Mr Genders experience at the Royal Academy
This year the Royal Academy (RA) Summer Exhibition has the theme of Climate and because this is something I am passionate about I thought I would submit a painting. It costs around £40 per artwork and artists are permitted to enter 2 pieces each, it used to be more, but they get so many entries they recently started limiting it to 2 each. I just submitted the one, an oil on canvas piece entitled 'Through' which is a dark forest with a stained-glass window feel to it. The entries are limited to 16,500 so I had to be quick to make sure I didn't miss the chance to enter. I submitted a photo and brief description of the piece into the RA and a few months later was pleased to receive an email telling me the piece had been shortlisted, which means it was one of 4000 artworks that are taken in for the final round of judging.
Unfortunately it was at this point I realised the piece I had chosen to submit was not good enough as the finish was very patchy, so I stayed up for many nights in a row and repainted the whole thing. It was a touch stressful but the original version would have never been selected so I wanted to give myself a good shot at it, I was much happier with version 2.
The RA posted me labels which I fixed to the back of the work and with it framed in a hurry and just about dry enough to wrap up, a good friend then took it down to London for me as I was working on the submission day.
On the 1st of June I had the email telling me the artwork had been selected for the Summer Exhibition, which was very exciting.
On Monday the 13th of June I attended the Varnishing day at the Royal Academy which is in Piccadilly, London. This is an historic event in which Artists would traditionally be allowed to add finishing touches and varnish their work, it has been attended by some of the most famous artists in British history such as Turner and Constable. The Artists meet in the RA courtyard and are led by priests and a Caribbean style steel drum band in a procession down to St James' Church, Piccadilly where a special service is given and then it is back to the gallery for the first peek at the Summer Exhibition and a look at where they have hung your work.
The Summer exhibition is always a feast for the eyes, with hundreds of sculptures and so many pictures of such variety crammed all over the walls, and right up to the very high ceilings. My piece is located in the Western room which holds a lot of the architecture entries, I was disappointed to see it had been hung behind a very large sculptural installation so is somewhat obscured, but that is the luck of the draw! The atmosphere in the gallery was busy and vibrant with various celebrities and famous artists being filmed within the mingling crowd.
Grayson Perry, who is a famous British Artist, has several pieces in the show one of which is a large working bell called the Covid Bell, so I gave it a good old ring, nobody else had rung it so I received some stern looks, but I thought if Grayson hadn't wanted it to be used he would not have included that big, knitted pull cord.
It was an exciting and full day, definitely an experience I will remember and my painting sold later that week on the first of the collector's private views.
The Summer Exhibition runs from June 21 to August 21