Wednesday, October 30, 2013

If you want a lot of people at the Private View......

50th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists - The Private View
If you want a lot of people at a Private View it helps to invite somebody who your normal mailing list is keen to see and hear.

If you're interested in wildlife and natural history, you don't get more people more popular than the naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

Which is how the Private View for the 50th Exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists came to have a long queue of people down the Mall at 2pm - all waiting in an orderly fashion to get in and how the Mall Galleries probably experienced its most packed Private View ever.  My guess is that there were well over a 1,000 people at the Private View this afternoon.

They came because:

  • it was the 50th Exhibition (it had an excellent turnout of member artists!), 
  • they love wildlife art (this is an exceptionally popular exhibition) and 
  • they wanted to see and listen to Sir David Attenborough - who was as articulate and mellifluous as always.

Sir David Attenborough - saying a few words about wildlife and artists
Sir David Attenborough and President Harriet Mead presenting prizes
More about this excellent exhibition tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Google+ Customised URLs - the rollout starts

I have one recommendation.  Do NOT start the process of claiming Google+ custom URLs late at night!

I made that mistake.

I just hope I've got everything written down as I found the whole process totally confusing.
A custom URL is a short, easy-to-remember web address that links directly to your profile or page.

The story so far

  • Google seems to be doing an awful lot of updates all at once.
  • Late tonight (here in London) it started to send out emails about claiming your own customised URLs.  
  • I ALWAYS make sure I claim 'names' associated with me (eg like "KatherineTyrrell" !) quickly so I wanted to make sure I got it done rather than forgetting about it in the morning
  • it's a lot more confusing than they make out - so much so I didn't think I could even begin to explain it because it's late at night
  • return to the first sentence of this blog post!  Leave yourself a big note of what needs doing tomorrow instead!

What I can remember!

I don't guarantee that all of this is accurate or complete - but this is what I can remember about the process
  • If you're eligible for a customised Google+ URL you will be sent an email
  • To be eligible you need to have the following:
    • A Google+ account or Page which is 30+ days old
    • a photo for the site (but note that my photo for my Making A Mark site is the avatar not a photo of me)
    • have 10+ followers
  • You have to agree to the Terms of Service relating to Google+ - which is very obviously targeted at weeding out spammers and unsavoury material/behaviour
  • To claim the customised URL you have to supply your mobile number for a validation check. (It seems as if there is going to be some sort of limit introduced on the number of accounts which can be associated with one number)
  • There seems to be some sort of suggestion that they might start charging for customised URLs in the future.  I'd say this would be commercial suicide if Facebook continues to be free.
  • There's a complete mess associated with getting a non-gobbledygook email address associated with the Google+ PAGE.  That bit really needs to be made a lot simpler and more transparent.
  • I'm still not sure why I was setting a password for my Page or setting up a new email account for it!
As always I'd recommend you record what you;re doing as you do it so you can make sense of it later. I've got a page of notes but I seemed to end up in a loop at one point with a huge number of tabs open trying to make sense of the Page bit.

At the end of this post are links to more information and advice about customised Google+ URLs

Where you can find me on Google+


Anyway - the nuts and bolts are that I now have a customised Google+ URL for:

Monday, October 28, 2013

28th October 2013 - Who's made a mark this week?

An announcement has been made......

"For years I've been telling artists to do it now, not later"

I'm sure a lot of people were as shocked as I was this week to hear that Robert Genn (The Painter's Keys) got some very bad news of the terminal kind last weekend - see 'The bomb'. The results of his CT scan mean he's currently going through his studio sorting through work into piles of 'destroy', 'sign' and 'keep' - and working out what's going to happen to the letters and clickbacks - and how he plans to spend the rest of his days.

For me, I've always tended to regard Robert as one of those sages who one comes across from time to time. He tells a good story and almost invariably has some very good advice to offer. One only has to sit and listen to increase our knowledge of good things to know - or in our case 'read' - and I certainly I read his letters as they landed in my inbox every week. I'm personally very pleased I bought one of his books - The Robert Genn Twice-Weekly Letters

For many artists his words have been very accessible - he talks in language we all understand. The fact that he's been passing on accumulated wisdom twice a week for years and years means he's going to be leaving behind a pretty big legacy.  Here are the links to all the clickbacks - 2013201220112010200920082007200620052004200320022001 and
2000.

Also, here's just one of the videos Robert Genn: Painting as Tribute (White Rock Gallery) which you can find on his website - see Videos



Here's another one which is just a video of Robert painting a scene in the forest.  I always think of him as a master of negative space.


Also this week we heard of the death of the eminent sculptor Sir Anthony Caro OM CBE RA

Caro was one of the most important sculptors of his generation in the world and his sculpture is represented in more than 175 public collections all over the world. He was also the 'design brains' behind the Millenium Bridge over the Thames. He's received many fulsome tributes.
I asked Caro one of those unanswerable journalistic questions: what is sculpture for? His answer was pin-sharp: “To please the eye and feed the soul,” he shot back. “Human beings dance, they make music, they carve little pebbles, or stick pieces of clay together. Animals don’t do it. It’s just a natural human thing.
Estate Planning for Artists and Art Portfolios is not something any of us ever want to really think about.  Indeed a tendency to bury one's head in the sand is quite prevalent! However if this is something that concerns you and you don't really know where to start, can I suggest you review my website Art after death - Resources for Artists & Art Collectors.

Art Materials

Painting

This apparently is a technique suitable for a rainy messy art day in the studio!  The post by Erin Duquette is called rainy day Gouache and Ink

Painter's Palettes


Art Blogs and Podcasts

What kind of things do and do not qualify as contemporary art?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Society of Wildlife Artists - a new book and a bursary

The Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) is celebrating the occasion of its 50th Annual Exhibition with a new book called 'The Natural Eye' - which is also the name used for its exhibition each year at the Mall Galleries.

NEW book by the SWLA - Images by members of the Society of Wildlife Artists

The Private View on Wednesday for this year's exhibition at the Mall Galleries will be opened by Sir David Attenborough - the naturalist and broadcaster. I'm expecting a packed house!

It also sees the launch of the new book - which interestingly has a subtitle 'Art Book One' which rather suggests there might be another one in the offing at some point!  I was sent a copy to review - which you can see below.

Review: The Natural Eye - Art Book One


The book celebrates the "contemporary art inspired by nature" produced by members of the society - and which we see every year at the annual exhibition. I've included links to past exhibitions at the end of this post and if you take a look at them you'll see I'm consistently complementary about the quality of the art in each exhibition

The 120 pages showcase the tremendous diversity of work - drawings, paintings, fine art prints and sculpture - produced by 52 of 67 members and 5 of the 6 associate members. It includes artwork from members who live in the UK, Europe and North America.  It has very good production values with excellent reproduction of the artwork.

Every double page spread of an artist's work includes both images of their work and a commentary on the artwork and/or his or her approach to making wildlife art.  It's one step up from the normal sort of art society exhibition catalogue which shows you just the images.  With this book you get an insight into each and every artist and how they like to make art.  You also get some idea of the incredible amount of travelling wildlife artists undertake to capture the information they need from their subjects.

This book demonstrates very clearly that this is an art society which places a lot of emphasis on observation. Most artists spend a considerable amount of time on observation of their subject matter 'in the field' (or the sea or the sky!) and the collection of information for making art before they get to the studio. This to my mind is what marks out the type of artist who gains admission to this society.  These are artists who are very committed to understanding the behaviour and the habitat of animals, birds and fish they portray in their work as well as getting the features right. Photos show the members in the field - in their waterproofs and with their binoculars - drawing and painting in sketchbooks. Some are also painting finished works on full sheets of paper!

It's a lovely book for any lover of wildlife art to own.  The artwork is stunning and demonstrates very clearly how diverse wildlife art can be.

For any aspiring wildlife artist, you can learn an awful lot about the sort of standards set by those who achieve membership of the society and those who work as wildlife artists on a professional basis.

The book is available from the bookshop at the Mall Galleries but can also be ordered online from the SWLA.


Bursaries

This Society is also one which supports a number of bursaries which help to nurture new talent and develops skills for artists of all ages by supporting individual projects or by helping with education, travel or creative development.  The proceeds from this book will help to create funds to support the bursary scheme.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Who Painted This? #50

We need to have a little celebration this week - as we've now reached 'Who painted this? #50'.

Who painted this? #50
I've chosen a work which I actually photographed. It's a stunning still life painting.

You need to tell me - as a comment on this blog

  1. who painted this 
  2. including all the basics I want to know (see link to rules below).
  3. plus what you can find out about this artist and/or artwork 

The winner will be the person with the BEST complete answer rather than the first to respond - so you don't have to rush and you do have time to do some research.  Just get your answer to me by the end of Thursday your time.

For those who've not risen to the challenge before please take a minute to read the rules - see below.  The questions which need answering don't stop at "Who painted this?".

How to participate in "Who painted this? #50"


PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review: An American in London: Whistler and the Thames

An American in London: Whistler and the Thames (16 October 2013 - 12 January 2014) opens today at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in South London.  The exhibition is also being shown at a later date in two prestigious American Art Galleries, namely:
I went to see it last week and I highly recommend it to all lovers of drawing, etchings, lithographs and drawings and paintings of the Thames.

As we were reminded on the curators' tour, as an etcher, James McNeill Whistler has always been thought of as the successor to Rembrandt (I looked this up and came across The Great Painter-Etchers - available to download and a good read!).  He's certainly incredibly impressive and this exhibition is a masterclass in providing resource material to study his preparation and approach to picture making.

The other aspect I love about Whistler is the way he used the masters of ukiyo-e - in particular Hokusai and Hiroshige - to influence his paintings - particularly their composition.  This is most dramatically demonstrated in Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge (Tate Britain) which has been used as the motif for the exhibition - and can be seen in the photograph below.

The introduction to the exhibition by its two Glasgow University based curators Professor Margaret F. MacDonald, who is a world authority on Whistler, and Dr Patricia de Montfort was both very informative and less heavy-going than some I've been to.   Their new blog linked to the exhibition is called James McNeill Whistler and his Art.  They've also written the catalogue which links to the exhibition.

Glasgow University has a major resource base related to Whistler:
Curators of the exhibition - Dr Patricia Montfort and Professor Margaret F McDonald
Standing in front of Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge
The curators have been working on the exhibition for some 9 years with a bit of a blip for the economic crash. They're also the authors of the accompanying catalogue which is very readable and does the reader the courtesy of both following the themes of the exhibition and providing a catalogue for all the images! (Regular readers will recall I've been less enthusiastic of some catalogues of late).  Readers visiting the exhibition in London may be a bit puzzled by some of the images - however the exhibition changes slightly when it goes to the USA.  There are images which can only travel within the UK and images which cannot leave the Freer.

Key points about the exhibition 

  • it reflects a body of work by an artist who lived next to or near the Thames and drew and painted it repeatedly over a period of over 40 years (1859-1902)
  • it shows Londoners what the Thames and its river traffic looked like in the latter half of the 19th century - and as it underwent the changes associated with eg the construction of the Embankment and the replacement and rebuilding of bridges
  • the exhibition enables study of how Whistler developed his approach to art, in terms of subject matter, composition and technique.  
  • It includes a considerable amount of information about the Thames Set, Nocturnes, various methods of printmaking and the development of artwork associated with Battersea Bridge
  • the works by Whistler in the exhibition are a mix of etchings, paintings - in both oil and watercolour, drawings in charcoal and pastel. 
  • the artwork is supplemented by photographs of the Thames during the era showing images of the locations, bridges, types of boats and watermen he was portraying and maps of the area covered by Whistler in drawing and painting the Thames.  
For me the only thing it lacked an annotated map locating image to location.  However the narratives for each image certainly made up for this in terms of identifying precisely what the image is of and where it was located.

So on to a bit more detail about the exhibition....

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

22nd October 2013 - Who's made a mark?

October is exhibition overload month! I had three exhibitions last week plus a bug - and three more which opened last week and which I haven't visited yet ! So I gave myself permission to write about the Whistler this week and took it easy over the weekend!  The images in this post this week are mainly from the exhibitions I've viewed - as indicated - by way of even more of a taster for those who'd like to see more.

Dr Patricia Montfort and Professor Margaret F McDonald
Curators of An American in London: Whistler and the Thames at Dulwich Picture Gallery
Standing in front of Blue and Gold - Old Battersea Bridge
Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. Mall Galleries - West Gallery
always a very popular exhibition - with good sales
I'm thinking of moving this post to a regular slot on Mondays.  The reason being I keep getting the notion that the weekend ought to be more of a "me" time.  It's been sliding from Sundays to Monday for a while so we'll see how it goes.

This one slid into Tuesday because all day yesterday I was following a major story about copyright infringement which I stumbled upon and which had gone viral - as in 245k shares of the original story on Facebook!  So it started as a couple of lines in this post and by the end of the day was a recommended read for all those who need to know about fair use and/or aren't confident about copyright matters.

Art & Artists


I kicked off last week with this post You are known by the company you keep. This was triggered by using this phrase when discussing some recent "goings on" with fellow artists.

Drawing & Sketching

  • Some of my sketches of gardens and parks will be seen in a new book called Sketch Your World which will be published in January 2014.  I'll be writing more about this nearer the date of publication.  The author of the book is James Hobbs (James Hobbs) who is a former editor of Artists & Illustrators magazine, the current editor of Discover Art bookzine, a board member of Urban Sketchers and a founding member of the London Urban Sketchers.
The different covers for Sketch Your World

Painting

Monday, October 21, 2013

Copyright for Artists - Congdon vs Cody Foster

We seem to be seeing more and more stories of large companies who are "ripping off" independents in terms of alleged copyright infringement.

What we're also seeing is the power of the Internet as their actions are being "outed" online.

[Revised and updated: 26 July 2016]

Image for my
Copyright for Artists webpage
But is it all as clear cut as some of the stories would suggest?

Below are links to what is apparently another horror story of alleged copyright infringement which has been featured in a big way on Facebook and Twitter.

The claim by the artist is that there has been a wholesale rip-off (literally) of an artist's art by a commercial company which operates wholesale across the USA. However this is a story with a very big twist!! Do read through to the end to 'get it'.

Plus at the end there are some resources which you may find useful if you need help with copyright as it relates to artists - and some of the not so nice things that can happen from time to time.

Lisa Congdon - Art + Illustration

Images used in Lisa Congdon's blog post

My Art Was Stolen for Profit (and How You Can Help) was posted on Wednesday 16th October 2013 by artist and illustrator Lisa Congdon (Today is going to be awesome). [Update - It's now been shared in Facebook 245,000 times and 23.5k on Twitter]

She names the company involved as wholesale company Cody Foster & Co. who she alleges copied her original work for use on holiday ornaments in their 2013 catalogs. This is company which also started out as a very small independent craft company

On the face of it Lisa Congdon's images looked very persuasive to me. As indeed they did to many others.

This is what she had to say about the use of images.
"In the world of art & illustration, you can use the artwork of artists on your products as long as you ask permission, sign a licensing agreement with the artist, and agree to compensate them. I sell my images to companies all the time, companies who ask my permission and compensate me for my intellectual property. In this case, I was never contacted, asked permission or paid. That is called copying. It’s also called stealing." 
Lisa Congdon
This is no newbie, her Facebook Page Lisa Congdon Art + Illustration has over 12k likes - doubtless some generated as a result of the above post

As a result of a tweet by the artist, on October 17th, a firm called West Elm pulled all the Cody Foster products they were stocking from their stores - and wrote about what they'd done in We Love Authenticity

The story also got repeated by:

Another perspective - by Brian Sherwin


Interestingly, I then found these two posts - on EXACTLY THE SAME TOPIC by Brian Sherwin on The Art Edge with Brian Sherwin.  
Brian's posts are now the subject of a four page thread on Etsy - Interesting article regarding those recent copyright allegations.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

More Art of Australia - on BBC4 and iPlayer

BBC4 has a series of three programmes about The Art of Australia which are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.  Edmund Capon, the former Director and Chief Curator of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, provides an account of how Australian art has developed over time and made sense of its great beauty, its history and Australian identity. It also reflects a very diverse culture based on the people who have lived there forever and those who migrated to Australia.

Golden Summer (1889) by Arthur Streeton
National Gallery of Australia
Currently on view in 'Australia'
A lot of the art features the landscape of Australia or is based on concepts relating to land.  It includes art from the exhibition 'Australia' at the Royal Academy of Arts (21 September 2013 to 8 December 2013).  Indeed I think it no accident that the series of three programmes are being broadcast while the exhibition is on in London

The images below are currently on view in in the exhibition organised at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, organised in partnership with the National Gallery of Australia.

This is the artwork and the artists featured in Episode 1 - Strangers in a Strange Land which is about how art helped European settlers come to terms with such an unfamiliar land.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Who Painted This? #49

Who painted this? #49
A rather different visual image this week

You need to tell me - as a comment on this blog - who painted this PLUS all the other things I want to know (see link to rules below).

ALSO Tell me what you can find out about this artist and/or artwork.

The winner will be the person with the BEST answer rather than the first to respond - so you don't have to rush and you do have time to do some research.  Just get your answer to me by the end of Thursday your time.

For those who've not risen to the challenge before please take a minute to read the rules - see below.  The questions which need answering don't stop at "Who painted this?"

How to participate in "Who painted this? #49"


PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: Annual Exhibition 2013 of The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers

Philip Nelson won the top prize at the 2013 Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters Sculptors and Gravers - with a wooden duck!

A mallard to be precise - and it is very precise - and it's in 3D.  It is in fact a wood carving which is incredibly faithful in its anatomical correctness.  The wood has then been painted to display the feathers and is very persuasive.  I felt as if I needed to reach out to check it was in fact paint but it's living in a glass case as do all the works do for this exhibition.

Winner of the The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Gold Memorial Bowl Mallard Drake - Philip Nelson
Acrylic on wood - £800 (Sold)
You can find out more about Philip and the history of his wood-carving and prizewinning on his website

This year's exhibition is in the North Gallery of the Mall Galleries and is open every day 10am - 5pm. It closes at 1pm on Sunday 27th October.  They have plenty of magnifying glasses for people to inspect the work.

The exhibition as always maintains a very high standard in terms of the quality of work selected for exhibition.  The exhibition also demonstrates the range and scope of subject matter chosen for miniaturisation - some of which always surprises me each year.  It's absolutely the exhibition to visit if you've ever wanted to commission a miniature portrait.

View of the 2013 Annual Exhibition
of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters Sculptors and Gravers

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review: Royal Society of Marine Artists - 68th Annual Exhibition

RSMA Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries - West Gallery
The 68th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Marine Artists opened earlier this week at the Mall Galleries and is open every day until 1pm on Sunday 27 October 2013.  It's an exhibition for those who like the sea and all things marine.  The standard of work is excellent and paintings are figurative rather than abstract.

If you are thinking of entering their work for next year's exhibition you might like to take a look at:
The RSMA is one of the smaller societies affiliated to the Federation of British Artists at the Mall but it regularly features as one of the top 3 selling exhibitions in the Mall Galleries.Making A Mark - Which art society exhibition sells the most works of art?
RSMA Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries - Threadneedle Space
The centre piece is  Nautilus (stoneware ceramic) by Hilary Simm 
The aim of the Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA) is to represent and encourage the very best in contemporary marine painting, drawing, sculpture and print-making.

This isn't just a show about painting boats or the sea!  However it limits its subject matter to matters relating to tidal waters
Exhibits must be essentially marine in character. The main interest must be the sea or tidal waters or some object essentially connected with these themes. Portraits must be of persons connected with the sea.
It includes an awful lot of very good painting in technical terms - whatever the medium you need to be submitting your best work to get selected for this show. The subject matter and style leans towards realism but with a painterly style by some. Very many artists succeed in producing a painting which does NOT look like it's a copy of a photograph!

RSMA Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries - Threadneedle Space
I particularly liked the oil paintings of Winched Nets (£4,350) and Sea Flora III (£4,350) by Gareth Brown (left and right of the left hand wall above). It was nice to see aspects of marine life which don't often get painted and/or selected for this show.

This year I was very impressed with the quality of the sculpture in this show. In particular, the two Nautilus pieces and the Sea Spray bowl by Hilary Simms represent an impressive and innovative interpretation of marine life.

Rockpool (ceramic raku) and Eye of Nautilus (ceramic raku) by Hilary Simm
I also liked the fine art prints - particularly those by Austin Cole - who repeatedly impresses me with his work in various shows at the Mall Galleries (I'm a big fan) - but would have liked to see a lot more prints by different artists.  Maybe there's a supply issue?

This is Cole's Blustery Day, Stackpole Head (ed. of 12, 5 available) Etching, 4 x 37, £345 (£305 u/f)

Blustery Day, Stackpole Head by Austin Cole

Prizes

The various prizes were awarded as follows.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Essential Listening: Democracy Has Bad Taste

Democracy Has Bad Taste is the first of this year's Reith Lectures by Grayson Perry.  

It is essential listening for all artists and those involved in viewing art, curating art, selling art and collecting art.

It's now available to listen to on the BBC Radio Player
I want to talk about the issue of quality because I think this is one of the most burning issues around art – how do we tell if something is good?
Grayson Perry
I love Grayson Perry.  He's my kind of contemporary artist - accessible and subversive at one and the same time!  That's subversive as in saying what everybody's thinking - even if they daren't say it out loud in case it harms their careers. One could describe him as an intellectual, articulate and highly visible version of Banksy.
To deliver an original thesis which develops across four lectures, have them subjected to cross-questioning from audiences of hundreds and broadcast to millions beyond that, takes intellectual rigour, a deal of wisdom and (always a bonus) a dollop of wit. Grayson has these qualities in spades.Sue Lawley
I like the fact that:
  • he creates art in what are commonly seen as unfashionable art media - ceramics and tapestries
  • he exists and his art is popular despite and not because of the art establishment
  • he became a member of the Royal Academy of Arts and won the Turner Prize  despite being in his own words nothing more than a "transvest*ite potter from Essex"
  • he still resorts to a pencil and paper and drawing in order to get an idea worked out
  • he unsettles all the chaps with his cross-dressing.  I find that females almost universally love him!
  • and finally.....he's one of the most articulate people talking today about art. He makes art accessible for very many people.
For me he slices through the cr*p and astutely finds new ways of making his point - in ways which nobody else seems to be able to replicate - which can only be a good thing!
I'm quite surprised to be here tonight, because two days ago I had a phone call asking if I would be a judge for the Not the Turner Prize. And two years ago I was asked by the Stuckists to dress as a clown and come and be on the steps outside, so I am thrilled and slightly surprised to be here.
Grayson Perry - Winner of the Turner Prize (2003)

Reith Lectures & Grayson Perry - links to related websites

Monday, October 14, 2013

You are known by the company you keep

When people make an assessment of an artist, they can choose to look at a lot of things besides the art that he or she creates.

Here's a few of them:
  • Groups: the art societies or art groups you belong to
  • Galleries: the galleries you say your art is shown in
  • Your websites
    • your website
    • your Facebook page
    • your Twitter account
    • your YouTube account
    • your eBay page
    • any other online galleries
    • your Internet presence generally
  • Your studio
  • Communication: the way you deal with emails, form filling etc
Bottom line - do all the clues add up to a consistent story? Is the overall picture of who you are clear or confusing? Does it promote confidence in the art a gallery may show or a collector might buy

Alternatively, do some of the sources of information raise queries and/or doubts about you and your work?
EXAMPLE: If I've seen an artwork which I'm attracted to and start to think about buying, I rarely make the purchase there and then.  I'm much more likely to go home and look online to see what I can find out about the artist who produced the work. Sometimes I may see other work by the same artist which I like more. Alternatively I may see that an artist is a "one trick pony" and what may look attractive in isolation may look more like "same old same old" on a website. More than once, the notion of my making a purchase has stumbled when I looked online - for a variety of reasons.
EXAMPLE:  The artist claims a relationship with an art gallery and yet there is no evidence of this on the art gallery's website.  (I see this one again and again on artists' websites and every time I do those artists loses some standing with me.)

You are known by the company you keep


One of the ways in which an artist is assessed relates to the company an artist keeps.

It's a well worn phrase but there's a reason for that.  Like many other such idioms, it's true.

There are other idioms which mean the same thing, such as "birds of a feather flock together".

There's an interesting variant in the Bible.
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.Proverbs 13:20
Essentially it recognises the influence that being a member of a group has on an individual. You may join a group because they seem to be just like you.  There again you may develop 'groupthink' because you're a member of a group.

Art Groups

A lot of artists get involved in art groups. They're very often people with a similar interest.  It seems they're much more likely to happen if they're related to subject matter than media - so maybe more to do with painting flowers, or drawing buildings than the medium you choose to use.  These days we see a lot of examples in terms of Facebook Groups and online Forums.

Sometimes they might relate to the level of achievement a person has attained.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

13th October 2013 - Who's made a mark this week?

Back in August I wrote about The £5,000 Bristol Art Prize and how the Bath Art Prize had changed cities - and moved to Bristol - but stayed in the south west of England.

We now have a winner.

Beating heart of Bristol by Adrian Sykes
acrylic painting, 120cm x 160cm
copyright the artist
This year the winner is Bristol-based painter Adrian Sykes for capturing ‘the spirit of Bristol in 2013’. His painting "Beating Heart of Bristol" was judged the best of over 200 works which were created in Bristol and entered in the competition during the summer.
The painting takes in a panoramic view of the city stretching from the Victorian houses of Jamaica Street and Stokes Croft past the spire of St Pauls and city centre tower blocks to the hills in the South and South East. The style is fanciful yet it includes the people and the architectural detail that makes this part of the city come alive.
As with the Bath Prize, artists who entered were each allocated one of 34 locations in the City and required to produce at least one work inspired by what they saw there. For additional entries they could choose any location in the City.

More than half of the 114 painters contributing work to the show were based in the Bristol area with others attracted to Bristol from as far afield as Northumberland, Cornwall, London and County Clare.

You can see the paintings produced on the competition website.  For the rest of this month you can also see The Bristol Art Prize Exhibition at The Guildhall Arts Centre, Small Street, Bristol BS1 1DW. Opening times : Tuesdays and Wednesdays 2pm to 5pm; Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10am to 5pm

I think the prize is a great idea. It's a pity more cities don't do likewise.

Artists and Art Blogs

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Who Painted This? #48

Who painted this? #48

Back to the whole picture thus week as you struggled with last week's challenge.

You need to tell me - as a comment on this blog - who painted this PLUS all the other things I want to know (see link to rules below).

ALSO Tell me also what you can find out about this artist and/or artwork.

The winner will be the person with the BEST answer rather than the first to respond - so you don't have to rush and have got time to do some research.

For those who've not risen to the challenge before please take a minute to read the rules - click the link/see below.  The questions which need answering don't stop at "Who painted this?"

How to participate in "Who painted this? #47"


PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review: 'Elizabeth I and Her People' at the National Portrait Gallery

It comes as no surprise that in a year which celebrates 60 years since the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II we should have another exhibition about a Queen called Elizabeth.

This time it's Elizabeth I and Her People which opened today at the National Portrait Gallery. It will continue until 5 January 2014.

(The first Elizabeth exhibition was last year's very successful exhibition - see my Review: 'The Queen - Art and Image' at the NPG 24 May 2012)

Key aspects of the exhibition

A lot of thought has gone into the presentation of the exhibition. I was very impressed as soon as I walked through the door.

Entrance to the exhibition - about the land at the time of Elizabeth
On the left a fair at Bermondsey
On the right Queen Elizabeth I on one of her processions
They've kept the BP structure and built around it to create archways and windows which help to reinforce the notion that this exhibition is about art from some 400-450 years ago.  Queen Elizabeth I (1533 - 1603) reigned from 17 November 1558 until her death

A view looking back through the exhibition
the display cases show female and male accoutrements of dress - hair pins, pomanders and guns!
On the left is a Family Tree - with pictures of the different individuals
It's certainly a very attractive exhibition in terms of structure, the hang and display cases. However I do wonder whether people will be able to appreciate it as I was able to do yesterday once the Wolfson Gallery is full of people!  I often think the NPG could do with a lot more space for its temporary exhibitions!

We walk into a quick introduction to what Elizabethan life looks like - in terms of the extent of Elizabethan England

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Review: Facing the Modern - The Portrait in Vienna 1900

Detail from 'Portrait of Amalie Zuckerkandl', 1917-18
by Gustav Klimt
© Belvedere, Vienna
Donated by Vita and Gustav Künstler
Facing the Modern - The Portrait in Vienna 1900 opens to the public tomorrow at the National Gallery (Facebook) in London.  The exhibition is being held in the Sainsbury Wing (Level -2).

The exhibition is about the development of portraiture at the turn of the century (1900) in Vienna. This was a time when the multiculturalism which had become dominant in Vienna was helping to redefine portrait painting and what styles could be employed when creating a portrait - or a self-portrait.

You can see some of the works on display on the website. The exhibition includes paintings that don't move very often from their homes in the Galerie Belvedere in Vienna or other public and private collections and there have been some generous loans. Plus it also includes the death masks of Beethoven, Mahler, Klimt and Schiele!

Below I've given an overview of the exhibition - plus included links to the Belvedere website and others which provide resources related to the art in this exhibition.

Who should visit this exhibition


I highly recommend this exhibition to:
  • portrait artists of every persuasion - from those who prefer very detailed realistic rendering to those who pursue expressionism.
  • those interested in European art history.  It includes three very important artists associated with the Vienna Secessionism movement - Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) and early expressionism Egon Schiele (1890-1918) and Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980).  Links in the names are to WikiPaintings where you can see a lot more of their art.

I liked it - and explain why below.

Scope of the Exhibition

Monday, October 07, 2013

Letter to an artist

I get lots of artists asking for advice on promoting their art and also asking whether it's possible to be featured on my blog. Too many to be fair to all - so I have a set of rules about who gets featured on this blog.

Below you can read the sort of letter which often gets sent to artists asking for advice.

Churchill's Chair at Chartwell
coloured pencils on Arches HP, 9" x 12"
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Pencil Arts Society Annual Exhibition - Selected Artists and Award Winners

The very first Online International Juried Exhibition of the Pencil Art Society went live today.  It has a dedicated website so that over time it will build up a history of the exhibition. I wish all art societies were this well organised!

Best in Show - Bianca Eva by Cristina Iotti
19.7″ x 23.6″
NFS
Graphite & Coloured Pencil on unknown paper
  • You can see the Gallery of 60 selected images online.  The works in this exhibition have a lot in common with the UKCPS and CPSA exhibitions in terms of subject matter and stylistic approach.  The exhibition certainly includes some excellent work from a technical perspective. 
  • The Juror was Bob Ebdon - the Founder of the UK Coloured Pencil Society in 2001
  • I'm listing all the 35 juried artists below with links to their websites.  Entries came in from all over the world including Canada, the United States, Germany, Australia, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain! 
  • This is a page about the awards - also listed below.  The Pencil Society decided that they would limit the number, in order to showcase only the best of the submissions. Prismacolor, Canson, Derwent, Curry's and Dick Blick are all sponsoring the exhibition. The combined value in cash and art supplies of the prizes offered prizes is over $1800 CAD .
The aim of the Pencil Society is to demonstrate to the world the best of what pencil can do.
This is a dream come true for all of us. Such a response from our members! So much beautiful work! We were blown away by the entries we received, and our juror Bob Ebdon had a very difficult time choosing which would be included in the show. Alexandra Bastien, PAS Exhibition Chair
Those interested in pencil art will want to note that there are two categories of artwork in the Gallery:
  • 100% Pencil Works: for drawings that consist of solely graphite pencil, solely charcoal, solely conté, solely coloured pencil (used dry or with solvent) or solely watersoluble pencil (used dry) — used separately or in combination with each other.
  • 50% Pencil Mixed Media Works: for drawings that consist of at least 50% of ANY of the five PAS-accepted pencil media — solely graphite pencil, solely charcoal, solely conté, solely coloured pencil (used dry or with solvent) or solely watersoluble pencil (used dry) — used separately or in combination with each other AND with 50% any OTHER media.

The Pencil Society Online Exhibition 2013 - Awards

Best in Show $500 cash prize. Plus Free Entry to the 2014 international exhibition and one year free membership



First place $325 product (sponsored by prismacolor) Plus Free Entry to the 2014 international exhibition and one year free membership


  • Share the burden by Alexandra Bastien A graduate of the School of Fine Arts of the Saidye Bronfman Centre in Montreal, Alexandra is also a signature member of both CPSA and UKCPS and has won numerous awards.

Other Places and Honourable Mentions

    Excellence in Drawing 

    • Indiana Barn by Diane Wright (Diane Wright Art Journal)  Diane has a Bachelor of Fine Art degree from the University of Northern Iowa and lives in Mitchellville, Iowa.  She includes a number of tutorials on her website and links to them in her blog.

    Special recognition for the use of pencil with mixed media

    • Blue Eyes by Christine Karron  Christine was born and raised in Estonia and now lives in Alberta in Canada.  She attended the Willy-Brandt School in Art and Design while living in Germany.

    Master Pencil Art Status


    The first artists to receive Master Pencil Artist Status (MPAS) were Sheona Hamilton-Grant, Denise J. Howard, Karen Hull and Wendy Thompson.

    Selected Artists

    Thirty Five artists had work selected for the exhibition.  I've highlighted my personal favourites below with a comment.

    Two works
    One work
    It seems to be that the Society has been very well organised and is to be congratulated for getting such a good response to its first exhibition.  Here's hoping they go from strength to strength.

    Friday, October 04, 2013

    Who Painted This? #47

    Who painted this? #47
    This week there are two changes to the normal challenge.
    1. This is another crop of a painting. Remember the rules - you can only use WORDS to identify this painting via a database of paintings.  
    2. You need to tell me - as a comment on this blog - who this is, which painting she features in and who painted her.  Tell me also what you can find out about this artist. 
    This week the winner will be the person with the BEST answer rather than the first to respond - so you don't have to rush and have got time to do some research.

    For those who've not risen to the challenge before please take a minute to read the rules - see below.  The questions which need answering don't stop at "Who painted this?"

    How to participate in "Who painted this? #47"


    PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.

    Thursday, October 03, 2013

    "Discover Art" Bookazine to launch next month

    The front cover of the first edition
    of Discover Art
    Next month, some of you are going to be seeing and hearing about the launch of a new publication called 'Discover Art'.

    This is a new magazine for artists.  Technically it's actually called a bookazine - which is a magazine big enough to rate as a book!

    The other big difference is that the majority of its distribution will be digital - of which more later!

    James Hobbs, who's a very experienced editor of art magazines and a fellow Urban Sketcher in London, is editing 'Discover Art'.

    I'm sold on the idea behind this new publication as it aims to go beyond some of the more simplistic how‐to formulas and rules of how to copy somebody else's style which all too often fill magazines.

    Instead I understand Discover Art will be aiming to help and support artists to find their own creativity and distinctive and personal way of working through experimentation and experience.  So it's not so much how to produce art like a well known artist so much as how to produce art that is unique to you!  I'm definitely in support of that!

    Features in the first edition include an article by me..... :)
    Its features include
    • in‐depth, inspiring looks at paintings by accomplished artists using watercolour, acrylic, oils and coloured pencils, as well as digital media, such as iPads
    • interviews and profiles of successful artists including this year's BP Portrait Award winner, Susanne du Toit,
    • how a blog and social media can help readers share and promote their paintings and drawings online
    • how to meet like‐minded artists through art clubs, societies and sketchcrawls
    • information about leading art materials to try out
    • a look behind the scenes into the studios and work spaces of artists
    • help in choosing the perfect painting holiday
    • how selecting the right frame can be the crowning moment of any work of art
    • a resources guide to help in finding art courses, exhibition opportunities and ongoing support
    Mine is the article with the title "How social media can help the artist".  (I've just signed off the final version!). The main challenge was containing it to the word limit I was given as this is a topic which I could write a book about!

    I'm very encouraged by seeing the websites and some of the art of the artists involved. The first edition of Discover Art will also include articles by

    Copies of the launch issue are set to be well in excess of 100,000.  It will be circulated as both a digital copy to databases of practising artists and will also be available in print via WHSmith, Martin McColl, Easons and key art shows throughout the year.  If you are on the GreatArt database you have no worries - a copy will be on its way to you next month.

    There's also another bit about me in this magazine - but I won't spoil the surprise and will tell you about that one after the launch! 
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