How time as flown - the semi-final of Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year is on next week!
This week, alongside the heat winner Sam Taylor, a Wildcard Artist was also put through to the semi-final. The Wildcard Artists were artists that registered online through the application process, separate from the application to paint as contestants on the show. The first 50 artists who registered were then invited to turn up to each location, and the judges then chose the best Wildcard artist to go through to the next round.
David Alderslade was the Wildcard Artist put through to the semi-final, and funnily enough, he was also one of the painting contestants on an episode filmed at Waddesdon Manor! We caught up with David to find out about the slightly different journey that he's had compared to the heat winners, and to ask about his favourite art materials.
Hi David! Can you explain what the wildcard was, how you applied and what it meant on the day?
The Wildcard competition ran alongside the selected artists at every location, although you didn't have the same protection from the weather or materials provided, and we weren't guaranteed the attention of the judges as there were so many entrants.
Did you paint at Waddesdon Manor too? And if so how did the experience differ?
I took part in a previous heat as one of the selected artists at Waddesdon Manor, and was fortunate to be shortlisted in the final three of the heat. It was quite a surprise when they chose me as I ran really short of time (even though i'd practised some timed paintings beforehand) and had to complete a rushed foreground in the picture which I really wasn't happy with.
After the Waddesdon heat, I thought i'd have a quick look at the competition website and was amazed to see that there were still a few wildcard places left at Trelissick gardens in Cornwall. Once I knew there could be a second chance to do a better painting I couldn't ignore the opportunity.
Painting as a wildcard artist was a bit more like the familiar experience of roughing it with all your own gear. Although it's great to chat about your painting process with the judges and presenters I found the wildcard heat was a bit closer to the solitude of a studio, with less attention from the cameras and less interviews. I found I could focus a bit better on my work and managed to do a better painting.
Did you train as an artist? If so where?
I studied Illustration at the Falmouth College of Arts, quite near to Trelissick Gardens, but during the completion of my degree I realised I wanted to express my own ideas within my work and have since taken more of a Fine Art approach, exhibiting my paintings in gallery's in Wiltshire and Somerset.
Do you have a favourite kind of paint, or do you work across different mediums?
I prefer Winsor and Newton watercolours and like to bring focus into foregrounds by adding pencil crayon outlines. I've also discovered the benefits of using an airbrush to create an even gradient of colour in the sky, which I've found to be quite difficult when using brushes and a high concentration of paint, but there's no time to be a perfectionist in four hours!
What will be your lasting memory of the Sky Arts competition?
My lasting memory of the competition is just how great the whole day at Trelissick was, to have such a successful days painting in such unusual circumstances, and then to be told that I'd been chosen was so unlikely that the day felt unreal.
The semi-final of Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year will be showing next Tuesday on Sky Arts, at 8pm.
Visit David Alderslade's website and see more of his paintings here.