Thursday, July 19, 2018

Work-Life-Artist #2: Linda Blondheim

This is the second in my series of posts about working artists - looking at what they get up to when NOT making art. 

I'm very pleased to have Linda Blondheim talk about the actual reality of being a working artist and coping with the challenges which life throws at you from time to time.

Through her paintings, Linda aims to create a visual record of the rural landscapes and trees of Florida.  See the post I wrote Linda Blondheim paints the Florida landscape and trees when she was hunkering down last September from the hurricane which hit both Florida - and her country studio.  It also contains links to some of the practical tips for artists which she also writes for her Art Notes blog which covers the reality of being a working artist.

If you an active and practising professional artist (i.e. earn most or all of your income through making and selling art and related artistic activities) and would like to participate in the series please read the note the end of this post.

Linda Blondheim - Landscape painter, Florida


Orange Lake by Linda Blondheim 
acrylic on canvas, 18×24 inches

What does the "real life" of being an artist actually involve?


  • Wearing multiple hats, including good marketing skill, business knowledge, including forecasting and understanding current economic trends both local, national and international global issues. 
  • Flexibility in art and business trends are key to success. 
  • Nurturing collectors is key. 
  • Painting

Is it like what you expected?

Art school did not prepare me for the realities of being a full time artist. I made many mistakes along the way. It is many more times difficult than I expected.

Where/who did you get your ideas of what "real life as an artist" was going to be like from? Were they right?

I have painted since childhood. In the early years, I had a romanticized notion, which was reinforced by my college professors, who did not have to sell art to pay the bills.

Making a living


How do you actually "make a living" (e.g. keep a roof over your head / pay the bills / have a studio / plan for retirement)?

I have two studios, one in the city which is my retail studio and one behind my home in rural north Florida. I sell paintings from both, as well as Daily Paint Works, Etsy, and my own web site.

What percentage of your income (roughly) do you generate from making art?

100%. I have no other income streams.

What percentage of your income (roughly) derives from being involved with art?

100%

How do you aim to be making a living in future?

I will paint as long as I can hold a brush. One of my dealers gave me some good advice years ago. He said to work at painting and build a huge body of work when you are at the height of your skill. You will have these paintings to live on when you can no longer produce good work. I will have good paintings to sell if I can no longer paint, though I pray that never happens.

Time allocation


What percentage of time do you have each week for actually making art? (Is this more or less than you expected?)

I work seven days a week. Most of my painting is done for about 3 hours a day. I am a very fast painter and produce paintings every week.

How do you typically spend your time each day or week or month?

I am very much a person of routine.
  •  I work from 8 to 11 AM each day on marketing, social media marketing, updating my web site, post on my blog, and answering emails each day. 
  • At 11AM I go out to my studio to paint until 2 PM. 
  • I take a rest from 2 to 3:30. 
  • I walk on my nature trails at 3:30 and then paint until 6 PM. 

Upland Florida Palms by Linda Blondheim 
oil on canvas, 20×24 inches, wide gold frame


Challenges and surprises


How difficult is the real life of "being an artist"?

Mostly it is difficult to sell in Florida from June-August. It is brutally hot and I live in a college town, which empties out for the summer.

I have to save for 9 months and live off the savings for three months.

In terms of the reality of working as a professional artist.....

What do you find your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge is competing with retired painters and beginners. There are droves of retirees going into the art field now and they do not have to make a living from art. They like the idea of making extra money and charge low ball prices.
Many people have no idea that professional artists have to charge for the art education they paid for and the many years of training and name brand they have earned.

What has been your biggest surprise?

I think my biggest surprise has been that I can make a living, doing the job I love and what I was trained for. There were many long years of desperation to achieve this.

What are you much better at doing that you expected to be?

Marketing. I taught myself all of the skill I have.

Improving and succeeding


Do you work on yourself to improve or do you work at your job to improve?

Constantly. I research technique and I force myself to study subjects I am not skilled at.

Beyond the art, what do you think makes an artist successful today?

  • A serious work ethic,
  • consistency in skill development both in front of the easel and in business.
  • Good social skills,
  • real care for collectors and friends.
  • Honorable behavior toward other artists.

What do you wish you had known at the beginning of becoming a professional artist that nobody told you about?

I would have studied business and marketing as well as art.

What was the best bit of advice that anybody ever gave you about "real life" as a working artist?

Never think about defeat or giving up. I am successful because I know I will survive as a painter, and I'm willing to do the hard work to make it.

and finally......


What do you think of the idea of trying to create a free resource online? 

A marvellous idea. Helpful to all. 

REFERENCE:
Her 'town' studio is located at 1510 NW 13th Street, Gainesville, FL, inside Padddiwhack.

More about the Work Life Balance for Artists


About the reality of working lives of professional artists

If you'd like to participate in a series of interviews with professional artists - to be published on this blog and linked to in a resource page on Art Business Info. for Artists looking at what they're doing when NOT making art, this is what you need to do
  1. check out my blog post About the reality of working lives of professional artists.
  2. contact me and let me know if you're interested
  3. I'll let you know what the waiting list is like and answer any of your queries.

Posts and Pages


  • Work-Life-Artist #1: Catherine Ingleby | Making A Mark 
  •  COMING SOON: two new pages on Art Business Info. for artists
    • Being a Professional Artist: TIPS
    • Artists Talking About Being Artists

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Call for Entries: ING Discerning Eye 2018

This is about the Call for Entries for the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2018 at the Mall Galleries in November.  


Below you can find:
  • information about the exhibition
  • a summary of information about prizes
  • a note about the judges - with links to their websites (or other information about them)
  • Call for Entries - How to Enter:
    • a summary of the information for artists e.g. who can enter what etc.
    • information about the deadlines and dates and where to find information about regional collection points
    • links to websites and my blog posts showing images of the art selected and hung in past exhibitions for those unfamiliar with this art competition.
The exhibition is open to the public from Thursday 15 November until Sunday 25 November, between 10am and 5pm daily, at the Mall Galleries. Admission is free - and it's certainly an exhibition that I recommend people going to see.

This art competition and open exhibition is promoted by the Discerning Eye which is a charity promoting visual art and sponsored by ING.

(Images are from last year's exhibition).

About this exhibition



The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition is a show of small works independently selected by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world: two artists, two collectors and two critics

What makes this open exhibition different?


The exhibition is unusual for a number of reasons
  • The exhibition is large (c.600 artworks) but the artworks are all SMALL 
  • There is no selection committee; in order to get selected you only have to please one selector
  • Each of the six invited curators - two artists, two art collectors and two art critics - operates independently of the other curators and compete with them for artwork submitted via the open entry
  • The exhibition comprises six small and diverse exhibitions - one for each selector/curator 
  • Each small exhibition (of c.100+ works) represents the individual interests, taste and style of that individual curator
  • Some of the artwork exhibited will be by artists the curator likes and has invited to be part of their exhibition - hence the open entry is smaller than 600 pieces. If a selector leans very heavily towards artists they know/favour and have invited to exhibit (as has happened on occasion in the past eg one educator selected all her students!) then this disadvantages the open entry.

What's the same

  • Drawings, paintings, fine art prints and sculpture are exhibited
  • It's an opportunity for works by lesser-known artists to be hung alongside contributions from better known artists.
  • All works are for sale.

Prizes


The 2018 exhibition prizes total over £10,000 and are:
  • ING Purchase Prize - £5,000 
  • DE Founder's Purchase Prize - £2,500 in honour of Michael Reynolds 
  • DE Chairman's Purchase Prize - £1,000 
  • Meynell Fenton Prize - £1,000 
  • Humphreys Purchase Prize - £750 
  • Wright Purchase Prize - £500 
  • DE Sculpture and 3D Work Prize - £250 
  • St Cuthberts Mill Award – £200 worth of paper 
  • Regional Prizes of £250 each awarded to outstanding entries from the regions

The 2018 selectors/curators


Some are excellent choices - while others are "interesting" choices.... See if you agree!

ARTISTS

  • Bridget McCrum RWA FRBS - Began to sculpt in her 40s inspired by travels and then later by the birds circling above her homes in Devon and Gozo. Primarily a stone carver but also works in stone and bronze, is in collections worldwide and features in some National Trust gardens (and a very long time ago I sat in her garden - which is beautiful - and sketched!)
  • Sadie Clayton - BA Honors Fashion Design (Kingston University 2013). Her work with copper metal led to her work being shown at both Tate Britain and Tate Modern and featured in Vogue (UK), Harpers Bazaar (US) and other major publications. 

COLLECTORS

  • Nick Ross - Was one of Britain’s best-known broadcasters for 30+ years. He was involved in launching the BBC’s Breakfast TV, Watchdog and Crimewatch programmes. Currently an international conference chair/moderator; member of a number of Panels, Committees and Working Groups, patron of a number of national charities, a non-executive director of Imperial NHS Healthcare Trust, and a high profile campaigner to cut UK road deaths, promote community safety, and encourage bioethics.
  • John Benjamin Hickey - a US actor (stage/television/film). In the UK he is widely known for his role as Neil Gross in the TV series The Good Wife and The Good Fight (2011-17).

CRITICS

  • Cherie Federico - From New York. Studied in UK then founded Aesthetica - an art and culture magazine. Also the Director of the BAFTA recognised Aesthetica Short Film Festival.
  • Frances Hedges - Editor of the journal of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts (RSA) before moving on to work for Elle Decoration (UK) then a number of other publications. Currently a contributing arts writer for Town & Country and Harper’s Bazaar magazines.

Call for Entries


The really important information is highlighted in red below.
https://thediscerningeye.artopps.co.uk/

The open submission for artists is now under way. UK-based artists working in any medium can submit up to six works for our annual exhibition this November. Your work must be for sale and it must be less than 20 inches (50cm) in its greatest dimension. You have 64 days to finish your work and get it to us by the last entry date !Full details can be found on our Information For Artists page.

The 2018 Discerning Eye Exhibition will be open to the public from Thursday 15 November to Sunday 25 November 2018. It will be open every day from 10am to 5pm, admission will be FREE and all works will be for sale.


Who can enter?


  • ONLY artists who are currently RESIDENT in the UK.

What kind of artwork is eligible?


Monday, July 16, 2018

Mackintosh: Glasgow’s neglected genius - revisited and updated

A month ago today, when the interior of the Glasgow School of Art burned down to the ground on 16 June 2018 (see ANOTHER Major Fire at Rennie Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art and VIDEO: An Appreciation of Glasgow School of Art), it came in the midst of all sorts of celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Mackintosh's birth.

For example:

The first half of the Mackintosh Building at the Glasgow School of Art
(image from the programme)
....but the third act has still to come....

I watched the programme on iPlayer as I wrote blog posts about the fire - and the first version was an excellent programme.

Following the fire, a decision was made by the BBC to revisit the programme and update it within the context of the fire

‘Mackintosh: Glasgow’s neglected genius has been revisited - including a visit to the burned out shell of the Mackintosh building at the Glasgow School of Art - and filmed the ruins - and then re-edited the programme to take account of the fire.
The film examines Mackintosh's iconic buildings, notably the Glasgow School of Art. Interwoven with his architecture, design and watercolours is the personal story of Mackintosh.
...and so tonight, on BBC4, the revised version is being broadcast this evening at 10pm - and I recommend all Mackintosh fans make a point of watching/recording it. I'll certainly be watching it again.

Take Two - ‘Mackintosh: Glasgow’s neglected genius'

Below you can also find out more about:
  • Mackintosh 150
  • the rebuilding of the Mackintosh Building

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Martin Gayford on Canaletto's paintings of London

I'm a fan of the painter Canaletto, the famous "painter of views".

I'm also a fan of the literate and articulate writer, author and art critic Martin Gayford.

So what better than a video of Martin Gayford talking about Canaletto and his Grand Designs - which was a lecture given and videoed at Gresham College. (Well maybe a better quality video! It was made in 2010!)

Canaletto - The City Seen Through an Arch of Westminster Bridge

It's also remarkable for some scenes of London that have completely disappeared since Canaletto painted them.
In 1746 the great Venetian artist, Canaletto, moved to London following the market and wealth for his work. Nine years later, he left the city attacked by the critics as repetitive and a fake. What was 18th Century London like to be the centre of such hope and disappointment? How did Canaletto feel about the city, and how are we to assess these views today?

Canaletto: Grand Designs - Martin Gayford - Gresham College Lecture from Gresham College on Vimeo.

You can see all future lectures at Gresham College here.

More about Canaletto



More about Martin Gayford


Martin Gayford has been talking with artists for 30 years. He doesn’t just nip into the studio with a notepad: he has a gift for sustaining conversations that unfold across decades. Modernists and Mavericks by Martin Gayford review – Bacon, Freud, Hockney and the London painters

Friday, July 13, 2018

John Moores Painting prize 2018 - winner announced

There's not a lot of press coverage for the winner of the John Moores Painting Prize 2018 - and I have to say I'm not surprised.

Jacqui Hallum's painting King and Queens of Wands triumphed over 2,700 entries to win the John Moores Painting Prize 2018 in its 60th annoversary - which means she wins:
  • a £25,000 first prize, 
  • a three-month fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University, 
  • plus an ‘in-focus’ solo display at the Walker Art Gallery in 2019.



What do you say about a three cotton sheets stained and dyed with inks?
Not a lot if you are the Art Press it would seem...

This is what Jacqui Hallum had to say about her painting.



Bottom line - I've never understood the decisions of the John Moores Painting Prize and I'm none the wiser after this year's choice.

It always strikes me that what the artist thinks they've made and how the judges interpret the painting seem to be at odds quite often.

Listen to what the artist has to say in the video - and then read this....
The curator Jenni Lomax said Hallum’s painting emerged as the clear overall winner from the shortlist of five, which each receive £2,500. “There is something about the provisional and nomadic nature of the work that makes it feel very current,” she said. “At the same time an initial sense of lightness belies historical and personal references that collapse within its folds.” Jacqui Hallum wins John Moores painting prize | The Guardian
One is so very tempted to continue by constructing a sentence which uses the word "arty farty"  - but I won't.... I've got better things to do with my time.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Glasgow School of Art will be rebuilt

The good news is that that Mackintosh Building at Glasgow School of Art will be rebuilt.


Model of Glasgow School of Art - Mackintosh Building
Below is essentially a summary of what's being reported elsewhere following the announcement by Tom Inns, the School's Director on Tuesday.
  1. “We’re going to rebuild the Mackintosh building." - but part of it is unstable and will be dismantled
  2. Building was insured and rebuild costs will be covered by insurers
  3. c.50% fixtures and fittings were in storage at time of fire
  4. A detailed digital model was developed as part of the work done after the last fire. This now provides an immense amount of data about every aspect of the building and how things were
  5. The process of dismantling the building and removing dangerously unstable sections began on Tuesday afternoon
  6. Kier Construction has now "concluded its relationship with the art school". Their statement that adequate fire safety strategy was in place has been 'professionally checked" by school
  7. An ongoing investigation by the Scottish fire and rescue service will determine what really happened to start the second fire - and why it burned out the entire school.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A Botanical Art Bonanza!

Botanical art fans are converging on London this week for the RHS Botanical Art Show. 

In terms of handing out Gold Medals for Botanical Art this is the most prestigious botanical art show in the world.  It effect it's the visual equivalent for botanical artists of the Olympics or the World Cup! Absolutely nothing else presents the same sort of challenge!

That's why in recent days botanical artists have jetted into London from all around the globe - to try and capture that elusive RHS Gold Medal. That said, we've got quite a few Gold Medallists who are returning to see if they can enhance their credibility by winning another one!.

Medals are being awarded as I write - and I'll be there at this evening's reception.

View of part of last year's exhibition in the RHS Lindley Hall
Each of the run of panels is an exhibit of a minimum of six works by one artist
Work is graded against various criteria
- but medal colour is often determined by the weakest not the best - so everything has to be excellent!
However, while in London to see this show there is also the most fantastic opportunity to see other top class botanical art exhibitions - and this is a list of the details of everything on offer in London - in terms of botanical art!

Those pursuing other genres might pause for a moment and reflect when there were this many top class of exhibitions in prestigious venues for other subject matter!

Royal Horticultural Society


The RHS Plant and Art Fair (10-12 July 2018) includes three international exhibitions of botanical art and photography. These are:

The RHS Botanical Art Show


Venue: RHS Lindley Hall, Elverton Street,
Dates: 10-12 July 2018

For more information:
Plus this is information about how the RHS Botanical Art Show works for those aspiring to show in 2020 (you're already too late for 2019!). It's the only show I know where you have to be approved BEFORE you can submit your artwork
This is also a show where it pays to sort your visa out in good time..... It loosk like we might have lost one exhibitor to visa problems at the UK end.... - which will be very disappointing

This is a video I made of last year's Botanical Art Show



The number of botanical artists this year - per country is as follows:
  • 19 x UK + 1 group
  • 7 x Japan
  • 4 x Korea
  • 2 x Italy
  • 2 x New Zealand
  • 2 x Turkey
  • and one each from Australia, Austria, Brazil, Hong Kong, Thailand and the USA​

The RHS Botanical Photography Show


Venue: RHS Lawrence Hall, Greycoat Street, Westminster
Dates: 10-12 July 2018

Polina Plotnikova - at a previous show

More information:

Worth a Thousand Words


Venue: RHS Lindley Library 80 Vincent Square LONDON SW1P 2PE
Dates: 5 July - 17 August 2018

This is the "must see" for every visitor to the Botanical Art Show - if for no other reason than it is adjacent to the show in RHS HQ in Vincent Square.

View of part of the exhibition

More information:

Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew


There are two exhibitions on display at the moment - in the same place and for the same dates.

Venue: Shirley Sherwood Gallery, Kew Gardens - which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year
​Dates: 31 March - 16 September 2018

​The Florilegium: The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

This is an exhibition by the Florilegium Society of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. It was originally mounted at the RBGS Gardens in Sydney in 2016 as part of the 200th anniversary of the Botanic Gardens. ​

Part of the Florilegium exhibition at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at Kew
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - This is a world class exhibition and sets a very high standard for exhibitions by Florilegia

Links:


Down Under II: Works from the Shirley Sherwood Collection

The second exhibition - Down Under II: Works from the Shirley Sherwood Collection - is a follow on from the first exhibition of artwork in the Shirley Sherwood Collection of native Australian and New Zealand plants created by local and international botanical artists.

Natural History Museum


There's always an exhibition of nature botanical or natural history in the Images of Nature Gallery at the Natural History Museum
Venue: Images of Nature Gallery, Natural History Museum

The Art of British Natural History : Images of Nature

When I last visited besides the examples of botanical artwork by many of the great artists from the past there were some paintings of natural habitat by Barbara Nicolson and a reproduction of a watercolour painting of orchids by the late Pandora Sellars

Orchids (1985) by Pandora Sellars (1936-2016)

Rumanian Cultural Institute

The exhibition of botanical paintings included in the Transylvania Florilegium has returned for July and August

Jonathan Cooper Gallery


Finally for the true and dedicated fans there are some excellent artworks by botanical artiosts from England, Scotland, Australia and the USA on display at Jonathan Cooper's 30th anniversary exhibition in Chelsea