Sunday, January 20, 2019

Call for Entries: Portrait Artist of the Year 2020

You have a month to enter sky arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2020. The deadline for entries to this prestigious art competition with a £10,000 commission first prize is 22nd February 2019

The benefits of entering Portrait Artist of the Year 

Benefits include:

  • the chance to win a £10,000 commission for a portrait of a well known figure for a major British institution 
  • £500 of art materials from Cass Art 
  • becoming a well known name - due to the fact that 
  • it's the most popular art programme on television - and there are LOTS of people watching 
  • being watched by LOTS of people - and raising your profile if you impress those viewing 
  • facing a challenge you're unlikely to experience again 
  • becoming part of the community of artists who've "got the T shirt" 
The less wonderful side of entering
  • you fancied being on the box so you could tell all your friends about it 
  • being watched by LOTS of people 
  • AND regretting that you ever entered because 
    • you didn't do your homework 
    • you didn't practise in advance working to 3 hours (i.e. nobody gets 4 hours!) 
    • your portrait was a mess and looked awful 
The Producer accepts no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered by You as a result of Your entering into the Competition.
So what's the worst that can happen if you enter - apart from the above?

This is how a reject letter reads

Dear Artist

Thank you for your application to Portrait Artist of the Year 2019.

We have received even more applications this year. The judges have now examined every single submission, and have been more impressed than ever with the standard of the artwork. As always, their job whittling these down to a shortlist of just 72 artists to take part in 8 heats has not been an easy one, but on this occasion we regret to inform you that your application has not been successful.

Due to increasing popularity with the public it has been necessary this year to ticket the heats at the Wallace Collection in London and all the sessions are now fully booked. If you are not attending the heats we sincerely hope you will tune in to watch the new series when it transmits on Sky Arts in January 2019, and also be inspired to enter again next year.

Don’t forget the deadline for Landscape Artist of the Year 2018 is 11th May, so there is still time to submit your application!

We hugely appreciate the time and effort you put in to enter our competition, and commiserate that this isn’t the news you’d hoped to receive. Without your enthusiasm and talent this would be a very different series.

As a small thanks we have also attached a voucher for Cass Arts.

With very best wishes we thank you again for your interest in and support of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year.

The Portrait Artist of the Year team

What's it like on the day? AND if you don't get selected to progress in the competition

This is a very good blog post by somebody who participated in 2017 - on the day I watched - re the 2018 contest, shown earlier this year on Sky Arts channel. It explains who the whole day works and what are the challenges that artists have to deal with.

....and now you've got that out of the way you can get on with the business of applying for Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2020!

Here's how to enter

This is a summary of:
  • PROCESS: how the competition works
  • Who can enter 
  • Portrait Artist of the Year 20209 - before the deadline for filming in April 2019 
  • Plus TIPS on how to enhance your entry. 
You can also follow Sky Arts’ Twitter and Facebook page for updates.

Portrait Artist of the Year - Process

In outline, this is how the competition works from the call to entries to the broadcast of the final programme in March 2019.
  • Closing Date for Entries - deadline 12pm (midday) on Friday, 22nd February 2019(a month earlier than last year).
  • Selection of artists from the entry submissions to participate in the Heats (9 artists per Heat) 
  • Notification: Successful entrants (“Shortlisted Artists”) will be notified of the result of their entry on or shortly following 11th March 2019 
    • shortlisted artist i.e. you will be allocated a heat and a date 
    • you may be asked to be Reserve Shortlisted Artist - a number of standby artists may take the place of a Shortlisted Artist if they are no longer able to take part 
    • non-successful entrants 
  • Filming of Portrait Artist of the Year will take place in April/May 2019 on weekdays at the Battersea Arts Centre in London, from the 2nd April to the 11th April.
    • Take your unframed self-portrait and painting kit (and possibly additional artworks) to the Heat - All short-listed artists must be able to transport the self-portrait to the heat as the self-portrait forms part of the judging process. All paintings are handed over for the duration of the making and screening of the programme i.e. you won't get them back until Summer 2020 
    • Episodes 1-6 - Heats filmed at a venue where the public can also watch. 
    • Episode 7 - Six Heat Winners meet for the Semi-Final 
    • Episode 8 - The Final culminating in the announcement of the winner 
    • Episode 9 - A programme about "the artist of the year journey" and painting the commission. 
    • The programmes are presented by Stephen Mangan (his first portrait artist series) and Joan Bakewell. The latter is in her 80s and had been a leading figure in the arts for nearly six decades. 
  • You have to paint a portrait from life in a maximum of 4 hours over a period of 6 hours. The sessions are typically 45 minutes long before a short break (plus a longer break for lunch). The reality is you get a lot less than 4 hours because of filming. 
  • The Judging Panel has stayed consistent for four series. The Judges are:
    • award-winning portrait painter Tai Shan Schierenberg
    • independent curator and Chair of the Board of the Liverpool Biennial Kathleen Soriano (who also used to be the Head of Exhibitions & Collection at the National Portrait Gallery and Director of Exhibitions at the RA) and 
    • British art historian, curator and arts broadcaster Kate Bryan
The panel of Judges may take the Shortlisted Artists’ Portrait Entry(s) and their Additional Works of Art into consideration during this judging process, and all of the criteria for judging and the decisions of the Judges shall be at the discretion of the Judges and the Producer and shall not be not open to dispute or discussion.
  • Finalists are asked to complete a further two Portraits - one in the two weeks before the Final and the other at the Final at a location in London (2019 was at the National Portrait Gallery - and I watched it!)
  • Final Judging - The panel of Judges may take the Finalists previous work in the Competition into consideration during this judging process
  • The Winner must be available between the Final Date and 31st August 2019 to produce the Winner’s Prize Artwork (i.e. the commission) on exact dates to be determined by the Producer.
  • Screening of the programme starts in January or February 2020 
  • The Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2019 Winners Exhibition will be held at a location to be decided on dates to be decided.

Who can enter

The Competition is open to all artists – amateur, professional or hobbyists - but there are some restrictions.

You can ONLY enter if YOU are:
  • aged 16 or over as at 17th October 2018 
  • in good health 
  • have been LEGALLY resident in the UK, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, Channel Islands and Republic of Ireland for AT LEAST one year on 17th October 2018 
  • a holder of a valid passport. 
You will, upon request, provide the Producer with supporting documentation in order to substantiate this, and will immediately notify the Producer of any change in Your immigration or residential status. Terms and Conditions
Those aged who are not yet 18 years old MUST ALSO have parents who provide
  • written agreement to you entering 
  • written consent to you being filmed prior to filming. 
  • accompany you at all filming - or send a nominated adult. 
Note People can help you with the entry process but it must be YOUR ENTRY. This is NOT a competition where your Mum, your best mate or your spouse can enter you without you knowing! 

You are NOT able to enter if you have been a finalist or winner of ANY previous Artist of the Year competition run by Sky Arts (i.e. portrait or landscape).
Finalists and Winners of the 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2019 Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year and Landscape Artist of the Year 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 television series (“Artist of the Year Series”) are not eligible to enter the Competition.

How to get yourself disqualified 

You will be disqualified if
  • Your entry is incomplete;
  • You do not meet the entry criteria;
  • You are not eligible to enter the Competition;
  • You cannot be contacted;
  • You do not respond within 48 hours of being contacted by  the programme makers in relation to your Competition entry; or
  • You are not reasonably available to participate in the Series in accordance with the production requirements of the Series.

How to enter

Make sure you get your entry right first time! 

This is what you need to do:
  • YOU need to complete/submit the online application form - read it all through first before you try to complete it. 
  • YOU need to upload digital images (low resolution JPEG - I suggest 150dpi - no less than 800KB and ideally no more than 1.5MB) of paintings created by YOU. These are: 
    • a self-portrait, created in the last 5 years - measuring 1220 x 914 mm (48” x 36”) MINUS frame. (one image only - and your photo also needs to show the entire portrait and exclude the frame). 
    • All normal drawing and painting media plus Collage and Mixed media works are allowed. Photography, video, sculpture and all forms of digital media are EXCLUDED. 
    • one image only of another portrait - ideally from life and MINUS frame 
    • an OPTIONAL further image of another painting. Make sure both the work and the photo is good. 
    • The images of the Self Portrait Entry and the Additional Works of Art must not be manipulated in any way and must be of the work of art entered. 
    • One passport style photograph of yourself (maximum size of 500 kb). This is where it's worth practising looking photogenic for the cameras rather than "startled in the headlights / practising for a mugshot" 
Note any previous applicants who were selected can only reapply if they submit a BRAND NEW self-portrait.

Those who have applied before and not been selected are advised to think about painting a new portrait.

TIP - do NOT recycle your application from last time. That's just guaranteed to irritate the judges and ensure you waste your entry fee!

Sky Arts has some advice about how to photograph your art. Your self-portrait (and any other images of portraits MUST be well-lit, composed, and show any detail such as brushstrokes and mark-making.

The emphasis on YOU means that only YOU can enter unless you are under 18 in which case your parents need to complete and submit the entry. (You can help them!)

You will also be asked to
  • describe yourself as an artist and your background (and be careful - they'll read out what you've written on air!) 
  • detail whether you have entered or won any other art competitions - and how far you got. 
  • state details of any television programme you've been on before 
  • explain why you painted your self-portrait and HOW you painted it (less than 1,000 characters i.e. review/revise/edit until you do yourself justice)

    Heats in April 2019 / Filming open to the public

    The competition invites artists shortlisted from the entries to attend and paint at one of the eight heats in London in April 2019.
    “Portrait Artist of the Year brings together some of the most talented painters with some of the most striking personalities. We see artists use brush, paint, pastels, charcoal to capture the elusive beauty of people whose faces we think we know. But art reveals more: and in each programme we watch it happen.”  Joan Bakewell
    Sky will be filming all eight heats of the Portrait Artist of the Year 2019 in "a London location" (to be decided) during April 2019 on the following dates. All the heats are open to the public.
    1. Heat 1 – Tuesday 2nd April 2019
    2. Heat 2 – Wednesday 3rd April 2019
    3. Heat 3 - Thursday 4th April 2019
    4. Heat 4 – Friday 5th April 2019
    5. Heat 5 – Monday 8th April 2019
    6. Heat 6 – Tuesday 9th April 2019
    7. Heat 7 - Wednesday 10th April 2019
    8. Heat 8 - Thursday 11th April 2019
    However dates may be altered to take account of the needs of production.
    The Producer agrees that it will meet Your reasonable travel and sundry expenses to attend any dates and locations requested pursuant to this paragraph 34 only, subject always to agreeing such expenses with the Producer in advance.
    Shortlisted Artists will be asked to produce an artwork depicting a Portrait of a Sitter allocated by the Producer (i.e. you don't get to choose!)
    The Shortlisted Artists will have a maximum of 4 hours over a 6 hour period (or such other period as the Producer at its discretion may determine) to complete their Heat Artwork.
    Your painting is judged on the results produced at the end of heat, whether you think the artwork to be finished or not.  In terms of the shortlist of three, the self-portrait will also be taken into account. 
    The panel of Judges may take the Shortlisted Artists’ Portrait Entry(s) and their Additional Works of Art into consideration during this judging process, and all of the criteria for judging and the decisions of the Judges shall be at the discretion of the Judges and the Producer and shall not be not open to dispute or discussion.
    Hence the self-portrait you send in with your entry is really important:
    it's going to be a key reason why you got selected for the Heats
    • it might help you become the Heat Winner 
    • if there's a major discrepancy between the self-portrait and the portrait produced in the Heat, you are unlikely to proceed further - unless you do even better than expected! One aspect of the "quid pro quo" for the celebrity sitters is that they each get to choose one of the finished portraits to keep for themselves (on permanent load) – regardless of whether that artist went through to the next stage. So even if you don't get through you may be able to say your paintings is now in the sitter's collection. 
    It can change your life even if you don't get to the final!

    The Semi Final and Final

    Provisional dates for the Semi Final and Final - at a location somewhere in London - are as follows
    • Semi Final - Tuesday 30th April 2019 (may involve filming during May 2019 on up to two days)
    • Final - Tuesday 28th May 2019
    If You are chosen as a Semi-Finalist or Finalist and are asked to travel away from home or are invited to attend the Final, the Producer shall supply and pay for Your reasonable and pre-agreed travel and hotel costs plus a daily allowance of £25 per day, or part thereof.
    The Semi Finalists will consist of the winners of each of the Heats
    All Semi-Finalists shall be on an equal basis with an equal chance of reaching and winning the Final.

    Finalists are asked to complete a further two Portraits
    These are:
    • to be produced within a 2 week period with sitter, dates and timings determined by the Producer 
    • an artwork created and filmed at a location in London on Tuesday 28th May 2019
    The winner must then agree to be available between the Final and 31st August 2019 to produce the Winner’s Prize Artwork - and a documentary on exact dates to be determined by the Producer.

    My best wishes if you do decide to have a go. You are advised to read all the terms and conditions at least twice!

    For example - note that this is very definitely not a competition for showoffs and blabbermouths!
    You will not without the Producer’s or Sky’s prior written consent disclose, publicise or discuss with any third party and/or otherwise publish or transmit (on any platform, including all forms of social media) any information or photographs relating to Your application or the Series, Your appearance or participation in or contribution to the Series, the production team or any participants in the Series nor any other information which may come to Your attention (including without limitation in relation to the Producer or Sky or otherwise) save where such information is already public knowledge. Breach of confidentiality is a serious matter and the Producer reserves the right to disqualify You if You disclose any confidential information.
    So even though I didn't enter, I'm sitting on all my photos of the 2019 Final until it's been broadcast! ;)


    This is probably the most important post for all those who don't have Sky - it's how I watch the competition
    These are previous posts about the competition
    Including my reviews of the competition last year as it was broadcast
    plus previous posts re other years

    Saturday, January 19, 2019

    RA Summer Exhibition 2019 UPDATE + prediction re emphasis of selected work

    This is an update about
    • the background of the coordinator and people who make up the Selection and Hanging Committee of the Summer Exhibition 2019 at the Royal Academy of Arts
    • my prediction as to the emphasis of work that will be selected from the Open Entry for the Summer Exhibition.
    (See my blog post RA Summer Exhibition 2019: Call for 12,000 entries)

    I'm very pleased to see that the RA is now commenting on my Facebook Posts! This time to provide an alert that there is an update on the names of the Co-ordinator and the Selection and Hanging Committee.

    It's always good to have any comments about the overall intentions of the coordinator BEFORE people enter their work.  Maybe next year, the information can be again be available before the call to entries goes online?

    So who's doing what?

    Selecting Committee, Royal Academy, circa 1892
    by Reginald Cleaver | pen and ink | circa 1892
    NPG 4245© National Portrait Gallery, London (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

    PS I do wish there were more contemporary illustrations or paintings of the Selection Committee at work. Photos don't quite do it for me!

    Summer Exhibition 2019 Coordinator

    Jock McFadyen RA is the 2019 Coordinator of the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts.

    The most important thing for prospective entrants to know is that he is a PAINTER and a landscape painter at that!

    He has this to say about his proposals for this Summer Exhibition
    "The focus this year will be on artwork in all media which responds to the contemporary world. I hope to welcome back many of the artists who have been exhibiting at the Royal Academy over the last few years and look forward to presenting new artists in the exhibition."
    I thought contemporary art was by definition a response to the contemporary world - but heyho!

    It does rather feel like a statement written by a press relations person which says nothing and rules nobody in and nobody out. I much preferred the one we had one from Grayson Perry last year.

    However as I went on and found out more about him, his statement of what he wants assumes more importance in the context of the road he has travelled with his painting (see below)

    Clues as to who Jock McFadyen is can be found in:

    Some facts:

    • born in Paisley in 1950, attended Saturday morning classes at Glasgow School of Art, 
    • 1966, age 15, he moved to England
    • studied at Chelsea Art School (BA in 1976 and MA in 1977)
    • 1970s - made his name with schematic narrative painting - which he has since left behind. He describes his work at the time as 'ironic and clever' - a painter's commentary on the art (anything but painting) being done by other artists at the time
    • 1980-2005 - he taught one day a week at the Slade School of Art
    • lives and works in London (and Edinburgh) - specifically "lived and worked in the East End since 1978, with studios in Butler’s Wharf, Bow and the Truman Brewery before arriving in London Fields twenty years ago." - which coincidentally is the same amount of time I've lived in the East End.
    Hidden behind an old terrace facing London Fields is a back street with a scrapyard and a car repair garage, and a row of anonymous industrial units where painter Jock McFadyen has his studio. You enter through a narrow alley round the back to discover Jock in his lair, a scrawny Scotsman with freckles, tufts of ginger hair, and beady eyes that look right through you. Jock McFadyen, Painter | Spitalfields Life
    • 1981 - artist in residence at the National Gallery. He painted the world he observed and what he saw on the streets. His work was figurative and included people and gradually became more realistic
    • 1991 - Prize winner John Moores Liverpool Exhibition 17
    • 1991 - commissioned by the Artistic Records Committee of the Imperial War Museum to record events surrounding the dismantling of the Berlin Wall 
    • 1992 - to date: He has focused on painting places - landscape painting on a monumental scale as a serious comment on life in the modern urban environment (with no figures). He also likes road paintings and panavision.
    • 2005 - He and his wife founded "The Grey Gallery" in 2005. It's nomadic and works with artists, musicians and writers. McFadyen is said to be keen on working across disciplines and working outside of the existing dealer/ curator conventions. 
    • he has had over 40 solo exhibitions 
    • his work is held by 30 public collections as well as private and corporate collections in Britain and abroad.  Interesting most of the public collections are located in the Midlands, North and Scotland.
    • 2012 Elected Royal Academician

    Subscribe and receive every post from Making A Mark via email. 

    Your subscription is only activated after you verify the link in the email you will receive

    Selection and Hanging Committee 2019

    Those RA members participating in the selection and hanging of the work in 2019 are listed below. The link in their name is to their RA Profile page.

    My overriding impression, based on reviewing who the selectors are, is that this exhibition will have a STRONG EMPHASIS on various ways of depicting:
    • landscapes, 
    • the built environment of the present day 
    • construction 
    • maybe the end of the world as we know it?
    Check out the links to images of their artwork below if you don't believe me!

    Friday, January 18, 2019

    The Artisans #2 - Stephen Winstanley, Niamh Wimperis and Rod Hughes

    It's the second episode of the Victorian House of Arts and Crafts tonight - and further to my last post - The Artisans without a credit on Arts and Crafts House - I'm very pleased to say that since my last blog post:
    • the artists sent a link to it to that post to the Managing Director of the television company that makes the programme
    • he referred it to the BBC
    • the BBC have given permission to change the end credits so that ALL THE NAMES of the artisans/crafters will now be included.
    I call that a RESULT!

    [UPDATE: The second episode included the names of ALLl the crafters - right after the presenters - in the credits roll at the end of the programme]

    The Artisans - (top row - Left to right) Abdollah Nafisi, Ilsa Parry, Niamh Wimperis,
    (Bottom row - left to right) Rod Hughes,Stephen Winstanley, Bryony Knox

    So here's the second tranche of artisans who are contributing to the series. They include the youngest and the oldest of the participants.  They are - in order of youth!
    • Stephen Winstanley - age 25
    • Niamh Wimperis age 27
    • Rod Hughes - age 62

    Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2019 starts on....

    They're back - and finally we have an answer

    The image in the Sky Arts Twitter Banner has changed....

    For those who can't wait until the end of the video or can't access it

    The new series of Sky Arts Portrait Artist of he Year 2019 starts on....

    My reviews of each episode will start shortly thereafter

    I'll be interested to see whether they credit the participating artists by written name in the credits of each episode... (see The Artists without a credit on Arts and Crafts House - which has now been sorted due to my post!)

    You can follow updates on the Sky Arts Twitter account. I bet we see a few snippets of videos between now and 12 February 2019!

    Monday, January 14, 2019

    The Artisans without a credit on Arts and Crafts House

    This post is about introducing the six artisans appearing in a short series on BBC called "The Victorian Arts and Crafts House"
    • Today I'm doing the first three - Bryony Knox, Abdollah Nafisi and Ilsa Parry
    • Tomorrow I will introduce the other three - Rod Hughes,  Niamh Wimperis and Stephen Winstanley
    (Left to right) Rod Hughes, Ilsa Parry, Stephen Winstanley, Bryony Knox, Niamh Wimperis, and Abdollar Nafisi

    As I indicated yesterday in The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts - Episode 1 I'm pretty tired of seeing the various television companies make programmes involving people who have expertise without any credit whatsoever.

    They don't need to include their websites and be accused of advertising.

    However they do however need to respect them as adult human beings with skills and talents and NAME THEM - with surnames!

    By way of making up for this very marked deficiency in respect and human rights I propose today to set out a brief summary (below) of each of the artisans - with their FULL NAMES and links to their websites and any other relevant/related sites including videos.

    Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful William Morris
    A common theme among the crafters is that the aspect of the project they found the most challenging - living with no power, no light when the sun went down, and no connection to normal life - was also the most rewarding. As Bryony points out, working with hand tools “links you back to craftspeople from hundreds and thousands of years ago”, while Abdollah adds “Very little access to tools and materials pushed me to the edge, which made me more creative.” The Telegraph

    Sunday, January 13, 2019

    The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts - Episode 1

    I watched The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts on Friday night and was quite pleasantly surprised.  On the whole I'd recommend it as worth watching.

    It was mostly about the reality of making arts and crafts objects for the parlour of "The Victorian House" used for the series (emphasis on the quotes - see below as to why) - and not too much about the clash of personalities (yet!).

    There again let's see what happens in Episode 2 - on BBC2 at 9pm on Fridays.
    Episode 1 is available to watch by all those who can get BBC iPlayer.
    The Arts and Crafts House in the series - Wyndcliffe Court
    see more below as to why this is a contradiction in terms
    In this new, unique four-part series a late 1800s Victorian Arts & Crafts commune in the Welsh hills has been painstakingly brought back to life as a group of six 21st century crafters - three men and three women - move in to experience the highs and lows of living and working together as a creative commune.
    Over their month-long stay the crafters are set to renovate four of the key spaces in the house. BBC

    Why are the "makers" always kept anonymous?

    Trying to work out who the artisans are was well nigh impossible - I finally found a photo with names.

    Pictured: Rod Hughes, Niamh Wimperis, Patch Rogers, Ilsa Braniff, Anita Rani, Keith Brymer Jones, Abdollah Nafisa, Bryony Knox, Stephen Winstanley

    I am getting very tired of the people who genuinely make the programme i.e. the people making things whether it's paintings or crafts - having their names left out of the press releases, the credits at the end of the programme and in general receiving very little formal recognition.

    I can only assume one of two things
    • EITHER the union for people who appear on television must have an absolute stranglehold on the bosses and refuse to allow the participants to enjoy the same benefits as those who hold union cards
    • OR the bosses buying and/or making the programme are not prepared to pay the going rate for others who would normally appear on such programmes.  I gather from various people that the amounts they get paid are nominal in the extreme!
    To me this is simply unacceptable.
    • It's treating artists and craftspeople as commodities and not as people or professionals.
    • Worse still, it treats them as anonymous nonentities who don't deserve a named credit when the credits roll at the end. Every other professional working on the programme is listed EXCEPT FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE MAKING THINGS ON THE PROGRAMME!
    The cook who appeared for 10 seconds gets a credit - but the artisans don't!

    I feel very strongly this is wrong

    I came across this website about freelance fees - and anybody appearing on television might want to take a look at what the television companies pay for expert comment in other areas of television

    The people getting paid properly

    Thursday, January 10, 2019

    Thoughts while hibernating - about new websites

    This time of year I like to hibernate. It's the short days.  It also gives me time to think about what next...

    In recent weeks I've been trying to work out what to do with respect to this blog and other things I want to do.  Hence the long gaps between very sporadic posts.

    I operate by making use of (I hope) intelligent use of my gut reaction a lot of the time. This in turn is influenced by lots of bits of information picked up along the way, around and about. If my gut won't let me do something I have to listen to it.

    Just recently it's been telling me to stop and think and to not be a slave to my regular blog posts and to think about what else I want to do.

    Today I was advising somebody about a matter she was involved in where she could see she had opted for the short term least resistant option. I counselled that, in general, it's far better to think much longer term - and then match up your short term actions to steps to achieving where you want to be in the longer term - so that your short term actions match up and support your long term goals.

    Which is not say you can't go off piste from time to time - but it can be risky - even terminal....!

    Bottom line - I've been trying to get a couple of new "resources for artists" websites off the ground now for two years. They've been sat in draft and while they progress a little bit from time to time, they really need some concerted work to get them sorted enough to publish.

    One of them is below.

    The Home Page of my Tips for Artists website - a work in progress
    The websites are informed by the fact that

    • lots of visits to my blog are visiting old blog posts
    • this blog has been very diverse in its nature whereas there's a trend to become increasingly focused around specific topics - and the development of niche websites.

    A lot of visits to this blog are accessing past blog posts

    By past I mean ones I wrote years ago when I used to do a major blog project each year.

    I used to have a strategy for making archived blog posts relating to past projects or long term topics of interest - like Composition and Colour - more accessible which worked well. 

    However that got scuppered some time ago when Seth Godin sold out of an enterprise I was involved in which gave me scope to provide individual websites for individual topics - at no cost to me.

    Niche websites work

    So now - in order to make the information collected over the years writing this blog more accessible, I have to pay for the websites to develop the topic areas - and it's really stupid paying for websites which are not published!

    My first two websites - Botanical Art and Artists  and Art Business Info for Artists - have had different levels of success - but are both now being increasingly referenced by a wider audience, many of whom did not know about Making A Mark.

    In fact, I'd go so far as to say that my first new website (about botanical art - a favourite topic of mine) is now MORE successful than Making A Mark.
    • it took 5.5 years to get to one million visitors on Making A Mark (see
      Making A Mark notches up 1 million visits
    • and I learned a lot while working on the blog which is why..... 
    • it took me just 3.5 years to get to one million visits to Botanical Artists. It also has a low bounce rate because it is a niche audience and once found the devoted fans of botanical art tend to keep visiting!
    So demand for the back catalogue + topic websites looking for a new home = a new niche website

    It took a while to work out what these should be. They've also been through a few name changes

    However, my consensus (after considerable internal debate - I give myself a hard time sometimes) is that they will be: