Saturday, January 20, 2018

Works on Paper Fair

It's very nearly time for the Works on Paper Fair again. I went last year and will be going up Exhibition Road to the RGS again this year. (Do any of you have artwork in display?)

It's a really great fair for all those who like drawings, fine art prints and paintings on paper. There's lots to see in terms of artists from the past and present and a variety of art dealers attend the Fair.

You can see the list of exhibitors on the website

some of the exhibitors

There are a number of talks over the course of the fair as well. Grayson Perry is doing the Art Fund talk this year - which should be interesting - but it's sold out!

If you're interested....

Venue: Royal Geographical Society, Exhibition Road, SW7 (north of the Science Museum)
Dates: 31 January (preview) then 1st-4th February 2018
  • 3 pm - 9 pm - Wednesday (Opening Preview)
  • 11 am - 9 pm - Thursday 1
  • 11 am - 6 pm - Friday, Saturday and Sunday
This is how to get tickets. The site uses Eventbrite for ticketing and so last year I had my electronic ticket on my iPhone.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Review: Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 - Episode 1

I'm going to start doing a commentary on each of the episodes of  Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 - much as I've done for the BBC's Big Painting Challenge in the past.

That's because I have FINALLY worked out how to access the programme online (see yesterday's post - How to watch Sky Arts - Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 without subscribing to Sky!).

Top down view of sitter and artists

First a quick resume about the programme and what the prize is this year.

Portrait Artist of the Year 2018

This is a competition which ranks alongside the prestigious art competitions elsewhere on this blog.

That's because the artists are competing to win a £10,000 commission to paint Kim Cattrall, the actress. The intention is that the finished portrait will be added to the permanent collection at The Walker Art Gallery in Kim's birth city of Liverpool.

For reference - for those interested in being part of this competition in future
A total of 30 famous performers will sit for the competitors.  The semi-finalists will also be joined by another 13 wild cards to compete for a place in the final.

The portrait paintings are judged by a 'heavyweight panel'. They are the same as for previous series:
  • award-winning portrait painter Tai Shan Schierenberg
  • independent curator and Chair of the Board of the Liverpool Biennial Kathleen Soriano (who also used to be the Head of Exhibitions & Collection at the National Portrait Gallery and Director of Exhibitions at the RA) and
  • British art historian, curator and arts broadcaster Kate Bryan.
The three Judges with Frank Skinner
The series is presented by Frank Skinner and Joan Bakewell.

They say some very sensible things as voiceovers. One cannot but help think these may have been scripted for them - but it makes for a more educational programme!

Episode 1

A portrait should represent a likeness, the personality and possibly the mood of the sitter
Joan Bakewell - quoting what the Tate has to say about a portrait
I settled down in front of my iPad last night to watch - and was very favourably impressed by the programme.

I also spotted my arm and part of my head during the opening credits - but that's by the by!

Each week I'm going to identify the portrait painters by name and see if I can find a link to their websites so you can see the sort of people who enter this competition. Plus I'll give a link to their Facebook PAGE if they have one.

I very much liked the fact that the programme identifies how long it had taken each artist to complete their self portrait which was part of their entry to the competition.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

How to watch Sky Arts - Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 without subscribing to Sky!

I do like a good television art competition!

Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2018 started streaming last night with the first episode of this year's competition

Some of you may recall that I'm particularly interested this year as last April I got to attend (and photograph) one of this year's heats as it was being filmed. 
So naturally I'd like to see the programme and find out how everybody does.

I might even write commentaries as I do for the BBC's The Big Painting Challenge! :)

Plus it reminded me that in my post The Top 10 Art Blog Posts of 2017 - on Making A Mark that I had to do a special section for the The Top 10 'Art on TV' Blog Posts of 2017 because my posts about on TV are so very popular!

So with that in mind I quite naturally had a whinge on Facebook about how it was such a pity that you can't watch this competition online without subscribing to Sky TV - which I simply won't do because I really am NOT going to shell out £20 per month via a contract to watch one television programme!!
When are Sky TV going to wake up the notion there is an income stream to be gained from those who
* ONLY want to watch Sky Arts online and
* have zero interest in signing up for Sky TV?
In turn, there were lots of fellow whingers, all feeling exactly the same.

However one chap popped up and pointed out that you can watch Sky Arts via Now TV for £7.99 per month - with no contract.  Apparently what you do is buy a NOW TV Entertainments Pass and the show is part of the programmes they show.

So I looked at my television and I still have absolutely no idea at all how I get NOW TV on my television.

However I did find something in the Help Section which says How to watch NOW TV on a Mac

So now I'm going to investigate further. 

What are you going to do?

UPDATE:  I can now watch!  Here's what I did:
  • downloaded the Now TV App onto my iPhone (which has unlimited mobile data on my Three package)
  • bought a NOW TV entertainment pass (I bought one for three months at a discounted rated)
  • found (with a little difficulty) the Sky Portrait Artist of the Year programme - including the first episode of the new series.
  • I'll also be downloading it onto my iPad and iMac.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Exhibitions about Woods and Trees: art, illustrations and photography

Is this the year of the tree? 
Did a lot of people get together to create a lot of art exhibitions about trees? 
Or is it just a coincidence?

From the series Sonamu (pine tree) by Bae Bien-U

Apparently - according to the Art Fund, there has been a recent event of note worth commemorating
In 1217, Henry III signed the Charter of the Forest, opening up the royal forests for the use of the people. To mark the 800th anniversary of this act, in November 2017 The Woodland Trust launches a new charter to recognise and protect those rights.
This is a link to the National Library and The Charter of the Forest

Below is a listing of the art, photography and illustration exhibitions about trees which I know about.

The Arborealists: The Art of Trees 2017 

The Arborealists: The Art of Trees 2017 has just finished at Bermondsey Project Space, London, until 13 January - but will be moving to the John Davis Gallery in Moreton–in-Marsh, Gloucestershire in June 2018
The appearance of the Arborealists in 2013 is an extraordinary phenomenon within the pervading orthodoxy in an art world that values post modernist objects, film and popular culture. Where events, interventions and installations engage the viewer, what can ‘tree painters’ (the Arborealists are for the most part painters), offer a public that is understandably titillated by Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst.
The associated book is still available - and indeed I bought The Arborealists: The Art of the Tree before I realised there was an exhibition!

Trees in Illustration 

Trees in Illustration is at the V&A until next week and finishes on Tuesday 23 January 2018.
This display shows a variety of illustrations celebrating trees, woods and landscapes. Featuring watercolours by Beatrix Potter and Arthur Rackham, alongside drawings by E. H. Shepard for A. A. Milne's Pooh stories and his verses in Now We Are Six. Also included are Eric Ravilious' charming wood engravings for an edition of Gilbert White's classic The Natural History of Selborne. Exhibited here for the first time are Rolf Brandt's witty pictures for Stephen McFarlane's Story of a Tree. 
The second exhibition at the V&A - Into the Woods: Trees in Photography - is currently on display until 22 April 2018.

I saw it last Friday and it has some  simply stunning images - see above for just one example.
Trees have long been a source of inspiration for artists. This display explores the diverse representation of trees in photography – as botanical subjects and poetic symbols, in the context of the natural and human worlds.
This is not part of the exhibition but is a short video on YouTube by Bae Bien-U the Korean photographer who produced the stunning image at the top of this post.  He has apparently been acclaimed for his treescapes - particularly ones of Korean Pines - for the last two decades.

I'll write more about the exhibition and the other marvellous images later in the week.

A Walk in the Woods: A Celebration of Trees in British Art 

Web page for A Walk in the Woods at Higgins Bedford

A Walk in the Woods: A Celebration of Trees in British Art is on at The Higgins Bedford - in Bedford - until 25 February 2018 (just over half an hour on the train from Central London - I've been checking train timetables!).

A trip to Bedford will also be rewarded with another exhibition of Edward Bawden and his Studio if you go before 28th January.
The Higgins Bedford pays homage to the tree with a new exhibition celebrating the role of trees and woodland in British landscape painting. Drawn from the world-famous Cecil Higgins Art Gallery Collection, some forty watercolours, drawings and prints from the past two centuries will be on show and will include works by John Constable, John Sell Cotman, Edward Lear, Samuel Palmer, Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland and Lucian Freud. The show will highlight the importance and enduring popularity of trees in art, and explore various themes which have evolved in artists’ depictions of nature: magical and dreaming trees, trees in the countryside, the pleasures of woods and the lure of the exotic.
There's also a A Walk in the Woods Study Day on Saturday 20th January 10.30am – 2.30pm (
£20 Including lunch and tea or coffee on arrival - Booking essential)

This study day brings together speakers to explore further the subject of trees in British art. The day will start at 10.30 with refreshments and registration followed by talks by
  • Christiana Payne, Professor of History of Art at Oxford Brookes University, author of ‘Silent Witnesses: Trees in British Art 1760-1870’ and co-curator of A Walk in the Woods; 
  • Fiona Stafford, Professor of English Language and Literature University of Oxford, presenter of The Meaning of Trees on BBC Radio 3, and author of the acclaimed ‘The Long Long Life of Trees’, a tribute to the diversity of trees. 
  • David Boyd Haycock, freelance writer, lecturer and curator specialising in British cultural history of the twentieth century. Author of ‘Paul Nash’ and ‘A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War’, David is currently writing a book called ‘A Grand Epoch: Young British Artists and the End of the Century’ for Tate Publishing. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Last Call - Annual Open Exhibition 2018 of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters

The deadline for the Call for digital entries for the next annual exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters is Friday 19 January 2018, 12 noon.

This is an OPEN exhibition which any serious portrait painter should think very seriously about entering due to the high quality of the non-members exhibits and the scope to attract commissions for future portraits.

RP Annual Exhibition 2017 - Threadneedle Space
The RP seeks submissions of new and traditional artistic models and perspectives in portraiture
Below you can find:
  • a review of the chances of getting exhibited
  • reasons why you SHOULD enter the exhibition if you are a serious portrait painter
  • details about the exhibition
  • details of the prizes
  • summary of the call for entries

Exhibition Metrics

Things you need to know - based on the works hung in the 2017 exhibition
  • about half the portraits exhibited are by artists who are non-members
  • only about 5% of the works submitted were selected for display in the exhibition - 102 artworks by 89 non-members were selected from 1,963 entries submitted by non-members
  • your work needs to be very good to get selected. You are competing with the top portrait painters who are not members for a place in this exhibition - because of its reputation as a shop front for commissions
As usual there are plenty of good non-member paintings in the exhibition. (my comment in last year's review of the exhibition)

Portrait drawings and fine art prints in last year's exhibition

Reasons why you should enter the RP's annual exhibition

For those wondering why they should submit an entry to this exhibition, take a look at the following.

Entry is digital

You only need to go to the expense of framing and transport if invited to progress to the second stage of selection.

The Importance of Exhibitions to Portrait Commissions

Some significant prizes

A prestigious exhibition and an Online Exhibition

  • This is a very prestigious exhibition and is run in all three galleries at the Mall Galleries on the Mall in London.
  • The exhibition is also put online so it can be seen all over the world 

A changing exhibition

Why it compares favourably to the BP Portrait

2018 Annual OPEN Exhibition

  • Venue: Mall Galleries - across all three galleries due to its size.
  • Dates: Thursday 10th May 2018 and closes at 5pm on Friday 25th May 2018. 
  • Hours: Open to the public every day from 10am - 5pm 
Wall in the Main Gallery (2017)

2018 Prizes

The prizes include:
  • The Ondaatje Prize for Portraiture: £10,000 plus the Society’s Gold Medal awarded for the most distinguished portrait in the Society’s annual exhibition
  • The de Laszlo Foundation Award: £3,000 plus a Silver Medal for the most outstanding portrait by an artist aged 35 years or under
  • NEW The RP Award: a new £2,000 prize for portraiture 
    • All works shown in the Annual Exhibition will be eligible. 
    • winner will be the artist whose work best represents the year's chosen theme - ‘Friends’. 
    • The judges will be looking for the most interesting and engaging interpretation of the idea of ‘Friends’ within the parameters of portraiture. 
  • The Prince of Wales's Award for Portrait Drawing: £2,000 and framed certificate for a portrait in any recognised drawing medium
  • The Burke’s Peerage Foundation Award: £2,000 and framed certificate for the most classically inspired portrait in the exhibition
  • The Smallwood Architects Prize: £1,000 for a portrait in which architectural or interior features play an important part

Below you can find a summary of how to enter the next annual exhibition.

You can also follow my summary of the Calls for Entries for the various exhibitions of the national art societies in the UK on my blog PAGE UK Art Societies: Open Exhibitions.

Call for Entries

This is an OPEN EXHIBITION.  Artists are invited to submit works for exhibition alongside members of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters at their Annual Exhibition 2018.
  • All entries are via digital submission 
  • The deadline for entries is 12 noon on Friday 19th January 2018
  • The entry fee is £15 per work payable at the time of submitting (£10 per work for artists aged 35 or under). 
Details of how artists can apply via the open entry process are set out below.

Who can Submit?

Any artist - over the age of 18 - living anywhere in the world can submit artwork to this exhibition.

Some of the portraits exhibited in the North Gallery last year

What you can submit

  • Media: any medium including original prints but excluding sculpture and photography.
  • Number: a maximum of three works (of which a maximum of three will be selected)
  • Dry: Paintings MUST be completely dry at the time of delivery.
  • Size: Works should not be larger than 2.4m along the longest dimension.
  • Exhibitions: Work must not have been exhibited previously.
  • For Sale: All work must be for sale. 
  • Price & VAT
    • The minimum price is £300 (Works can NFS - not for sale).
    • The price of works must include commission of 45%+VAT irrespective of whether the artist is registered for VAT
    • Artists from outside the UK may need to register for VAT, please check with HM Revenue and Customs:

RP Annual Exhibition 2017 - Main Gallery (Private View)

Generic Information about submitting to the Annual Exhibition 2018

This is the standard information relevant to any exhibition at the Mall Galleries by a society which is a member of the Federation of British Artists. The General Terms and Conditions are universal. The ones which are specific to this exhibition are in "What you can submit" above

You can find Information about the exhibition on the Mall Galleries Website

The Call for Entries Terms and Conditions are applicable to ALL FBA exhibitions at the Mall Galleries. These cover:
Some of the portraits exhibited last year

The RP Exhibition 2018

With respect to the RP Annual Exhibition you need to use:

How to Submit

The process works as follows
  • Read the generic terms and conditions - general and specific 
  • Read the specific entry requirements for this exhibition
  • Register for digital submission - if you have never entered before
  • Login to the Open Exhibition Entry website
  • Submit your entry online prior to the deadline of 12 noon on Friday 19th January 2018
    • You need to complete the form, pay the fee and upload images of work 
    • Images must be in JPEG format and under 5MB
  • Pre-selection is based on online entries and associated digital images 
  • Notification of Pre-selection: Friday 26 January, 12 noon 
  • Deliver pre-selected entries ONLY to Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD for final selection on Saturday 24 February, 10am to 5pm
  • Final selection - in front of a Panel of Members of the RP
  • Notification of Acceptance Tuesday 27 February, 12 noon 
  • Collect work not accepted for exhibition from Mall Galleries, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD on Thursday 1 March, 10am to 5pm
  • Collect unsold work: Thursday 31 May, 10am to 5pm

The selectors' decisions are final and no feedback is offered.

More about Past Annual Exhibitions