OPEN CALLS – Questions and Answers
First Question: What are Open Calls?
These are competitions for artists who enter their paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints, photographs . . . the media type varies. And there are a great many with entry fees for each work. They may be open to just one or two types of art form, or different groups such as newly graduated student, or professionals from just one part of the country, or international artists, professional or otherwise. They may want all works to be for sale with a commission in place. Quite a number are connected to the Mall Galleries and the Federation of British Arts. Another equally well known Open Call is the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition – which is selected without the name of the artist being made known to the selectors. Of course they may be recognised because of fame or familiarity.
All artists know about these competitions, about their importance, the inevitable ups and downs of entering. And the necessity to keep trying.
What a lot of pressure we put ourselves under to gain recognition and the activity that accompanies this. Success is paramount.
Second Question: Why and what does it mean to enter?
I’m going to answer this from the heart. I’ve been trying to think out of the box for a number of months. While painting and drawing I become aware that my thoughts used to be :
“Give me enough time and I can do anything”
Has that helped?
Well I think I’ve made some paintings that are beautiful and a bit impressive but I have also taken a very long time about it. So now I’m entering competitions, I’m thinking of works in a way that will give them a sense of focussed direction.
I have several Series and also Collections on the go – some drawings, some paintings – and this variety is giving me a sense of urgency to get on with things as I have more paintings and drawings in progress and I want see how they turn out. I’m pulled towards them.
Busy Studio Photos
Third Question: Can you tell me more?
I’ve encountered more people just through having works framed and taking them to entry locations. I’ve caught trains and buses, my husband took us on a jaunt one Thursday not long ago, to collect quite a few that were not successful (enough). We navigated ourselves through parts of London I had never seen. And collected a whole exhibitions worth, quite literally, as at the end of the day I had to collect 20 from a Group Show I was invited to take part in by Guildford Arts at the Studio, Yvone Arnaud Theatre. It had been well attended and a great delight to take part in with a Meet the Artist slot on Saturday mornings. I found it stimulating, interesting, enjoyable and happy!
Back to Open Calls – I’m working faster, harder . . . I’m also trying to work out what is important and not become beguiled with things that take a lot of time, look ‘super smashing’ but don’t really need to be done. Gorgeous pallets carefully curated using Munsell Colour System – goodness it’s so attractive and one needs a bit of lightness.
Final Question: Why put yourself through it all?
I don’t know what makes success but I’m of the opinion that hard work and honesty could well play an important part. Then luck is an elusive partner. I want to paint well. Is that not enough? Well sometimes it does not seem to be. But what do I know? It could be one of those days when I can’t see anything except wrongness.
However, one thing I do know. I simply can’t give up. I will manage to paint that orange poppy, to give it form and make it believable.
And I shall keep Hoping and thinking about Success.
And rather unusually I am dedicating this post to a well known organisation who I have been following since the beginning of the year. Thank you Parker Harris for your Art Ladder and Social Media online Workshops. They are motivating, informing and stimulating many artists – with varied and exceptional results. Its good to feel part of the momentum.