So the first significant date in my calendar has swung around. Yes! It's time for my annual rejection from the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition! So why after six years of rejections (I think) do I still keep applying. Well much like the sweaty palmed gambler at the roulette table or the skint punter buying a lottery ticket I still think I've got a chance. To be fair it has kicked me up the ass a bit and I found the discipline of working to a particular size galvanizing.
The first painting I've submitted 'dreamwife' (left) was finished late last year. It's the latest version of a painting I've been working on for a few months. I think it's about the third version. Although I enter the Summer Exhibition every year I seem to be weirdly unprepared for it. Around August last year I began working on this and the other painting. This meant I could take my time on it. There were a two or three other paintings I thought I might submit but this one, I think I submitted a version of this last year, but I've refined it this time round. I haven't made a huge concession to the RA on this one, it's a bit larger than A3, so it is a bit of a punt.
However the second painting 'I'll take a shot at whatever you've got' (right) I've completed aimed at the RA. The image itself is quite an old one for me, from a Jim Jones Revue gig. I've painted it a number of times and don't think I've ever really nailed it.
Having been to the Summer Exhibition a few times I don't second guess what they're looking for, but the one consideration is size. Space is at a premium, especially if Grayson Perry needs a room from his tapestries. So I decided I'd work small (just bigger than A4), intense, and after awhile I decided just to concentrate on the one painting. This is unusual for me cause I like to have a few things on the go at one time, and I don't like to over work a painting. After a few weeks of dashing into my studio, working on it the painting began to emerge. There were a few parts I had to paint over and rework, the head to the right formed first then the red hand at the top left which needed working and reworking, and I had to paint over the fist at the bottom left. I finished it two days ago. That was the good thing, I allowed myself the luxury of time and set the discipline of getting it right. I'd take a step back from the painting and think 'Is that right? Can I do better?' most of the I could do better and would go back to it. With both paintings I got to the best version, and I'm especially happy with 'I'll take a shot...' so they've been submitted and I a wait my rejection with eager anticipation.