Making it in against the odds!

12,000 people apply to the Royal Academy summer exhibition each year. They limit the applications and the limit is often reached much earlier than the deadline so you have to be on your toes!

Back in January I chose two paintings I had recently completed, filled out the online submission and tried to work out all the terms and conditions. In the meantime life carries on as normal, work is on the website and someone chose one of the paintings as a birthday gift for her husband. I did mention I had entered it, but I was just happy she was excited about finding him something original and surprising. You know how hard it can be buying for the man who has everything!

The day before the Talented Art Fair, when I was eye deep in packing and labels I was reminded to log-on and check the results – and was super excited to see that BOTH paintings had been shortlisted. Thrilling news – now I just needed to work out what to do about that sold one – presumably it was easy enough to contact the Royal Academy and change the sales status to Not For Sale?

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

However another artist warned me I had made a silly error – you can’t mess the RA around, and indeed I couldn’t find any information within their terms and conditions or by searching online about what to do if you have submitted to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the painting has already been sold…

Surely I couldn’t be the first artist to, deep breath, actually have the nerve to sell their own work!

So, slightly heart in mouth I contacted the RA to ask if it was possible to amend the details, and the buyer to give them the good news about the shortlist. I felt it was cheeky to ask for the work back, after all, it belongs to them now. But, then again – the chance to see something you own hanging in the Royal Academy? Surely it was up to them to decide.

I was genuinely happy either way.

And you know what? The RA can change details if they know swiftly and the buyer was thrilled at the news and totally happy to see what happens next with the submission. So if you’re an artist in a similar situation I hope this helps!

‘Unearthed’ is the SOLD painting, but it is also available as a print in different sizes >> see here

‘Chasing the Window Seat‘ is the other painting which has been shortlisted. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

art at home Alice Sheridan



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