Sunday, March 29, 2015

Who's made a mark? #264

Claude Monet's Poplar Series - five paintings from around the worldIncluded in the Inventing Impressionism exhibition at the National Gallery
My biggest thrill of this last month was going to the Bloggers Evening for a special preview of the Inventing Impressionism exhibition at the National Gallery - which is essentially about the artwork collected and sold by .

All the exhibition is good but one room is exceptional - and that's the one holding five paintings from the

This photo is a tease. Despite some very odd lighting which was a major challenge I have better photos of the series of five paintings - but I'm saving those for the review!

Reviews from others to date confirm my perspective that this is a very definite MUST SEE exhibition.

This is the most significant Impressionist show we’ve seen in this country in 20 years, says an awe-struck Richard Dorment

So now for the other things which caught my eye or caused me to comment during March.


Every year two artists are awarded The Turner Medal - one member from the Royal Watercolour Society and one member of the Royal Instutute of Painterst in Water Colours.

Andy Wood PRI presents Deborah Walker with her Turner Medal
  • Deborah Walker RI was awarded the "Turner Medal" by Andy Wood, President of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours - at the Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries. Her painting 'Detail' also won two other prizes - the The Escoda Barcelona Award and the Anthony J. Lester Art Critic Award. (BTW Click the pic - Isn't Andy's President's regalia absolutely marvellous!)
  • David Brayne RWS is the RWS recipient of this year's Turner Medal. I wrote about David and his very interesting working methods back in 2007 in this post Royal Watercolour Society - artists and their working methods 
We had a bit of a giggle - or experienced a jaw drop (depending on your perspective) this month when we found about what Nelson Shanks did to his COMMISSIONED portrait painting of Bill Clinton.

Art Competitions

Art Exhibitions

Major Museums and Art Galleries

  • I've now learned the trick to trying to see the Sargent Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. A friend went to see it last week at the end of Tuesday afternoon just before it closed and had 90 minutes peace and quiet! So that's the new recommendation - go late in the day and early in the week if you want to see the paintings!
The Sargent Exhibition during the press preview - I always wait to the end when it thins out
Bringing together paintings, botanical studies, drawings, books, manuscripts and decorative arts, the exhibition explores the changing character of the garden from the 16th to the early 20th century. It includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Maria Sibylla Merian and Carl Fabergé, and some of the earliest and rarest surviving depictions of gardens and plants.
Lodewijk Toeput (Pozzoserrato), Pleasure Garden with a Maze, c.1579-84

  • I've yet to see Kew's Heritage Trees by Masumi Yamanaka at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew Gardens - although I have now met the artist! The exhibition runs until 9 August 2015, (9.30am to 5.30pm everyday except Monday) 
Upcoming exhibitions
  • Tomorrow I'm going to the preview of the Ravillious exhibition about Eric Ravillious at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. I'm expecting to be very pleased to see it. The exhibition opens to the public on 1 April  and continues until 31 August. I'm expecting to recommend it.
  • Last Monday I paid a visit to the Irish Embassy to hear about the biggest retrospective of Irish art held in the UK for some 30+ years.  The Art of a Nation - an exhibition of some 70 Irish Works from the very extensive Allied Irish Banks and Crawford Art Gallery Collection will be at the Mall Galleries from 13 May 2015 to 31 May 2015. 
Examples of the paintings in the exhibition

Art Societies

Exhibitions that have now finished

Upcoming Exhibitions

Upcoming exhibitions include:

Art Groups and Joint Exhibitions

  • A Threadneedle Space Exhibition is a commentary on what's involved in hiring the Threadneedle Space for an exhibition. Thanks to Lachlan Goudie ROI and Tim Benson VPROI for sharing their experience of their exhibition last week with me. I've checked a couple of aspects I wasn't sure about and the blog post has been updated since it was first published.

Art materials and supplies

  • Jeanette Jobson (Illustrated Life) did a review of her OttLite Easel Lamp. She has lots of great pics relating to how the lamp is assembled on the easel.
  • I acquired a Swordfish pencil sharpener with a helical blade and have now sharpened just about every pencil I own. This was after I found out how to sort out the problem if a bit of core breaks off inside. Highly recommended. When the sharpener works, pencil sharpening can be like cleaning pastels using cornmeal - it's a very therapeutic and calming activity!
  • I'm getting excited because Unison Pastels announced

Art Business & Marketing 


  • Place matters to people's opinions. Value is in the eye of the beholder? is an interesting video of people viewing paintings at the Museum for Modern Art in Arnhem, Netherlands.

Selling art online

  • My blog post The growth - and demise - of Etsy? commented on Etsy "going public" and selling stock. To me it seems  avery different organisation than the one which started out around about the same time I started this blog. 

Drawing and Sketching

The front rows of the Drawing Together audience
pen and ink in Moleskine Sketchbook
  • Plus early this month I did a book signing at the Mall Galleries with James Hobbs (author of Sketch Your World) and we both met up with Anne Blankson-Hemans (from The Big Painting Challenge). The only problem was the Mall Galleries almost sold out of my book - as has every other bookshop. It's currently being reprinted and Sketching 365 should be available again sometime in April.

James Hobbs, Anne Blankson-Hemans and me
at the Mall Galleries Book Signing

  • HS and Derwent Pencils ran a 90 minute Sketchoff (spin off from The Big Painting Challenge) where people had a limited time to draw Una Stubbs from a photo - you can See the results of the Sketchoff
  • Urban Sketchers London had a Sketchcrawl at the Victoria & Albert Museum this month. It was soooooooo sunny I stayed outside and drew the people sitting in the sunshine around the pool. Free life drawing practice!
Sunny afternoon at the V&A Museum
pen and ink in Moleskine Sketchbook


  • So you think you have problems painting? - This post highlights the blind painter Sargy Mann and has a video which describes and shows how he manages to continue to paint in colour on large canvases 
  • The Big Painting Challenge takes over the the May edition of 'The Artist' magazine with articles about both Judge Daphne Todd and one of the contestants Anne Blankson-Hemans

Botanical Art

and finally.....

Tonight is the Final Episode of The Big Painting Challenge and we found out who won!

Follow three of the final four painters on Twitter tonight: @Army_Artist Richard Salter @paulbellart Paul Bell, @clairesparker Claire Parker. Amy Goldring is also in the final.

Here's my blog posts to date:
Plus my post about their exhibition in London - see above for details.

and finally..... there should be one more - called Top 10 Tips - appearing on the WH Smith Blog in the near future (possibly tomorrow!)

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