Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Thanksgiving Feast for 2013

To all my American friends and followers

Here's hoping your Thanksgiving Table looks  as scrummy as this one! Click the pic to see a much larger version

Pronkstilleven met kalkoenpastei, vruchten, oesters en pastei, kan,
brood en nautilusbeker, op een oosters kleed met wit servet
.
a.k.a. Still Life with Turkey Pie
by Pieter Claessen
oil on panel; 75 cm (29.5 in) x 132 cm (52 in)
I also hope that all your clients and commissions pay up on time, that art sales take off tomorrow and that you have a really wonderful Thanksgiving Celebration! :)
I always try and stick to a turkey theme for Thanksgiving - these were my previous efforts

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Save the last self-portrait of Van Dyck

Van Dyck, one of the most famous portrait artists of all time painted three self-portraits while working in the UK.  One is in the Prado, one is in a private collection and one is now the subject of a Save the Van Dyck Campaign - after the Minister suspended its export licence following its sale to a private collector for £12.5 million!

In terms of self portraits by famous and skilled portrait artists this is up there with the very best in the World - ever!

Self Portrait (1641) by Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599 - 1641)
Sir Anthony Van Dyck died in December 1641 age 42, a few months after the self portrait was completed.  He knew he was dying when he painted this portrait.  His moustache no longer has a jaunty air as can be seen in earlier portraits.  This is a painter of people who is painting himself for the last time. At the same time he is actively engaging with the viewer of his portrait in years to come.

It's been seen once before at a Tate Britain Van Dyck exhibition in 2009 - when it was a very popular painting with visitors.
There's now an opportunity to buy this work so that it remains in the UK and - very importantly - transfers to a public collection with a view to touring it all round the UK.  If the Van Dyck self-portrait is acquired by the NPG, they have made a commitment that there will be a three-year nationwide tour to
  • Turner Contemporary, Margate, 
  • Manchester Art Gallery, 
  • Dulwich Picture Gallery, 
  • Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, 
  • Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and
  • The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh.
  • and it's probable that other venues will also want to sign up to the tour if it is saved for the UK.
That means it becomes accessible not only to all those living in London and the UK - but also in the future - to all those living further afield who get to visit London and see the paintings in the National Portrait Gallery.

This post outlines
  • details of the campaign and how you can donate
  • how you can see this very important painting
  • why Van Dyck is so important to portraiture in this country
  • including
    • more about Van Dyck and portraiture
    • more about Van Dyck and Britain
    • more about Van Dyck and his paint

The Campaign to save the world's most expensive "selfie"

Monday, November 25, 2013

25th November 2013 - Who's made a mark this week?

Turner and the Sea is a major exhibition of marine paintings by Joseph William Mallord Turner which opened last week at the National Maritime Museum.  The exhibition continues until 21 April 2014.

I've not yet seen it as yet but have received a wonderful packet of images from the nice people at the Museum - and it looks stunning!  The one below I see on a regular basis in its normal home at the National Gallery - however it often succeeds in making me feel slightly sea-sick in empathy for those waiting on Calais Pier to get into the boats!


Calais Pier, with French Poissards Preparing for Sea: An English Packet arriving
by J.M.W. Turner, oil on canvas, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1803
© The National Gallery, London

Here are the reviews to date:

Artists and Art Blogs

Artists

The 'national treasure' label may suit our more cuddly public figures, but Perry is a powerful, discomfiting artist

Botanical Art


Drawing and sketching

Sunday, November 24, 2013

RA Summer Exhibition 2014 goes totally digital!

This is really important news for anybody who has ever wanted to submit artwork to the Summer Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Art - but was deterred by the submission process.

This year the RA's Summer Exhibition entry process is GOING DIGITAL!
 As in it's not just the architecture and sculpture - ALL  submissions will in future be via digital entry.
Artists will only be able complete and submit their entry forms online via a dedicated website. During the online submission process, artists will be asked to upload digital photographs of their artworks.
READ ON to find out about:
  • a few tips from me - which are at the beginning to persuade you of the wisdom of reading on!
  • all you need to know at this stage regarding
    • timeline and key dates
    • how to enter
    • how to submit a query - not covered by FAQs
RA Summer Exhibition 2013
drawings, paintings and sculpture in just one of the Main Galleries (The Lecture Room)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Who Painted This #53

Who painted this? #53
A winter painting for this week's challenge - by a painter I'd not heard of before.

Don't forget besides wanting the answers to all the usual questions (see below) I'd also like to hear about what you managed to find out about the artist and painting - and the best answer wins this week's challenge!


How to participate in "Who painted this? #53"


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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

POLL: When was the last time you updated your website?

This isn't about when you last updated the artwork on your website. It's about the major changes in digital communication using the Internet - and when you last updated your actual website to take account of this massive amount of technological and technical change.

Website technology is changing in leaps and bounds. The situation today is very different from 10 years ago and even five years ago.

I set up my website on 12 June 2005.  That's a very long time ago in terms of technical change! I've included new artwork.  I've changed the format of some of the pages to take account of site developments. However I've never really sat down and looked at whether it now meets my needs in terms of the changes in the technical and technological environment it now operates in.

The poll this month is going to look at how we've recognised technological and technical change in terms of updating our websites.
  1. First it addresses what has happened to technological and technical support for digital communication in the last 10 years. I'm asking you to suggest what you think has been the major change.
  2. Next it looks at the Poll - question and suggested responses. Vote for the one which best reflects your circumstances
  3. Finally I'm asking "who hosts your website?"  In 2014 I want to do a poll to see which is the most popular host for artists' websites - and hence want to do some initial research as which suppliers you favour.

Changes to digital communication in the last 10 years


What was new and is now the norm? 

What has happened which will become the norm?

Here's a list of things I can think of off the top of my head.  What do you think I've left out which is important?

Internet for all

  • More and more people can access the Internet.  More and more people are on broadband and increasing numbers are able to access fibre optic speeds.
  • In general, prices for internet access are coming down - but still vary a lot from place to place

Operating systems and apps
  • In general, 
    • a major switch from Windows to Apple
    • an explosion in availability and use of free software 
    • desktop apps have given way to mobile webware apps. Huge demand and numerous suppliers keeps pricing very competitive
  • Flash seems to have come and gone given the way Apple rejected it for iPads and iPhones (as an unstable memory hog). There is no flash for iOS or android any more and there never will be.
  • Desktop computers are in effect becoming terminals for webware and cloud storage
This represents a marked switch from Windows to Apple / iOs over time
(Based on Google Analytics | Technology - Os)
This reflects a major switch from desktop to mobile for accessing the Internet
(Based on Google Analytics | Mobile - Overview)

What this blog looks like
on a mobile phone

Mobile devices

  • Massive explosion in both functionality and numbers of mobile devices. Pace of change continues to be very fast 
  • Explosion in the use of mobile devices - these are rapidly becoming the norm for accessing the Internet (if not already)
  • BUT not all sites are accessible via mobile devices
    • Flash outlawed by Apple due to being a memory hogger
    • Unless websites resize automatically some are not easy to access via mobile devices (for me - at present - my blogs on Blogger are fine and my websites on Sitekreator are not)
  • Design and size of screen image has changed. It's become vital that images are not a set size and can resize automatically to take advantage of different sized screens

Storage and bandwidth

  • Server to Cloud: Most hosts now offer a lot more storage re. websites. 
    • Cloud storage is now becoming the norm for websites constructed using webware. 
    • In turn this seems to mean sites can host more and more images.
  • ISPs now offer very fast broadband eg Fibre Optic Broadband - enabling watching video and TV without hiccups

Static vs dynamic

  • Content has in general switched from static (eg websites) to dynamic sites (eg blogs and Facebook) e.g. people find artwork via social media rather than because a website exists.  
  • Integration with social media: Stable/functional links between websites and social media are critical to getting content seen by lots of people
  • Still images are crucial currency for the internet. People navigate on the basis of large thumbnail images of topics
  • The short video of moving images has become ubiquitous. Lots of people have the cameras and the software to make them for themselves. It no longer costs megabucks and requires expert help.

Search

  • Internet Explorer is no longer the dominant browser (my stats say it's now down a around 15% of all visitors). 
  • Use of a variety of browsers is the norm - that means it's vital for all websites to become compatible with the latest versions of all important browsers.
The change in browsers reflects the change in operating systems
the increasing popularity of Apple and the increase in use of mobile devices

(Based on Google Analytics | Technology - Browser)
  • Speed of response is critical.  It's an important factor within the Google search algorithm. It's become a top priority if you want to generate traffic. 
  • Slow response loses traffic. Websites which haven't slimmed down their code and the number of apps which load will take a long to load. (I know this is something I need to address with both my websites and blogs!)
  • Optimising websites for search became a "science". This has now been undermined ever since Google made keywords inaccessible!
  • Semantic search - using verbal queries and normal language rather than keywords will become the norm in the future

Sharing media

  • Methods used for storing and sharing media: These have gone from floppy discs to CDs to writeable DVDs to USB thumb drives to small portable hard discs

Ecommerce

  • Online shopping is now absolutely normal and has changed retail forever
  • Artist websites with ecommerce: More and more artists are incorporating ecommerce functionality into their websites to enable direct sales via the web

Design

  • Clean contemporary unfussy design with excellent images has become associated with success (count how many websites now strive to look like Apple's). Minimalist is both functional and very effective.

Social media - sharing communication 

  • The major change has been in social media. Social media sites have become a proxy for websites when it comes to display and a proxy for web2 forums when it comes to communication.
    All the above have implications for:
    • content - static vs dynamic
    • format and design
    • level of integration
    • level on interactivity
    • where a site is hosted eg on a server or in a cloud

    When was the last time you updated your website technology?


    Here's the poll question and the possible answers.

    The poll will close at the end of 30 November 2013 (Greenwich Mean Time).

    Please vote for the option which best reflects your circumstances. You find the poll in the side column (just above "For your Information").

    Making A Mark Poll (November 2013)

    When was the last time you updated your website?
    • Never - not touched site since originally set up 5+ years ago
    • Never - not touched it since originally set up 1+ years ago
    • Thought about it - but done nothing
    • Minor changes - but more to do
    • Updated for better integration with social media
    • Moved site to host offering much better tech. support

    Who hosts your website?

    In 2014 I intend to run a poll to find out which are the favoured suppliers. Consequently, I want to find out who are the main suppliers of website services for artists.


    It would help enormously if I could get an initial idea about what your website set-up is.

    For example, I've got my websites with Sitekreator - who tell me they that at present they don't have any website themes with responsive designs (ie automated change to a version which suits screen size) - but are proposing to introduce them in a few weeks time).

    Any news as to how other website providers are changing their services to keep up with the constant technical and technological change elsewhere is almost most welcome.

    Please leave a comment and tell me who hosts your website.

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    Botanicals - Environmental Expressions in Art - a review

    Last month I was given a tour of the Alisa and Isaac M. Sutton Collection - currently on view as Botanicals - Environmental Expressions in Art the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at Kew Gardens until 19 January 2014.  I very much recommend a visit to the exhibition for all botanical artists interested in seeing the artwork selected by a major collector of botanical art.

    Part of the Alisa and Isaac M. Sutton Collection in the Main Gallery
    I guess most people in botanical art have heard about the wonderful collection of botanical art amassed by Shirley Sherwood - and latterly the Gallery which was built with the support of her family in Kew Gardens.

    Isaac M Sutton with his favourite painting in his collection
    The Sutton Dogwood, Gouache on paper (2001) by Katie Lee
    a commissioned painting of the dogwood which flowers at his home in Brooklyn.
    He's planning a series of commissions by different artists to paint the tree at different times of the year
    What you might not know is that there another botanical art collection which is also becoming very significant.

    Dr Sherwood has been collecting botanical art since 1990 and now has some 851 paintings in her collection.

    Isaac M. Sutton saw an exhibition of her collection in New York in 1998 and was "blown away" by the art. He started buying paintings and used her book accompanying the first exhibition as a guide to what to collect.  He now has some 270 paintings - and added two more with works from the two Sues (see 'Black and White in Colour' at Kew Gardens - a review). I understand this is now the largest private collection of botanical art in the USA.  It includes examples of artwork by leading botanical artists from all over the work.

    This exhibition is based on a selection of his works which have been previously exhibited at the Hunt Institute, Pittsburgh, and at the New York Botanic Gardens.

    Inspired to collect: The Alisa and Isaac M. Sutton Collection is an interview with Isaac M Sutton on the Kew Gardens website

    I greatly enjoyed listening to Mr Sutton's stories of what a serious collector has to do to secure an artwork!

    He has a very clear view that botanical art should be collected to live with and he hangs his on the walls of his home. He also pointed out that a private collector has a very real advantage over institutional collections in the sense that the decisions he makes about what to purchase doesn't have to fulfil any criteria other than his own.   His aim is to have paintings which appeal to him since he intends to hang a painting in his home. He wants to see technical excellence in terms of both the botany and the painting. He's also interested in paintings which contribute important records of current plant life. Finally he's very pleased if a painting has a composition which attracts the eye.

    This personal set of criteria had led to some purchases of some stunning works which beckon you to come and look at them from the other side of the gallery. At the same time he has acquired some very fine small paintings of exquisite detail. I also particularly liked the way he has purchased multiple paintings of the same plant (e.g. the snow eucalyptus) and multiple studies (e.g. those by Elaine Musgrave)  which is not something one often sees in exhibitions of botanical art.

    Having met Mr Sutton in the afternoon, I had the pleasure of introducing him to Sandra Armitage, the President of the Society of Botanical Artists at the evening reception for the Private View.  I think there might just be an invitation to come to a future exhibition of the SBA winging its way to Mr Sutton in the future!

    You can also see the works in the Collection on its dedicated Facebook Page.  Artists who have paintings in the collection include the following
    Click the link to their websites in their name to see more of their artwork. 
    Click the link in the name of the plant or flower to see its image on Facebook.

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    'Black and White in Colour' at Kew Gardens - a review

    Black and White in Colour
    Paintings by Sue Wickison
    I can highly recommend a visit to the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew to see 'Black and White in Colour' - an exhibition of art for sale by two botanical artists Sue Wickison and Sue J Williams. These two artists are extremely well travelled and have painted botanical flora all over the world.

    The exhibition opened last month and continues until Sunday 5 January 2014 - so plenty of time to see it and maybe to buy a gift for Christmas!

    Below you can see more images of the artists and their work.

    Monday, November 18, 2013

    ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2013 - a review

    The ING Discerning Eye is different from all other art competitions and art society exhibitions - and it's definitely worth a visit.

    In terms of the paintings, drawings, fine art print and sculpture on display
    1. The work is all small
    2. The work is selected by individuals and hung or displayed in a group by selector. In effect it's like six exhibitions in a large gallery.
    Over 450 works in print, painting, drawing, sculpture and photography by approximately 200
    artists are on display in the 2013 Annual Exhibition of the ING Discerning Eye  at the Mall Galleries which opens to the public today. The prizewinners are detailed in a separate post - see  Jeremy Gardiner wins ING Discerning Eye Prize 2013.

    The Selectors' Exhibitions


    The Selectors - and images of their mini exhibitions - are shown below.  The descriptions of each selector come from my earlier post ING Discerning Eye 2013: Call for Entries

    The two exhibitions I liked the best were those by Deborah Swallow and Liz Anderson.
    Artist - Stephen Farthing RA - Elected to the Royal Academy in 1998. In August 2004, he was appointed as the Rootstein Hopkins Research Chair of Drawing at the Centre for Drawing run by the University of Arts London - and hosted by Wimbledon College of Art. I've always very interested in what a person promoting drawing selects for an exhibition.
    A very graphic and abstracted selection by Stephen Farthing
    His exhibition includes 67 works - but it seemed like a lot less.

    Works by Tessa Farmer - invited by Stephen Farthing RA
    Interestingly his entry in the catalogue is the only one which says nothing about his experience of the process associated with the competition - which, in effect, sets up a competition between individual selectors to respond fast enough to get the pieces they really want.

    Sunday, November 17, 2013

    17th November 2013 - Who's made a mark this week?

    Today I'm starting with a couple of artist who recently won prizes.

    Angus McEwan has received the bronze award in the Shenzhen Watercolour Biennial 2013-2014. He is the only British finalist and prizewinner from an exhibition shortlist of 237 paintings and 2825 entries.  The Biennial has an international panel of jurors which included Andy Wood, the Honorary Secretary of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and Thomas Plunkett, President of the Royal Watercolour Society.

    Slipping into the Shadows by Angus McEwan.
    Copyright: Angus McEwan

    What I find interesting is that a number of UK watercolour painters have been beating a path to the art competitions in China for a while now. However I don't see other art societies for other types of media or subject matter doing this and wonder why this is.

    Fraser Scarfe won the 2013 David Gluck Memorial Drawing Bursary - which is offered as a prize by the ING Discerning Eye Competition.  His winning entry was “Tree Study: Kensington Gardens”.

    ′Tree Study: Kensington Gardens′ (£1,495) by Fraser Scarfe
    pen on paper - 18 sketchbook sheets 
    This work and the drawings of the five other artists also short-listed for this year's bursary award - Richard Cross, Jill Evans, Tom Flint, Steven MacIver, Fraser Scarfe, and David Watkins are on display at the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition. You can also see them in the bursary section of the website.

    Artists and Art Blogs


    Botanical

    Drawing and sketching 

    Pastels and pencils

    Who painted this?


    Art books



    Art Business & Marketing

    Saturday, November 16, 2013

    Jeremy Gardiner wins ING Discerning Eye Prize 2013

    The ING Discerning Eye 2013 prizewinners were announced last week.  They are listed below.  It's very evident that media and mark-making other than conventional oil painting has had a 'good innings' in this year's prizes.  Lots of rewards for unconventional use of media and drawing.  Well spotted those who paid attention to who was one of the judges!

    I'm going to see the exhibition on Monday morning and will be writing a review of the exhibition.  The ING Discerning Eye 2013 Exhibition continues at the Mall Galleries until Sunday 24 November 2013.

    Pendeen Lighthouse, Cornwall
    acrylic and jesmonite on poplar panel, 12x18"
    © Jeremy Gardiner

     Purchase Prize (£5,000)Pendeen Lighthouse Cornwall by Jeremy Gardiner (invited by Liz Anderson)

    For those interested in how he generates his 'his artistic excavation of the geology of landscape' and constructs his paintings Jeremy is giving a talk "Unfolding Landscape" to Bath Society of Artists at the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution, 16-18 Queen Square BA1 2HN on Thursday 28 November at 7:30 pm.

    DE Founder's Purchase Prize¹ (£2,500) - Foreshore, Shaldon by Richard Teasdale (selected by Lloyd Grossman)

    The ING Staff Prize (£1,000) was jointly won by:
    Betula, late Autumn 2012 - 13 (£1680)
    Sepia Watercolour, 12 x 8 inches
    © Charlotte Verity
    The lost lears (£792)
    8 Colour pigment based archival print on flahne, 15x15"
    © Phil Shaw

    The Meynell Fenton Prize

    £1000
    (invited by Stephen Farthing RA)
    insects, plant roots, glass bell jar; 4x4x4 inches; 
    £1100


    The Benton Purchase Prize
    £1000
    (selected by Eileen Hogan)


    Genoese 18th Century armchair
    Stitch on padded linen with acrylic; 10x10 inches
    £750

    The Hicks Purchase Prize

    £1000
    Chris Eckersley
    (selected by Eileen Hogan)


    Pen and Pencil, 20x15 inches
    £900
    The Humphreys Purchase Prize

    £750
    (invited by Eileen Hogan)


    Graphite and foil on paper; 20x20 inches
    £850
    The Lincoln Seligman Purchase Prize

    £500
    (selected by Eileen Hogan)


    Microcosmos No 47: Unravelling
    Watercolour, 18x14 inches
    £500

    [You can see more of her paintings in her book Microcosmos]


    The DE Sculpture And 3D Work Prize

    £250
    (selected by Deborah Swallow)



    Mixed, 14x14x14 inches
    £5000

    Mixed, 14x14x14 inches
    £2800
    The V&A Acquisition Prize

    (invited by Eileen Hogan)

    Etching, 20x16 inches
    £400 (edition)
    London and South East Regional Prize


    £250
    Alexander Massouras
    (invited by Eileen Hogan)
    Julian Rowe
    (selected by Eileen Hogan)



    North of England Regional Prize
    £250
    (invited by Lloyd Grossman)


    West Country Regional Prize

     £250
    (selected by Deborah Swallow)


    Scotland Prize

    £250
    (invited by Liz Anderson)

    Wales Prize
    £250
    (invited by Liz Anderson)

    See tomorrow's post for the winner of the ING Drawing Bursary.

    The scorecard for the allocation of prizes between the selectors is as follows. These split roughly 50:50 between selected and invited artists.

    I must confess I am very bemused by the way in which Eileen Hogan's selected and invited artists achieved c.50% of the prizes!  How did that happen?



    Role
    Selected
    Invited
    ARTISTS



    Stephen Farthing RA
    Rootstein Hopkins Research Chair of Drawing at the University of the Arts London
    1
    Eileen Hogan
    Research Professor at
    Wimbledon College of Art
    34
    COLLECTORS



    Loyd Grossman OBE
    TV presenter, gastronome and art historian
    2
    Professor Deborah Swallow
    director of the Courtauld Institute of Art
    3
    CRITICS



    Liz Anderson
    arts editor, 'The Spectator'

    2
    Estelle Lovatt FRSA
    art critic and lecturer


    Friday, November 15, 2013

    Who Painted This #52

    Who painted this #52?
    Inspired by the recent exhibition of artwork by the Society of Wildlife Artists I went looking for other artwork of the same ilk - and found this.

    Now the question is - do you need to identify the birds to identify the painting?

    Don't forget besides wanting the answers to all the usual questions(see below) I also now need to know something about the artist and painting - and the best answer wins this week's challenge!

    How to participate in "Who painted this? #52"


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

    Thursday, November 14, 2013

    Poll results: Your favourite artists' paint manufacturer is Winsor & Newton

    Winsor & Newton is the favourite artists' paint manufacturer by a mile - according to the 228 artists who responded to the October Making A Mark Poll - POLL: Who is your favourite artists' paint manufacturer? They're more than three times more popular than the next most popular paint.
    Making A Mark Poll (October 2013): Who's your favourite paint manufacturer?
    228 responses
    Winsor & Newton Watercolour Paints
    in Green & Stone, Kings Road, Chelsea

    The top five favourite artists paints

    1. Winsor & Newton - 29%
    2. Daniel Smith - 9.2%
    3. Golden - 7%
    4. (Joint) M. Graham and Schminke 6.1%
    The poll was specific to manufacturer rather than paint and consequently those who make oil, acrylic and watercolour paints were bound to do better.

    However it came as a surprise to me that a manufacturer who specialises in acrylic paint alone should take 3rd place.  Golden appears to have a distinct lead over Liquitex.  This was also very much supported in the comments on the original post.

    Links to the websites of the most popular paints are included in their name above.

    Links to more specific paint products from the top five manufacturers can be found below.

    Winsor & Newton

    M Graham

    Schminke


    The best of the rest

    I'm not surprised that Michael Harding Handmade Artists Oil Colours did well as they have a terrific reputation to go with the terrific price!  However he does do just one thing - oil colours....

    Vasari was a surprise for me.  It's a paint I don't know well at all and yet it's beating a number of better known names.  Again this is a manufacturer who does just one thing - make oil paint.

    Wednesday, November 13, 2013

    Spencer Murphy wins Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize 2013

    Spencer Murphy has won the £12,000 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013 with a photograph of Katie Walsh, an Irish jockey who came third in the Grand National 2012 and is probably one of the best, if not the best, female jump jockeys currently riding in the UK.

    Winner of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013
    Spencer Murphy with his portrait of jump jockey Katie Walsh
    He was also shortlisted for last year's Prize and won Third Prize.  He's had work in the exhibition on six previous occasions.  Quality counts every time! It's a not uncommon pattern to these things for people who get shortlisted and win prizes despite the fact that the entries for this Prize are judged anonymously.  The most the judges can ask to know is the title - they have absolutely no other information.

    The winning portrait and the rest of the prizewinners and other selected artists are on show to the public in the new 2013 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from Thursday 14 November 2013 until 9 February 2014.

    Prizewinners - Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Competition 2013
    at the National Portrait Gallery
    You can see some of the selected works on the website (it's a pity you can't see them all!).

    In 2013, 2,435 photographers who range from amateurs to established professionals entered 5,410.  (Figures for 2012 were 2,350 photographers and 5,340 entries - so a slight increase on both counts).

    You can also download the technical details of the selected works. I've highlighted these under the prizewinners.

    You can read details of the backgrounds of the shortlisted artists/prizewinners in my previous post Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013 - Shortlist announced

    The competition was judged from original prints by:
    • Sandy Nairne Director, National Portrait Gallery, London (Chair); 
    • Kate Bush Head of Barbican Art Galleries; 
    • Suki Dhanda Photographer; 
    • Tim Eyles UK Managing Partner, Taylor Wessing; 
    • Terence Pepper Head of Photographs Collection, National Portrait Gallery; 
    • Rebecca Valentine Photographic Agent

    What follows covers:
    • details of the prizewinners
    • comments on the exhibition
    • tips for photographers wanting to enter next year or in the future
    • links to past reviews of this exhibition on this blog


    Prizewinners

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    'Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War' at Somerset House

    I've been lamenting for a while the fact that we no longer see large figurative paintings of groups of people.

    Those who aspire to filling the gap and claiming a form of art with a notable heritage can do no better than go and see the new exhibition Stanley Spencer: Heaven in a Hell of War at Somerset House in the Strand in London.  The exhibition of paintings from "Britain's answer to the Sistine Chapel" opened last week and continues until 26 January 2014.

    I'm a big fan of Spencer and really enjoyed this completely different perspective on the First World War.

    View of the room in Somerset House where the original paintings
    by Sir Stanley Spencer are on display

    (click to see larger version)
    It's also the first exhibition by the National Trust in London for a very long time.  More to the point, I can't ever remember there being an exhibition of Spencer's work in London in my lifetime - more's the pity!

    Below you can find:
    • details of the exhibition
    • details of the 16 paintings in the exhibition
    The paintings are in London because there's a major conservation project underway at Sandham Memorial Chapel in Burghclere, Hampshire where they can normally be seen.  The Grade 1 listed building needs essential work to improve accessibility, visitor experience and facilities and won't reopen until July next year.
    Built to honour the 'forgotten dead' of the First World War, who were not remembered on any official memorials, the series was inspired by Spencer’s own experiences as a medical orderly and soldier on the Salonika front, and is peppered with personal and unexpected details. The paintings took six years to complete in all, and are considered by many to be the artist’s finest achievement, drawing such praise as 'Britain’s answer to the Sistine Chapel'.National Trust
    The plan is that after the exhibition closes in London in January, the exhibition will then transfer to the Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, and be on show there from 15 February to June 2014 - prior to reinstatement back at the Chapel.

    The exhibition

    The exhibition includes:
    • preparatory sketches by Spencer, 
    • paintings by Spencer’s fellow war artist, friend and contemporary, Henry Lamb
    • material on the patrons of the chapel, John Louis Behrend and his wife Mary - who developed the largest collectoion of Spencer's works
    • 16 paintings from the Chapel
    • a projection of the huge painting behind the altar
    Click the images to see larger versions - kindly provided by Sam Roberts Photography and Somerset House Trust.

    Monday, November 04, 2013

    I've been asked to write a book....

    It's nice to start a post with the fact "I've been asked" - rather than "I've decided" - to write a book!

    That's because, following a meeting with representatives of a publisher last week, I'm currently going through a formal process which will lead to me being formally commissioned to write a book by an international publisher of practical books for visual artists.

    The invite to consider writing a book for this publisher came out of the blue and is on a topic I absolutely adore - drawing and sketching!

    Title and the name of the publisher are under wraps for the time being until we've 'done the deal' and tied up loose ends.  I'll let you know more as an when I can.

    Below there's an invite to get involved and maybe have your images in the book!

    What goes around comes around


    This year I started contributing to books and magazines for the first time.  In the next three months I've got:
    The process of making these contributions prompted me to think again about writing a book - which is something I've been saying I want to do for a long time.

    Consequently when I was suddenly asked to write one, it didn't take too long to think about it - and I was ready to say "Yes"!

    It wasn't the payback I'd expected - but I guess it was the one I hoped for - but didn't expect!

    It goes without saying I'm very excited about it!

    So - what's the book about?


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