Sunday, July 31, 2011

31st July 2011 - Who's made a mark this week?

In June I greatly enjoyed posting a photo to this blog each day to show you a bit of Provence.  To my great surprise this turned out to be very popular!

So much so that I've decided to progress an idea I've had on the back burner for a while.  I'll be writing more about it in a little while but suffice to say Makingamark - The Daily Photo - starts up tomorrow [Update:  This is the first post -A is for Aeonium arboreum 'Atropurpurerum'].  The basic idea is explained below and at greater length in a text box on the blog.
The Daily Photo is about creating pictures rather than photography per se. It's all about the process of creating a personal visual identity.

My photographs are from the past and the present - from here and there - in the UK and abroad.


These photos reflect what particularly interests me - such as important elements of design like shape, colour and texture. Landscapes, flowers, plants and markets are also an abiding interest.
It's essentially image focused with just a few words by way of explanation where relevant.  If you think you might be interested there are all the usual ways to sign up and subscribe.

Do tell me what you think as the week progresses....and we'll see how this experiment goes.....

(note:  I've been suffering from a nasty cold at the back end of the week and consequently have been falling asleep rather a lot so apologies if there are mistakes in what follows!)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

How much do you spend on art societies? (Poll results)

Only 44% of those responding to the July Making A Mark Poll spend an affordable sum on art societies.  This post looks at the overall poll results, considers what these might mean and asks three questions about how art societies can become more cost-effective.

The results of the poll are charted below. The original post outlines some of the reasons for asking this question POLL: How much do you spend on Art Societies?

The July Making A Mark Poll - 66 responses

Art Societies will be interested in the rest of the results
  • over 39% spend "nothing"(19.8%) or "not a lot" (19.8%) - art societies might want to think about why they fail to capture much interest from nearly 40% of the potential market for membership
  • while nearly 17% consider that they spend "more than they can really afford" (8.9%) or "too much" (7.9%) - art societies might want to think about whether people thinking this are likely to stay members in the future

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Cornwall Big Paint In - on a beach!

On 13th August, a lot of plein air painters are planning to be painting on a beach in Cornwall.

Why?

Painter Paul Wadsworth was minding his own business and painting with a small group on a local beach in Cornwall when he was challenged as to whether he had permission to paint on the beach!

He was told he would need to write to a local committee to get permission.  The rationale used was that if everyone wanted to paint on a beach where would that leave everybody else?  Chaos?

I'm assuming the individual concerned had not heard of the concept of public open space and public rights of way/access!

The Cornwall Big Paint In - 13th August 2011

Porthtowan Beach - the darker area is the foreshore

The idea of the Cornwall Big Paint In is that it will
  • enable people to come and create on a beach 
  • challenge the notion that there are rules which prevent you from doing this
  • reinforce the view that you can gather in a public open space for social interaction - just like families and friends do when they come down to a beach and set up various bits of kits for their personal enjoyment.
The other reason for doing it is to try and create an amazing day for plein air painters and a chance of like minded artistic souls to gather and create in Cornwall!

The paint-in will be followed by a BBQ - so it's suggested those wanting to attend should also bring food, wine and musical instruments.

Thought is being given to creating an exhibition from the event and to also making it an annual event - depending on the response on 13th August.

Artists planning to attend include Sarah Wimperis (The Red Shoes), Miles Heseltine, Andrew Tozer and Glyn Macy

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2013

The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2013 is an art competition which believes in planning ahead.  The call for entries runs from September 1, 2011 and October 31, 2011.

Outwin Boochever - Call For Entries Flyer image
The competition and resulting exhibition will celebrate excellence and innovation, with a strong focus on the variety of portrait media used by artists today.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The NEW Daily Paintworks website

The Daily Paintworks website
The Daily Paintworks website has had a radical overhaul and is now pursuing a completely different business model. 

This post reviews what has changed and the features and benefits on offer to those wanting to sell their art online.  Future updates will be posted to my Making A Mark Reviews blog.

How daily painting has changed in the last five years

The daily painting model has been around for a while now.  Last week I did a recap of how approaches to selling work developed and became refined over the course of the last five years or so since I started following people doing daily paintings - see A Timeline of Daily Painting Practices and Marketing.

It's very clear that there are an awful lot of artists who still get enormous value from painting every day or most days - and who still want to sell their paintings.

However over time, it's become clear that most dedicated artists, while painting most days, are not attempting to produce a new painting each day. 

This is because:
  • most are now more rigorous about taking a "time out" in order to stay fresh 
  • and/or have other commitments eg teaching workshops; raising children
  • and/or are just more realistic about what is a sustainable practice on a long term basis.  
  • and/or artists realise that they need to stay focused on the process rather than fixating on the generation of the product.  
However there continue to be very many artists producing small works for selling online who are producing artwork in a regular way to a consistent standard.

However most of those artists are still in need of an effective method of raising the profile of their work.  The biggest challenge is still getting the customer to view the artwork - which is where sites which help out in this respect come in.  It's also one of the reasons why Daily Paintworks has changed its approach.

The role of Daily Paintworks

The Daily Paintworks site started in December 2005 (see Daily painters, paintings and paintworks - and where you can see them 05 Dec 2007).  It was started by Carol Marine (Carol Marine's Painting A Day) with assistance from her husband David who is a "daily programmer" and who set up the website.

Daily Paintworks started as a small exclusive group of painters who wanted to have a co-operative approach to marketing their artwork.  The idea was that they should have a website which provided an online gallery.  This would then enable them to pool funds so that they could fund some advertising.  It was a great idea and I gather proved to be very effective for a number of the artists.

The group started as eight artists and then increased to twelve artists - with membership changing over time.  Each member needed to provide a not insignificant subscription which generated the funds for advertising and other expenses.

The DPW website then remained unchanged for three years.

Last summer, in Carol and David's view both the site and traffic was beginning to stagnate and needed to be re-energised.   The group of artists were very much focused on painting.  Much less effort had gone into thinking through how to improve the marketing side and this needed to be addressed.

After careful consideration, Carol and David's conclusion was that they needed to:
  • improve the marketing
  • increase the number of artists
  • introduce auction functionality to the site
  • put an emphasis on the site being enjoyable for members and customers
  • achieve a sustainable business model for the benefit of all participants.
What has changed

Sunday, July 24, 2011

24th July 2011 - Who's made a mark this week?

I'm rather late in posting this week.  Two reasons for this:
  • Yesterday's post (Techie: How NOT to lose all your Blogger Pics!) was rather important and I wanted to leave it up in people's blogrolls for a bit longer.  I cannot imagine anything worse than losing all the images on my blog!  
    • Thanks to all those who are sharing the information around with bloggers reading their blogs.
    • I've been amazed since I first posted it how many people do not realise that all their Blogger pics are in Picasa albums - and more to the point how some people claim that they have got photos in their Picasa albums which they say they've not uploaded to the Internet!!
  • I ran out of steam!  I realised the problem is that now I'm back I'm reading back over several weeks of great posts and trying to squeeze them all in - which isn't possible.  So this is a bit of an odd edition of "who's made a mark this week?"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Techie: How NOT to lose all your Blogger Pics!

First, this is a salutary tale of how to avoid losing all your pics from your blog(s) when moving to Google +.  

Second, it highlights how to 
  • keep your images private in Picasa
  • avoid people downloading your images from Picasa web albums and making prints of your artwork. 
Finally, where to go to get the Picasa software so you can edit your pics.

Some of my UNLISTED Picasa web albms for three different blogs

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lucian Freud (1922-2011) - an appreciation

"Man at night" (1947-48)
ink
The self-portrait on the cover of "Lucian Freud - on Paper"
"Britain's greatest living painter" has died.

Lucian Freud OM, CH - regarded by many as the UK's best figurative painter and portrait artist - died peacefully in his own home in London on Wednesday night age 88.

Born in Berlin, Germany in 1922, he had been painting for over 70 years.  In 1933 he moved to London with his family to escape the Nazis.

His artwork showed early promise and he had his first one man show in 1944.  His latest exhibition was at the Pompidou Centre in 2010.  Given his great age, he has already had a number of retrospective exhibitions.  I think we can be assured that the planning for another one will be getting underway in the near future.

This is an appreciation of the man and his work - in his own words, the words of his subjects, his friends, those he worked with in the art world and those who reviewed him

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Timeline of Daily Painting Practices and Marketing

Time to take stock.

What follows is a record of the blog posts I've written on this blog in the last five years about the daily painting phenomena and how it has developed - both in terms of painting practice and marketing practices. 

I started compiling it because I'm drafting a blog post about the Daily Paintworks website and its brand new approach to marketing art online.

It seemed like a good idea to start by getting a fix on what has happened when in the timeline of developments in the marketing of daily paintings.  It soon became apparent that this topic deserves a post all to itself rather a footnote!

Hence my post about the changes to the Daily Paintworks website will now follow tomorrow [Update - this will now be next week following the announcement this eveing of the death of Lucian Freud.]

Why a timeline?
  • For those who are new to the notion of selling your art online, the posts provide an insight into the history of what has gone before.
  • For those of you who have been involved, it provides a record of how much practice has developed and moved on - and started to come back again......
I've split the posts into two halves. .

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Your Paintings

Your Paintings" is one of the most remarkable digital art projects I've ever seen online. The aim is to catalogue and display the entire national collection of oil paintings in the UK online on a dedicated website!

Your Paintings - a BBC Online 'Knowledge and Learning' project
with the PCF and participating collections
Your Paintings is a joint initiative between the BBC, the Public Catalogue Foundation (a registered charity) and participating collections and museums from across the UK. 
It's going to be a fantastic learning resource and will be of particular interest to artists and those involved in art education - art students, art teachers and home schoolers.

Importantly, it also extends the concept of what public access to our artistic heritage should be about.

The project focuses on all the oil paintings in public ownership - so my brand new efforts at oil painting won't be making the cut.  However it's not just paintings in art galleries and museums as this video shows.


The paintings are drawn from public collections in every part of the country, big and small, from the most famous to the completely unknown. They include the UK's national museums and galleries, regional collections, the National Trust, as well as the less obvious public collection like those in universities, council buildings, hospitals and fire stations. 

It actually launched while I was away, hence why I'm only writing about it now.  Read on to find out more about

Monday, July 18, 2011

Colored Pencil Society of America 2011 Exhibition - Prizewinners

The Colored Pencil Society of America held its annual convention in Dallas last week.  The artists who were chosen as prizwinners at CPSA's 2011 Annual Exhibition were announced at the dinner on the Friday night.

The CPSA Prizewinners 2011

Winner of the The CIPPY Best of Show and the CPSA Award
The Sisters by
CJ Worlein 
14.37 x 29.75 inches on Crescent Cold Press #310 Illustration board

The top prizes were awarded to the artists detailed below.  I've included links to their websites so you can see more of their artwork.

Jerwood Drawing Prize 2011 - selected artists announced

Those of you interested in drawing - and the variety of ways in which drawing can be pursued - will no doubt be interested in which artists have been selected for the Sherwood Drawing Prize 2011 exhibition.
The Jerwood Drawing Prize is the largest and longest running annual open exhibition for drawing in the UK. Judged by an independent panel of selectors, the Prize aims to recognise and support all UK based artists, from student to established, working in the field of drawing.
Below you can find the names of the 60 artists selected for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2011 are listed below.  

Plus the hyperlinks within their names are to their own websites.  Links to the right of their name are to related sites.  I've selected websites based on content.

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    17th July 2011 - Who's made a mark recently?

    Winsor & Newton Choice Award
    at the Society of Women Artists 150th Exhibition
    Yellow Scarf by Sophie Ploeg
    oil on linen, 40x50cm

    A slight change in the post title to reflect that this is the first "Who's made a mark?" since 29th May!  It's been a long time.  I've had a splendid holiday but also needed a bit of a rest from the journey back.  Now I'm on catch-up.  I've been lobbing items into this post over the past few weeks so some are a little old.

    In the near future, I'm also going to playing catch-up with exhibitions in London - notably the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the BP Portrait Prize. 

    Congratulations to Sophie Ploeg (Sophie Ploeg) whose painting Yellow Scarf features at the top of this post and won the Winsor and Newton Choice award at the Society of Women Artists 150th Exhibition.  It forms part of a series of paintings about fabrics which you can see on her website.

    Art Blogs

    Drawing and Sketching
    • I've been doing a lot of sketching on my travels while holidaying in France - in Provence and the drive to and from the Vaucluse.  I've posted some of Four Go Painting in Provence but due to the loss of the internet due to a lightning strike, I'm going to be updating my sketchbook blog now I'm back with all the sketches and some of the photos I took while travelling with my sketchbook
    • Once I got home I had to go and collect the cats from their hols in Cheshire - which meant another armchair sketch of my mother's garden - which is rampant in July - see A Cheshire Garden in July
    A Cheshire Garden in July (2011)
    10" x 14", pen and inck and coloured pencil in Moleskine sketchbook
    copyright Katherine Tyrrell
    Illustration
    Landscapes
    Painting
    House in the Lavender Fields
    I used a micheal harding bright pink lake (which is a mixture) with ultramarine blue, permanent alizaron and some burnt sienna and possibly a little ochre with titanium white. The Lavender can be very gray or very pink purple depending on where you are positioned in relationship to the sun.
    Art Business and Marketing
    Art Collectors and Art Crime

    Art Crime

    What is it with art crime - it seems to be everywhere!
    Art Collecting
    For more information see Art and the Economy - Resources for Artists
     
    Art Competitions

    Lots to catch up on here!
    • the BP Portrait Prize - I missed going to the PV for the announcement of the BP Portrait Prize while I was on holiday but will be doing a proper catch-up about the BP Portrait Prize shortly - once I've had an opportunity to see it.   In the meantime here's some posts about Wim Heldens win and the impact on those rejected for the exhibition.
    • the Jolomo Scottish Landscape Painting Prize - see my post over on The Art of the Landscape -Scottish Landscape Painting and a £25,000 prize.  I hadn't come across this before - but that first prize is hefty!!
    • the Northern Art Prize 2011 has announced the artists shortlisted for the £16,500 First Prize.  The winner will be announced in January 2012.  You can also see the artists longlisted on the website - and who they were norminated by.
    • the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition - Artists selected were announced last week.  Some artists who entered the art competition for the Sunday Times watercolour exhibition have been less than impressed by the Panel's decision to choose a third fewer paintings than the number advertised in the prospectus.  At least one is asking for her money back and there's a prospect that it have implications for next year's entry.  
    • In London, the antitthesis of the art competition - the CGP London Open Exhibition, a leader in the field of the uncurated "hang the lot" art exhibition since 1984, will be holding its annual exhibition at the Cafe Gallery shortly.
    • Meanwhile in the Guardian, Jonathan Jones wrote an article titled Rise of the prize: are juries taking over the arts?  which asked whether arts prizes and their judges should be allowed to shape our cultural landscape?
    For more information about major art competitions in the UK see Art Competitions in the UK - Resources for Artists

    Art Exhibitions

    Major Museums
    Vorticism was a radical art movement that shone briefly but brightly in the years before and during World War I...The Vorticists forged a distinctive style combining machine-age forms and energetic imagery, embracing modernity and blasting away the staid legacy of the Edwardian past
    Sad to report that yesterday at 5pm, a Poussin in the National Gallery has been sprayed with red paint obliterating the central section of the painting.  Poussin painted "The Adoration of the Golden Calf", in 1634

    For more information about top museums see Top 10 Art Galleries and Museums

    Regional Museums
    • One for the calendar - I missed highlighting a major new open exhibition for fine art printmakers - whose receiving days were this week.  BITE is to be a new contemporary printmaking show in London, showcasing the most exciting prints by artists working in a range of different printmaking methods.  The exhibition will open at the Mall Galleries on Wednesday 24 August and closes Saturday 3 September.
    Art Societies
    • I had to miss going to the private view of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition due to holiday preparation priorities.  It opened on 7th June and will close on 15th August.  I won't be taking "he must not be bored while I sketch" - as he's found it very boring in the past!  
    • The Guild of Aviation Artists: ‘Aviation Paintings of the Year’ Annual Summer Exhibition opens at the Mall Galleries on 19th July and runs until 24th July.
    For more information see Art Society Exhibitions (UK) - Resources for Artists

    Art Societies
    • Two Opinion Polls about Art Societies:
    • The Royal Society of Portrait Painters has a brand new website - see http://www.therp.co.uk/.  As with all new designs there are a few tweaks required.  I'm looking forward to doing a review of it and highlighting the lessons which can be shared with other art societies in the near future.  For example it includes several new features which are very customer-oriented in relation to sponsorship and those wanting to commission portraits.  It's also nice to see a society boasting about its visitor numbers too - which is so very helpful to artists trying to decide whether they should enter open exhibitions.  
    For more information see Art Societies in the UK

    Art History / Art Television

    Two posts this week about the current surfeit of programmes about art on the BBC.  Could it be that "the silly season" now needs to be rechristened "the art history season"
    • The latest Art on the BBC - about three programmes concerning British masters of the twentieth century; fake paintings and forgeries, art deco icons and another chance to see the programme about the story of British landscape painting.
    • The Impressionists: Painting and Revolution - Gang of Four about two more programmes- a major new series about the Impressionists and another chance to see the programme about Van Gogh with Benedict Cumberbach playing Van Gogh
    Watch out for a major post new week about another new development next week.

    Art Museums
    Public Art

    Art Education

    Art classes and workshops
    Art Materials

    Art Equipment
    Websites and Blogging

    and finally......

    I vividly remember walking through Tate Britain once and coming across Mark Wallinger's reconstruction of the Brian Haw protest about the Iraq War in Parliament Square - which included the line on the floor to represent the one kilometre from Parliament inside no demonstrations were permitted.  The line bisected the "protest" exhibition.  Was this Wallinger, Haw and the Tate thumbing their respective noses at Parliament?  (Do Museums have noses?!)  Was this installation art which finally had some real meaning?

    Brian spent 10 years living in Parliament Square - bang opposite the entrance to Parliament - protesting about the Iraq war.  In my view, Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, got it about right
    "Brian Haw, the father of seven, anti-war loony who used to bellow at me on my bicycle . . . I thought his posters and general gubbins were a disgrace and spoiled the look of the place; and yet he . . . represented something dementedly British . . . Across the world, Britain still stands for a certain idea of liberty, a particular concept of the relationship between the citizen and the state."
    Brian died recently and Mark Wallinger wrote about him in the Guardian and how they reconstructed his protest inside the Tate - Mark Wallinger recalls Brian Haw

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    The Impressionists: Painting and Revolution - Gang of Four

    I had a feeling I'd missed a programme out of my recent post - The latest Art on the BBC -
    and I had.  In fact I'd missed out TWO!

    These are:
    The point is, we who think we know everything about impressionism know very little. Impressionism cannot be boring because nothing concrete enough is known about it yet to be bored with. What does exist — and this is the real enemy — is an utterly misleading set of preconceptions. They exist. And they need to be challenged.
    La Grenouillère, painting by Claude Monet
    - as featured in the first programme of this series
    Location: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
    Source: Wikipedia
      • the first programme - Gang of Four - transmits tonight on BBC2 at 8pm.  I'm assuming it will also be available to download on iPlayer and I shall be setting mine to record the whole series (here are the alternative transmission times).  I like watching these programmes twice! ;)  UPDATE:  Just finished watching it - and it's very definitely worth taking time out to view.  It's both accessible, informative and you get to see quite a few paintings - with an emphasis on what makes Impressionism different
    In the first episode, Waldemar delves into the back stories of four of the most influential Impressionists - Pissarro, Monet, Renoir and Bazille - who together laid the foundations of the artistic movement. He finds out what social and cultural influences drove them to their style of painting, how they were united and how ultimately they challenged and changed art forever.

      Friday, July 15, 2011

      Blogger has a new Interface (in draft)

      Blogger has a new interface - very minimal and very clean.  It reminds me a bit of Apple.

      This is what the layout page of this blog looks like in the new Interface
      I'm still working my way through it.

      So far as I can see all the rest of the "behind the scenes" stuff is pretty much the same as before - but it sure looks very different!  Very Zen!

      In some ways it's quite disconcerting and I recommend that you don't take a look until you've got time to explore slowly.  Otherwise you might just get lost!

      The way to access the new interface is via Blogger in Draft - which is the part of Blogger where you can try out the new developments before they are released to the world in general.

      You can read all about the new Interface in:
      This page lists known issues and the ones which have been fixed.

      UPDATE

      Big tip - if confused hit either the name of your blog or the big Blogger icon in the top left hand corner and the menu of options reappears

      What I like best - the fact that the window in which you post now extends as you write so you can see the whole post on your screen all the time. About time too! 

      Major gripes - it would seem that I am not alone in finding it hard to look at in terms of brightness and lack of contrast for those of whose eyesight is less than wonderful. I think Blogger needs a user panel which includes older people!

      Comments about how it's working can be found and where things can be found - can be found in comments! You can also read the comments on the Blogger in Draft posts to see what else people like/find irritating.

      Thursday, July 14, 2011

      POLL: How much do you spend on Art Societies?

      How much do you spend on Art Societies in terms of annual membership fees and entrance fees for exhibitions?

      Last month we looked at how many art societies you belonged to and this month the July Making A Mark Poll is about artists' spending on art societies - and the extent to which it feels like an affordable sum for you.

      The reason I ask is two-fold:
      • Fees for membership and entrance to exhibitions seem to be on the increase
      • Comments and complaints about the cost of belonging to an art society - or entering open exhibitions - also seem to be on the increase

      Wednesday, July 13, 2011

      How many Art Societies are you a member of? (Poll results)

      Of those who responded to the June Making A Mark Poll about membership of art societies:
      • 36% did not belong to an art society
      • 20% belonged to only one art society
      • 44% belonged to more than one art society
      • a small proportion of people seem to "collect" national art societies belonging to five or more 
      The chart below shows how people responded in terms of the number of art societies they belonged to.  This is followed by more charts showing membership at the national, regional and local levels.
      June Making A Mark Poll: Number of respondents - 50

      Tuesday, July 12, 2011

      The latest Art on the BBC

      I've returned from Provence and collecting my cats to a surfeit of art programmes on the BBC.  Here's a round-up.

      British Masters

      This brand new series started on BBC4 last night and comprises three programmes by art historian James Fox.  The programmes were made to support his theory that British Painting between 1910 and 1975 ranks alongside the Golden Ages of Renaissance Italy and Impressionist France.

      We Are Making a New World - last night's edition - focused on the following painters and the ways in which they remade painting in the twentieth century to reflect a new world and a break with traditional ways of painting.  The notion proposed is that somehow painting became more British as the British empire slipped away and Britain became less important in the world.

      This first programme focused on a generation of artists most of whom studied under Henry Tonks at the Slade.

      Tuesday, July 05, 2011

      2011 Sunday Times Watercolour Competition - selected artists

      The names of the artists - and the number of their works - selected for the 2011 Sunday Times Watercolour Competition exhibition at the Mall Galleries in September can be found below.

      The competition has a first prize of £10,000,  In total, some £18,000 in prize money is awarded to artists who demonstrate a high level of skill and creativity in the opinion of the judging panel (see Sunday Times Watercolour Competition - Call for Entries).

      the winner of the Smith and Williamson Cityscape Prize 2010
      Toledo by Gordon McDowall
      work exhibited in 2010 and artist selected again in 2011
      (see last year's review for the story behind this one)
      Below, on the left, is the list as published by Parker Harris yesterday and on the right are the links to websites that I've found to date.  If anybody spots a person they know and/or a website attribution which needs to be included/amended please let me know via a comment on this post.  Details about the exhibition can be found at the end of the post along with links to some of the previous posts on this blog about this exhibition.

      [Update:  the comments contain a discussion about numbers.  67 artists have been selected.  Of these two artists have two works selected making a total of 69 works compared to the 100 works advertised in the call for entries prospectus)
      Cracked Matador by Chris Dunn - selected for the 2011 Exhibition

      ‘My distinctive style is achieved via a highly individual painting technique. Combining cold water dyes with wax resist to create bold statements of texture, mood and light.
      Janet Kenyon

      Order Order by Marie Robinson - exhibited at the 2010 Sunday Times watercolour exhibition

      I've not got the list of full names as yet (but it's coming!) so I'm having a bit of difficulty finding their websites for you to see the standard of their work.  Consequently this post will be updated when I have the full information.

      However what I have detected so far is that a large proportion of those selected are NOT members of the two national watercolour societies - the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour and the Royal Watercolour Society.  Now that of course could be because members did not enter the competition!  The list also includes watercolourists who belong to other art societies.

      However the majority appear to be non-members of the major national art societies - following something of a trend in major art competitions in the UK

      The 2011 Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition is held at the Mall Galleries between 12 - 18 September 2011.  The exhibition is open from 10am - 5pm daily and admission is free to all.

      For more information about this and other art competitions see Art Competitions in the UK - Resources for Artists

      Links to some of the previous posts on this blog about this competition

      PS  Yes folks - I'm back blogging about art and not Provence!  This is for a couple of days only as I'm not back properly to art blogging until next week.  Once I've got over three days of driving (I need a walk!) I've got to drive north to collect the cats from their holiday and give lots of lavender to my mother!

      Monday, July 04, 2011

      Champagne vineyards near Epernay, France

      These are the champagne vineyards approximately 100 feet to the right of where I'm sat right now just north of the town of Epernay which plays host to the HQ of some of the major champagne houses.

      Vineyards seem to have been a bit of a theme of my stay in France. I'm just about to post a pastel of the one I looked at every morning to Four Go Painting in Provence - see http://paintingprovence.blogspot.com/
      shortly.

      Today I'm off to Calais via Boulogne and then it's the Eurotunnel train at 6pm and back through Kent to London

      Sunday, July 03, 2011

      Sunflower

      Sunflower by makingamark2
      Sunflower, a photo by makingamark2 on Flickr.

      Yesterday, while taking my satnav divert away from the Autoroute de Soleil - while the whole of France hit the road as the schools finished for the summer - I saw a number of delights travelling along the D roads.

      First came the endless vineyards of the Rhone valley as I travelled up the D7 and D8.

      Then the fields of sunflowers started. Huge fields completely filled with sunflowers in full bloom. I don't think I've ever seen them looking so fresh. It was like the impact of trees in fresh leaf after a long winter.

      Later I had to get back on the autoroute again and discovered that if you love looking at sunflowers the fields south of Bourg-en-Bresse are full of them. Field after massive field of sunflowers - they were simply stunning - but no photos as I was driving!

      The next photo is likely to be of the Cote d'Or where I'm going for lunch at Gevrey Chambertin.

      Saturday, July 02, 2011

      Dentelles de Montmirail - sunset

      I started with a sunrise over Mont Ventoux - http://makingamark.blogspot.com/2011/06/sunrise-over-mont-ventoux.html - so I thought I'd make the photo posted on my last morning in Provence a sunset.

      This is the sunset I enjoyed while sat eating my dinner at Le Mas de Vignes on Thursday night. The view is of the Dentelles de Montmirail. That's "Dentelles" as in lace not teeth!

      You can find more images from Provence in two sets on Flickr of my photos uploaded to date - see http://www.flickr.com/photos/makingamark/sets/72157626821204323/ and my sketches - see http://www.flickr.com/photos/makingamark/sets/72157627095818732/ .

      However there's a lot more to be uploaded when I get home!

      Friday, July 01, 2011

      Pantiles and roof stones in Provence

      In Provence you frequently see very large stones (small rocks) sitting on top of the clay pantiles.

      These help to weight the roof down. You have to experience the very fierce winds which can blow here to know why this seems a very sensible idea.

      These particular pantiles are the ones I see on a neighbouring roof when I open my window every morning



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