Eating an elephant and the 5 important choices we have to make to win the Archibald

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Okay, so I'm going to paint an entry for the Archibald Prize in just 52 days time. Seems simple? You’d be surprised. And that's just the start. But as they say, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Here are 5 important choices we need to make to begin eating our elephant:

  • What materials to use?
  • Who to paint?
  • What size and shape (think square, portrait, landscape...or something else)
  • What colours to use?
  • What style to paint in?

What do most winners do?

Here’s a little background.

Medium: Oil on canvas is the dominant choice of Archibald winners with it being used more than ¾ of the time, acrylic is a poor cousin (last year’s winner used them and 5 before that) while watercolour has won a single time. Yes, history is written by the oil painters.

Subject: Since 1921 artists have been the subject ⅓ of the time, a bunch have been authors, actors and politicians. On the other hand there has been a single sportsman, rabbi or banker.

Size: Size is kind of a big deal for winners over the past twenty years with an average of 3.5 square metres. The 2010 winner however was 60 x 38 cm. Maybe it was noticed because of its petiteness?

Colour:  It captures the eye and attention. Moody brown and dark tones were the zeitgeist of the early decades but now bold, vibrant colours dominate.

Style: Ah, what’s in a style? Your answer to the question ‘Was Picasso any good?’ will determine your style preference. Realism has been a dominant style because it replicates what we see with the naked eye. Expressionist works, expressing emotion or meaning rather rather physical reality but impressionist pieces have been quite prominent with their emphasis on mood and light. Poor old surrealism and post-modernism with just 7 wins between them. Pop art, art deco, cubism or stuckism, superflat, super stroke, alter modernism are all zero.

So there they are. The 5 choices we need to make first.

Let me know your thoughts. Next we have a twist.

The complete series 'How to win the Archibald Prize'
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Many products (including wall art and t-shirts) are made by combining stock art (you know, images you can buy on used on bad advertisements) to make pretty patterns that don't mean a lot.

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Each piece is printed onto the finest museum grade paper. Oscar chooses the Hahnemuhle brand because it feels and looks superb (if you’re interested it’s acid free and calcium carbonate buffered) plus it can last longer than 100 years!

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Oscar

Oscar is Award-Winning?

Yes. He’s entered and won art prizes including for a piece about a magical bus and its passengers and a 22 page piece Moleskin about a boy who woke up with a strange knowing one day. He was also featured in prominent publications for his work and journey to one of the world’s largest portrait prizes, The Archibald Prize.

But now he prefers to imagine and make to change the world.

What is Oscar’s life Mission?

Oscar mission is to change the world with a pencil, pens and beautiful paper so that his imaginative tales and creations can be found in rooms, offices, buses and wall facades in town and cities large and small - so people awe at the ordinary.

A billion people on earth would be nice :) A beloved collection of children’s books too (that Roald Dahl would be proud of). Oh, and a film trilogy...

But I’d love to start (if you don’t mind) with you today!

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