On the 14th of February I made a visit to the Mall Galleries in London to drop of 2 preselected portraits for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters annual exhibition, 2015. Tomorrow, the 17th of February it will be announced whether my pieces have been accepted into the show. As you can imagine, I am very excited but at the same time feeling rather nervous.
This is the second time I have been shortlisted for a major exhibition, the first was the RA Summer Show last year in which I was unsuccessful in the final round of judging.
I find the whole process gives me a real sense of focus and has really helped me to develop as a professional Artist. Through entering these open exhibitions I am forced to reconsider prices, framing, subject matter and much more.
Pricing alone I find is a very difficult thing to get right. In a strange way, putting a low price on a piece of Art can undervalue it’s worth, the viewer might ask ‘what is wrong with this piece of Art for it to be so cheap?’. Likewise, over pricing can have different negative effects.
When I was younger I used to price according to how much I was attached to a piece, rather than the scale. This can cause the viewer great trouble in understanding why a 4 inch x 6inch painting is priced higher than a piece 10 times the size. Now my approach is to pitch my prices according to size, regardless of how fond of one piece in comparison to another I might be. This seems to be working and also making the problem of pricing much less work for me as an Artist.
Another great thing about entering open exhibitions is that as an Artist you have to make real decisions about what to submit. My number one tip for any Artist is to only submit what really represents you, not what you think the Judges might want. Obviously it’s no good submitting a portrait of your daughter into a wildlife exhibition (although children really can show an animal side!)
Tip number two which I discovered reading a blog by someone else is to try to submit a series of works that seem to sit well together. I’m guessing that the members of the judging panel would much prefer to view a coherent body of work rather than pieces with no connection at all. It will also show that you are able to take a subject and explore it more fully than working on one painting of one subject and then moving onto the next.
I am an Artist that works across a range of subject matter, however, I also try to work in a series which can be clearly seen in my still-life paintings of Roses and Chestnuts.
Finally, a couple of reason that I enter open exhibitions. As I have already mentioned, entering open exhibitions is a great well to develop yourself and raise your game so to speak. I am now more confident about pricing and presenting my work. Secondly, having been accepted into a major open exhibition gives us as Artists a certain credibility and also visibility. My guess is that we can help our supportive clients to gain confidence in us through raising our public profiles.
One of my dreams is for the Art work that has already been purchased from me to multiply in price, a gift to the client for having believed in me at an earlier stage in my career.
I look forward to sharing the news of whether my works have been accepted or declined…..