Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Good news re Great Paintings of the World with Andrew Mar

Good news for all of you who were expecting to see the next episode of Great Paintings of the World with Andrew Marr on Channel 5!

It will be continuing... just not yet.

Andrew Marr in the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris - in the room with Monet's 

We were all stumped when no Episode 4 appeared in the schedules or on Channel 5.

I thought it might be deferred for a week - but next week came and still no episode.

Meanwhile the traffic to my last blog post Great Paintings of the World with Andrew Marr was ROCKETING while everybody was looking online to see what was happening - and asking the question WHERE IS THE NEXT EPISODE?

So in the end I annotated my last post with what had NOT happened and wrote to Channel 5.

I got a response and here is the formal version
Due to Covid-19 affecting production for the full 10 parts of the series Great Paintings of the World with Andrew Marr, Channel 5 only intended to show the first three episodes in June 2020. The rest of the series will follow later this year" Channel 5 Spokesperson
So blame Covid-19 for the non-appearance of Episodes 4-10 - but they will be along later in the year.

I've asked Channel 5 to let me know when the dates when they plan to start broadcasting again so I can let you all know to start watching again!

Below you can:

  • read about the research behind the programme - which found that young people know very little about art history
  • view Monet's Waterlilies in the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris via
    • the museum's virtual visit
    • my video
    • my slideshow
  • read the reviews by TV Editors and one decent art critic/journalist

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Which London art galleries and museums reopen next week?

Here's a summary list of the art galleries and museums in London which begin to open from next week  PLUS
  • what you need know in order to visit 
  • which are offering extra benefits for essential workers who have kept us all supported through this health emergency. 

The RA reopens next week

I won't be venturing out to see any of them in the near future. I've got a risk factor re Covid-19 so am more content viewing art online right now.

All Galleries REQUIRE pre-booking in order to manage numbers and social distancing

Masks will be recommended by all galleries.

The list below is ordered in terms of date of reopening and amount of information available on the website.

Royal Academy of Arts

The health and safety of our visitors and staff is paramount. We will be following government advice on health and safety as a minimum, with additional measures and standards also in place. Among these measures will be a limited number of visitors at any one time, and asking that all visitors wear a face covering while at the RA.
Open to Members: Thursday 9 July
Open to the Public: Thursday 16th July
Days of the week: Thursday–Sunday
Hours: 11am–4pm
Advanced booking: ESSENTIAL https://knight.royalacademy.org.uk/page/reopening-corona
the UK’s Emergency Services, NHS and social care workers, Blue Light Card holders will be able to visit for free. Simply book online using the promo code THANKYOU. We'll require employee ID when you arrive for your visit.

National Gallery

added social distancing, one-way art routes and a contactless experience.
Open to Members: Monday 6th July
Open to the Public: Wednesday 8th July
Days of the week: daily
Hours: 11am–4pm

Wallace Collection

A one-way fixed route will be in operation to visit the galleries, starting on the upper floor. Not all galleries will be open for visitors.
The café and cloakroom will be closed.
Open to Members: ?
Open to the Public: Wednesday15 July
Days of the week: ?
Hours: 11am - 3pm
Exhibition Programme


One-way routes and safe distancing guidelines are in place throughout the galleries. Prepare for a bit more walking than usual. Access information for each gallery will be published mid-July.
Open to Members: ?
Open to the Public:  All Galleries reopen on Monday 27th July
Days of the week: ?
Hours: ?
Advanced booking: ESSENTIAL - see https://www.tate.org.uk/visit
Exhibition Programme - see individual Tate Museum website for programmes. Some exhibitions are extended; some are cancelled

Serpentine Galleries

Please only come if you can get to the gallery safely. Group size is limited to maximum 6 people.
Open to Members: ?
Open to the Public: 4th August
Days of the week: ?
Hours: ?
Advanced booking: ESSENTIAL https://www.serpentinegalleries.org/visit/

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Open to Members: ?
Open to the Public: AUTUMN 2020
  • 4th July - open for gardens, pop-up shop and café
Days of the week: ?
Hours: ?
Advanced booking: ESSENTIAL
Exhibition Programme: ?

Victoria & Albert Museum 


British Museum 


National Portrait Gallery 

- Closed for the next 3 years - see my previous blog post National Portrait Gallery not reopening - until 2023

Friday, July 03, 2020

New VIRTUAL Exhibition of Portraits for NHS Heroes

One of the things I discovered this week when investigating the scope to produce online exhibitions was that there is now an online exhibition of portraits of NHS Heroes by 15 artists who all members of the Contemporary British Portrait Painters (CBPP)

Still of the Video of the exhibition 
GO TO https://thenetgallery.com/portraits-for-nhs-heroes/ TO SEE THE REAL THING

Tom Croft - the portrait painter who initiated the Portraits of NHS Heroes Initiative - partnered with The Net Gallery to create a VIRTUAL Exhibition showcasing portraits of NHS staff, created during the current crisis.

The virtual exhibition does two great things
  • first it celebrates frontline workers through portraiture and 
  • second it will help raise funds for NHS Charities Together, to help support to the ongoing COVID-19 relief effort.
The Covid-19 Urgent Appeal was launched by NHS Charities Together to acknowledge and support NHS staff, volunteers and volunteers impacted by Covid-19 across the country. The money raised is funding grants to help NHS charities support NHS staff, volunteers and patients in ways above and beyond what NHS funding can ordinarily provide, including wellbeing support and costs associated with travel, parking, accommodation and volunteer expenses. It also provides somewhere comfortable so staff and volunteers can take a break, use of electronic-tablets so patients, staff and volunteers can stay in contact with loved ones, and counselling support to protect mental health and help staff and volunteers process what they are dealing with.
The exhibition comprises 15 portraits of NHS staff. Some are painted in their normal work clothes. Others are painted in what they wore while treating and caring for Covid patients

The portraits were scanned and printed using a high res printer and then installed in the interior of the Fitzrovia Chapel in London, the former chapel of Middlesex Hospital and then both were scanned and the exhibition was constructed.

Each portrait has two circles bottom left and bottom right

  • bottom left provides the name of the worker and a quotation from them
  • bottom right provides a pop-out of the portrait with the title of the portrait and the name of the artist 
This is what you see when you click on the right hand circle below each portrait

There are also circles on the floor which allow you to navigate
where you want to "stand" to view the paintings. Use you mouse to scan left and right.

This is what Tom said on his page about the initiative
So who should be immortalised today? Who should line the walls of galleries and have future generations look back on as the people who really made a difference and stepped up, in our latest darkest hour. The people who put self interest and self preservation to one side and literally risked their lives knowingly on a daily basis for our well being. The NHS workers. Absolutely.

So I posted a video on Instagram saying I would like to paint a free portrait to the first NHS Key Worker to contact me. I also suggested that other portrait artists might like to offer one too. Artists were asked to post their portraits under the hashtag #portraitsfornhsheroes so everyone could be seen online in a virtual exhibition. Then at the end of the pandemic, when restrictions are lifted and mass gatherings are allowed again, we could have a wonderful exhibition to celebrate and say thank you, to the heroes of the NHS. Hopefully this part will happen in time…

You can follow #portraitsfornhsheroes on Instagram - and see more portraits of NHS Heroes. There are now over 12,000 posts which carry this hashtag.  See some of them below

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Virtual exhibitions online - what about the software / webware?

Two things became very apparent during the Pandemic

  • art galleries had their galleries closed - and finally appreciated why websites are important - and why you need more than just small thumbnail images of the artwork on your website - if you've got one.
  • art societies had their exhibitions cancelled - and finally got the point of the "virtual online art exhibition" - but haven't always known how to go about creating one

I plan to write something about how to develop an "online art exhibition" (as a replacement / add on for art gallery / art society exhibitions).

To this end I'm trying to identify relevant website software and/or webware platforms which have the functionality to deliver efficient and effective virtual exhibitions online.  
I'm also contacting software agents re "online art exhibition gallery" software/webware and pricing plans and how they work.

Help please

Can you please 
I'd much appreciate it, if those people who have been involved in developing an online exhibition told me

  • What software / platform host have you used - and what were the pros and cons?
  • When choosing which software / platform option to use what sort of criteria did you use to make a decision?
  • What did you learn from the experience?
  • What would you have done differently and/or spent more time on?
Plus for all those who want to know more about what you need to do to create a virtual online exhibition for an art gallery or art society
  • What do you want to know re how to develop an online art exhibition?

If you just need help with websites

For those wanting to know more about how to develop a better website more about see my HUGE section on Websites for Artists on my Art Business Info for Artists website

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

My top 10 portraits from BP Portrait Award 2020

What you see below is my choice of the ten portraits I liked the best in the virtual BP Portrait Award 2020. I've tried to pick up on themes I've commented on before - plus which portraits caught my eye and made me linger longer over the image

It's very difficult to review an exhibition which you can't see except via online images. I know from my many visits to the past exhibitions what a difference seeing a portrait in person is - compared to seeing it online. I have to say:
For the record I've chosen two heads, one head and upper torso (including hands) and the other seven are all full figures. Like I've said many times before, the good portrait painters are the ones who can tackle the whole body and not just the head.

NEXT BP Post: I'll be commenting more on the statistics from the exhibition in one more post - the analysis always makes for interesting reading.

1. Marriage by Jennifer McRae

Marriage by Jennifer McRae
The double portrait is of the artist and her husband, David, with the studio forming a third presence. The work required planning for the sittings to coincide with David’s own work schedule, but takes inspiration from Old Master artist self-portraits such as Diego Velázquez’s appearance in Las Meninas.
My favourite. I love Jennifer McRae's unique and impactful style of painting and almost everything she does - including this portrait.

Her style is so distinctive that I can spot her portraits from a very long way across the other side of a gallery.  Her ability to make oil look like watercolour (her other main medium) is amazing! I also like her warping of perspective to get everything in that she wants to include and her meticulous attention to the real portrait - of her paints!

About Jennifer McRae

  • Education: BA (Hons) degree in fine art painting from Grays School of Art, Aberdeen.
  • Exhibitions: Her work has been seen in solo exhibitions in the USA and UK and on numerous occasions in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, and the Worshipful Society of Painter-Stainers exhibition winning the gold medal in 2019. Her work was previously included in the BP Portrait Award in 2009 and 2011, winning the Travel Award in 1999. Her portraits of Michael Frayn, Thelma Holt, Leonard Manasseh and Baroness Rebuck are in the Collection of the National Portrait Gallery. 
  • website: http://www.jennifermcrae.co.uk/

2. Kitty, the Teenage Baker by Mark Draisey

Kitty, the Teenage Baker by Mark Draisey
© Mark Draisey
My second favourite painting. I really liked this one because of the total believability of the individual and the beautiful colours and great textures. It just felt fresh and different.

The portrait is of the artist’s acquaintance, Kitty.
He says: ‘I first became aware of her in 2019 when, at the age of fourteen, she opened a pop-up bakery selling her home baked sourdough loaves and buns. Working with her father, they managed to raise the money to open a shop in South Oxfordshire through crowd funding, and every day they’re open, the stock completely sells out.’

About Mark Draisey

Mark Draisey worked as a professional cartoonist, caricaturist and illustrator for over 30 years - including designing puppet heads for Spitting Image. Currently works as a freelance illustrator for media companies and as a portrait painter.

Education: BA (Hons) degree in illustration at Brighton Polytechnic
Exhibitions: His work has been seen in the annual exhibitions of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. He was elected a member of the Oxford Art Society in 2019.
Website: http://www.markdraisey.com/