Sunday, July 22, 2018

About Old Master Copies and Auctions

Have you ever fancied making a copy of an Old Master Painting?
Lots of art students do this in order to understand better how an artist painted. Copying old masters was and continues to be considered by some to be a traditional form of training for an artist wishing to paint in the manner of the Old Masters.

Of course, every art museum and gallery is also home to a number of copies of paintings by old masters and otherwise famous and or well reputed painters. Whether they know they are copies is another matter!

But who knew though that Sotheby's holds online auctions of copies of old Master Paintings!

samples of the sort of copies of old master paintings to be sold at the upcoming auction in the autumn

Its website states about Old Masters Copies Online (opening for bidding 5th - 13th September 2018 | 10:00 AM EDT)
We are delighted to announce that we are now accepting consignments for the second edition of the online-only Old Master Copies auction, which will be open for bidding this coming Autumn from 5 -13 September 2018. The sale will feature a vast range of paintings by accomplished followers and students of some of the greatest old master painters.
Apparently Sotheby's held its first auction last year in October 2017 - and Old Master Copies Online: Imitation & Influence is said to have been very successful.

This is the 2017 slideshow - Respected Reproductions: Highlights from Old Master Copies Online - which features paintings included in that auction PLUS the sort of prices they were expected to fetch. I haven't been able to locate the actual results page for that auction - but the fact they're having a second auction in under a year suggests there is a market for this sort of artwork.

More about Old Master Copies

Personally speaking I have absolutely no problem with Old Master Copies - just so long as they are sold as copies and not as forgeries!
Buying copies can be an affordable option for budding collectors and a great way for seasoned collectors to expand their collections. (Invaluable)
Should you be thinking you now have the perfect project for your summer holiday(!) - here's some more information about "Old Master Copies"
The Invaluable article provides a useful glossary / summary of terms related to Old Master Copies

  • Autograph: sometimes signed by the artist, a known original usually described as “by” the artist.
  • Studio of: created in the studio or workshop of the artist, possibly with his or her supervision or participation; can also be described as “workshop of” the artist.
  • Circle of: a work created by someone associated with the artist, during or in the years immediately following the artist’s own lifetime; can also be described as “follower of” the artist.
  • After: an exact or partial imitation of a known work by a famous artist, done during or after their lifetime; a copy of another work.
  • Style of: an interpretation of the artist’s style done by someone else at a later date, usually described as “in the style of” or “in the manner of” the artist.

My guess is that these auctions are mainly dealing with copies made around about the same time as the original as opposed to copies made in more recent times.

It does however beg the question of where does one go to commission a copy of an Old Master.

I rather like the notion that you include something extra - or exclude a key details of the original painting - so the overall impression is similar while at the same time making it quite clear that it is NOT the original.

I've certainly known artists in the past who have been asked to deliver such a painting - and for those trained in the ways of old master painters I imagine it could be a nice little earner - just so long as it is sold as an "After" or a "Style of" painting. 

Otherwise one can get in quite a bit of trouble.... and even end up in prison!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Curator's introduction | Thomas Cole: Eden to Empire

If you've not yet visited the Thomas Cole: Eden to Empire exhibition at the National Gallery in London (or maybe you missed Thomas Cole's Journey - Atlantic Crossings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art earlier in the year) you may well be interested in this 'official' video on YouTube of a lecture by the curator, Tim Barringer.

The video lasts for nearly an hour during which you get a history of Cole's development as a painter and see very many of his paintings. In terms of the lecture, Barringer makes Cole come to life in terms of his life experiences and places he visited - and in particularly how his vision and practice was influenced by seeing Turner's paintings - and meeting Turner.

I think it's very helpful and will enable those who watch it to get more out of the exhibition.

Barringer is the Paul Mellon Professor in the History of Art, Chair History of Art at Yale University and specialises among other things in British Art, 1700 to present and American and British Landscape Painting, 1750-1900.

Paintings and Drawings by Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole (1801-1848) was the son of an unsuccessful textile manufacturer in Bolton, Lancashire. The family emigrated to the USA in 1818 at the height of the industrial revolution. Cole eventually became a landscape painter who in time became nationally revered

You can see his paintings and drawings online as follows:

 Exhibition: Thomas Cole: Eden to Empire

This exhibition is a rare chance to see Cole’s epic works – mostly travelling from America – including his masterpiece the ‘Oxbow’, and his awe-inspiring portrayals of Eden showing the force of nature.

Cole’s paintings are shown alongside the sublime masterpieces by Turner and Constable that inspired him.

Venue: Ground Floor Galleries, National Gallery, London
Dates: 11 June 2018 - 07 October 2018
  • members go free
  • Standard admission: £10 Mon – Fri | £12 Sat – Sun  
  • Book online and save £2 £8 Mon – Fri | £10 Sat - Sun

Reviews of the Exhibition

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?


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. 

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.


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!


  • 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. 


  • 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).


  • 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.

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.