Over the last few months, I've been—very speculatively—entering my paintings into a few prize exhibitions and competitions.

There are literally hundreds to choose from—just in the UK—and they cover just about any medium, style of work, and career stage you can think of, so I did my research and found a handful suitable for my style of painting and career point.

I've had absolutely no expectations, aside from working on the theory that if my work is in front of a judging panel, it's getting fresh eyes on it and reaching an audience who've never seen it before.

Even if didn't make any shortlists, I've learnt more about the process of applying, and I can always enter again next year if I want to.

A few days ago as I quickly scanned my inbox, my eyes landed on an email from the New Light Art Prize.

I knew the notifications were to be announced that week.

And after not reaching the shortlists for two other exhibitions recently, I'd no expectations of it going anywhere.

I quickly scanned the 'standard response' part of the email, expecting to find the ...'unfortunately you were not successful on this occasion'... part.

It wasn't there.

So I re-read everything more slowly.

I was stunned to discover both the paintings I'd submitted have been shortlisted for the prize exhibition! It felt decidedly odd at the time, shock, I guess, but now the news has sunk in, I'm absolutely over the moon.

Sundown in Isolation, 2020, Oil on canvas, 50.8 x 50.8cm (£850) | Julia Brown

Sundown in Isolation, 2020, Oil on canvas, 50.8 x 50.8cm

Edge, 2020, Oil on board, 45 x 45cm | Julia Brown

Edge, 2020, Oil on board, 45 x 45cm

'Sundown in Isolation' and 'Edge' (see above) are the two paintings that will be touring the UK as part of the biennial New Light Art Prize exhibition.

Established in 2010, the New Light Art Prize celebrates and promotes Northern art, supporting both well-known and emerging artists. It's got a fantastic set of judges and gallery sponsors connected to it, which is one of the reasons I entered.

The event is biennial—after the prize exhibition at Scarborough Art Gallery, it then tours to 3 other galleries around the UK, ending up in London in 2021, so it's an amazing opportunity to show (ore even sell) my paintings and get my work in front of people.

The exhibition opens at Scarborough Art Gallery on the 19th September 2020, then will tour to:

  • Tullie House, Carlisle in Jan 2021,
  • The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle in May 2021,
  • before finishing at Bankside Gallery in London in November 2021.

Hopefully, this will all go ahead to schedule if the Covid-19 restrictions against gallery openings stay lifted, but I'll keep this post updated with any changes.

You can find more information by clicking on the images below:

New Light Art Prize Exhibition Locations

New Light Art Prize: Touring Exhibition Locations

New Light Art: Prize Exhibition Information

All images and text © 2020 Julia Brown


Contemporary Oil Painting, Exhibitions, New Light Art Prize 2020/21, Painting

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