Thursday, September 29, 2022

2nd International Original Print Exhibition (2022)

I went to see the International Original Print Exhibition 2022 at the Bankside Gallery on the South Bank on Tuesday. It finishes on Sunday 2nd October.


I can certainly highly recommend it as a diverse collection of original fine art prints which demonstrate the diversity in different approaches to print-making

The prints also varied between the very colourful and monochrome.


All the works exhibited are the result of an open submission exhibition established by the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers. The aim of the exhibition is to celebrate the best in all forms of contemporary printmaking.

These include

  • aquatint etching
  • chine collĂ©
  • copperplate engraving
  • digital 
  • drypoint
  • etching
  • giclee
  • hand stencilled screenprint
  • high relief carborundum
  • intaglio gravure
  • laser engraved woodcut
  • linocut
  • lithograph
  • mezzotint
  • mokuhanga (water-based woodblock)
  • monotype
  • photolithography
  • photopolymer etching
  • risograph
  • screenprint
  • silkscreen and woodcut
  • soft ground
  • solar etching
  • stone lithography
  • woodcut and stencil
  • woodblock
and variations on the above.

It's also an exhibition with a wide variety of sponsors of both the exhibition and/or individual awards.


The overall bias of subject matter is either abstracted or landscape oriented with fewer images of people than you might expect. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Portrait Artist of the Year (Series 9) starts 5th October 2022

I'm sure many of you will be delighted to hear that Series 9 of Portrait Artist of the Year (#PAOTY) starts on our screens - on the Sky Arts Channel (Channel 11 on Freeview) next week!

When to Watch

The first episode will be broadcast on Wednesday 5th October - when the celebrity sitters will be Elizabeth Day, Khadija Mellah and Nick Grimshaw.

The Sky TV link says the broadcast time is 3pm(!) - but I'm guessing either that's a mistake or it will have repeat broadcast times.

This is followed by six more heats - every Wednesday up until 16th November - giving us a total of seven artists for the semi-finals. I wonder if they'll have a wildcard. I've often thought that it's a great pity when a heat as two great artists but only one can go through.....

Then 

  • the Semi Finals are on 23rd November
  • The Finals are on 30th November
  • The Commission Programme is on 7th December
As usual it will be hosted by Joan Bakewell and Stephen Mangan (below) and the Judges will be 

Watch out for my reviews


As usual, I'll be writing a review of the episode and publishing it within a couple of days of the broadcast - normally the next day.

You can read previous reviews at the bottom of this post. 

My reviews of each of the Heats cover:
  • the artists - with links to their websites and social media
  • the sitters
  • themes from the episode
  • reasons for shortlisting
  • shortlisted artists
  • who won

If you are a participating artist and want to make sure I've got your correct website URL and social media links please contact me via the email address on this page and tell me which heat you're in. (No timewasters please).

and get an email to your inbox every time I publish


I'm thinking of creating a checklist for myself from previous themes in previous years to see which are the most common!

I'm also looking out for those announcing their involved online - to give myself a head start on their profiles.


Reviews & Learning Points from Previous PAOTY Series 

Series 8 of PORTRAIT ARTIST OF THE YEAR (Autumn 2021)


Series 7 of PORTRAIT ARTIST OF THE YEAR (Autumn 2020)


Series 6 of PORTRAIT ARTIST OF THE YEAR (Winter/Spring 2019)



Series 5 of PORTRAIT ARTIST OF THE YEAR (Winter / Spring 2018)


Series 4 of PORTRAIT ARTIST OF THE YEAR


Monday, September 26, 2022

Review: Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2022

It's always struck me that Annual OPEN Exhibition of the Royal Society of Marine Artists at the Mall Galleries offers more opportunities for entries from a wider range of artists than some might think.

It was therefore very pleasing to see both new names of exhibiting artists and some innovation at this year's exhibition (see end for details of where and when to see it). Interestingly I think the Mall Galleries is going to need to add some new categories into its 'buy art' section of the website to reflect this (e.g. Textile Art!)

The exhibition this year includes artwork by six new Associate Members.

This year I'm writing my review of the exhibition for those who might think about entering it next year. Thus there's rather more detailed commentary on subject and media than usual.

RSMA Annual Exhibition 2022: View of the Mall Wall in the West Gallery

General observations about the exhibition are:
  • it appears to be attracting a good number of visitors - based on the numbers I saw on Friday morning (i.e. not the PV and the day after it opened to the public)
  • it includes some excellent artwork by artists selected via the open entry - including three large artworks near the stairs
Three large and impactful artworks by open artists
  • the range of media included is more diverse than before - some would say (i.e. me) TOO diverse (see below under fine art prints)
  • I also think I saw more innovative artwork than I've seen in previous exhibitions. Generally it seems to be less about boats and more about other marine topics.
  • There appear to be rather fewer paintings of more traditional/historical ships than I've seen in the past. I know there's a big (male) fan base for these paintings but they've never much appealed much to me. 
  • There's still a tendency to include an awful lot of grey - whether that's in the artwork or on the frame. I do sometimes wonder about the obsession with grey - which I don't see in great marine painting by well known marine artists in art history. It's almost as if some marine artists are afraid to look and/or use colour. (PS The interior decorating obsession with grey is over!) 
    • What happens when there is too much grey is our eyes are drawn to the colour
End wall, West Gallery
    • this is why colourful paintings are always in line with the entrance to the North Gallery - we want to walk towards the colour
Colour draws the eye and makes us walk forward
    • I much appreciated the nuances of colour in this painting (below) of winter light at a coastal location by Keith Richens - which can then cope with a grey frame because of the colour. (But grey within grey is too much!)
Winter Light by Keith Richens RSMA

There appears to be more artwork by female artists than ever before
- in what has been a genre which has been very dominated by men for a long time. I also counted the RSMA membership
    • 51 Members of which 7 are women (14%)
    • 13 Associate Members of which 2 are women (15%)
    • 4 Life Members of which 2 are women (50%)
    • It's not very encouraging to women is it? So well done to all that applied through the open entry and succeeded in getting their artwork selected.
Sadly, this exhibition is also beginning to show evidence of a challenge faced by very many art societies with an ageing membership. 
  • I noted rather more artworks by older members of the RSMA which lack the quality and impact that these artists have achieved in the past (giben I've been coming to the exhibition for many years - see below). 
  • I watched exhibitions by one FBA art society go downhill very fast when it continued to hang ALL entries by elderly member artists. 
  • There are various options for addressing this issue which makes such decisions more amenable to those involved.
    • One FBA art society addressed this issue by elevating elderly members to Honorary Retired status - thus allowing them to retire from submissions.
    • Another has a Senior Member status which means no subscription to pay - but only one artwork is hung as of right. Others can be submitted but must be subject to selection i.e. they have to make the grade.
    • whatever route is taken, if exhibitions are to remain high quality events then selection of artwork by members needs to be considered as an option. The overall aim must always be to have most of the artwork by members looking better than artwork by artists submitting via the open entry.

About marine art

RSMA Annual Exhibition 2022: View of the East Gallery
This exhibition looks to show diverse subjects. techniques and media are all represented to best advantage. (from the introduction on the wall in the East Gallery - which I didn't finish reading until today!)


Subject Matter

This is an open art exhibition which invites artwork about anything that involves tidal waters of the world. In other this is not about water per se - it MUST be associated with the coast and places where tides have an impact

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Royal Society of Marine Artists - Prizes and Awards 2022

I visited the Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Marine Artists last week. This post focuses on the prizes and awards and tomorrow's will be my review of the exhibition. It's critical of how these are announced on both the RSMA and Mall Galleries websites. I recommend much more attention to detail and timing in 2023.

Feature wall in the East Gallery of the RSMA Open Exhibition 2022

The RSMA 77th Exhibition continues 

  • at the Mall Galleries in London 
  • until Saturday 1st October 2022. Hours are 10am to 5pm.

The Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2022 presents works inspired by the sea and marine environment, including harbours and shorelines, traditional craft and contemporary shipping, creeks, beaches, wildlife.

You can also see it online on the Mall Galleries website

This was my post about the Call for Entries: Royal Society of Marine Artists Annual Exhibition 2022

I stopped focusing on prizes and awards when writing about FBA Society Exhibitions at the Mall Galleries when their blog picked up this very necessary communication. However I note there's been no announcement to date of awards on the RSMA website

  • Given one of the attractions of submitting artwork to an open exhibition is the possibility of adding your winning an award to polish up your CV this seems to me to be a big mistake. 
  • Also if you want people to sponsor awards then announcing them online is also very important. 
  • More importantly, it's important to have an accurate and up to date listing - and the one on the RSMA website is out of date as well as missing prizewinners
  • If you value the work of the artwork submitted then you need to demonstrate this very cogently by communicating about it after the announcement. 
AND 
  • the link to the announcement on the Mall Galleries website is only identified via Facebook. It's not referenced on the exhibition page or in the News section!
  • PLUS it doesn't identify any of the awards by the sponsors' name on the page about the awards!! (How to Keep a Sponsor Happy - NOT!)
  • AND it's incomplete!!!

However people change in terms of both societies and the galleries holding the exhibition and sometimes people lose sight of what's important....

So I'm back with a post featuring prizes and awards. Not that I've got a list of these because there was none at the front desk! So whether or not there's a picture depends on whether I spotted the sticker on the wall - which incidentally I think could usefully be in a different colour to mark it out from the artwork details sticker.

View of one of the walls in the West Gallery

RSMA Annual Exhibition 2022: Prizes and Awards


The BAE Systems Award

Value: £5,000

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Do you have a Weebly website?

This post is for owners of a Weebly website. It's a bit techie - but not as techie as it should be!

What follows covers
  • the background to the transition from a Weebly Account to a Square Account - by 6th October 2022
  • problems encountered en route
  • the appalling transition documentation
  • TIP when you create your new Square account
  • How to login after you've setup your new Square account
  • What next?

Background to Weebly to Square Account Transition


Weebly is one of the main webware houses for artists' websites - with Wix and Squarespace being the others (as in millions of websites!)

Weebly is currently trying to transition its website owners from the Weebly account / login to a new Square account / login. That's because Square - which is essentially an ecommerce operation - acquired Weebly in 2018. 

As a current Weebly user, you are required to update your login and connect with Square by October 6, 2022. With Square, your site will have an extra layer of security with two-factor authentication, access to a suite of business tools, and the ability to process payments more securely.

Problems encountered

There's just a few problems! Such as:

  • the transition process is not very customer oriented - as in writing a set of "this is what you need to do in very plain simple steps + this is how it works in future" i.e. specifically for the consumer
  • the new login URL for Square is buried DEEP within the transition FAQs text. It's https://squareup.com/gb/en
  • this is the screen you are presented with when logging in - after you've found the new URL for login! There is absolutely no way you know how to transfer to the website suite - because there's no recognition of its existence on the dashboard!!


The appalling Weebly to Square Transition Documentation

The transition documentation is essentially totally non-existent - in terms of what is commonly understood as best practice.

I doubt very much if they tested any of it with existing Weebly account holders.

You are referred to Weebly and Square FAQ (which is a Weebly Document)

When you create a Square Account (from the button in the notice email) you get access to documents associated with Square (i.e. General Terms of Service, Payment Terms and Privacy Notice you get when you set up your new Square login)

By creating a Square login, nothing will change with your existing website. For more information, please read here.
This link takes you to back to the document identified above - which does NOT provide a step by step transition process

Then in tiny type at the top of this document you notice it says  
If you're a Weebly user being prompted to change your login to Square, review our Weebly and Square FAQ article in our Square Support Center for the most up-to-date information.
The difference is this document sits within the Square Support Service - even if it is not recognised by the search facility for support!!!

It's titled Weebly and Square FAQs and states in one of the FAQs
I don’t have a Square account. How do I set one up?

Creating your Square account should only take about 5 minutes. As a Weebly customer, you’ll receive an email asking you to update to a Square account. Use the link in the email to get started. You can also start this process from your Weebly dashboard via a button in the announcement banner.

Once your Square account is created, you’ll log in from squareup.com using your Square email address. This means that you’ll have one login to manage everything related to your website and accepting payments online.

Check out our switching to Square Online FAQs for more information on accessing and managing your sites in your Square account
This highlights another document - which similarly does NOT provide a step by step process for those confused by the very poor communication for this transition process

Switch to Square Online from Weebly FAQs starts by marketing Square - which is wholly irrelevant at this stage!!

People just need to know
  • how to set up a Square account correctly to link with their existing website - and
  • to understand very clearly what are the implications of different options offeredIt does NOT address this in a simple and easy to read fashion.
It also says
What effect will this merger have on my Weebly account?

As part of our merger with Square, we ask that you replace your Weebly account with a Square account. You’ll use the Square account to sign in going forward, and all Weebly logos and branding will be replaced with Square branding
This note also states
Once your Weebly and Square accounts are linked, you’ll log in to your account from squareup.com using your Square email address. This means that you’ll have one login to manage everything related to your website and accepting payments online.
Finally they indicate what the url is for the login!!!

But - to come full circle - this is where I came in - this URL only provides access to the Square Dashboard and no way of accessing my websites!

The Square Support Page generates NOTHING about the transition for Weebly website owners (that's several million people!) 

Plus if you type in "Transition" you get nothing. Major mistake!

It's an all-round COMPLETE SHAMBLES! (I speak as one who used to implement new IT systems and understand full well the importance of the documentation which accompanies the transition)

TIP When you create you Square account