The Secret to Trading I am not unique

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Contents

The Secret to Trading: “I am not unique”

“What! But growing up I was told we are all unique!”

We all have different personalities, skills and tendencies, but when it comes to trading we aren’t unique. By that I mean we all trade the same markets, which levels the playing field. Because the market is composed of such a wide array of people, you can be assured it will strip away most of the profits from simply being “smart” or “ambitious.” We assume that because we are smart, or have worked hard the market will give us profits… it will reward us for our uniqueness. Unfortunately, there are millions of other smart and hard working people also trying to make a profit in the markets, in other words, you aren’t unique.

The main problem when people begin trading is that they look within themselves for some sort of edge, and then try to predict and beat the market at its own game. For example, someone may begin trading and think they are smarter than most other traders. So as the price is dropping based on their analysis they choose to buy because the price is due for a bounce. Or the price is screaming higher so they buy thinking it will continue to go higher. Occasionally this tactic may work, but over the long run it likely won’t. Why? Because the trader is playing the same game as everyone else. Since most traders lose, by playing the same game this trader too will eventually lose everything. There is no specific strategy here, instead the trader is operating off ego, and assuming they know what the market should do next.

So if most traders think they are unique but aren’t, and lose, the valuable question becomes how do you actually become a unique trader? It is a several step processes which involves coming to some realizations, both about yourself and the market you trade.

1. Admit that you aren’t unique. There are other traders out there just like you, learning and trying to beat the market at its own game. And that is not how to win.

2. Despite what you have read or seen, forget about predicting where exact tops and bottoms are going to be in the future. Realize the market is dynamic, with new and old traders constantly moving in and out of positions, leaving the markets and coming back, being aggressive and passive based on both market conditions and personal circumstances. You can’t predict that.

3. Looking at the market through new eyes–a market you can’t predict–realize you will need a strategy that most traders aren’t thinking of–that will scare most unsuccessful traders.

For example, during an uptrend, buying during a pullback at a Fibonacci retracement level is not something the average (non-unique) trader can convince himself to do. While it is logical to look for assets at a discount, most traders instead buy when the price is screaming higher, only to find the buying doesn’t last and they lose as a pullback occurs.

Therefore, if you want to disengage from the herd and become profitable you need to look for entry and exit points where the herd isn’t looking. For me that generally (I have a few different strategies I use) means buying on pullbacks as the price just starts to creep back up (during an uptrend), and exiting just become beyond a former high which is where most amateurs buy (and subsequently lose). It also means avoiding many of the trades that traders in the herd will take.

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4. Most traders focus on ego, without even noticing it. They trade to win, or trade not-to-lose, to satisfy a personal need to be right, beat the market or to brag to other traders. Your final step in getting away from the herd, and becoming part of a more select few, is to abandon these notions. Instead, view trading as a process where your only goal is to execute the plan you have come up with, and execute it precisely. Focus on that, and results take care of themselves.

Final Word

If you are able to complete these four steps–and full integration could take months to years–you have the possibility of actually becoming an almost-unique trader (but still in the company of other great traders). You will first have to admit that your personal traits don’t make you unique in the scope of the market, and the markets don’t care how smart or driven you are. The markets are what they are, and that is it. Don’t waste time trying to come up with elaborate models that predict every turn in the market. Instead, realize most traders lose money, which provides you with an edge. Your only goal is to exploit that edge based on the strategies you develop based on your new realizations.

The first step to becoming a successful trader requires admitting you are not unique. You have no special advantage. The market lies outside of you, and will not move to your will or based on your ambitions. When you realize this, only then will you be able to see the market through clear eyes, and develop strategies that may have a chance of producing a long-term trading income.

Jenner Jim, “New Pigeon Film coming from Jim Jenner”


Comments by Film Director Jim Jenner at the House of Commons Dinner, November 12, 2005

It is a great honor to be here tonight to speak to you about a subject dear to my heart.

I believe I was invited tonight to bring a little outside perspective to your wonderful efforts here. My film-making has indeed taken me all over the world and I stand before you as someone who may be able to shed a little light on the issues of the pigeon sport globally and where it fits in to modern society.

First of all it is important to note that the tremendous effort made here, by my English racing colleagues, ably assisted by Lord Banks, to elevate the legacy of homing pigeons as a vital part of our wartime history, is unprecedented. Thanks to you, there is now a beautiful, and permanent, monument to these brave birds here in London. And the fact we are gathered here tonight, at the very epicenter of English society, to talk about Columba Livia is the most positive step that I’m aware of, world wide, to bring back some respect for a species that I like to think of as the Underdog of the Animal Kingdom.

I use the term “Underdog” to refer to pigeons because it is the saddest irony of my lifetime to see such a phenomenal creature, our oldest domestic bird, our oldest feathered friend, become so misunderstood and vilified in the last half century.

But why should we care about how pigeons are perceived by the public today? Well, first of all, let’s remember what has changed and how these birds once enjoyed a much more vaunted position in society.

As Jean Hansell has so beautifully documented in her books, it is the Rock Dove, Columba Livia, that symbolizes the holy spirit in all the world’s major religions. This species’ gentleness and loyalty, and their success as caring parents, made them an icon of Venus, goddess of love. The bird is also the international symbol of peace, and it is almost certain that the bird that brought the olive branch to Noah was a rock dove, because this is the family that has been a companion to man since ancient humans lived with these birds in the rocky caves around the Mediterranean. So, for centuries, domestic pigeons were revered. They were a big part of everyday life. Pigeon keeping was a huge pastime in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Today there are over 1,000 varieties of domestic pigeons that descend from the Rock Dove.

Pigeon racing, in one form or another, is easily as old as horse racing, the sport of Kings. I guess it is more accurate to call our hobby the sport of Queens, because her majesty Queen Elizabeth is a pigeon racer. Actually she is a third generation racer because it was her grandfather King George who first established a racing loft at Sandringham a century ago.

When the Olympic Games open in London in 2020, tradition calls for the release of homing pigeons to mark the official start of the games. This again is symbolic of an ancient friendship. During the original games in Greece it was common for an athlete to carry pigeons from his village to the Olympics. If he won a race, he would tie a strand of the finish line to the bird and release it to fly home and let his fellow villagers know of his victory.

And speaking of Olympic athletes, I have to share some comments I recently got about pigeons as part of the latest film we are releasing next week. In the United States Professor Ken Dial is one of the world’s foremost experts on how birds fly. For over 20 years this Harvard trained scientist has conducted experiments on bird locomotion. He has been recognized universally for many breakthrough findings, particularly on how dinosaurs likely learned to fly. Professor Dial has studied the greatest fliers in the avian kingdom and he calls our pigeons the ultimate Olympic athlete. According to Professor Dial no bird, in fact no creature on earth, can match the speed and endurance of modern racing pigeons.

But given all this rich history, from the Royal family to respect from eminent scientists, how is it that we are fighting so hard to earn recognition for the racing birds we care for? How did Columba Livia become an “underdog” if you will.

We are victims of several factors, a perfect storm of negative components that have made for reduced status for our birds. First, during the 1960’s and 1970’s there was a concerted effort by the pest control industry to convince public officials that pigeons carried dozens of diseases, including tuberculosis. This false campaign was intended to elevate the pigeon as a public health threat that could then be exterminated, for a profit mind you, by the industry. And, even though the pigeon sport eventually got them to cease and desist with their medical falsehoods, the stigma has remained.

Secondly the American comedian, Woody Allen, coined a phrase in one of his movies for the feral pigeons in New York City. He called them feathered rats. Sadly, this too, took root in the minds of the public, or worse, in the minds of everyone in the media who ever thought to do a story on pigeons.

For us this stigma is very serious, because no matter how different our pedigreed and pampered race birds are, to a city council they are just pigeons and they now regulate us as if our birds were a health threat and a nuisance. Now we have the joys of bird flu to deal with as well.

So, in our lifetime, one of the world’s most revered creatures, and one of nature’s most phenomenal athletes, has been reduced to the status of vermin in the minds of the media and much of the general public.

Why is this important? Why should we care about this if we can still quietly practice our hobby? And what has this got to do with what may be next for the effort that was born here in the Churchill Dining Room several years ago? Well it has a great impact on how our sport can survive, much less grow.

Why we should care about people being able to enjoy pigeon racing can be illustrated in my sharing my own personal journey to this room. And I don’t mean the 7,000 miles to fly here from the Rocky Mountains of Montana. I mean the emotional and intellectual journey that I have experienced because of my fascination with homing pigeons. I’m going to mention it because I know I am not unique, I know my comments here will bring many nods of agreement from the pigeon fanciers here tonight.

I was ten years old when my family moved from the country to the city. At school one day a boy brought a couple of street pigeons, in a bird cage, for show and tell. I’d never seen these big birds up close. And I had never had the experience of looking into a bird’s eye and having it, basically look back, with an obvious intelligence that was taking my measure. Science now tells us that the bird was indeed thinking, pigeons have been found to be able to remember hundreds of faces, and are equal to higher order animals, such as dolphins and porpoises, in their cognitive abilities.

Anyway, I followed my new friend home and became part of a pack of black and white boys who roamed the city catching and keeping street pigeons. I then visited the library and, for the first time in my life I had a topic that I wanted to know about. I discovered the incredible story of homing pigeons in war and the fact that pedigreed racing pigeons, in countries like England and Belgium, were raced by the thousands in competitions of 100 to 600 miles.

Like many little boys of my generation I became a pigeon keeper. I had to learn how to design a pigeon loft. I had to learn how to build it. I had to learn how to find racing pigeons to buy and the very basics of having a feathered family in my back garden that I was responsible for. At ten years old I ruled my own little world. Twice a day it was up to me to feed and care for my birds. I made mistakes, such as trying to help a hatching baby bird out of its shell, a hard lesson when you realize that mother nature often doesn’t want assistance, and the death of the living thing I was trying to help broke my heart.

I learned how to convert dollars to pounds so I could send away for precious English books that annually carried the stories of the Kingdom’s greatest pigeon men. I learned these champions could be commoner or King and that a great pigeon could win a race flying to a loft near a countryside manor house or to the kitchen window of a Welsh coal miner. I learned about the birds and the bees, well the birds anyway, without having to have a sit down with my father! I learned how the life cycle of all living creatures is tied to the seasons, to the changes in the length of the day. I learned to observe and understand the weather. I learned about nutrition and the components of grain, such as fiber, fat and protein, in what I fed my birds. I learned about genetics and how the findings of Mendel became evident in the feather colors of the babies of birds I mated together. Let me repeat, I was ten years old, and I was learning in the best way a child can, by hands-on experience, self-study and observation. Far different that having my face glued to a video game.

Outside my little back garden pigeon world, I had to respect and deal with my elders, because in my city there were Champion pigeon men I wanted to know. Many of these expert trainers were professional people, but others were salt of the earth, working men, and I had to learn how to speak to them, and win them over, before I stood a chance to talk them out of precious eggs or babies to raise.

I learned about management and planning and hygiene. And every day I alone was responsible for delivering clean feed and clean water to my birds and always scrapping away their droppings.

And for all this hard work, and all this study, I was rewarded. Because each day I could visit my birds, birds I had raised, and I could let them outside into the sky. And from where I stood, earthbound, I could watch them fly. I would watch them disappear, often for an hour and then, magically, come back, come back to me. At the age of ten I saw a creature give up its freedom, to return to my care, because of the bond I had built between us.

It’s easy to be poetic about this part of my life because the emotions are so deep within me. But the magic I am describing was not unique to little Jim Jenner in the Northwest corner of America. These emotions, the life lessons, are in the heart of every pigeon person in this room. They are, in large part, what made us what we are today. And I can tell you that all of we pigeons boys turned out OK, while many boys didn’t do so well and fell into drugs and crime.

Now, like most pigeon men, there was a period when teenage hormones became stronger than the pull of the birds, well a pull to a different kind of bird you could say, the unfeathered variety. But the emotional satisfaction of those early years was always in my heart and when I finally settled down I took up the hobby again.

But what I am trying to describe here, by sharing what is by no means a unique experience, is a simple illustration of how profound an impact homing pigeons can have on a young person. Since then I have seen, in virtually every country I have visited, that my own story has been repeated several million times. That’s how many people keep pigeons world-wide, and the emotions I’ve described are the same for the boys of Belfast or Beijing, Cardiff or Calcutta.

Why is this important? Well I read with interest Lord Carter’s report on sport in the U.K. It is obviously very much on the radar screen of government today to encourage sport and active recreation for young people that gets them away from television and violent video games, and into drug free activities that engage their minds. For many experts sport is the answer.

Can we call pigeon racing a sport? Well a dictionary definition of sport is a game or organized activity. It may or may not involve hard physical play. Worldwide, pigeon racing is far greater in terms of participation and prize money than dog racing for example. Much like horse racing it involves highly bred contestants, although no horse race on earth matches the twenty to two hundred thousand birds that can take part in a pigeon race on a summer Saturday. In terms of size the Royal Pigeon Racing Assoc, the RPRA, with over thirty employees, is much larger than the vast majority of sport bodies in the U.K. When you read Lord Carter’s report you realize that as many people race pigeons in the U.K. today as play volleyball, or hockey or sail or learn gymnastics. And while building and managing a team of racing pigeons may not be as physically demanding as running down a football pitch, let’s look at the some other benefits. First of all we can’t make light of the physical demands and responsibilities of, twice a day, every day, hauling food and water back and forth to your loft. And cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. But it is the mental and emotional component that I think I can best address. A lot of Lord Carter’s report discusses the benefits of sport that go beyond mere exercise. It is the aspects of getting away from the TV, interfacing with others and getting your mental gears turning that are listed as key goals of the hundreds of millions of pounds investment in youth that the study contemplates. That’s where the huge impact on my own life becomes noteworthy because it is not unique. Pigeons can literally change children for the better. Here’s what I mean by that.

I’m sorry that House of Commons decorum doesn’t permit the showing of films. Because, let’s face it, a filmmaker’s work speaks louder than his words. If I could, I would have shown you one of the stories that was in my last film, “Share The Blue Sky”.

It was called “Pigeons Go To School” and it told about a program for at risk teenagers at a secondary school in the United States. I’m going to provide copies to Lord Banks and others so you have a chance to see this saga.

At this school the science teacher is a pigeon fancier, as is his father. Together they created a small pigeon loft behind the classroom and the students were in charge of raising and training a flock of racing birds. These teenagers, mostly from poor Hispanic families in a small farming community, represent much of what modern society is burdened with. Most are from single parent families, most ended up at this last chance, alternative school because of serious attendance or behavior problems. They were no strangers to teen pregnancy, drugs, crime or abusive home lives. What you see in this film is the simple connection that pigeons can bring between human beings and the natural world. And I need to point out to our honored guests something they may not know. As a child’s pet, domestic racing pigeons are hardy, they live happily in small spaces, they are easily tamed and most of all, they fly. Since time began these big birds have imparted something special to the soul of a child who cares for them.

My favorite images are of a huge boy, a legend as a vicious fighter before he was tossed out of the mainstream school, cupping a tiny baby pigeon in his big hands. My favorite comments are his words about how gentle pigeon parents are with their young and how calm he feels when he watches the birds fly. The most profound comments come from the school principal who relates that the problems of the class have changed. Before the pigeon program, he says, the problem was they didn’t come to school. Now, he says with a smile, the problem is they don’t want to go home. A follow-up study, commissioned by the state education department,
found that the students in the pigeon project improved by over a full grade point in their academic performance. Their attendance rose dramatically. Most significant the incidents of aggressive behavior all but went away. Phenomenal results for any sport program to be sure. In my story one girl spoke of how it made her feel to be asked to care for an abandoned baby pigeon. In her own words she said she went from contemplating suicide to deciding to continue with school, find a job and build a life for herself. I’m not making this up. It’s all there.

So here we are, in the House of Commons, talking about pigeons. And you’ve succeeded brilliantly in honoring the homing pigeons contribution to saving lives in war. But what is next? Where does pigeon racing fit in the future of society? Why should we fight to be recognized as a viable and important part of youth sport?

Speaking of competitive sport I think of my friend Gerry Francis here. It’s true to say he’s one in a million in more ways than one. Statistically there can only be so many champions of his caliber, only so many heroes of Team England. No matter how many hundred million pounds are invested in expanding sport in the U.K., mother nature is going to produce very few athletes of Gerry’s caliber. That leaves several millions other kids on the sidelines. And, for many, simple exercise is only small part of what is missing in their lives.

That’s where we come in. I think this is the next step. A critical component of the entire sports effort is active recreation that gets children out of a sedentary lifestyle and mentally engaged in something other than TV or a computer screen. It is up to us to produce the tools that can help to do this by working to help more young people become interested in racing pigeons.

Now some will tell you this is impossible. Many within our sport will say we are the last generation, that kids today just can’t be engaged in our hobby. I beg to differ. In fact I venture that any pigeon person who has visited a school to talk about pigeons in the last few years, would also beg to differ. Say what you will about the spoiled and disinterested youth of today, I have witnessed the same magic in their eyes that I had when I saw my first pigeons. The flame can still be lit, and it is our job to light it.

Ohhh, that will never work, others will say, schools or youth centers would never let pigeons be around. Well, I’m reminded of a film I worked on twenty years ago for a group that advocated introducing animals, particularly cats and dogs, into the then antiseptic environments of convalescent centers and homes for the elderly. Have you been to any of these places lately? They have dogs, and cats, and birds all over. And do you know why the administrators changed their minds? Because you can show, scientifically, that contact with other living creatures makes humans calmer and happier and we live longer!

Why should we care about this? Well the more young people interested in our hobby today means the more people likely to take up the hobby later in life. And all of the wonderful things that pigeon keeping brought into my life, and yours, are still there to change the lives of a new generation. And they need it more than ever.

Again, let me share what I’ve learned around the globe. Attracting youth is a big problem for the pigeon sport everywhere. And I believe one of the problems is that most efforts try to bring young people directly into existing racing clubs. In most cases this is a mistake. First, let’s remember that pigeon racing is the toughest competition out of the box of any sport in the world. Unlike golf where you have a handicap, or tennis where they have seedings, or football where the teams are scaled based on their overall performance, from day one in pigeon racing you are competing with the top trainers on an equal footing. You are often up against hundreds of other fanciers with years more experience. Your birds are competing against thousands of other pigeons each weekend, in races where a few seconds means the difference between first and fiftieth place. Unless you are a genius, early success is hard to achieve. What’s more the average pigeon club is typically full of older folks who look forward to their weekends with their mates, it is often not a place a young person is comfortable, at least until they learn the ropes.

That said there are ample opportunities to put pigeons in front of young people through their science education. Today’s teachers are desperate for new and engaging curriculums that break the chain of young people’s slavish devotion to their cell phones and video games. Whether it’s a small loft at a school, or a youth center or even at a local zoo or a nature center. We have to think about putting live, flying homing pigeons in front of young people and be ready to help encourage those that become fascinated by our birds. It can be done. It must be done. Imagine for example if there was a replica of an historic military loft, with live birds inside and display boards and a movie screen around it that described military birds and modern pigeon racing. Now imagine that this entire unit is at the London Zoo. How many people a day would get a positive impression of our hobby?

Probably the single most significant change in the sport is the advent of electronic clocking. Although it has not been adopted officially in the U.K. it is still a fantastic resource to create programs that engage young people. By that I mean it is possible for a small loft of birds to be clocked over a series of races, either one bird sprints, or as a group, download the data and come up with an overall winning bird. It’s the kind of competitive information that can keep kids engaged in how their individual birds are doing, and the races can be as simple as ten or twenty mile events. And it also means that a single pigeon loft can serve as a focal point for many children even if they couldn’t have their own birds at home. And let’s also remember how little physical space all this takes compared to a sports pitch. A demonstration pigeon loft can be the size of a single parking stall.

What I really want to emphasis is that there is no significant youth oriented program that is being used by the hobby world-wide, and I believe this is the perfect forum for this type of effort to be launched. And I don’t bring it up as a challenge that I make and walk away from, but as something I would love to be involved with at any level.

I believe that this is the forum for several reasons. First the bulk of the national pigeon organizations, world wide, are almost totally devoted to the complex business running races and issuing bands. And, occasionally, dealing with controversies like doping. I must digress for a moment to point out to our many dignitaries here tonight that when I was here a year ago the big news was the RPRA’s drug testing of British race birds. Sadly, there has been virtually no follow-up report that this effort, which made the Wall Street Journal, American television, etc. and made us look like we had a shady sport going on, has turned up no, zero, I repeat no instances, of drug use among the winning trainers who were suspect.

And this lack of positive public affairs is part of what I see as a problem with the organizations themselves trying to reach out to youth. Most of them are run by older pigeon men, who are often not the best or most sophisticated marketers in the world. I believe an outside, ad hoc group, like your amalgamation which has been so successful at attracting celebrity support and positive media attention, would be far more effective at bridging the many different arenas of the sport and be able to work at the highest levels of government and education to tell our dramatic story.

As a side light there are considerable cultural advantages to this as well. The highest number of at risk youth are those with the least access to nature. They are often poor, disadvantaged and living in single family, urban environments. Many of them, Muslims youth for example, also have a cultural legacy of pigeon keeping that goes back hundreds of generations. I can’t tell you how often I get letters in fractured English from pigeon fanciers in Egypt, Iran, Pakistan and other Muslim countries who are reaching out to learn more about pigeons worldwide. And let’s remember that while the hobby is dwindling in many parts of the West, it is exploding in countries such as China, Poland and Portugal, countries where a growing middle class is taking up pigeon racing.

If we started today to create a U.K. and global effort to promote the pigeon sport, to make it part of science curriculums and youth activities, how on earth would you fund such an effort? Well, let me leave you with this thought. The pigeon racers in this room know our hobby is a sport in every sense of the word. It is mentally challenging, it is highly competitive, it is extremely emotionally satisfying, and not just in your youth. We care about our hobby’s survival. We honor what it has done for us in our lives. Here’s what I mean.

Let me go back to Gerry Francis for a minute because he has a new job you may not know about. Gerry said he didn’t want to coach but he is coaching. Not on the field. He’s in his back garden breeding, training and conditioning athletes that can go fifty miles an hour, flat out, all day long. He’s the coach of what is arguably the formula one flying machine of the avian kingdom. And, even though he may not be running up and down a football pitch, Gerry is mentally and emotionally tied to his team. And if one of his players wins, if one of his birds is best, there won’t be cheering fans or headlines in the newspaper. But there will be a little smile on Gerry’s face when he sees the other fanciers in his club, and the emotional satisfaction he gleans from that victory will go deep in his heart. Best of all, it is a sport he can play, a team he can coach, until the day he can no longer walk to the loft. Our sport is magical because the older you get the better you get at it! And a successful and dedicated fancier like Gerry is willing to commit his time and money to helping the hobby he enjoys so much.

I don’t make light of the importance of physically active sports. I’ve quarterbacked my school team. I’ve reminisced with my buddies about our victories on the field. You have too probably. But I venture no victory in athletics is as clear in your mind as the first pigeon race you won, or the band number of the marvelous creature that won it for you.

That is what we are talking about helping bring to other people in the world. And based on my world travels I can tell you that many other intelligent pigeon leaders, world-wide would be proud to be invited to England’s House of Commons to work on improving our hobby, to have it recognized as a sport, to try to develop a global program to encourage youth involvement in this hobby. But what about the money?

Well think about this. Is pigeon racing in your will? For all the thousands of hours of satisfaction this hobby has brought to you, is there anywhere you could send your money that would further the sport, that would help it live on for future generations? No there is not. And as we witness the passing of an entire generation of pigeon fanciers, I maintain that the right program, achieving the type of success you have achieved with the war memorial, could easily become a place that a fancier would bequeath a few hundred or a few thousand pounds.

Our hobby is a wonderful, competitive sport that is beneficial to the emotional well-being of the people who practice it, young or old. It is indeed a sport worth fighting for. I hope some of these comments and radical ideas may be a catalyst for where we go from here.

Again, to Lord Banks, thank you so much for hosting this event. Honored guests, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for inviting us.

Two years after completing his epic “Share the Blue Sky”, film producer Jim Jenner is back with a new film for pigeon racers.

Called “Secrets of Champions: The Foundation of Victory”, the new 90 minute movie is a departure from Jenner’s previous works, which have been general interest documentaries about pigeons and the people who enjoy caring for them throughout the world.

“This film is intended to give fanciers world-wide an inside view of how certain trainers manage to win for decades.” said Jenner “I’ve wanted to make this movie for a long time because I think there is a big gap between what the top fanciers know and what other trainers are aware of.”

The film was shot during the summer of 2005 in Belgium, Holland, Ireland and the U.K. and includes many well-known, long time winners. Included are Frank Tasker and Geoff Kirkland who almost 20 years ago starred in the “Best of British”. Since that best-seller was released both Tasker and Kirkland have continued to top their respective racing arenas. Also included is Ireland’s Champion, Ronnie Williamson, often referred to as one of the world’s greatest pigeon men. From Holland, Ad Schaerlaeckens, both a top flier and the world’s foremost pigeon writer, weighs in with his observations. These are only a few of a wide range of top trainers who Jenner invited to participate in this new movie. In addition Belgian pigeon veterinarian Dr. Carlo Gyselbrecht and America’s reknowned bird flight expert, Prof. Ken Dial, are featured in the key chapters on respiration and performance.

“My goal was to create a film that would save the average fancier time, and a lot of money, in trying to get to the top of the race result sheet. When I described the concept to many of the top competitors that have been in my previous films they all agreed to take part.” said Jenner.

In the new film the featured Champions share their ideas on where, when, and how to acquire foundation stock, as well as what they are looking for in each pigeon and their methods of feeding and motivation. In spite of their being from many different countries and racing arenas, the assembled comments tell a common and compelling tale of how these best-of-the-best succeed against huge odds.

One unique chapter is called “The Motor’, which explains the closely-guarded method by which top trainers observe key parts of each pigeon’s throat to select their breeding pairs. To explain this secret, Jenner had to use special micro-lenses to clearly capture and demonstrate what the Champions are looking for in the “perfect throat”.

“I think the secret of ‘The Motor’ will amaze every fancier who sees this film. This has never been documented on film before. I’ve known about it for many years but it never was something that was appropriate for my general interest films. Personally I think this chapter alone will have a profound effect on an average trainer’s success in the hobby. The area they are studying is only 6mm wide so it was a real production challenge.” said Jenner

Jenner’s previous work include the classic “Marathon In The Sky” as well as the award-winning “Oldest Feathered Friend” and the five hour long “Share The Blue Sky” which also won several film festival awards. The American-born Jenner has been called “The pigeon world’s greatest story teller” by England’s Racing Pigeon magazine.

“Secrets of Champions” will be released to the public on DVD for the first time on November 19th when Jenner attends the Old Comrades Show in England. Copies will start shipping world-wide on November 25th. Originally released in English the new film will also be translated into numerous languages, including Chinese, German and Spanish, for global distribution in April 2006.

MAKING A MARK

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

NEW: How to spot art scams and fraud

I can’t think for the life of me think why I haven’t created this before.

After all, one of the frequently asked questions by artists is “Is this a scam?” – and our ever-increasing familiarity with what scammers try on somehow does not stop them trying!

On the page you will find summaries and links to relevant information relating to:

  • What are art scams and frauds
  • Websites which “out” scams and frauds
  • How to spot a fake website – which has implications for the content of an artist’s website
  • How to spot fake goods or services

​Intellectual property crime is committed when someone manufactures, sells or distributes counterfeit or pirated goods, such as such as patents, trademarks, industrial designs or literary and artistic works, for commercial gain.

  • How to spot – and avoid – an email scam
  • ​How to be safe when paying for goods or services online
extract from the page
  • Art Business Info for Artists
    • Practice
      • Office Practice & Law for Artists
        • How to spot art scams and fraud

Art dealers can face fines and jail time if they don’t report suspected money laundering transactions to authorities, according to guidance prepared by the British Art Market Federation in conjunction with the U.K. government. Bloomberg Tax

Monday, February 24, 2020

The Disappearing Art Competitions

Has anybody noticed the disappearing art competitions?

Here’s my summary of where I think we are up to

  • The Bad News: Art Competitions which no longer exist – and why that might be happening
  • Big Question Mark: Art Competitions with a BIG query
  • Good News: Art Competitions being held in 2020
  • Why art competitions are important
  • TOP TIPS for art competitions (the ones that are left!)
The Threadneedle Prize Preview in 2020

BAD NEWS: Art Competitions which no longer exist


The following art competitions have definitely finished.

The Threadneedle Prize

The Threadneedle Prize in 2020

The National Open Art Competition

  • closed in 2020
  • no sign of a resurrection
  • website indicates it’s “postponed until further notice” – which is the phrase I always associate with “hope over experience” people who are reluctant to give up but have no reasonable expectation of anything changing.

Why’s it happening?

  • expenses exceed income
  • sponsors disappear or die
  • unsuccessful at securing new long term sponsorship
  • merits of the exhibition no longer attract quality entries
  • marketing has become more difficult and must involve quality social media marketing
  • competition has become tired and needs to be reinvigorated
  • the benefits vs costs equation no longer makes sense to the main sponsor

BIG . – Art Competitions with a query

Lynn Painter Stainers competition – back in 2020

Lynn Painter-Stainers

  • The Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainersrecords the history of the Prize – but says nothing about the future or the date of the next exhibition
  • There’s no website for the competition
  • It’s disappeared off the Parker Harris website – and I got no response to enquiries about it
  • Guy Parsons OBE who was CEO and a Trustee of the Lynn Foundation died in September 2020. He ran the charity after he set it up in 1985 for his client Mr Lynn, who invested millions of pounds into the cause.
  • It’s unclear how this art competition contributed to the main purpose of the Lynn Foundation – which primarily targeted the advancement of health or saving of lives.

I’d say this art competition is not happening this year. I’d say there’s a very good chance it won’t reappear unless another sponsor steps up.

BP Portrait Award

Aleah Chapin wins the BP Portrait Award 2020

In 2020 the BP Portrait Award 2020 will

  • presumably continue to hang fewer portraits due to the more confined space – see Call for Entries: BP Portrait Award 2020 (Part 1)
  • have a much shorter and earlier exhibition
    • date of the exhibition in London has changed – to May and June.
    • AND it’s much shorter – just five weeks
  • which will result in much less exposure for the artists and fewer visitors to the exhibition

We still do not know what will happen to the BP Portrait Award when the National Portrait Gallery closes for three years this summer.

Will there be a BP Portrait Award 2021?
Will it continue to be sponsored by BP? Given that the BP Sponsorship is attracting more and more criticism – including by one of the Judges in 2020.

GOOD NEWS: Art Competitions still running in 2020

These art competitions are still running in 2020

RA Summer Exhibition 2020

The RA Summer Exhibition

  • The art competition most unlikely to ever give up!
  • website https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/summer-exhibition-2020
  • My posts:
    • RA Summer Exhibition 2020: Call for Entries (SHORT version)
    • TIPS for entries to the 2020 RA Summer Exhibition

John Moores Painting Prize

  • This art competition is still running.
  • website: https://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/jmpp/john-moores-painting-prize
  • See my recent blog post Call for Entries: £25,000 John Moores Painting Prize 2020 + NEW Prize

The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition

  • This art competition is still running.
  • The website https://www.sundaytimeswatercolour.org/ promises that the call for entries will be published soon.
  • to be honest it needs a bit of a revamp (see Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2020 – Prizewinners & Exhibition). Was 2020 the turning point for this competition – which has been noticeably less impressive in recent times? We wait to find out.

Wildlife Artist of the Year 2020

  • not quite the same art competition as under the late David Shepherd – but it’s still around
  • exhibition at the Mall Galleries 27th – 31st May 2020

Derwent Art Prize

Chrys Allen – the first winner of the Derwent Art Prize in 2020
  • The Derwent Art Prize is still current
  • This is my recent blog post Call for Entries – 5th Derwent Art Prize 2020

ING Discerning Eye

  • no news about 2020 yet
  • no reason to suppose it will not run as usual
  • website not updated since 2020 exhibition
  • still live on Parker Harris website
  • https://thediscerningeye.artopps.co.uk/

The Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize

  • no news about 2020 yet
  • no reason to suppose it will not run as usual
  • website not updated since 2020 exhibition
  • still live on Parker Harris website
  • https://tbwdrawingprize.artopps.co.uk/

Why art competitions are important

TOP TIPS for art competitions

TIPS for artists entering exhibitions

You may find these TIPS helpful

  • 20 tips for entering art competitions – What do you need to know when thinking about entering an art competition? Here’s 20 tips to help you.
  • Juried art competitions – does size matter? – For those concerned about what size to paint
  • Is there a guide for pricing art for competitions? in which I offer some practical advice for artists wanting to work out how to price their artwork when entering a competition.
  • Pricing prints for the Summer Exhibition – looking at the arithmetic on gross and net profit if a print is priced at an affordable level
  • Top tips for art competitions – a precis – I’ve written many blog posts about art competitions over the years. Here are links to some of them.
  • All the mistakes you can make when submitting work to an art exhibition – a checklist of nightmare scenarios
  • NOT selected by an art competition or open exhibition? – Have you had your artwork rejected by an art competition or an open exhibition? Did you wonder why? Did you vow never ever to enter another one – and then entered anyway after the Call for Entries was published?
  • WARNING: “Not previously exhibited” – about why it’s important to read and observe ALL the rules
  • How to calculate the cost of entering a juried art exhibition – For those concerned about how the expenses can mount up
  • Pre-selected, selected, long listed, shortlisted, prizewinner – what’s in a phrase? – A discussion of the terminology used to describe artists at different stages of an art competition
  • A Making A Mark Guide: Analysing the cost of entering a juried art exhibition – Download my FREE spreadsheet which acts as a checklist and helps you to cost out your entry
  • The Websites of Contemporary Painters in the UK – Get your website sorted BEFORE you enter a juried art competition or miss out on the traffic when the names of selected artists are announced!
  • VAT for non-UK artists and UK exhibition organisers – About the recent changes around VAT thresholds in the UK for artists living outside the UK.

and for those needing help with framing.

  • How to frame and hang your art – which includes a section on Framing for art competitions & open exhibitions

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Review: Episode 5 of Portrait Artist of the Year 2020

I’m very late posting my review of Episode 5 of Portrait Artist of the Year 2020 – which you can see on demand on Sky Arts or Now TV.

Line up for the decision on the Shortlist

The Artists, Self Portraits and Sitters

As always links to the artist’s website (if they have one) are embedded in their names.
You can see videos of their Heat Portraits on https://www.skyartsartistoftheyear.tv/portrait-profiles/

Professional Artists

‘The art of painting naturalistically from life, although now seemingly in resurgence, is a counter wave to work produced from photographs which have an inherent drawback of flattening an image and stiffening the subject matter with its limited tonal range.

  • Keith RobinsonInstagramTwitter – Born in Helensburgh, raised in Immingham, live in Surbiton. Been selected for a number of important open art competitions (BP Portrait 2007, 2008, 2020, Threadneedle 2020, Lynn Painter-Stainers 2020)

Amateur Artists

  • John Bennett – no website or public social media site. Has been spending more time on his painting since he retired. Spent 20 hours on his self-portrait
  • Iman Sidonie-Samuels – no website or public social media site. 17 year old living in London. Paints horizontally.
  • Rebecca UnderdownInstagram – Created a self portrait of her family – as a compilation of images of them as individuals to be congratulated on ‘having a go’ despite having a small baby in tow and what she refers to as a severe case of baby brain

A small reminder of how what looks relatively straightforward on screen is anything but on the day!

The self portraits

I do like it when the Director asks for a steady shot of all the self-portraits because it is the ONLY time you get any real sense of each in relation to the others – and the size does vary quite considerably.

This wall was a mixture of sizes, techniques – with some puzzling narratives to unpick.

  • The portrait of Graeme with a ventriloquist dummy was by far the biggest and
  • that by Keith Robinson was by far the smallest.
  • Rebecca’s family composition was a brave effort and to my mind it came off well.
  • Most – but not all – are looking straight out at the viewer. I tend to prefer those which are not looking directly at me.

The self portraits

The Sitters

Episode 5: Themes

The themes I identified were:

  • how much time do you get on screen re. progression to the shortlist?
  • the attraction of different media
  • the attraction of puzzlement in the self-portrait
  • how/where do you start?
  • how much do people look at the person (from life) as opposed to the features (from technology)
Empty and waiting – before the start

How much time people get on screen depends on how likely they are to get to the shortlist

You can more or less tell who hasn’t got much chance of making to the shortlist before the Judges start discussing the painting. Simply on the basis of airtime per person. Interestingly you can also tell this when standing in the Heat as it soon becomes obvious which artists the Judges like and which are getting filmed more.

Remember the editing is done afterwards – but they have to have enough film to edit from!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

C Roberson & Co and an e-catalogue to drool over!

Today I was looking up a particular art material and came upon the e-catalogue of C Roberson & Co – and I started drooling alternated with reading.
Below is a REVIEW of:

  • the history of C Roberson & Co
  • art materials by C Roberson & co
  • art materials supplied by Robersons
  • an absolutely amazing e-catalogue – with supplies from some of the oldest and most prestigious suppliers of art materials

It’s absolutely fascinating to trace the history and realise these are very traditional colourmen who served some of the best artists in London in the past – who would also be equally delighted by the current e-catalogue!

Roberson Oil Colours


An analysis of colours in tubes in Patrick Heron’s studio at his death showed 61 colours, out of 155, in 627 tubes, out of 790, from C. Roberson & Co Ltd, many from the mid-1960s

About C Roberson & Co

The company prepared its own paints and manufactured a wide range of materials to recipes that were kept secret and actively protected. Some of these recipes are still used today.

  • unusually they both manufacture and supply artists materials
  • associated with some reputable retailers
  • associated with many prominent artists

Among its customers were artists such as Turner, Whistler and Sargent, designers such as William Morris, William de Morgan and Walter Crane and the royal and famous including Queen Victoria, Lady Randolph Churchill and Winston Churchill.

History of C Roberson & Co

  • Roberson was of the major artists’ suppliers of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The sequence of business names is
    • Charles Roberson 1819-1828,
    • Roberson & Miller 1828-1839,
    • Charles Roberson 1840,
    • Charles Roberson & Co 1840-1908,
    • C. Roberson & Co Ltd 1908-1987.
  • 1819: Charles Roberson set up at 51 Long Acre in 1820 – the premises had a history of art material suppliers – it had been used for the sale of brushes and colours since 1803, firstly by John Culbert (qv), then from 1814 by his apprentice, Henry Matley. One of his first customers was Sir Thomas Lawrence. The rationale was the area was home to a lot of artists who lived/worked there (JMW Turner was born a few streets away in Maiden Lane) and was also very near the Royal Academy of Arts which, at that time, was located in Somerset House just off The Strand. The company stayed in the Long Acre area until 1937.

In 1821 Lawrence began patronising the young Charles Roberson (1799-1876), ‘Colourman to Artists and hair pencil maker’ and successor to Henry Matley at 54 Long Acre. Initially, Lawrence purchased materials to the value of £4.3s.6d, including Italian Pink, Venetian Lake and Vermillion in one or two ounce quantities, Italian chalk totalling six ounces and Mountain Blue, that is Azurite, totalling 19 ounces (about 550 grams); of these the Venetian Lake was the most expensive pigment at 6s an ounce (see Appendix for full transcript).

Roberson & Miller’s trade sheet (detail),
Materials for Drawing and Painting, c.1828-39.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Review: Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition 2020

The online catalogue of the Annual Exhibition 2020 of the Royal Society of British Artists promises that it might be a good exhibition. I viewed it today and the actual exhibition more than lives up to what’s online – although the stronger works are predominantly in the Main Gallery and Threadneedle Space.

  • you can view works by most of the members and all of the open entry on the RBA website
  • You can see selected works on the Mall Galleries website
  • both are ordered alphabetically by surname

You can get free entry for two people (value £10) by saying you’re there having seen it on “Making A Mark” at the reception desk.

Annual Exhibition 2020

The Royal Society of British Artists has been through something of a rejuvenation in the last three years.

It’s certainly come a VERY long way from the 2020 exhibition which is etched in my memory (See RBA 2020: An exhibition of Middle England?). I remember identifying a lot of work I liked and then felt absolutely compelled to comment to the effect that I was less than impressed by some of the artwork in the competition – that it felt old fashioned and parochial. Thereafter I stopped taking the RBA seriously and, for me, it became an “also ran” art society for me.

Back in 2020 I was still perturbed by it and wrote

My own feeling is that the artworks which have been juried in from the open entry (i.e. from non-members) out perform a number of the artworks submitted by members – which are NOT juried – by some margin. From my perspective that’s just not right.

However it’s now a society which is almost unrecognisable given the change in content – it’s diverse in subject matter, media, style, and it’s strong on colour, monochrome and 3D.

I LOVE the prints featured on the end wall


It’s very definitely an art society to take very seriously. Indeed despite the aspiration of many of those wanting to advance their art careers to apply to NEAC, I’d very much recommend the RBA as a much better bet for those entering via the open exhibition.

Particular aspects which are noteworthy in this exhibition this year are:

  • the fine art prints – which are simply STUNNING. This exhibition is worth visiting just for the prints alone!
  • the 3d work and sculpture which is numerous and very varied. The range of media and diversity of approaches is amazing. Definitely an exhibition to enter if you an aspiring 3D artist (Most of the sculpture is in the Threadneedle Space)

Inspired by Trees in the Main Gallery

Inspired by Trees – the monochrome section


  • the hang which is excellent – a huge exhibition remains accessible (apart from the labels – see the end). I very much appreciated the theming of different works – the still life at the entrance, the trees in two different places within the exhibition etc.
  • the size of the exhibition. They’ve selected 500 works in total – of which 20 relate to their RBA Star Students. Some of the paintings are hung in 3 rows – but they can cope with it as all remain accessible
Still Life near the entrance – including the excellent and much admired Annie Williams (I’m a fan!)

  • one of the reasons it is large is because of the very many smaller works which have been selected.
Small works on the mezzanine and next to the cafe – there’s even more to the left!

  • There’s a better mix of works between members and those selected from the Open Entry across the three galleries – which was pleasing to see.
North Gallery
  • of which 186 works were selected for the exhibition (11%)
  • thus the open entry represents 38% of the total works hung in the main part of the exhibition
  • while members work represents 62% of the artwork hung.

Work I particularly liked

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Call for Entries: £25,000 John Moores Painting Prize 2020 + NEW Prize

  • This week it opened for entries for the 2021 exhibition
  • The deadline for an entry is 24 March 2020
  • It’s open to all UK-based artists working with paint.
  • It culminates in an exhibition next year at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool (19 September 2020 – 14 February 2021)

The exhibition has consistently helped to raise the profile of the artists and in particular to further the careers of its winners

Its named after the sponsor of the prize, Sir John Moores (1896 – 1993) and was originally intended as a one-off!

It’s now a biennial event and this will be the 31st exhibition in 60 years – since its launch in 1957.

You can view the previous winners of the John Moores Painting Prize on the past exhibitions page on the website They include:

  • David Hockney (1967) – with ‘Peter getting out of Nick’s pool’ – so no pressure! ;)
  • Euan Uglow (1972) – ‘Nude, 12 vertical positions from the eye’
  • Peter Doig (1993) – with Blotter and
  • Rose Wylie (2020).

Criteria for assessment – and how anonymity is maintained

The original aims of John Moores were:

‘To give Merseyside the chance to see an exhibition of painting and sculpture embracing the best and most vital work being done today throughout the country’

‘To encourage contemporary artists, particularly the young and progressive’

Supporting artists from all over the UK – whether they’re undiscovered, emerging or established in their careers – the prize provides a platform for artists to inspire, disrupt and challenge the British painting art scene today.

The Jury

The Jury changes with every exhibition. They are selected and appointed by the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust and National Museums Liverpool.

Members have included artists, writers, art critics, broadcasters, curators and musicians.

  • Michelle Williams Gamaker – an artist with moving image and performance. Plus Lecturer on the BA Fine Art programme at Goldsmiths and is Chair of Trustees of the visual arts organisation Pavilion in Leeds.
  • Jennifer Higgie – Editor-at-large of frieze magazine. She has been a judge of the Paul Hamlyn Award and the Turner Prize, as well as a member of the selection panel for the British artist at the Venice Biennale and the advisory boards of Arts Council England, the Contemporary Art Society and the Imperial War Museum Art Commissions Committee. (which is when I start to think about the “usual suspects”)
  • Gu Wenda, an artist born in Shanghai. Wenda has lived and worked in both New York and Shanghai since 1988. Celebrated for merging traditional ink painting and experimental installations.
  • Hurvin Anderson, a painter whose work explores spaces occupied by Caribbean immigrants, which function as sites for both social gatherings and economic enterprise. Has exhibited extensively and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2020.
  • Alison Goldfrapp is a British-based artist. Fine art, music and photography have played an equally vital role in her creative expression. Alison was chosen as the first ‘Performer as Curator’ for The Lowry, Salford, for her “remarkable synthesis of music and visual imagery”.

The number of works entered has always been high: consistently over 1,000, frequently over 2,000 and for John Moores 25 (2008), a record 3,322 entries. The jury’s task is therefore a large one, with judging taking several days.

I’ve always wondered whether the composition of the Jury is intrinsically linked to and limited by the number of people with other relevant expertise who can take off a number of days to judge a painting competition!

Prizes

All paintings included in the exhibition are eligible for a prize. This year there is also a NEW prize.

The jury will select a final shortlist of five paintings and award the prizes.

  • First Prize: a cash prize of £25,000 and a solo display at the Walker Art Gallery.
  • four prizes for the other shortlisted artists of £2,500
  • a NEW £2,500 Emerging Artist Prize plus premium Winsor and Newton art materials of the same value. This is open to:
    • open to recent graduates, who are within two years of graduation, and
    • students who are currently in their final year of a UK-based arts-related course, degree (eg. BA, MA, PhD) or alternative learning programme.

Call for Entries

  • This the Guidelines for Artists page.
  • This isthe Terms and Conditions Page

Who can enter?

Monday, February 17, 2020

Insurance Policies for Art Teachers

I’ve developed a new resource page about Insurance for Art Teachers.

Do you teach art? Or have you ever thought about teaching art outside a state school setting?
Was insurance one of the things you thought about when planning your first workshop or art class?

It almost certainly wasn’t – and yet developing independent art classes – in your own home, in the student’s home or on third party premises can be a very risky business – and the liability very often lies with you. If you’re not properly covered by insurance your personal assets could be ‘at risk’.

More about Insurance for Artists

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Pricing a Pastel and Pastel Society Annual Exhibition Metrics

The annual exhibition by the Pastel Society is the largest exhibition of artwork in pastels and other dry media in the UK every year.

The Pastel Society Private View

I reviewed the exhibition 10 days ago – see 121st Annual Exhibition of The Pastel Society

Following on from my review of other annual exhibitions by national art society last year – and the closure of the exhibition earlier today – I’m now going to review below the exhibition metrics (relevant performance data) for the 2020 Annual Exhibition:

  • how open is this open exhibition – the ratio of members to non-members
  • how well pastel artwork has sold – with specific reference to price bands

But first the prizewinners.

I didn’t get back to the exhibition, because I acquired a cold and spent most of last week sneezing repeatedly and going through boxes of tissues. With the current scare re the coronavirus I decided I’d rather not be heckled for looking as if I might infect people – even if it was only a cold.

(NOTE: Metrics – I apply a standard system of measurement to all the annual exhibitions I review)

Prizewinners

An Open Annual Exhibition

Malcolm Taylor sold three artworks – two of which are in this photo

Those aspiring to exhibit at the Pastel Society in 2021 should be reassured that this is a proper OPEN EXHIBITION

  • 282 artworks were exhibited. Of these
    • 170 are members (60% of artists)
    • 112 are non-members (40%).
  • 128 artists exhibited. Of these:
    • 44 were members (34%)
    • 1 was a deceased member
    • 84 were non-members selected from the open entry (66%)

The one thing I find quite odd is that the total number of works exhibited in the same three galleris at the Mall Galleries is well below the number exhibited (for example) by the RI (which exhibited 411 artworks by 166 artists in April 2020).

I think once the Pastel Society have reviewed the sales figures in relation to price and size, they might want to think long and hard about whether next year’s exhibition might be bigger – with maybe more smaller paintings.

I recommend this exhibition to all those aspiring artists working in dry media – bearing in mind that it’s not just about pastels. It’s also very evident that works across a range of subject matter and styles can sell well – if priced to sell.

ALL ARTWORKS (including those by members) are reviewed by the selection jury.

The average number of paintings hungin this exhibition were

  • Members: 3.9 paintings(not every member submits the 5 they are entitled to submit and not all get all works hung)
  • Deceased member: 1 painting
  • Non-members: 1.3 paintings
    • Most non-members have just one and sometimes two paintings in the exhibition.
    • Those who have applied to be a candidate for membership often have more than two paintings in the exhibition – and I suspect those who would be considered as a candidate if they’d only get round to applying!
    • The implication for those applying to get work hung in this exhibition is that they MUST submit their BEST work – and two works might be the optimum number of works to submit (if not previously selected)

Sales at the Pastel Society Annual Exhibition

I’m going to start by saying I’m absolutely convinced that sales during the Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2020 were undoubtedly reduced due to the absolutely appalling weather we have been having – which will in turn have reduced the numbers wanting to leave home and make the effort to travel to London for the exhibition.

Plus the fact that both Storn Chiara and Storm Dennis chose to arrive at the weekends. This weekend there were a record number of flood warnings and alerts in England, according to John Curtin, the Environment Agency’s head of floods and coastal management.

It’s really bad luck for any art society when you get very bad weather during an exhibition – but to get it both weekends is really unfair!

Number of artworks sold in each price range

In total 62 paintings sold – 33 (53%) by members and 29 (47%) by open entrants.

The chart below records sales results for 62 sales recorded online at midday today on the Pastel Society website and the Mall Galleries website. I’m not 100% sure that all artworks listed in the catalogue were also listed on the website but my sample check indicated that they were and the numbers between catalogue and website also seemed to correlate.

Number of artworks sold by price range – pale blue = non-members

By way of a preamble, it probably goes without saying – but I’m going to reiterate this very important point – that DRY MEDIA drawings and paintings – like watercolours – typically sell for less than oil paintings.

Unless they look incredibly like oil paintings and are presented without a mat. So you need to bear this in mind when looking at the figures below.

I’ve number-crunched all the sales on my Excel spreadsheet and these are the sales metrics worth highlighting

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