The deadline for the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 2019 exhibition was on Friday 4th January. This was the first of a spate of submission deadlines that filled my new year heart with a certain sense of dread. I’d already decided that there were some exhibitions that I wasn’t going to enter this year, such as the Royal Academy Open and the Royal Watercolour Society Contemporary Watercolour Competition but, of all the exhibitions that I’d like to be seen in, the RI exhibition is probably top of my list.
This isn’t to do with any particular hierarchy or prestige factor. It’s mainly because it’s the exhibition that tends to feature the works that I like and admire most. The only snag was that I wasn’t sure whether I had anything worthy of submitting so had sort of ruled myself out of entering. Last year I entered three works. The maximum number you can enter is 6 although, deep down, there were probably only two of them that I was really happy with. This year, while I feel my work has developed and improved, I feel much more reticent about submitting, especially if I’m not wholly convinced by my own submission.
Eventually, however, in the combined spirit of trite sayings such as ‘nothing ventured nothing gained’ and ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’ I decided that I should put my best effort forward and leave it at that.
The first stage is an online selection. Works that pass this stage are then delivered to the gallery for a more thorough ‘live’ selection process. Last year I didn’t get past the first stage and, to be perfectly honest, I don’t hold out much hope of bettering that this year! The good thing is that I should receive notification of my rejection this Friday so I won’t have long to wait to have my hopes dashed!
I think that this particularly low-ebb start to the year is also be infecting me in other ways. I was really keen to paint this week but I just couldn’t for the life of me think or decide just what I wanted to paint. I’m usually champing at the bit to get on with my next painting, but this week I just felt so utterly uninspired. In the end, I knew that I couldn’t just let the time slip by so decided that the best thing to do was a ‘big sky’ painting. I tend to like big skies as they don’t require much drawing out, can usually be tackled quite freely and quickly and, if everything works out, they can be really pleasing!
Here then is my big sky painting. A view looking from the top of Firle Beacon in the South Downs across the Weald and its patchwork of fields.
This was completed pretty quickly on a quarter imperial sheet of paper, so quite small to tackle such an expansive vista. As I quite enjoyed painting this, and am pleased with how it turned out considering how I was feeling, I’m already feeling tempted to try to really let fly on this subject matter on a larger half sheet, just for fun.
Late addition: Following this post, I did do a half sheet version of this view.