Thank you all for reading my blog! :)
[Note: this was supposed to be yesterday's blog post and then I heard the awful news about the bombs in Boston and couldn't settle to finishing this - so there will be two posts today!]
On to the feature item this week..........
Those who enjoy Maggie Smith in her roles over the years - and latterly in Downton Abbey - might like to know that she has now been painted for the nation by one of my ex-tutors James Lloyd. You can now see a contemporary portrait of her in everyday dress - out of character - in Room 35 in the Ground floor Lerner Contemporary Galleries at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Admission free.
It is a large canvas but I don’t think it’s flashy. I was after a certain understated grandeur. The background is quite stark, and apart from the patterned floor there is little colour bar the neutral greys and browns. This directs the concentration on to the warm flesh tones of the face. And with a face and character like Dame Maggie Smith’s that’s definitely more than enough
I learnt that Dame Maggie had been reluctant to have her portrait painted in the past, and at my first meeting with her, her opening words were, “Poor you”. This was quite the opposite from my own feelings, and everyone to whom I mentioned the commission was extremely envious (I lost count of the number of people who offered to make tea during the sittings!)’.
Artists and Art Blogs
Art on Television
Here in the UK we've recently had insights into two diverse artists - and I can't quite believe I'm writing about the two of them in the same sentence!
- Michael Portillo, an ex-politician and ex-Government Minister, has developed a very nice career as a presenter of television documentaries. He's also very keen on art and is the Chair of the Mall Galleries! I thought he did an excellent job of providing an insight into the Spanish side of Picasso. See Perspectives - Portillo on Picasso on ITV Player. You've got 22 days left to view it
- By way of contrast, we watched Jack Vettriano showed us what he does all day. I have to say I wasn't hugely impressed although I might have been more so if he'd actually directed the photoshoot to provide the photos to work from for the paintings! See BBC iPlayer - What do artists do all day - Jack Vettriano. You have two days left to watch it.
- The second episode of the series of BBC4 Art Programme The High Art of the Low Countries was called "Boom or Bust" (available on iPlayer).
- This episode looks at the Golden Age of Dutch painting in the 17th century and how this was generated by an economic boom based on an expanding middle class. Unfortunately, it took watching it three times to get to the end as Andrew Graham Dixon's mellifluous tones keep sending me to sleep.
- The next episode - to be broadcast on Thursday - is The High Art of the Low Countries: Daydreams and Nightmares
- Jonathan Jones of The Guardian comments on the US TV series Da Vinci's Demons in Da Vinci's Demons: the new TV show that totally reinvents Leonardo's life
Last week was a major week for one of my passions - botanical art - so please excuse the excess of botanical art at the moment! On Friday and Saturday we had the two major annual exhibitions in the UK open at the same time within a short walk of one another.
- the RHS Annual Exhibition of Botanical Art - was in the Horticultural Halls in Victoria - and saw eight botanical artists from all over the world (Australia, South Korea, Netherlands, South Africa and Turkey as well as the UK) go home this weekend with Gold Medals
- meanwhile the largest botanical art exhibition in the world - aka the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists opened at Central Hall, Westminster - opposite Westminster Abbey.
|Displays by 29 Botanical Artists from all over the world|
in the RHS Botanical Art Exhibition
in the Lindley Hall
|The Language of Flowers|
One corner of the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists 2013
Central Hall Westminster
So more to come - but here's the ones so far:<
- Ten Top Tips for winning an RHS Gold Medal for Botanical Art
- Prizewinners at Society of Botanical Artists Annual Exhibition 2013
- Jarnie Godwin of Sketchbook Squirrel - who last week graduated from her SBA Distance Learning Diploma in Botanical Art with a Dith a distinction. You can see her with her work in the Diploma section of the show on the right. She doesn't normally look like this - however she's looking up at my camera which was held high above my head so we could get the photo without the shine from its covering!
- Susan Frie Nathan wrote recently about Beverly Duncan and Lara Call Gastinger and an unusual commission opportunity for botanical artists. Ever fancied documenting and recording the plants throughout the year at a person's home? If so read on - Drawing Nature
- Here's Jan Harbon writing about demonstrating at the SBA Annual Exhibition. Apparently Jan is getting a new blog very soon......
- For those who'd like further stimulation as to ideas for a portfolio for an RHS Gold Medal - I highly recommend you take a look at Lara Call Gastinger's Ten Walks in Virginia which is now on her website - and which I saw in the original exhibition in London in 2007 (see RHS Gold Medal Botanical Art 23 Feb 2007).
- Lara is also the chief illustrator of Flora of Virginia which was published to great acclaim at the end of 2012. This is the first Flora (of plans and flowers growing naturally) of Virginia since the very first one which was published in 1762! It's collected 5 reviews which rated it as a 5* book so far! Apparently it's also going digital! Does this mean all florilegia will end up going digital?
- The Society of Floral Painters has an art blog which I don't think I've highlighted before. They had an Open Day at which artists can have their work assessed last week
- Jessica Shepherd (Inky Leaves) writes about The Botanical Imagination - and specifically about a new exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery and how his photographic plant portraits by Karl Blossfeldt (1865–1932) influenced Rory McEwen - who's got an exhibition opening at Kew Gardens next month!
- Here's an interview with James Gurney
- Karen Margulis has written a post which demonstrates why I is for Ipads for Artists
- I've been following The Plein Air Convention on its Facebook Page. It ran from 10-14 April in Monterey in California - but people turned up early and I guess they stayed late too! It looks as if it's been sunny but very windy and a tad chilly.
- I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more coverage of what was happening - as it happened - and the paintings people were producing eg the website didn't update for the duration of the Conference and I couldn't tell the difference between the paintings which 'marketed' who was there and the actual paintings being produced on location. I think maybe the organisers might want to review their reportage arrangements - mainly from the perspective of not every likes Facebook or is a member! How about a blog next time? :) (I guess I'm using Urban Sketchers as the model here!)
- However I am enjoying looking at the album of photos of the Monterey Plein Air Conference 2013 on Mark Fehlman's Facebook account.
|Plein Air artists painting on Asilomar Beach during the Plein Air Convention|
- Louise Sackett (Plein Speaking) blogged before she left home - The Tribe Is Gathering
- James Gurney (Gurney Journey) identified Ten questions for Eric Rhoads - who is the chairman of the board of Streamline Publishing, which produces Fine Art Connoisseur and PleinAir magazines - and it's a very interesting interview
- then took to a little airplane sketching on the way hom - see Air Bus
- while earlier in the month he had highlighted a useful Pocket easel or monopod for plein air sketching and paintings
Now people are back home and still blogging (and let me know if you've written a blog post about the convention and I'll take a look and add it in here)
- Jose de Juan (Jose's Art Journal) gives a great sense of what the convention was like in Monterey Plein Air Convention 2013. Part 1
- Julie Hermanson (Sitting on a cornflake) has also given the convention a great write up - and has pulled out some real learning points in What I Learned at the Plein Air Convention in Monterey, CA
- 5 Tips for plein air painting. (Heavy winds can't keep you from painting) - and they are great tips - illuminated by some great photos showing you exactly how she does it
- some lovely photos of one of her 3 day seascape painting workshops
- Progress Not Perfection on Camille Przewodek's Color Blog illustrates how an artist develops over time when painting colour plein air - and why it's a good idea to keep some of your early efforts
Pastels and Pencils
- Maggie Price (Painting Partners), who was a co-founder of The Pastel Journal and the current President of the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS), lost her fight with cancer on 4th April.
- The IAPS has created a new prize in her name - to be called The Maggie Price Award of Excellence for an Emerging Artist. This will be awarded at each IAPS Exhibition, beginning with the 2013 IAPS Convention in June.
- Remembering Maggie Price on The Pastel Journal website sums up Maggie better than I could do
- Photoseed - the blog - celebrates early photography and has some excellent images
Who painted this?
- Who painted this? #24 is a botanical subject this week. There's a clue if you read my posts inbetween this post and the next 'Who painted this?' post........ I'm saying no more than that!
- Roger Brown (Art of the Wild) was the first person to get the correct answer to Who painted this? #23
The big news since I last wrote is that Utrecht is now part of Dick Blick!
- One of the blog posts by Maggie Price which I liked was a method she devised for making colour charts and keeping them accessible when painting plein air. It's so obvious when you think about it! See Old & New Technology: Color Charts on the iPhone
- Elizabeth Floyd (Elizabeth Floyd) has been writing about her favourite paint mixtures and below are her blog posts about
Drawing - Silver Point
- Jackson's Art has a new medium in stock - see this blog post New Silver Point Drawing Department and the website The Silver Point Drawing Department. It's nice to know another place to buy Silver Point equipment in London - especially as this is the medium I keep saying I'm going to have a go at!
- On Making A Mark Reviews, I've reviewed different ways of accessing Unison Pastels - Colour Charts - online, in print and handmade.
- Richard McKinley (Pastel Pointers) has done a summary of pastel painting surfaces. Painting Surfaces for Pastel - the New Kids - it's joined the other commentaries on my website
- I do love an art supplier who stocks decent tapes! Jackson's Art (Art Materials Blog) has highlighted its stock of Crescent Specialist Tapes and Pastes. I'm very partial to self-adhesive linen hanging tape for putting artwork onto a mat
Art exhibitions in the UK
- This is my review of the latest exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery Review: George Catlin: American Indian Portraits
- This is my Review: Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour - Annual Exhibition which finishes this Thursday. It's been very well attended - there were masses of people there on the day I visited. Below is a photograph of John Yardley who was demonstrating on the day I visited the exhibition
|John Yardley RI with his demonstration painting|
Art History - and Art Galleries and Museums
It's the time of year when art museums and galleries to see how they do relative to one another
- The Top 30 Art Galleries and Museums in the World in 2012 is my post reviewing the Art Newspaper's survey of 2012 visitors to art museums and galleries
- Plus I've identified the top five cities for a spot of art museum and gallery visiting - see The Best Cities for Top Art Galleries and Museums (2012)
- The shotlist has been drawn up for Museum of the Year in the UK - here's my summary about the 10 Finalists for £100k Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2013
With respect to individual art galleries and museums
- The major recent news is that the Rijksmuseum reopened at the weekend. The Guardian comments on how Amsterdam is changing museums in Amsterdam in A new Amsterdam – and a new Rijksmuseum
- There's a new boss at the Louvre
- and Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has an important 'old' message about its admissions policy and 'suggested contribution'
the Met has never imposed a fixed admission fee. Nor do we ever charge an extra fee to visit any of our world-renowned special exhibitions.Director of the Met
Art Business & Marketing
- Social Media Marketing for Fine Artists is a really excellent powerpoint presentation by Ed Terpening (Life Plein Air) - as delivered to the 2nd Annual Plein Air Convention. It's is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me
- If you want to know about selling art take a look at Selling art: 17 top tips from the experts from The Guardian's Culture Professionals Network's blog. How do you rate it as advice?
- Last week, the Press Assistant of a Gallery in Northampton sent me a press release containing the names and email addresses of all the arts journalists (and others?) that the gallery knew in the UK. WHEN are galleries going to learn how to send out press releases without breaching the Data Protection Act? These are the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations and they apply to all art galleries in the UK - including artists who keep a database of personal data (eg email addresses) for their art business
- Artsy Shark has a great summary of the sort you want to file entitled How to Ace Your Next Trade Show, Forget the specifics of the actual show he talks about at the beginning and focus on the general principles
- Robert Genn discussed Current art-pricing trends on his Painters Clickbacks website - not that you'd know it as the art at the top of the page is beginning to swamp the topics under discussion! This looked at the issue of gallery pricing versus online pricing and how to reconcile the two - and includes a response from Carol Marine which is definitely worth reading - see Successful self-selling (which is the second response). I've added it into my website How to Price Your Art - Resources for Artists
Art Collectors and Art Economy
- A drawing by Raphael broke auction records when it was sold at Sotheby's in December. Now Ed Vaizey has put an export ban on a £29m Raphael drawing
- The Making A Mark Poll for March 2013 asked about oil paints and Which are the best artist quality oil colours? provided the very clear answer
- The Making A Mark Poll for April asks POLL: What is the most difficult subject to paint?
- Apparently Art is very passe and does not merit a category this year in the The Webby Awards. In which case my voting digit will remain committed to other websites.
- Search Engine Land has an infographic which is rather good for reminding you of good practices relating to optimal SEO behaviour for both websites and blogs. You can download the SearchEngineland Periodic Table of SEO as a pdf file.
This is a rather amusing way to mark the reopening of The Rijksmuseum - by staging one its most famous paintings
Here's a flashmob recreating the Night Watch by Rembrandt in an Amsterdam Shopping Centre!