Posted on

Art competitions

Submission and rejection

There’s been a fair amount of discussion in the art world about the validity of various ‘open’ art competitions recently. Kathryn Tyrell who writes the excellent and very informative blog Making a Mark has published an article covering the main points.

Choose the right competition

I think information and transparency are the key factors. Inform yourself as to the nature of works that are accepted for competitions. I had a few frustrating years submitting to the Society of Wildlife Artists before really studying their exhibition and realising that my work simple doesn’t suit their overall theme, which is heavily based towards printmaking, birds and British mammals.
I do wish society exhibitions would publish their numbers more transparently, so artists have a clearer idea of entries, sales, and costs/spend.

My favourite competition by far is the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year. This year I have submitted the following two works. ‘Shadows kiss’ is a huge piece for me, and took me way out of comfort zone. Fingers crossed….

Sun glare

Shadows Kiss

Society of Equine Artists

This is another regular one for me, although there has been considerable chopping and changing with venues recently. It is now based at Palace house in Newmarket instead of London, and I’m a little doubtful as to whether it is going to be able to ensure enough sales to make exhibiting worthwhile, but we shall see. 
Stormrunner
Posted on

David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year predictions

I dropped my elephant off at the Mall Galleries today, in the company of some very impressive looking pieces arriving at the same time.
I’ve had a scan through the pre sales catalogue and attempted to pick my winners for each category.To be honest, the longer I looked the harder I found it to make up my mind, I don’t envy those poor judges. I’m just very honoured to be featured in such strong company!

So heres the seven categories with my best guess at the winners.

Animal Behaviour: Showing a real understanding of animal behaviour, a sense of character, maybe something the judges may not have seen before.

Combat D’Oryx by Pascal Chesnau

A previous winner of the DSWAY title, I love the movement in this one.

Urban Wildlife: Entries can be in an urban style or depict the city life of animals and plants. Judges will be looking for both originality in the habitat as well as the contrast between wild and urban life.

Unnatural by Candice Bees

 or

Gemma Hayward

 Hidden World: A celebration of remote and rarely observed or lesser known landscapes and species. 

Lucy Paine



Not many seem to qualify for this category, but I particularly like this fox by Lucy Paine

Wings, Feathered or Otherwise: The extraordinary variety of winged wildlife – birds and insects, in flight or at rest. 

I love the bees by Patricia but I think these parrots by Stefano will be spectacular.

Turquoise and gold by Stefano Zagaglia

Into the Blue: Illustrate the wonderful world of water, be it ocean, seashore, wetland, river or stream.




Has to be one of nick O’Neils works (he has FIVE accepted this year, highest no. of entries I think!)

Whip it by Nick O’Neil

Vanishing Fast: Our vanishing world – it can be any species officially listed as endangered or threatened on the IUCN Red List – or any landscape that is at risk. 


Wide category this, but I love this tiger, although it equally falls into the next category.

Tiger 13 by Stephen Rew





Earth’s Beautiful Creatures: The choice is yours! As in all categories the judges are looking for not only beautifully executed original artworks but also imaginative interpretation, moving away from the purely photographic to compositions with great characterization, showing imagination, originality and genuine creativity. 


So anything then…

I’m going to choose the snow leopards, such a a great composition of a tricky subject.

The ghost in the mountains by Cynthia House


Overall Winner?

I’m going to go for either Nick O’Neils polar bear “Before it melts”

or Radha Kirby’s “Hippos in the late afternoon sun”….

Judging is on Monday so I’ll update on Tuesday morning.