The Pastel Society Call for Entries is now open, and we are seeking work for the 123rd Annual Exhibition. We encourage you to submit your work and we would especially like to highlight young and emerging artists who may not have had the opportunity to exhibit their work within a prestigious exhibition before.
Hannah Martin spoke to some of the prize winners from The Pastel Society's Annual Exhibition 2021, for some words of encouragement in the hopes that if you are reading this and feel unsure about whether or not to submit your work, you will now feel inspired to do so!
Caitlin Heslop won the Unison Young Artist Award for her piece ‘St Agnes II’. Caitlin is a young artist, and 'St Agnes II' was part of a series of paintings inspired by the ocean. This piece was made in the Scilly Isles in October of 2020. Caitlin explained this was one of her first times ever working from the sea as a source of inspiration as she usually works from botanicals, but she was captivated by the energy of the waves.
Caitlin felt so encouraged to win the Unison Young Artist award. It made her feel like her work stood out - she felt like it was exciting when she was making it, but receiving the award confirmed that for her! She explains that Unison has been amazingly supportive, providing her with a mentor, and it has given her the encouragement she needed to apply for further exhibitions, which she has since been selected to exhibit at.
Caitlin’s advice is as follows: ‘The submission process is super simple and worth a shot. Try not to think about what work others would love, but what work you feel is the most successful for you and that you are proudest of.’
Christine Watson won the Schmincke Award for her piece ‘Fez Scaffolding III’. Christine has developed a love affair with Morocco, whose landscape and streets have inspired many of Christine’s pastels. She is drawn to piercing light, strong shadows, crumbling surfaces and vibrant colours. This piece captures a brief moment in time when she was exploring the back streets of Fez, representing a restless journey and a quest to see what’s happening around the next corner.
When submitting your work, Christine says: ‘take a look at previous years' exhibitions and try to imagine how your work might fit in. There are some exhibitions I would not enter as I could not imagine my work sitting comfortably with other exhibitors’ styles.’
She went on to say she was shocked but delighted to win the Schmincke Award and that it is lovely to be able to work with the high-quality pastels with such a broad range of colours and tones, that she was given. As well as selling her work at the exhibition, Christine received an invitation to exhibit at the Fusion Exhibition at Holt Gallery in Norfolk.
Charlotte Bullock won the 2021 Pastel Society Young Artist Award for her painting ‘The Beast’s Negative Space.’ Charlotte’s work explores human and animal identity, our relationship with the planet, and our effect on the environment. In this piece, she wanted to give negative space and waste a sense of life, representing life within destruction.
Charlotte described the journey she had when submitting work: ‘I thought I had an idea of what The Pastel Society may be looking for, so I submitted some work I thought they might pick but also included a wild card piece, thinking they’d never pick it, but that I’d take a chance and see. The only selected piece was my wild card piece, which shocked me but proved that it is best to take a risk! It showed I must never compromise on the integrity of my work.’
Rebecca Hardaker won the Frank Herring and Sons Award for ‘An Analogue State of Joy’. It is a large scale mixed media work predominantly made in soft pastels and oil pastels, which explores notions of youth, child play and joyful innocence. Rebecca creates a whimsical analogue world reflecting on childhood memories that often feel like projected coloured slides.
Rebecca says ‘I would enthusiastically encourage someone who is unsure about submitting their work. It was the first time I submitted, and to have my work accepted and given an award was a highlight in my career so far. Never hold back from putting yourself forward!’
Tom Hudson Davies
Tom Hudson Davies won the Yoshimoto Prize for his drawing ‘Self Isolation’. A self-portrait created during isolation in November of 2020 represents the time when days slipped into one another during the pandemic as Tom spent hours on end stuck in his bedroom sitting at his desk. This portrays his feelings of boredom, frustration and self-reflection.
Tom says submitting your work is worth a shot as it is an excellent opportunity to have your work assessed by experts and potentially be exhibited in an internationally recognised gallery. Winning the Yoshimoto Prize was a massive confidence boost for Tom. He says: ‘For someone starting out as an artist, winning £1000 provided me with the financial security and confidence to apply to many more open call exhibitions this year. The exhibition also enabled me to sell my first non-commissioned piece of work.’
Dave Roberts works in pastels and paints his surrounding Welsh landscapes, working in a photorealistic style. He won the Faber-Castell award for his painting ‘Tree at Dusk’.
Dave said: ‘As an emerging artist, submitting work to an event as prestigious as the Pastel Society's Annual Exhibition for the first time is pretty daunting. You look at the entries from previous years and think "Surely I'm not in that league?" However, what is there to lose? The buzz when you log in on the designated date and find out that you've been accepted is amazing!’
Dave is only just embarking on his journey towards becoming a professional artist, so winning the Faber Castell award instilled a great amount of confidence in him! He said: ‘It really was unexpected, but what a feeling! Now I can truly call myself an 'award-winning artist'! And to think, I'd questioned whether I was good enough to apply at all!’
We hope that learning of the experiences of some of the last prize winners, including those from several young and emerging artists, has made you feel more confident in your work and that you will be encouraged to submit to the open call for entries! The deadline is Friday 3 December at 12 noon. Find all the details you need about the process, guidelines, and information here. We can't wait to see your creations.