The Royal Institute of Oil Painters are currently seeking work for their 2021 Annual Exhibition, and artists are invited to submit work to exhibit alongside members of the society. 

The ROI are calling for oil paintings of all subjects and in any style, and there are a number of prizes and awards available to be won. We would really love to encourage you to submit your work, especially if you are an emerging artist, even if you haven’t exhibited your work within a prestigious gallery before. The Annual Exhibitions attract an array of contemporary artists, art collectors and enthusiasts, so it is a wonderful opportunity to get your work seen and to raise your profile!

Hannah Martin spoke to some of the previous prize winners from the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2020, about their experience of submitting work alongside members, and how the exhibition benefited them.

Owain Hunt - Emerging Artist Prize Winner 2020

Owain Hunt Lockdown Man 

I asked Owain what he would say to encourage someone who is unsure about submitting their work and he said:

"Entering a society exhibition is a great way to gain exposure early on in your career. Alongside the obvious benefits of showing your work in central London, the whole process, from submitting your work, to attending the Private View is a great way to immerse yourself in the ongoings of the respective FBA societies and the Gallery itself."

Owain told me that a lot of exposure came from winning the Emerging Artist Prize and he received several sales enquiries and has gained a lot of clients via the gallery. 

Michelle Anderson - Tony Merrick Memorial Prize

Michelle Anderson Fieldspan

Michelle said it was a thrill to get accepted initially, and then to win a prize was totally unexpected and a wonderful surprise. She said having her painting in the exhibition meant she gained exposure and a wider appreciation of her work. She would encourage any talented painters to apply saying "Have a go, you never know!"

Ruth Fitton - Winsor & Newton Young Artist Winner 2020 (and Emerging Artist 2019)

Ruth Fitton Self Portrait in Miniature

I asked Ruth what she thought about submitting to the exhibition and she explained: "It's really important to just go for it. Don't second-guess yourself or worry about your work fitting in - it's so important to be you, and submit the pieces which speak most to you personally. I would also add that the ROI is a very friendly society - this is a group of people who just love to paint. If you love to paint, then this is the competition for you!"

Ruth was the Emerging Artist prize winner in 2019 which she said gave her a huge confidence boost and changed her whole perception of herself as a painter. She then won the Winsor & Newton Young Artist Award in 2020, and purchased £1000 worth of paint with her prize money, she said "it’s wonderful to suddenly have the freedom to use enormous amounts of paint!"

Ruth went on to say: "showing work and winning awards with the ROI has dramatically increased my confidence in myself as an artist, empowering me to try new things and inspiring me to keep going."

Daniel Roy Sharples - Dry Red Press Award Winner 2020

Daniel Roy Sharples Bridesmaid

Daniel won the Dry Red Press Award last year, meaning his painting was published as a greeting card by Dry Red Press and is available to buy on their website. Daniel said: "they were very friendly when liaising with me about the design and printing process. I receive a royalty fee every year from Dry Red Press and received 24 complimentary greeting cards that I could use to send to clients and promote myself."

Immediately after winning the award, his painting Bridesmaid was also sold which he said was a nice bonus! Exhibiting and winning the award gave Daniel positive publicity and he was able to promote himself successfully across social media and it also gave him the confidence boost he needed to keep producing work he enjoys. The experience inspired Daniel to keep on pursuing his career as an emerging artist.

I also asked Daniel what he would say to encourage someone who is unsure about submitting their work and he responded: "I would say that it’s definitely worth the effort. Knowing that your work might be selected and exhibited in a prestigious exhibition like the ROI makes you up your game. You want to enter your best work. Even if your work isn’t selected, you will have at least pushed yourself to make more artwork and develop your skills and experience as an artist."

We hope that reading these encouraging statements from previous prize winners inspires you to submit your own work for the ROI Annual Exhibition 2021. Take a look at all the guidelines and information.

Enter your work now

The deadline to submit your work is Friday 10 September, 12 noon. We can’t wait to see what you create!

Article and interviews by Hannah Martin