The Royal Academy`s Summer Exhibition is one of those archetypal events - such as the Chelsea Flower Show and Wimbledon tennis - that herald the start of the summer `season` in London. Dating back to 1769 it is guaranteed to deliver an idiosyncratic mixture of high and low culture and glamour - tinged with the endorsement that comes from 251 years of unbroken history.
Art critics tend to either like it or loathe it.
But for the aspiring amateur artist it offers the enticing prospect - should one of your artworks be chosen - of being hung for a few heady weeks on the walls of a major London art museum alongside far more established names.
It gave me my first big break as an artist back in 2012 when my small oil painting `Together` was accepted, and subsequently sold. This gave me the confidence to go on with my painting and take myself seriously as an artist.
Anyone can enter, from any part of the world as long as you pay the 35 pound entry fee. The selection process these days consists of an initial digital submission followed - if you are lucky enough to be selected - by a second stage judging of the actual artwork. The chances of success are low but not scarily so: last year 1200 works were selected out of around 16,000 entries, although as Royal Academicians are entitled to show up to six works each the percentages for the rest of us are probably more like 5% or less...
The photos below show hopeful artists delivering their creations in person to the Royal Academy on `Hand-in Day`. Three weeks later they will be told by e-mail whether they have made the grade. Spare a thought for the judging panel though - it can`t be easy to concentrate as literally thousands of submissions are passed in front of your eyes....
I have entered this four times over the past 8 years. Two rejections, one success, and one `pending`: last week I heard that both of my small oil paintings of the famous Saiho-ji moss garden in Kyoto have made it through to Stage 2....along apparently with 4,000 others! The paintings are actually two of a six-part series I created as a result of a visit to Kyoto one bright November morning in 2018. They are shown below but for the full story, please check out my earlier blog www.sjdalby.com/writing/archives/04-2019
On May 6th - `Hand-in Day` - I will take my place in the queue to submit these two pieces for face to face judging. We then get to hear if we have made it through on May 27th. The exhibition itself - coronavirus permitting - runs from June 9th to August 16th. Wish me luck!