Sunday, June 16, 2019

BP Portrait Award 2019: Artists with their paintings

If your portrait gets selected for the BP Portrait Award 2019 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, you can expect the following might happen
  • your portrait will be seen by over 200,000 people visiting the exhibition - and more around the UK over the next 12 months
  • your CV will be very much enhanced by selection for this prestigious exhibition - which very much helps when trying to interest other galleries in your work
  • your website will get enquiries for portrait commissions - (assuming you have one and it provides decent information about commissions!)
  • you get photographed with your painting for this blog post!
What follows is my annual post about Artists with their Paintings

BP Portrait Award Exhibition - Porter Gallery at the National Portrait Gallery, London

Artists with their Paintings

You saw photographs of the prizewinners with their paintings in my previous post Charlie Shaffer wins BP Portrait Award 2019

The purpose of this post is to provide
  • an insight into the age, education and experience of the artist and something of the story behind the painting. Not all artists are experienced and/or professional - a number are enthusiastic amateurs, others are starting out on their careers and some have been working as portrait painters for some time.
  • an idea of the size of portraits selected for the exhibition - by including the portrait painter next to their painting (where feasible)!
The artists included below are those who 
  • attended the Press View 
  • AND I managed to spot and ask them to be photographed with their paintings. (Artlist Labels are very helpful!). It therefore excludes those who were unable to make the trip.

In a way it's a representation of all the 2,537 artists from 84 countries around the world who submitted work for the show and the 20 UK artists and 24 International Artists who whose work was selected for the exhibition

The artists are organised by the country where they live at present - although that is not always the country where they were born

The narrative below includes LARGE PICS - but you have to 
  • click the pic to see the large version - to see the larger version
  • click the link below the narrative - to go to the artist's website. 
Details of where you can see the exhibition are at the end of the post - together with the same post in previous years (2015-2018)

Click the images to see a LARGER VERSION

UK - England

Rumination © Frances Bell
Frances Bell RP SWA is a full time professional portrait and landscape painter. In 2018 she was elected to membership of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters in 2018. Born in Cambridge in 1983, and raised in Suffolk, she is now based in Northumberland.  She studied portraiture at the Charles. H. Cecil Studios in 2001 for 3 years, and then taught sporadically at the Charles Cecil studios for a further 7 summers. She has exhibited widely and internationally and won a number of prizes. Her work has been seen in numerous group exhibitions including those of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters (2005–18) and the Society of Women Artists (2018). She was previously selected for the BP Portrait Award in 2012.  In 2019, one of her paintings was awarded a Certificate of Excellence from the Portrait Society of America in this years International competition.

The portrait is of the artist’s friend, Edd, who has sat for her on previous occasions and seemed to be a good choice for a life-size portrait. Bell was keen to capture a period of intense thought, and Edd’s recently cut hair and full beard suggested a philosophical air to her.

Chinese Cloth © Bridget Cox

Bridget Cox - b. 1951. A practising artist currently living in Cumbria. Trained at the Carlisle College of Art and Design and graduated with BA (Hons) degree in fine art (painting) from the University of Ulster, Belfast. Her work has been seen in solo exhibitions at Tullie House Museum and Gallery, Carlisle; Queen’s University, Belfast and the Clifden Arts Festival, Co. Galway, Ireland. Her paintings are in private and public collections in the UK, Ireland and France and are listed on the Art UK website.
Her portrait titled ‘Chinese Cloth’ is of the artist's friend. Hilary Linton of Brampton. She has sat for the artist on a number of occasions. This has allowed Cox to shift her emphasis from the depiction of the external to the internal life. The complex tones were augmented by Cox who says:
‘I chose the wearing of the hat to emphasise the shape of Hillary’s head and for the interplay of colour and texture within the image.

Saturday, June 15, 2019


My apologies to those waiting for further blog posts about the BP Portrait Award 2019.

Unfortunately I've got website issues which need addressing sooner rather than later
PLUS I'm a tad pooped from a week involving one Awards ceremony, three Private or Press views for three different exhibitions - on successive days - and a lengthy visit to the Hospital for tests. All of which also seemed to involve rain!

So normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Further posts will cover:
  • Artists with their Paintings
  • A 20 minute very articulate video interview with Charlie Shaffer, winner of the BP Portrait Award 2019 First Prize
  • A review of the exhibition
Below is a nice pic of the  BP Portrait/Travel Award prizewinners minus the First Prizewinner
Left to right:
  • Massimiliano Pironti - 3rd prize (Italy)
  • Emma Hopkins - Young Artist (UK);
  • Carl-Martin Sandvold - 2nd prize (Norway);
  • Manu Kaur Saluja - BP Travel Award (USA)
Massimiliano's portrait of his grandmother is in the background

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Charlie Shaffer wins BP Portrait Award 2019

Charlie Schaffer has won the prestigious first prize in the BP Portrait Award 2019 for Imara in her Winter Coat, a portrait of his close friend.
Charlie Shaffer with his portrait and award for first prize in the BP Portrait Award 2019
Imara in her Winter Coat

(1200mm x 900mm, oil on canvas)

BP Portrait Award - First Prize: Charlie Shaffer

He received the £35,000 cheque for first prize last night from Sandi Toksvig, the guest presenter, at the Awards Ceremony for the BP Portrait Award 2019 at the National Portrait Gallery, London.  He won £35,000 and a commission, at the National Portrait Gallery Trustees’ discretion, worth £7,000 (to be agreed between the National Portrait Gallery and the artist)

The portrait can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery from Thursday 13 June when the BP Portrait Award 2019 exhibition opens to the public. Admission to the exhibition is free.

Charlie Shaffer with (left) Bob Dudley CEO of BP, Sandi Toksvig and right Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Chair of the Judges and Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London

His portrait beat 2,538 submissions from 84 countries.

The portrait: His model is an English Literature student who he met after moving permanently to Brighton. Sittings for the portrait took place over four months. The whole point about the winter coat is that she needed to wear something really warm to cope with sitting in his studio’s cold conditions.

Schaffer set out to paint only Imara’s face, but subsequently added the coat after being inspired by Titian’s Portrait of Girolamo Fracastoro in the National Gallery, London, with its pyramidal composition and the subject’s similar attire.

Why the judges liked it:
  • admired the mannerist style of this portrait
  • considered it had a strong sense of a living presence
‘the skilful depiction of a combination of several different textures including faux-fur, hair and skin are revealed by prolonged looking and together these produce an image that is traditional, but clearly contemporary.’
About Charlie Shaffer: Born in London in 1992, Schaffer studied at Central Saint Martins and then the University of Brighton where he graduated in 2014 with a degree in Fine Art. He has also won the Brian Botting Prize ‘for an outstanding representation of the human figure’ three times.

This is the first time he has been selected for the BP Portrait Award exhibition. Schaffer’s practice is mainly concerned with the act of painting, and how the process that allows the painter and sitter to spend time with one another forms unique and intense relationships.

Charlie looked a tad shellshocked while accepting his award and didn't really smile until he met back up with his partner - when he relaxed!

Charlie Shaffer smiles - with his partner at last night's Awards ceremony

BP Portrait Award - Second Prize: Carl-Martin Sandvold

Friday, June 07, 2019

A Botanical Art Bonaza - in England, Scotland and Ireland

Making A Mark has been quiet for the past week because I've been diligently writing blog posts about juried open botanical art exhibitions opening in England, Scotland and Ireland - at the same time(!) - on my Botanical Art and Artists News blog

Here's a summary - with some pics - of what's going on in London, Edinburgh and Dublin right now!

ENGLAND: Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists (SBA)

the end wall display in the Main Gallery at the Mall Galleries

To date I've written the following posts about "Plantae" the 2019 Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists which is an international exhibition with 431 artworks by c.190 botanical artists

It's on at the Mall Galleries until 1pm on Sunday 9th June - with demonstrations of botanical artwork in coloured pencil (today) and painting on vellum (tomorrow).

It's the SBA's first time at the Mall Galleries. Everybody participating and regular visitors are very impressed with the environment and wonderful lighting and how good the artwork looks. Plus the Manager of the Mall Galleries told me on Tuesday night that he knew it was going to be good but it's actually much better!
Winner of the Joyce Cuming Presentation Plate
The Secret World of Potatoes by Lidiya Doukhnevitch (watercolour £1,500)

Coming up next is
  • a post about those artists who were awarded a Certificate of Botanical Merit - which was judged by Lucy T Smith, who illustrates plants for Kew Gardens.  (These are artists who get judged on science as well as art!)
  • finally, the fourth post will be a review of the exhibition as a whole and a commentary on its move to the Mall Galleries. I've been asking people what they think about the new environment.
Incidentally, the SBA raised the bar considerably by putting their exhibition catalogue online and including images of ALL the artwork in the show.

SCOTLAND: Annual Exhibition of Botanical Images Scotia (BISCOT)

BISCOT is an acronym for "Botanical Images Scotia". It's annual exhibition of contemporary botanical illustration which
  • promotes excellence in botanical painting and illustration.
  • gives both national and international artists an opportunity to exhibit in Edinburgh and presents new and original botanical work.
Each exhibitor creates a display of SIX artworks - and the exhibition is open to and attracts international entrants. In this respect BISCOT is the Scottish equivalent of the RHS Botanical Art Show in London - and is regarded as the top show in Scotland in terms of awards and prestige.

The BISCOT Exhibition is held annually at
  • Gardening Scotland (sponsored by the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society) (31 May - 2 June)
  • the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) - John Hope Gateway (5-20 June 2019)​

Sansanee Deekrajang (Thailand) won a BISCOT Gold Medal and Best in Show for her Exhibit of Tropical Palms

BISCOT Medal Winners 2019 is about those artists who won their medals a week ago at the Annual BISCOT Exhibition at the Gardening Scotland show at the Ingliston Showground in Edinburgh

This week the exhibition transferred to the John Hope Gateway at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) where it continues until the 20th June.

I'll be writing another post about this exhibition as it contains a new category - which is the newly launched RBGE Florilegium (see below)

IRELAND: Annual Botanical and Floral Exhibition at Bloom

Iris “Red Rum”” by Siobhan Larkin
Last week Ireland's premier juried botanical art exhibition, the 7th Annual ​​Exhibition of Botanical and Floral Art in Bloom opened at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre in Phoenix Park, Dublin - where it remains until the end of June 2019.

Bloom 2019 - Botanical Art Medal Winners is about the award winners in the botanical art side of the Bloom show. Medals for this show are awarded just for one work.

I'm really hoping that at some point Bloom will upgrade to the same type and standard of exhibition as the RHS and BISCOT which both require exhibits of six paintings by each exhibiting artist - and medal judgements are made about the six paintings as a whole.

But maybe that needs to be a different show - linked to and partnered with a Horticultural Society or Botanic Garden. It will almost certainly need to be in a different venue

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Arts + All Museums Salary Transparency 2019 - a spreadsheet reveals all

A spreadsheet Arts + All Museums Salary Transparency 2019 was put online and started circulating amongst staff in art museums and galleries last Friday morning (31 May 2019). 

It seeks to record the salaries of different workers in art galleries and museums around the world.

It has taken off and is now approaching warp speed! On June 3 Hyperallergic said it had 660 entries. I looked this morning and checked how many had completed it and it now has over 1800 entries meaning it has tripled in size in less than 3 days - suggesting future growth, as it goes intercontinental, will be exponential.

The data it provides includes
  • name of gallery or museum
  • role
  • Department
  • City
  • Country
  • Starting Salary
  • Year of Starting Salary
  • Current (2019) or Ending Salary
  • Hourly / permanent / or contingent employment
  • In part time how many hours per week
  • Benefits?
  • Year this salary was current
  • Years of experience at time of current salary listed
  • parental leave 
and these are some of the people who are recording their salaries

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Tate in the UK

Most of the data to date currently comes from the USA - but is expanding to include people in other countries - and will continue to do so long as it is shared within personal networks.

Also note that some museums are named by type and broad location whereas others are completely transparent and name their employer.

It's now locked in terms of inputting data BUT can be updated
We've locked the Excel sheet below so that the data remains intact. New entries are still very welcome, using the Google Form link above. These are always anonymous. They will be uploaded to the sheet below once every 24 hrs.
If you have any Qs or concerns, email
Being locked means that the frozen pane does not seem to work - meaning that the row containing the column headings disappears off screen which is somewhat irritating - but I'm sure they'll fix that when they work out how to lock cells rather than the whole sheet.

Who started it

Here's some of the news coverage so far and some of the reasons why it came about
Michelle Millar Fisher—an assistant curator of European decorative arts and design at PMA and previously a staffer at MoMA, the Met, and the Guggenheim—created the document and posted it to her Instagram page, where she wrote: “A few years ago, thinking about transparency and the multi-vectored gaps in pay, I started sharing my salaries for each job I’ve had, from nannying to curating, every time I give a career talk. . . . Please contribute if you can.” Fisher told Artnews that she was inspired to make the spreadsheet after writer-curator Kimberly Drew disclosed previous salaries she earned at the Met, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and other institutions. Art Workers Circulate Public Spreadsheet to Promote SalaryTransparency, Reveal pay gaps | Art Forum

Fisher said she and her colleagues had been inspired to discuss their salaries after hearing Kimberly Drew describe how much she was paid when she held positions at the Met, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and other institutions, and that their survey comes in advance of a similar one to be conducted by POWarts later this year. “I disclosed [my salary] to my colleagues who are of different salary levels, in different institutions,” Fisher said. “In disclosing it, they said it was a really useful thing to share.” ‘It’s Helpful to Know All Scales’: Online Spreadsheet Discloses Museum Workers’ Salaries - References to Museum Salary Surveys and further information and guides | Art News

I think the response it is getting is very likely to be instigated by those who have also looked at some of the salaries quoted for some of the top people in the organisation (see TAB 2: Top Staff Salaries) and then become outraged at the massive differentials between the top and lower down the organisation
The pay for these prestigious positions may be lower than you expectMuseum Workers Share Their Salaries and Urge Industry-Wide Reform | Hyperallergic
PS Somebody from Hyperallergic participated and indicated it's $100 per article!
Fisher added, in an email to artnet News, that the contributors are from beyond art museums, and are weighing in from science and other museums, as well as from commercial galleries. That was the intention all along, she says, adding “it is completely open to all who identify with this field,” including some international participants who have already contributed. How Much Do Museum Employees Actually Make? A Tell-All Google Spreadsheet Is Now Making the Rounds - Can a new salary spreadsheet be used as a bargaining chip? artnet news

References to further Museum Salary Surveys and other relevant information

Interestingly one of the tabs provides links to other resources related to Salaries in Museums and I'm copying them below

Friday, May 31, 2019

12th Wildlife Artist of the Year won by Stephen Rew

The Wildlife Artist of the Year 2019 Exhibition is currently on at the Mall Galleries until 2nd June 2019.  It contains 152 artworks for sale which were juried and selected for exhibition.

The Wildlife Artist of the Year juried art competition was established by David Shepherd CBE FRSA (1931 – 2017). It represents his vision for ‘The Art of Survival’ – using art for wildlife conservation. The exhibition is all about exhibiting the best in wildlife art and raising funds for wildlife conservation.

Below you can find:
  • facts about the exhibition and how to see it
  • the list of the award winners
  • my commentary on the exhibition - which this year is focused on what's different

Includes two paintings by last year's winner (top right and centre)
and two paintings of an animal - the polar bear - which won the year before in 2017!
You can see online
  • the shortlist of selected artworks featured in the exhibition and shortlisted for category prizes - for those unable to get to London,
  • an online exhibition of those artworks which didn’t make onto the walls of the exhibition at the Mall Galleries but which the judges believe demonstrate incredible skill and creativity. These are also for sale.
50% of every sale will go directly to saving endangered species and fighting wildlife crime across Africa and Asia.
Unfortunately I missed the preview and awards on Tuesday evening as I was at the National Portrait Gallery all day watching the Final of next year's Portrait Artist of the Year 2020 being filmed. However I visited the exhibition yesterday afternoon and images from this year's exhibition can be found below.

The Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition

50% of the sales of all works of art also goes to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation's wildlife conservation projects across Africa and Asia.

View of the exhibition in the Main Gallery of the Mall Galleries
Every year this exhibition attracts a lot of entries from all over the world. Many wildlife artists regard just getting selected as a major achievement given the number and calibre of the entries it gets.  It's particularly strong on wildlife art of the more exotic variety.

The competition is open to amateur and professional artists aged 17 and over and welcomes all traditional artistic mediums (excluding digital and photography).

For all aspiring wildlife artists it's an ESSENTIAL exhibition to visit. Although you can view the prizewinners online and on Facebook, you can only really appreciate the quality of the paintings and sculpture when viewed in the galleries.

The exhibition opened on Wednesday 29th May and is open as follows
  • Until Friday – 10am to 5pm
  • Saturday – 10am to 4pm
  • Sunday – 10am – 1pm
MORE OBSERVATIONS on the exhibition after the list of awards below.....

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Wildcard Artists wanted for Landscape Artist of the Year 2019

The entry for Wildcard Artists for Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 opened at 10am this morning. I found out from one of those who got an invite because she didn't make the cut for the 48 artists who will be in the pods - while watching the Final of the Portrait Artist of the Year 2020 at the National Portrait Gallery today!

Below you can find out more about
  • where the Heats are located
  • the dates of the Heats
  • how to enter as a Wildcard Artist

Wildcards Artists for Landscape Artist of the Year 2019

You can't be a wildcard unless you can make it to one of the Heats. These are as follows

Herstmonceux, East Sussex

  • Heat 1: 12th June 2019
  • Heat 2: 13th June 2019

Herstmonceux is a village in the Weald in East Sussex.  It's a pretty safe bet that one of the two locations will be Herstmonceux Castle 2 miles (3.2 km) south-east of the village. It may be that this provides two locations - with a view of the Castle and Gardens and a view of the lake. See the website and the map of the gardens

Alternatively they may go for the The Observatory Science Centre which is close by and has some pretty odd shaped buildings

An aerial view of Herstmonceux Castle

Plymouth, Devon

  • Heat 3: 19th June 2019
  • Heat 4: 20th June 2019

My guess is potential sites are:
Plymouth Hoe

Gateshead, Tyne and Wear

  • Heat 5: 3rd July 2019
  • Heat 6: 4th July 2019

I'm guessing here (well they're all total guesses!) but my bet is on:
Baltic Mills and the Bridge over the Tyne
Gateshead Millennium Bridge - when open and tilted

Invitation to be a Wildcard Artist

You have to click on your Preferred Heat to apply - and once 50 Wildcard Places have been given out that's it. Which is not to say you can't just turn up anyway - you just won't get the chance to be in the semi-final.

I'm getting "closed" on each of the Heats which may well mean all the places have gone. Alternatively they have a GLITCH!
On a first-come, first-served basis we will be offering 50 Wild Card places at each of our heats. By bringing your own easel and materials you could join us at one of our spectacular locations around the country and paint a landscape in front of the judges. If your painting impresses them you could win the opportunity to go through to the semi-final and move a step closer to winning a £10,000 commission.
 The Wildcard page includes