My original inclination was to recognise the most influential blogs in some way - before it struck me that since it was only my opinion, the central notion of the awards had to be about blogs or blogposts which had an impact on me - so that's what they are.
I've changed the categories this year. I've merged two of the awards and created two new ones - both of which are in Part 2. These are:
- A new award for an art blog with green credentials.
- and finally....a new award for the best artwork completed and posted on a blog in 2007 - which people have been voting on over the last week (deadline midnight tonight!)
On with the awards! The Prizes are:
- The Painting a Day Stickability Shield
- FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal
- The Make Me Think Gong
- “The Moose”- award for the best animal in an illustrated blog.
- The Best`Art Blog Project of 2006 Virtual Challenge Cup
- The Travels with a Sketchbook Trophy (which absorbs the 'Get Off Your Blogging Bottom and Sketch' Brass Plate)
- The Painting Plein Air Plus Prize
- The Going Greener Gong
- The Amusing Musings Trophy
- The "Tales from the Frontline" Mention in Despatches
- and finally………The MAMA Prize – for the best artwork completed and posted on an art/illustrated blog in 2007
"What they call talent is nothing but the capacity for doing continuous work in the right way." Winslow HomerDuane Keiser (A Painting A Day) and Julian Merrow Smith (Postcard from Provence) won the prize last year and I'd like to give them both an honourable mention this year for continuing to produce and publish a new painting virtually every single day. Julian informs me he's nearing his third anniversary! I know they both are still producing paintings which make me sit and stare at my screen thinking about how I must take up oil painting!
I’ve previously highlighted the concept of stickability, however - to be honest - I'm less bothered about whether people manage to produce a painting absolutely every single day and much more interested in whether they produce a good quality painting nearly every day.
For me, in 2007 the artists whose daily paintings interested me this year are the same ones as interested me last year - and they're all women! Namely Karen Jurick (A Painting Today), Carol Marine (Carol Marine’s Painting a Day) and Sarah Wimperis (The Red Shoes). I'm so very pleased that they are now all gathered together under the same banner - Daily Paintworks - as it makes my daily viewing so much simpler!
It's also great that both Carol and Sarah started delivering workshops and painting holidays this last year which will enable others to share their approaches to painting. Great also to see that both Karen and Sarah had two of their daily paintings works nominated for the best artwork posted on a blog in 2007.
The Painting A Day Stickability Prize this year goes to Carol Marine.
I also find Carol's colour palette very easy to relate to; I love looking at how she varies simple shapes and colours yet again to produce a fresh-looking painting. Probably most important is that I can pick any month and I'd happily hang a lot of her paintings on my walls! This image is her 400th daily painting since 5th October 2006.
The FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal
Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. Kofi AnnanI like sharing information on this blog and in my various information websites (see Making A Mark - Resources for Artists) so I’m always very pleased to see other people who have blogs that focus on the visual arts who also share information which aid artists who are also bloggers in some way. This category is open to people who aren't themselves artists or don't post art on their blog as the sort of information we all need isn't limited to how to draw or paint!
Here are some of the people who immediately came to mind - and who weren't going to crop up in other categories - when I started to think about who should win this award this year.
- Charley Parker (Lines and Colours) for his series about how to display your art on the Internet
- Kirsty Hall (Up all night again) for her series of articles about how artists can use the internet for promotion - through blogging, Google, on Flickr etc
- Dan of Empty Easel for his reviews of gallery sites for selling art online
- How Not to Display Your Artwork on the Web
- Part 1: Finding a web hosting provider
- Part 2: Registering a domain name
- Part 3: Building your web site
- Part 4: Planning your web site
- Part 5: Designing your web site
- Part 6: Preparing images for the web
The “Make Me Think” Gong
Artists today think of everything they do as a work of art. It is important to forget about what you are doing - then a work of art may happen. Andrew WyethLast year this was restricted to those blogs or near-blogs which produced regular newsletters. This year I’m restricting it to just those who are artists and/or have art blogs. I'm also eliminating the e-mail and newsletter element and am focusing just on the ‘makes me think’ bit as otherwise it would eliminate anybody who can write just one stunning post which really stops me in my tracks and really makes me think – or people who I regularly enjoy reading but who don’t produce newsletters.
Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor. Robert Frost
So this gong is now about making me think in relation to the activities of artists who are operating online and it’s written by an artist or illustrator who has a blog.
Strong contenders in this category - which means people whose blogs I enjoy reading for the narrative as much as the images - are:
- one of last year’s winners Robert Genn (The Painter’s Keys) and his twice-weekly newsletter
- Tracy Helgeson (Works by Tracy Helgeson)
- Jeanette Jobson (Illustrated Life)
9" x 12,"oil
However Robert shared this prize last year so this year I propose that both Tracy and Jeanette share the "Make Me Think" Gong in 2007.
Others who deserve an honourable mention are
- Anna of See.Be.Draw (for her meditations on the art process and practice) and
- Rose Welty at Rose's Art Lines for joining in on a number of my art projects this year and ALWAYS finding something out that I didn't!
The smallest feline is a masterpiece. Leonardo da VinciThis award is called “The Moose” after Maggie Stiefvater’s cat Moose who broke ACEO records and won this award for her last year.
Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose. Garrison Keillor
There are any number of blogs which should receive an honourable mention for the way in which they portray animals generally – and these include award-winning Rebecca Latham’s Nature and Wildlife Art blog and Tracy Hall’s Watercolour Artist Diary blog for her beautitful rendition of birds and other animals found on the Orkney Islands.
However, the award goes to just one animal – so it has to be a pretty special whether it's just one drawing or a whole suite of them! The contenders this year are:
- “Out of Sight” by Gayle Mason (Fur in the Paint)
- "Cream Burmese" by Felicity Grace (Sketches by Fiz) - also nominated for the Best Blog Artwork
- "Catitude 3 - Nosey Rosie" by Billie Crain (Art by Crain)
- Dermot – an Australian Old English Sheep Dog in Tuscany (Have Dogs Will Travel) who appears to have learned how to type! He's also quite a charmer!
- Tripod the cat who rules the roost and the turkeys and the human beings in Jeanette Jobson’s Illustrated Life in Newfoundland. After many odd hunting trophies Jeanette is half expecting Tripod might someday try to drag a moose of his very own back home. Inbetween times he gets to pose as a model.
- Wake Up Cat - the video about the cat who wants its breakfast by Simon Tofield
I'm very tempted by Simon's video however I’m awarding the prize to Gayle Mason as she has consistently produced excellent drawings of both dogs and cats during the course of the year – and shared her art materials and approaches as well on her blog.
10" x 14" coloured pencil on Arches HP paper
copyright Gayle Mason
"Out of Sight" also has the distinction of being sold twice over by the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery after it was exhibited at the Society of Feline Artists exhibition in London in September. Fortunately, Gayle's approach meant that by changing the colour of the eyes the second drawing became another original piece as a commission for the second buyer!
Some of you may have noticed there was a certain commonality to the animals chosen as contenders (except for Dermott!). What can I say? Cats are the only animals I draw - maybe I should make this a feline art award! ;)
The Best Art Blog Project of 2007 Virtual Challenge Cup
In art or architecture your project is only done when you say it's done. If you want to rip it apart at the eleventh hour and start all over again, you never finish. I was one of those crazy creatures.Blog Projects seemed to be very different in 2007 - with a number of small groups of people or individuals having their own projects. However I either didn't come across or can't recall any really big ones like the ones which won the cup last year.
Possible candidates include:
- the projects I've been involved with which spent a month focusing on one artist - such as John Singer Sargent or Vincent Van Gogh or took one subject as a theme - however I'll be commenting more on those in my own personal review of the year.
- the regular challenges of sites like Illustration Friday or Everyday Matters - but I don't participate in either of these although I do very much recognise their worth to other people. I have to confess though that I find the various sites associated with the latter to be extremely confusing!
However, my vote this year goes to the one project which I have participated in which is global and involves lots of people, a lot of whom are bloggers.
This is the International Sketchcrawl drawing marathons which are now taking place on a fairly regular basis.
I also like the way that Enrico Casarosa's arrangements for the various internet sites which provide information (about the sketchcrawl/ details relating to participation and materials / forum / blog / newsletter) are also getting progressively better so that there is now one page on the website which provides clarity and access to the whole project. You even get a countdown now to the date of the next sketchcrawl!
So - that's the first half of the Awards - please come back tomorrow for the second half of MAMA!