Submissions are currently open for the Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition. This is a really fantastic opportunity to have the chance to exhibit your work at Mall Galleries alongside members of the RSMA, and you will be in with the chance of winning a fantastic array of prizes and awards.

Open Call for the RSMA

Here are some words of encouragement from some of last year’s prize winners, as they share their experiences of exhibiting at Mall Galleries in the RSMA’s Annual Exhibition:


Lucy Clayton - 'Spider Crab No.9' The Artist Magazine Award

Lucy explains she entered the RSMA on the last day of submissions, she said she enjoys painting seafood-related subjects, so entered her Spider Crab painting on the off chance that it might be accepted as she thought it might suit the exhibition. 

She then said it was wonderful to have Spider Crab No.9 accepted and she was completely shocked to also win the Artist Magazine Award! Lucy says: ‘Entering the exhibition and winning the prize has given me confidence in my work and it has given me the confidence to continue exploring a subject I am fascinated about.’


Ollie Tuck - 'Fresh from the Fishmongers' RSMA New Generation Award

Ollie Tuck was the winner of the RSMA New Generation Award in 2021 open to any artist in the show aged 35 or under. She said:

‘When I heard that my work had won an award I couldn't quite believe it! I often doubt my own work so to have it selected for the exhibition was hugely encouraging. To then be recognised for an award was a very special feeling and is one of my proudest achievements. It gave me a huge confidence boost which is frequently all an artist needs to keep going. I had been nervous that the ‘seafood’ focus of my work may not be the most interesting subject matter or might stand out for the wrong reasons! It was therefore lovely to receive encouragement to paint a subject that I was passionate about.’

Ollie urges artists to not hesitate when considering entering works to the RSMA. This was the first exhibition at Mall Galleries where her work was accepted and she says the rewards far outweigh any fear of rejection; 

‘Anyone nervous about entering should realise that all artists have mixed success with getting work into shows but this shouldn't put you off. I have been the artist who was too nervous to enter my work to an Open Call and have also been rejected on numerous occasions. To keep persevering and to have work accepted and then win an award made the journey worthwhile!’

Ollie explains that the show was a wonderful opportunity as she met many artists and gained a lot of exposure which continues to open up opportunities for her. This year, Mall Galleries will be holding an exhibition for previous award winners, which Ollie will be part of and she’s excited to see the further doors that this will open!


Robert Brindley - 'Hazy Light, Fisher Fleet, King’s Lynn' Topbond Marine Award

Last year Robert was pleased to win the Topbond Marine Award of £250, for work depicting marine engineering or construction activity, for his atmospheric scene of hazy light in the Fisher Fleet harbour of King’s Lynn. Robert began submitting works to the RSMA in the mid-90s. He was surprised that he immediately had work accepted and received full membership in 1997, and says: 

'I can't emphasise enough the pleasure and honour it's been to exhibit with this prestigious society over the years. For any artist interested in painting coastal waters there couldn't be a better exhibition to take part in. The RSMA welcomes new exhibitors with open arms. After all, our society would have no future without a constant injection of fresh talent!'

He recommends that anyone thinking about entering should give it a go! Robert notes the recent upsurge in the popularity of Plein Air paintings, and says if your work shows good observational skills with a loose, painterly style, this could well be your opportunity to get noticed! Since exhibiting with the society, Robert has been invited to show his work at various galleries and the opportunities have hugely furthered his painting career.


Gareth Brown - 'Harbour Reflections II' Winsor & Newton Oil Prize

Gareth really recommends artists whose work is of a good standard to take a chance and submit to the open call for this year’s exhibition! He says:

‘Submitting to the RSMA can feel a bit daunting at first, but the selection is based on the quality of the work alone, so new artists are in no way disadvantaged. The RSMA is a friendly group with a history of welcoming new exhibitors and members each year. Exhibiting at the RSMA and the publicity that comes alongside winning an award have provided me with wonderful opportunities. I’ve been approached by members of the public and by curators with offers of exhibitions and corporate sales.’

Gareth explains that being selected to exhibit your work will really boost your confidence, and even more so if you manage to receive an award! He adds; ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it!’


Frances Bell - 'Howick' The Charles Pears Award

The Charles Pears Award was won by Frances Bell for her painting Howick, she says like many artists, she is fascinated by the coast and loves to paint particularly the Northumbrian coast, as it is challenging, changes swiftly and is full of temper and beauty which she finds irresistible. Frances says she has a general philosophy of entering everything, and whilst there is a lot of competition it will be a wonderful thrill if you are accepted!

She adds ‘I love the RSMA Annual Exhibition, it’s such a fantastic force for marine artists. A platform to gather all the works in one place and showcase the full extent of artists interested in the marine world. The category is as broad as can be - so go on and enter your work! I’ve got such a lot out of this show, I’m sure others will too.’


We hope that hearing from some of the artists who have exhibited and gone on to win prizes at the RSMA has been inspiring to you and that you now feel more confident to submit your own work to our open call! Follow the link to see all the details on how to do so:

Submit Your Work!