg - the oldest at age 31! He is an English YouTuber, vlogger and artist who started out as a thatcher and built a YouTube Channel called Thatcher Joe. In 2018 he was a finalist on the sixteenth series of Strictly Come Dancing. His special object was an early video camera from his Grandad who passed away last year.

Episode 7: The Artists

The artists in Episode 7 (of Series 10) broadcast on 22nd November are listed below in alphabetical order of the surname.

You can see all the profiles on the Sky Arts site plus speeded up videos of their paintings.

The Artists inbetween completing their heat paintings and delivery of Judges shortlist

The impression I got when I started looking at them online is that 
  • there were some VERY varied levels of experience 
  • with more younger, less experienced artists in this heat than hitherto.
It occurred to me after I wrote my Themes from this heat that the reason why most were younger might be because all the sitters were also very young.
  • Fiona Bell Currie - A semi-retired art teacher from Chichester. She trained as an art teacher at Goldsmiths' College 1972-76, loved teaching in schools and art college then developed a popular course for adults who'd not drawn since childhood. She paints full time in Chichester. You can see her finished version of her portrait of Joe Sugg on her website. 
I was new to portraiture back in April but have devoted some time to studying the form and developing a passion with some new techniques, though my first love will remain landscape painting. (from Fiona's about page on her website)
  • Robin Danely (Instagram | Facebook) - a full time artist born and raised in Michigan, USA. She studied painting and printmaking in California, and currently lives and works in Oxford, UK. 
  • Teoni Hinds - a London based Fine Artist who focuses on romanticising the everyday through figurative art. She is an art graduate who is a Studio Assistant to a graffiti artist and designer.
  • Carina Johnson (Instagram) - a young art student who is passionate about art and likes working with a ball point pen. She swopped from watercolour and coloured pencil (for her submission self portrait) to biro for the heat.
  • Jonny Kemp (Instagram) - a self-taught portrait artist, working in fine liner pen or oil paint, living in South London. He studied English at university and worked as an English teacher for ten years. In 2023, he left teaching to pursue a career as an artist. He completed a project  to draw and interview 40 local independent business owners and volunteers to celebrate his south London district. He is a member of the Croydon Art Society, the SE20 art group, and a founding member of the South Norwood Creator’s Collective. You can see his self portrait and his media on his PAOTY Artist page.
  • Ed Lawrenson (Instagram) - a professional full time artist based in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Studied at Winchester school of Art and the École Nationale Superiere des Beaux Arts in Paris. Currently works as a Studio Manager for a contemporary artist. (I'm pretty sure that's Damien Hirst who has one of his Science (UK) Limited Studios in Stroud). He is also a painter working primarily in figurative oil painting, with an interest in the renaissance and Impressionism. His self portrait was intended to poke fun at how seriously he takes himself. He is  is currently working on a large body of mythological painting; fusing elements from the Bible with contemporary science fiction and historical painting motifs.
  • Katie Meaney (Instagram) - A Construction Project Manager living and working in London. She is a colourist who likes to work from life and also seems to like painting a lot of landscapes.
  • Lewis Simpson (Instagram) - a freelance photographer based in Harrow. This is his website page about being a contestant in one of this year's heats of PAOTY.
The show itself was a wild experience and nothing prepares you for that kind of pressure, 4 hours to complete any piece of work is a stressful challenge. Practice portraits took over my life leading up to filming
  • Jed Timms (Instagram) - a figurative artist and musician based in Liverpool and working predominantly in oil. He describes himself as a creator of portraits and other decorative nonsense. He usually works from photo references and specialises in portraits of celebrities for sale.

Self Portrait Submissions

Size, content and calibre of submissions

I've analysed all the portraits - of artists looking at themselves - and allocated them to the various categories below.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

WHY enter The Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery (London)

In this post I'm offering information and advice for those wanting to enter The Portrait Award Competition at the National Portrait Gallery in London (formerly known as the BP Portrait Award).

My audience for this post are all those
  • who have entered in the past and want to have another go - but may have forgotten all the things it's wise to remember
  • who have heard about this Portrait Award and would like to enter for the first time - and need a few tips to help their entry on its way 

What I'm going to say below is based in part on what has gone before.

See also my previous post NEW! Herbert Smith Freehills Portrait Award 2024 REPLACES BP Portrait Award

The Most Successful Portrait Award Artist ever!
Ben Sullivan with Ginnie and 15 month old Edie (at her second BP Awards ceremony!)
Breech! - Winner of the BP Portrait Award 2017
Oil on canvas, 820 x 400mm

The Portrait Award - in the context of other Portrait Competitions

The Portrait Award has been around since 1980 

Its reputation has grown over time and it is now generally recognised as one of the most prestigious portrait awards in the world

What makes it different?

An International Competition

Unlike other leading portrait competitions - such as the Outwin Bouchever Portrait Competition in the USA and the Archibald Prize for Portraiture in Australia - which are limited to artists in the country that hosts the award, the Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery is 

  • one of a very few open to International Artists and 
  • very successful in attracting a huge number of entries by international artists. 

Indeed, in the last 40+ years, artists from over 100 countries have submitted over c.40,000 entries to this Portrait Award - and some of the winners have come from countries as diverse as the USA (2012), Germany (2014), Israel (2015) and Thailand/France (2020).  Prior to 2012, winners were almost always from the UK 

The number of international artists seemed to increase a lot after I started writing about the competition on an annual basis - and showing images of the portraits as photos and videos!

See section near the end of this post with information and tips for all International Artists.

See past blog posts about this award listed at the end - which contain images of portrait paintings selected for past exhibitions.

It's NOT the Portrait Competition with the top prize

There have certainly been Portrait Competitions in the past where the prize to the winner exceeds what is on offer at the National Portrait Gallery.

For example, as I write, the top prize in The 26th International annual competition for portraiture and figurative art run by the Portrait Society of America has a top prize of $50,000 (more than £40,000).

It does however offer 

  • a very generous sum of £35,000 to the winner 
  • PLUS the chance to add a prestigious collectoon to their CVs - by being offered the opportunity to contribute a portrait to the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery. 
This is not the portrait which wins but rather another portrait of somebody who is a significant person in the UK - and is commissioned by the NPG at some stage after the win.  

It should also be noted that ONLY 60% of artists have been awarded a commission in addition to the cash prize. This can be for a variety of reasons - but an obvious one is that an artist needs to be suitable for the person whose portrait needs painting - and sometimes need to be in the same country at a time convenient to the person being painted.

Portrait Award Winners

Oddly, the artists who have won the Portrait Award and have then gone on to complete a commission for a portrait are NOT currently listed on the NPG website

They are however listed on this blog in a post I created in January (because I kept being asked about what's happening to the award!)
TIP: READ Winners of the National Portrait Gallery's Portrait Award + Commissions

A number of the past winners have gone on to become well known contemporary artists eg. Humphrey Ocean(1982); Alison Watt (1987), Tai-Shan Schierenberg (1989), Stuart Pearson Wright (2001) - who subsequently did a portrait of JK Rowling for the NPG,  Paul Emsley (2007) - who subsequently painted the Duchess of Cambridge for the NPG, Miriam Escofet (2018) who has subsequently painted a number of eminent people.


Its sponsors since 1980 have included

  • 1980-1989 - Imperial Tobacco / John Player (a tobacco company / brand name)
  • 1990-2020 - BP (an oil company)
  • from 2023 - Herbert Smith Freehills (a legal firm whose clients include BP and the National Portrait Gallery.

Age Limit

When sponsored by John Player and subsequently through the early years of the BP sponsorship, The Portrait Award was known for being a competition limited to those under the age of 40. 

However in 2007 as I was beginning to write about The Portrait Award (see all my blog posts at the end of this post), the competition was opened up to all international artists aged 18 and over (prior to entry) - and the range of experience and styles increased exponentially.

TIPS about entering The Portrait Award

My past Call for Entries Posts (see the end) contain LOTS of tips about entering.

Here's a round-up of aspects worth thinking about

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

NEW! Herbert Smith Freehills Portrait Award 2024 REPLACES BP Portrait Award

Periodically people ask me about what's happening now the BP Portrait Award is no more. Now I can tell you - and this is what this post is about.

The National Portrait Gallery recently announced the Herbert Smith Freehills Portrait Award 2024.

Key Essentials

The name

To all intents and purposes this is the John Player (1980-1989) / BP Portrait Award (1990-2020) with a new sponsor and a new name.

My first reaction was "what a mouthful!". I wonder how long before it's known as the HSF Portrait Award? Or maybe just The Portrait Award (sponsored by.....)

The rule with names is 
  • If they are too long they don't get used. 
  • If they are very short and roll off the tongue easily they're always used and may become the way the whatever becomes known.

My second that it's essentially the BP - but now sponsored by BP's by ​​international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. (see National Portrait Gallery criticised over choice of sponsor to replace BP). 

The one thing this competition did not need is the sort of long complicated name much loved by law firms!

However, and more importantly, it's worth noting that Herbert Smith Freehills is undertaking the role of re-opening sponsor after the National Portrait Gallery re-opened its doors after completing a three-year renovation programme. So I'm guessing getting the title for The Portrait Award is maybe part of a bigger deal.....

The Portrait Award

Anyway, enough of that. 

The Portrait Award is back and here's the key details followed tomorrow by a more detailed post tomorrow. (i.e. anybody who thinks I'm writing that name out in full every time has got another think coming!)

So the key essentials are as follows

  • The Herbert Smith Freehills Portrait Award Prizes:
    • First Prize: £35,000
    • Second Prize: £12,000 
    • Third Prize: £10,000 
    • Young Artist Award: £9,000 
  • Deadline for submissions: 16th January 2024
  • Who can apply? 
    • Artists from all over the world 
    • who MUST must be aged 18 years or over as of 1 January 2023.
    • Artists who are not eligible are employees of the National Portrait Gallery, the sponsor, their agents and previous first prize-winners of the Portrait Award since 1980.
  • What can you enter? One portrait only 
    • which was completed between 1 January 2020 – 16 January 2024 (i.e. while there was no competition)
    • which has never been submitted before
    • The work entered must be predominantly painted in oil, tempera or acrylic and must be on a stretcher or board, preferably framed and unglazed. No watercolours, works on paper or pastels will be considered.
  • What does it cost? £35 per entry
  • How is work selected?
    • A first round of selection will choose a longlist from digital entries
    • Artists are then invited to send the actual portrait to London for a second round of judging
  • The Portrait Award Exhibition opens next summer - a little later than usual - 11 July - 27 October 2024
    • Those shortlisted for prizes must attend the Awards Ceremony on the evening of Tuesday 9 July 2024
    • the winning portrait will be displayed in the NPG for 6 months
  • DOWNLOAD The Rules of the Competition
  • Tomorrow's blog post - in which I will provide more info and tips gleaned from reporting on this portrait award for over 15 years - since 2007! I've talked to lots of the artists and analysed a lot of the exhibitions.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Review: ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2023

The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2023 opened to the public last Friday - when I visited. This is a review of what I found - but first some facts about this very unusual exhibition and how it works - and who are the six selectors who have created six very different exhibits in 2023

(This post has been updated since it was first published with respect to the number of entries, selected works and artists - see below)

The end of the West Gallery featured a lot of sculpture and 3D works.
I couldn't quite work out whether these all related to just one selector
as the names of the artists suggested not.....

At a time when sponsorship is being withdrawn and art competitions are dying on their feet, ING are to be very much applauded for their continued sponsorship of this open art competition / exhibition.
  • ING has been supporting this exhibition every year since 1999!
  • This makes it one of the longest corporate art sponsorships in the UK
Since it began in 1999, 11,000 works by 4,000 artists have been exhibited, £290,000 has been awarded in prize money, and over £1 million worth of art has been sold on behalf of the artists

The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition

The Discerning Eye is a visual arts focused educational charity. Its principal activity is to hold a rather unique annual exhibition sponsored by the bank ING - and hence it is known as the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition.

Ian Watkin's Exhibit

What's special about this exhibition is that it is:
  • an annual show of small-scale works - which are all for sale
  • chosen by two artists, two art collectors and two critics / people who have art-related occupations
  • as a result, there are six different exhibits - one for each of the selectors
  • while 25% of each exhibits MUST come from the open entry, the selectors are also able to invite artists they like to exhibit their work
  • it's a good opportunity for 
    • emerging artists to get their work seen, appreciated and exhibited - albeit in a small way!
    • artists whose work may not always please ALL the selectors!
Within each selection works from, as yet lesser known artists, hang alongside pieces by those who are more established or internationally recognised.
The exhibition is 
  • open daily 10am - 5pm in all three galleries at the Mall Galleries in London
  • it closes on Sunday 26th November at 1pm

Plus I am going to be uploading my photographs of the exhibition to an album on my Making A Mark Facebook Page.
I've included representative ones of each exhibit in this review.

Part of the Exhibit by Chris Levine in the North Gallery
- probably the most curated and gallery like of them all in terms of presentation

The 2023 Curators

Links embedded in the selectors name are to their ONLINE EXHIBIT.
(Quite why the URL for each exhibit bears absolutely no relationship to the selector's name is beyond me - but is the sort of thing I notice!)


Curator/ Critics

  • Péjú Oshin, a distinguished curator, currently Associate Director at Gagosian
  • Eliza Gluckman, Director of the Government Art Collection
Eliza Gluckman - part of her exhibition in the East Gallery

Art Collectors

  • Ian "H" Watkins one of the singers in Steps who is passionate about painting
  • Tony Adams - former Arsenal and England football captaiN.
The exhibit by Tony Adams - in the West Gallery

My review

My reviews tend to focus on a lot of practical aspects and things of interest to artists wanting to be selected for the exhibition, visitors to the exhibition and those whose wanting to buy. These are all summed up below in 
  • what I liked
  • what I disliked 
That's not to say I don't have an opinion on the art - but it is so diverse and eclectic it's difficult to have a coherent view about the artwork itself

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Review: Heat 6 of Portrait Artist of the Year (Series 10)

As per usual, this review is about the latest televised heat of Portrait Artist of the Year 2023 (series 10) and covers:

  • the sitters
  • the artists
  • self portrait submissions - my analysis
  • themes I identified plus comments and tips
  • which portrait the sitters chose
  • who the Judges shortlisted - and why
  • who won

Heat 6: The Sitters

Two of the sitters - left Josh Widdicombe and right Nicky Spencer and dog

The three sitters - and their special objects - were:
  • Josh Widdicombe - a comedian who has appeared on many television programmes but is probably best known for being one of the co-hosts of "The Last Leg" on Channel 4. He brough a stuffed toy of Gus Honeybus who was the mascot of ITV West Country when he was a child
  • Nicky Spence - an outstanding Scottish Tenor and broadcaster who has sung at opera houses all over the world. Winner of the BBC Musician Magazine Personality of the Year 2022 . He dressed in a kilt and brought his white dog Glen
Out of the three, guess how many artists also painted Glen?
Guess which portrait Nicky chose to take home with him?
  • Shirley Ballas - former ballroom and latin dancer - known as the Queen of Latin; international coach and head judge on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing. She brought a pair of her dancing shoes.

Heat 5: The Artists

The artists after they had finished

The artists in Heat 5 (of Series 10) broadcast on 15 November 2023 are listed below in alphabetical order of their surname.
Let’s face it, it’s a bit out of most of our comfort zones.
You can see all the profiles on the Sky Arts site plus speeded up videos of their paintings.

This section includes information from their bios / profiles elsewhere online
  • Wendy Barratt  (Instagram) - a graphic designer and artist who lives in Worthing. She specialises in portraiture and the human figure and teaches art in her spare time. 
  • Jasper Binns (Instagram ) - Currently studying Aerospace Engineering at Bristol University. He likes to focus on his Jamaican heritage and culture and was featured in RA Young Artists in 2021 (which had over 33,000 submissions). His self portrait is of his mother plaiting his hair.
  • Hannah Broadhead (Facebook | Instagram) - a professional artist from Staffordshire. She graduated in 2007 from Staffordshire University and won her first art prize in 2017. She copies paintings in the Tate on commission. This is her blog post about appearing in this heat of PAOTY.
The run up to the show was a time looking back, I would have probably not put myself under as much pressure as I did. I created over 27 portraits from sitters and photos, focusing most of my time on sitters. I gave myself a time limit of 3 hours knowing from reading other blogs that the full four hours would be pushing it due to interviews and breaks. Some were successful while others will no doubt be painted over and never see the light of day again. Funnily enough my best portrait (my mom) was completed two days before the show.

I can honestly say that I have never been so hyped on adrenaline in all my life (about the time after they arrive and before they begin)

  • Tiggy Chadwick (Instagram) - a fine artist from Reading, England, working and living in Staines, Middlesex. She studied English and film studies and drew herself every day for a year.
  • Luke Edgar (InstagramAoY gallery page) - Based in Manningtree in Essex. He is a an artist and a tattoo artist who has developed a method of using tattoo techniques on large scale sheets of steel to create tone and interest in addition to traditional painting techniques. Do have a look at his website - it's very interesting. Most of his recent work is around 7ft tall and many are polyptychs. I noted he was using a binocular to see the sitter.
  • Robert Grindrod (Instagram) - He works for the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in London. He likes historical art and is very much influenced by Gerald Brockhurst and putting portraits in front of historical landscapes.
  • Nour Huda (Instagram | AoY Gallery page) - Born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1995, she graduated in Fine Arts in 2015 and received a Masters Degree in Fine Arts in 2017 at the Lebanese University. She moved to the UK 7 years ago and is now a Project Manager who lives in Milton Keynes and a fine artist and digital painter who works in a variety of techniques and mediums. Her work is often a juxtaposition of both figurative and abstract forms.
  • Keith Slote (Instagram) - TV Art Director in film and television who lives in Hertfordshire. He planned to start drawing and painting the head in Hour 3.
  • Kelly Standish (Facebook | Instagram) - a professional artist and part-time art technician who lives and works in Scarborough. She has a first class degree in English. 

Self Portrait Submissions

Artists lined up in front of their self portraits

The only time I get to view the self portraits properly is in the little video which gets posted on Facebook and Instagram in advance of the Heat

That's because we either never get a long shot of them on their own and then the artists stand in front of them waiting to hear who has been shortlisted. Can you see the three self portraits by the artists who got shortlisted? No? See below for a longer look.

Size, content and calibre of submissions

Thursday, November 16, 2023

How to apply to become an associate member of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers

For all those printmakers who think they might be ready to move up a stage - and want to add RE after their names.

This post covers

  • a very brief history of the Society
  • how to apply to become an associate member (ARE) of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers - which is the first step on the pathway to becoming a full member (RE).
  • what happens if you are elected an Associate Member 

A brief history of The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers

The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers is a very old art society.
  • formed in 1880 - as a reaction to the Royal Academy of Arts' reluctance to exhibit etchings and engravings (ironic considering the contemporary popularity of printmaking at the RA Summer Exhibition!)
  • 1888: received its Royal Charter from Queen Victoria and became and became the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers
  • 1911: full members began using RE after their names
  • 1991 changed its name - having formerly been known as the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers - hence the RE acronym.
  • It is the foremost society for all printmakers
  • Printmaking methods included within the scope of the society:
    • 1897: Engraving
    • 1920: wood engraving
    • 1987: lithography
    • 1990: all forms of creative and forward-thinking original printmaking
  • eminent past members have included Graham Sutherland, Stanley William Hayter, Edward Bawden, Julian Trevelyan and Michael Rothenstein.
Since its inception, every member has had one piece of work selected, providing a snapshot of the artist's portfolio at the moment of his or her election.
If elected as a full member, your name and the title of your chosen ‘RE Diploma Print’ are entered in a Roll-Book whose entries arch back to 1880.

The Society shares its home at Bankside Gallery, in London, with the Royal Watercolour Society in an association that has lasted more than a hundred years.  Each year there are various opportunities to exhibit:
  • RE Members are invited to submit two works for inclusion in the Society’s major annual exhibition at Bankside Gallery 
  • there are a number of opportunities to show in joint exhibitions at Bankside Gallery and elsewhere.
Demonstrations and lectures are held as part of the education programme accompanying exhibitions, fulfilling the Society’s status as an educational charity. The RE is run by its Members, all of whom are expected to take an active role in furthering the interests of the Society.

Applications for the Election of Associate Members in 2024

The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (RE) was formed in 1880 to seek recognition for and to promote the value of printmaking as an art in its own right. Membership is open to artist-printmakers of the highest order. To this day it continues to promote original printmaking in all its forms, widen the knowledge and understanding of printmaking as a process, whilst also providing its members with artistic opportunities.

This is the Applications Page on the RE website

This is the ONLINE FORM you need to submit to apply for election as an Associate Member

You can Download the 2024 application guidelines (PDF). Links to online guidance pages are included below 

Timeline for applications and selection:

  • Deadline for receipt of applications: Monday 27 November 2023 12 noon
  • Notification of Shortlisted Artists: Friday 22 December 2023
  • Deadline for submission of actual prints by shortlisted artists: Saturday 3 February 2024, 11am - 6pm (see Information for Shortlisted Candidates - which also outlines the provisions for all Overseas Artists)
  • Collection of prints: (see details about collection)
    • Sunday 4 February, 4 - 6pm & 
    • Monday 5 February 11am – 1pm 
  • Results are sent by email by end of Monday 5 February.
TIP Read the Terms of Election and Guidance very carefully and always aim to create a good first impression. THINK CAREFULLY about 
  • whether you are ready to apply this year 
  • or whether it might be better to spend the next year gathering together all you need for a good quality application which reflects your suitability for election in 2025.

Who is eligible to apply

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Call for Entries: Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours Annual Exhibition 2024.

The deadline for entries for the 212th Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in early Spring 2024 is 12 noon on Friday 2nd February 2024.

  • Submission is via the OESS website
  • There is a single-stage virtual judging process for ALL submitted works.  
  • Selected works should be delivered to Mall Galleries, London, for inclusion in the exhibition by Saturday 16th March (10am-5pm)
  • This Annual Exhibition opens on 28th March 2024 and closes on 13th April 2024.
I highly RECOMMEND this exhibition to ALL those who paint in watercolour media - no matter what your subject or style. I'm a very big supporter of those art societies which try hard to recognise that their annual exhibitions are
  • a major way of helping 'emerging artists' with their careers - and
  • finding good quality new members for the society in the future
This exhibition offers:
  • several prizes and awards (see below)
  • the chance to have your work seen alongside artwork by RI members
  • the opportunity to exhibit at a prestigious gallery in the heart of London
  • have your work seen by very many visitors - some of whom regularly buy watercolour paintings

Call for Entries - RI Annual Exhibition 2024

You can read a summary of the process below
- but for full details visit the websites of the RI and the Mall Galleries

You can READ the official details of the Call for Entries for the exhibition in 2024 in two places:
The latter will transfer you to the OESS website
  • which contains all the current open exhibitions for the Mall Galleries on one page
  • where you can see and read the full terms and conditions (BUT unfortunately these do NOT have a separate URL allowing artists to print and/or save)
Below is a summary - but the rules you need to abide by are in the above links!

Who can submit art to the RI Annual Exhibition

  • Any artist over 18 may submit, in the UK, EU, and outside the EU i.e. this open exhibition is 
    • open to international artists who live/work anywhere in the world. 
    • BUT - a word of caution - make sure you understand what's involved with international art shipping, customs paperwork and VAT before you submit OR you may have a nasty surprise.
My page about Art Competitions & Juried Exhibitions provides some useful generic information for those who have never entered a juried exhibition before about
  • tips for entering juried exhibitions
  • outlines how artwork can make a good impression and get selected and
  • why artists typically fail to get selected.
View of the RI Annual Exhibition on the Private View day in 2023

What can you submit

Your artwork MUST be ORIGINAL (i.e. all your own work) and conform to one or more of the following acceptable media and presented as follows:
  • All works must be an original creation by the artist.
  • Watercolour or water-soluble mediums  on any support including:
    • watercolour, 
    • acrylic, 
    • ink or 
    • gouache 
    • (BUT excluding water-soluble oils).
  • The type of support MUST be specified (for example paper, board, wood, parchment, etc) as well as the medium.

Age / Exhibitions

  • Artwork in water-based media
    • MUST have been completed within the last two years and 
    • should NOT have been previously shown in London.


  • Works should not be larger than 240 cm high and 150 cm wide including the frame. 
  • The Selection Committee has the right to exclude paintings that are over this limit.


  • A maximum of six works may be submitted, 
  • a maximum of four works may be selected.
  • TIP: My recommendations are:


Sunday, November 12, 2023

Review: Heat 5 of Portrait Artist of the Year (Series 10)

This heat of Series 10 saw a lot of very good portraits - either as submissions or as heat portraits - or both.

View of the shortlisting process in Heat 5

Heat 5 Portrait Artist of the Year 

(series 10 / broadcast 8 November 2023)

What follows considers:
  • the sitters
  • the artists
  • self portrait submissions - my analysis
  • themes I identified plus comments and tips
  • which portrait the sitters chose
  • who the Judges shortlisted - and why
  • who won
At the end of this post are details of how to apply for next year's competition and links to all my reviews of the heats to date.

NOTE: I'm going to start calling each episode a "Heat" because of the very confusing numbering of episodes which start with one involving children. Sky Arts needs a folder for ALL the episodes which are NOT "PAOTY heat episodes" and consequently are SEPARATE from those relating to the very serious art competition! If I keep saying this, maybe the people at Sky Arts will get the message that there's nothing more confusing than coming to the first episode of Series 10 and finding it's nothing whatsoever to do with PAOTY.

Heat 5: The Sitters

The three sitters were:
  • Nigel Havers - an English actor in a number of very popular films and television drames/series and presenter. He is most known for "playing the quintessential, old school Englishman with his dashing good looks, cut-glass accent and thoroughly charming manner". He also collects contemporary British art.
    • he brought a guitar - and some scripts to read
  • Vanessa Kingori OBE - Born in Kenya and raised in St. Kitts before moving to London aged seven. She is a 'trailblazer in publishing. She is currently the chief business officer at Condé Nast Britain and is also a Vogue European business advisor. She is also British Vogue's Publishing Director. Prior to that, Kingori was the publisher of British GQ across all platforms. She is also a visiting fellow at the University of the Arts London[7] and sits on several boards and is a regular public speaker
    • she brought her grandmother's silk scarf
  • Mishal Husain - a British newsreader and journalist for BBC Television and BBC Radio. She was the first Muslim presenter of BBC Radio 4's Today programme. Her family are from Pakistan but she was educated in England. She lives in Camden with her husband and three children
    • she brough a rug and a kilim from Pakistan

Heat 5: The Artists

PAOTY SERIES 10: Heat 5 artists

The artists in Heat 5 (of Series 10) broadcast on 8 November 2023 are listed below in alphabetical order of the surname.

You can see all the profiles on the Sky Arts site plus speeded up videos of their paintings.
THIS WEEK I've embedded the speed up videos in the shortlist section.

There's a thread about art education running through the artists this week - see themes

I actually take a look at bios on the internet and hence my profiles reflect the extent to which artists have made an effort to tell us about themselves.
  • Alex Perry-Adlam (Instagram) - He is a Painter, Ceramicist, Photographer, Printmaker and Head of Art at St. Catherine’s School, Surrey. He lives in Weybridge.
  • Cameron Bennett  (Portrait Blog)). He's been has been painting and illustrating professionally since 1999 and his portfolio includes illustration and mural painting as well as portraiture. He lives in West Sussex and is also a secondary school art teacher.
  • Harriet Brady (Instagram) - She is based in Sheffield. She is a TV Script Editor by day and an artist at night. This is her submission in a good light.
  • Marina Renee-Cemmick (Instagram) - She is a self-employed artist. She grew up in Dorset and moved to Glasgow to study Painting at Glasgow school of Art (2018). She studied at The Royal Drawing School, London (2021) before receiving Arts Council Funding to research ways of combining theatre and drawing. In 2022 she was awarded a New English Arts Club scholarship, and completed a residency at Dunfries House in 2022 and Colstoun House in early 2023. 
  • Shirley Johnson (Instagram) - A New Yorker with synesthesia who moved to the UK during the Pandemic and lives in the Scottish Borders. Graduated from the University of Cumbria with a BA in Fine Arts in 2022(?). Used copic markers and coloured pencils for her heat artwork.
  • Brendan Megarity (Facebook) - an artist based in Belfast. He tutors art groups part time in drawing and painting. He studied graphic design and illustration at art college in Belfast and works in Indian Ink and Oils.
  • Daniel Nelis (Instagram | Facebook) -  He is a educator and curator and award-winning visual artist. One of his paintings ‘All things Shining’ has just won the Tyrone Guthrie Director’s Award at the Royal Ulster Academy 142nd Annual Exhibition. Six months ago he won The RSA Guthrie Award and Medal at the 197th Royal Scottish Academy Annual Exhibition. He was also awarded the RUA Outstanding Student Award as part of the UU Belfast School of Art Degree Show 2014. One to watch - but he'd do better if he built a website!
  • Sara Reeve (Instagram) - a Brighton-based painter who predominantly focuses on portraiture and also works as a wedding officiant. She is also a Tutor at Draw Brighton as a life drawing session leader and runs evening classes in Painting Portraits in Oils. She is also a proud @artcanorg member. Previously she worked for 12 years as a wedding photographer - so I'm guessing she knows a few things about how to make people look good. 
  • Yin Wang - a figurative and portrait artist born in China, and is now based in London. She is an art student currently studying for a BA Fine Art and Contemporary Portraiture at the Art Academy London. Prior to this she got a BA and a Masters in Fashion in China.  She says her colour choices and brushwork are influenced by Chinese traditional ink art, reflecting my cultural heritage.

Self Portrait Submissions

Size, content and calibre of submissions

Self Portrait Submissions 

I've analysed all the portraits - of artists looking at themselves - and allocated them to the various categories below.

The main thing I noticed about the submissions in this episode was they tended to be larger than those typically submitted - I had to add in a new "large medium" category and they tended to have more of the artist in them. There were also some interesting backgrounds. 

It resulted in the finalists lineup of submissions and heat paintings looking very different to the one in the last episode!

There's going to be at least one artist who will wish they'd spent more time on their submission.... 


  • Portrait format x 7
  • Landscape x 2


  • Large x 1
  • Medium Large x 2
  • Medium x 4
  • Small x 2
  • Tiny x 0


  • full size or most of body (including hand) x 2
  • upper torso including hand(s) x 4
  • upper torso (no hands) x 1
  • head, shoulder and hand(s) x 0
  • head and shoulders (no hands) x 2
  • head only x 0
I think I might have to change this categorisation to include a category for those who do upper torso including hands plus a complicated background!


Every episode I look for themes I can draw out related to what I'm observing. Here's the ones I spotted for this episode