Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The Semi-Finalists in Landscape Artist of the Year 2024

You, like me, have probably already forgotten the names and backgrounds of the artists who are going to be in the semi-final of Landscape Artist of the Year 2024 on Sky Arts.

Here's a round-up and refresher for all those who will be watching TONIGHT at 8pm.

For me, the critical question is WHO is going to make a serious pitch for the final and then the commission in this semifinal round. Read on to find out WHY....

ALL the artists are painters - except for Kristina who is really a printmaker.

At the end I discuss the reasons behind who I predict will be in the Final and where you can discuss my choice!

Heat 1: Kristina Chen

Kristina Chen
(Instagram) is a Canadian printmaker who has studied in London. Her submission was a large monochrome work on very thin Japanese paper. Very little presence online when I looked for her after the first heat. However, I looked again and have now found her website which I couldn't find at the time of the first heat. She describes herself as 
a London based artist working between printmaking, photography and public installation.
It's also very clear from her 'about' page that she is very used to doing commissions for prestigious clients and public art installations. Nothing that vaguely resembles painting though...

Having seen her past achievements, I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised if she's in the Final - because I don't believe that the Judges never ever look at their CVs and websites!
However, her Instagram account is now private! Which seems odd for an artist who is trying to raise their profile via the media

Submission and Heat Painting by Kristina Chen

What I said

Kristina Chen rescued an impossible situation and benefited from the fact that both Kathleen and Tai liked the strange quality of her artwork. They do love seeing artwork they've not seen before!

I thought Kristina's submission was very impressive - and I identified her at the beginning, when we only had the submissions to go on, as being one of the shortlisted artists.

I also think it is infinitely superior to her heat artwork. However I have sympathy for the fact that what she had planned to do in the heat i.e. printmaking turned out to be impossible given the location. She was working on very light paper and it became obvious to her that working into the initial drawing / print using other media was the only way she could finish.

She captured the huge clefts in the cliff on which the castle sat and got a very real sense of the massive nature of the cliffs and the relatively small size of the castle. Plus she got the weather in the latter part of the day.

She wasn't my favourite, although I loved her submission. I said....

I'm not disappointed however I think her submission probably got her through. It will be really interesting to see:
  • whether she works out how to do printmaking outside
  • what she produces in the semi-finals
REFERENCE: Review: Episode 1 of Landscape Artist of the Year Series 9 (2024) 

Heat 2: Wesley Smith

I didn't like Wesley's heat painting, however I loved his submission

Wesley Smith (Instagram) is a chef and a painter based in Brighton’s North Laines where he paints landscapes and still lives. He spent 10 years living abroad in Taiwan and his paintings are influenced by Asia. His Instagram account is definitely worth a review - I'm more impressed by the paintings on there which demonstrates very clearly that he can paint a range of landscapes.

Submission and heat painting by Wesley Smith

What I said

Wesley Smith completed a smaller heat painting than the other two shortlisted artists - but made the wise decision to focus on just one part of the story of the location - the brick building of the Great Western Railway Warehouse. This reminded me of Edward Bawden in both style, colour and tone. It was a light, bright summer scene.

By way of contrast, his submission was a nocturne - which his Instagram account seemed to be something he did during lockdown - painting deserted streets lit by artificial light. This one was excellent in terms of content, proportion and perspective - and clearly demonstrated that he was not an artist who ducked out of complicated views.

Like I always say - never ever underestimate how much the submission painting contributes to the overall judgement. If nothing else, it might get the Judges looking you up online......
I think Wesley is one of a very few genuinely accomplished painters in this semi-final.

REFERENCE: Review: Episode 2 of Landscape Artist of the Year Series 9 (2024)

Heat 3: Deepa Goswami

Deepa Goswami (Instagram) - lives in Newham in East London. She achieved a Distinction in her Foundation Year at the Royal Drawing School and is a Part I Graduate from the Sheffield School of Architecture. She currently works as a fitness instructor and paints miniatures. She's also currently shortlisted for the Artist of the Year competition run by the WWT London Wetland Centre in West London (@wwtlondon). I think she's painting in gouache, although I don't think it got a mention in the programme.

Deepa seems to like painting small.

What I said

What's different about this painting is that:
  • it's a landscape painted in portrait format. I know Deepa is interested in the art of Hindustan ad I'm wondering if this stem from that. I've got a vague notion that paintings tend to be either portrait (for a book) or panoramic.
  • it's a slice of a much bigger scene and yet it incorporates all the features of the location in front of her i.e.
    • the stone of the loggia
    • the various mature trees - which are distinctively different within her painting
    • the water
    • the marginal plants at the water's edge
    • the reflections in the water
    • the plants growing on the surface of the lake
  • it reflects her particular interest in how nature interacts with the built environment.
So essentially she has been herself and painted a painting which is true to her roots and interests.

My concern about Deepa is not whether she can paint well - but rather whether she can paint big.

REFERENCE: Review: Episode 3 of Landscape Artist of the Year Series 9 (2024) at Hever Castle Lake

Heat 4: Tony Griffin

Tony Griffin (Facebook | Instagram) - a Scottish artist born in Glasgow in 1963. He worked as an electrician for many years in Scotland and Canada then started to study art for two years at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto and then studied at the Glasgow School of Art and got a BA Hons in Fine Art Painting. You can see his submission here

Submission and Heat Painting by Tony Griffin

What I said

I was very impressed with Tony's submission which I think very possibly tipped the balance as to why he was winner. He's got a very good grasp of shapes, zones, proportion, perspective and how to lead an eye through a painting.

I initially thought his submission painting was going to be too colourful but the finished version I think gets the balance right and is also one of the better designed artworks on the day.

Most of all it is very recognisably Stonehaven and in particular Stonehaven on that day.

My conclusion: Tony is a very 'safe' painter for a commission although maybe not the most exciting. As in I'm not sure I'd recognise a painting as being his artwork in an exhibition.
He's very good at buildings. However I don't think buildings are going to be the stand out feature of what's appropriate subject matter for a commission about Sustainability in Orkney.

Heat 5: Monica Popham

Monica Popham (Instagram) is a digital media manager and landscape artist and illustrator from Gibraltar. Currently based in Guildford. The main body of her work focuses on the tangible quality of sunlight, and how it interacts with the architecture in Gibraltar and other Mediterranean towns. 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READ This is her blog post about applying for LAOTY and then appearing in the series. in which you can see a lot more paintings of Liverpool which she produced while waiting to know which location her pod would be in.

Submission and Heat Painting by Monica Popham

What I said

Monica's paintings are interesting as they tend to be very graphic with lots of angles and lines and then some very simple colours mapping out shapes inside or outside the main shape.

I like her work, but I thought that with two small paintings she probably stood little chance of getting shortlisted.

She's an artist who works small and crops in close. Not quite sure how that fits with a £10,000 Commission.

REFERENCE: Episode 5: Landscape Artist of the Year Series (2024) at Liverpool Three Graces (7th February)

Heat 6: Denise Fisk

Denise Fisk (Instagram) - a landscape oil painter from East Sussex. Denise has BA (Hons) Degree in textile design which led to a career as a colourist and designer in the furnishing industry. She now exhibits in art fairs in South East England. She particularly likes autumn colours.

Submission and Heat Painting of Hever Castle

What I said

I was going to say, this list would not have been mine - until I saw the shot of Denise's final painting - which I think she pulled out of the bag. She's transported the castle and grounds to Autumn and lost most of the leaves in view and, as a result, actually found a connection in colours between her grounds and the castle.

Plus there's no question about it, the eye does travel from the moat up to the topiary and on to the castle. It's a good composition

I'd just like to know what happened to the moat in the foreground. Looks like rather a lot of editing to me!

However when I saw it against the other shortlisted paintings, it did remind me that her paintings are very much on the small side.

The Judges also liked her colours and found the painting strangely timeless. 

The bottom line

As with Monica and Deepa, I do not see yet another relatively small painting making the impression required to justify a £10,000 commission at the end of this competition

...and there should be no one in that Final who is not capable of the commission.

REFERENCE: Review: Episode 6 of Landscape Artist of the Year Series 9 (2024) - Hever Castle

PLUS A Wildcard Artist

Who will be announced tomorrow.

Who will be in the Final?

You've always got to remember that the LAOTY Series only maintains its credibility if the winner delivers an a really good commission - and most of these in the past do not tend to be small.

I'm going to go out on a limb here.  I don't think an artist creating a small artwork, after previous small artworks, will cut it in the competition as a whole. 

I'd go further than that and indicate that, in the current context, that the public generally will be very unimpressed by a public museum spending £10,000 on a commission for a small painting by an artist who has never been paid anything like that for an artwork.

In reality, this highlights how absolutely critical the decisions made by the Judges are. Some of the shortlists in this series have left many of us wondering what they're seeing that we're not seeing. In particular, the way in which they left very obviously talented artists "sitting on the bench" when it came to shortlisting and/or the selection of heat winners.

I'm going to predict the artists I think will be in the Final. For me those who have indicated they are capable of creating an artwork of substance and significance are (in order of their heats):
  • Kristina Chan - a very credible artist (now I've seen her CV) plus she has extensive experience of doing commissions / public art
  • Wesley Smith - his Instagram indicates he's a very accomplished painter
  • Tony Griffin - a man who is not afraid to go big and can produce paintings of landscape vistas with impact.
PS.  I'm very interested to hear your views - and the discussion will be taking place on my Facebook Page today!


For all those interested in entering the series which will be filmed this summer (during June/July) - see my blog post about Call for Entries: Landscape Artist of the Year Series Ten.
The deadline for submission is NOON on Friday 3rd May 2024 - and entries are ONLY accepted online.

This Series to date

Blog posts of heats to date:

Past Series - Reviews

You can also read past reviews of the Landscape Series of the Year which very many previous pod artists - and wildcards - have said they have found helpful.

See my Art on Television Page which:
  • lists all reviews I've published for series episodes broadcast between 2018 and 2023
  • together with the topics / themes /TIPS I identified in each episode.
The programme is broadcast by Sky Arts ( available on Sky, Now TV and Channel 36 on Freeview) and the films are made by Storyvault Films.

No comments:

Post a Comment

COMMENTS HAVE BEEN CLOSED AGAIN because of too much spam.
My blog posts are always posted to my Making A Mark Facebook Page and you can comment there if you wish.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.