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The UK Sky Arts channel has two ‘Artist of the Year’ shows; Portrait and Landscape Artist of the Year. The format is the similar for both shows; a group of selected artists have to create an artwork within a set time and three judges choose the winner. The winning artists from each heat then move on to a semi-final and then final.

The first episode was aired in November 2013. The original presenters were Dame Joan Bakewell and Frank Skinner. This year, Frank Skinner was replaced by Stephen Mangan. The judges have remained the same throughout: British art historian, curator and arts broadcaster Kate Bryan, head of contemporary art at the Fine Art Society, Kathleen Soriano, director of exhibitions at the Royal Academy, and portrait/landscape painter Tai-Shan Schierenberg.

My partner, Martina Krupičková, was chosen to appear in this year’s screening of Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year Season 4 Episode 6 first screened 8pm 20th November 2018. This was her submission painting.

Martina was asked to join seven other artists and paint Inveraray Castle on the shore of Loch Fyne in Scotland. All artists had to be on set by 7am and so we booked a stay at the nearby Loch Fyne Hotel.

We arrived the next morning and artists were given breakfast – guests of artists weren’t invited! Luckily I was able to go back to the hotel for a while and have a delicious breakfast. When I returned, Martina was in one of the pods – still time to arrange the easel positon and oil paints.

This was how things looked from the pod.

Here are the pods looking back from the castle.

As the day progressed, the presenters and judges interviewed the various artists. Martina was interviewed by Dame Joan Bakewell and Tai-Shan Schierenberg – only the Dame Joan interview was included in the show. The four-hour timer is stopped for interviews and lunch.

I was also invited to interview with Dame Joan Bakewell and spent about ten minutes on camera. I obviously don’t have star quality as none of that was included in the show. It was still fun though.

Martina’s painting was progressing quite well.

The judges met to discuss their opinions of the artwork produced so far.

All too quickly the day was over and there was the familiar call for artists to put down their equipment and step away from their work.

Martina’s finished painting.

Visitors took photos.

The artists lined up on the other side of the castle and waited for the judging to be announced.

Sadly Martina wasn’t chosen, but we enjoyed the experience.

The Sky team wrapped Martina’s painting for transport.

We arrived back at the hotel at 7pm – a long 12-hour day for the artists. At least there weren’t any midges biting while we were there.

Martina Krupičková