31 Oct 2016

John Newman wins heat in Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year

John Newman, ADP’s landscape director, won the first heat of the Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year competition with his abstract watercolour of Scotney Castle in Kent. He entered as one of fifty wildcard artists who registered to take part in the competition, but not to appear as a contestant on the TV show.

Set within a wooded estate, the 14th century moated castle is managed by the National Trust. John and his fellow wildcard artists were gathered together in an area just north of the castle, and had four hours to complete their works.  

The TV show’s chosen eight contestants were painting in their own pods on the opposite side of the castle. Although sheltered from the elements, the pods did not protect them from the gaze of the judges, members of the public, and film crew. 

Reflecting on what inspired him John said: 

“Having most of the group of wildcard artists painting in front of me, I decided that they should also be the subject. In my watercolour I painted their canvases, chairs and umbrellas in the foreground, as an extension to the moat. The duck was a cheeky little visitor who was more interested in my painting sponge than the crowded lawn of my fellow contestants." 

Now in its second season, this year’s show is being filmed at National Trust properties across the UK. Joan Bakewell and Frank Skinner are hosting the competition, and artist’s work is being judged by independent curator Kathleen Soriano, art historian Kate Bryan, and award-winning artist Tai Shan Schierenberg. As head of painting at the London Art Academy Tai said: 

“Landscape painting is quite an abstract undertaking and l love work that explores those possibilities as extremely as possible, all the while responding to and capturing something of the day spent working outdoors. We’ve found in the past that contestants who have given the four-hour time limit some thought, by practising painting within that time frame, do particularly well on the day of the competition.” 

The overall winner will be announced on the programme in late November. The chosen artist will win a £10,000 commission for the National Trust’s Art collection and £500 of art materials from Cass Arts.