Sunday, July 29, 2007

29th July 2007: Who's made a mark this week?

UK Summer
oil on panel, 5" x 7"
copyright Rob Ibjema, Painting Wales Diary

It's gray and raining outside as I write this, as it has been for more days than I care to remember this summer. In fact the weather is emphatically 'making a mark'! For plein air painters like Rob Ibjema, the change in the jet stream and its impact on the UK weather this "summer" has meant many fewer plein air painting trips. So Rob has devised a solution - painting in the car.

Above you can see what a summer's day is tending to look like at the moment - and how Rob created a set-up for painting from the car. In the past, I've drawn from my car on a few occasions (eg during Mistral-like wind in France) but I've never ever painted from a car. Rob doesn't say in his post on his blog, Painting Wales Diary, whether or not the windscreen wipers were an essential part of the set-up kit or not!

In the UK we are now officially experiencing the wettest summer on record. The Met Office issued a report last week about record-breaking rainfall figures. See more pictures and information here.

The Met Office today can reveal the three months from May to July 2007 have broken records for this period, even before July is over. Provisional figures from the Met Office show that 387.6 mm of rain have already fallen across England and Wales, making it the wettest May to July since the England and Wales Precipitation record began in 1766. These figures will come as no surprise to many across England and Wales who have suffered flooding from the exceptionally heavy rainfall experienced in June and July.
Met Office News Release 26th July 2007

Have any other UK painters devised solutions for our 'wash-out' summer?

Artists: John Ward CBE, RP, NEAC 1917 - 2007

I only realised this week that John Ward CBE, RP, NEAC died aged 89 on 14th June - planning an exhibition for his 90th birthday. This is what The Independent had to say in its obituary.
John Ward was a painter and draughtsman of exceptional ability, whose work has an enduring appeal for anyone interested in the poetry of the everyday. He is perhaps best known as a portrait painter. The National Portrait Gallery holds 15 examples of his work, including a poignant watercolour of Walter de la Mare from 1956, and a beautiful and sensitive oil of the Princess Royal (1987-88). Between portraits he travelled and painted landscape and architecture in watercolour.
The Independent 16 June (my links)
Do read what John Doyle MBE PPRWS had to say about how he was taught to paint by John Ward in an equally informative obituary in The Guardian.

John Ward's work emphasised drawing and he did quite a bit of work in pastel. I always really enjoyed seeing his work in a show and would always make a point of locating it early so I could also come back to it again at the end. In fact, I drew the wall on which his work hung at the recent exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.

John Ward meets Boris Johnson at the Mall Galleries
8" x 10", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Art Blogs: Trumpetvine Travels

Martha has been in Washington and New York - check out her wonderful posts and sketches, which will all be listed shortly in the blogroll of my Travels with a Sketchbook blog.
Art Education: Tips and Techniques - oil painting

Some posts about oil painting - which I continue to study as one day I MAY just pick up a brush:

Websites and blogging - keyword analysis

I've writing some new text for my website recently. If you want your website or blog highlighted in browser searches, it helps to write text which incorporates keywords. I've found it very helpful to understand a bit more about the relative importance of different keywords associated with art and my particular interests.

The following are some useful key word tools which I've been revisiting recently - plus one new one.
  • The Keyword Selector - Overture Tool is the the one I've always used in the past when checking and editing the text for my website. It also helped me learn about keywords associated with my particular interests which helps with writing blog posts too. I sometimes look at the searches which people do before arriving at my site and they're virtually 100% relevant - which I regard as a major achievement!
  • I use Google Alerts for particularly significant words or work combinations which I'm interested in. I've been very diligent about reading these after they alerted me to the major scraping of my blog by spam blohs which occurred earlier this year. It also helps me to know when somebody references my blog so I can go and say 'thank you'!
Google Alerts are emails automatically sent to you when there are new Google results for your search terms. We currently offer alerts with results from News, Web, Blogs, and Groups.
  • I discovered that the Google Adwords Keyword Tool had been moved to an external site. Ostensibly it's about writing text in relation to Adwords and therefore of no particular interest EXCEPT it's also very informative identifying volume in relation to key words relevant to your own websites and your own areas of interest.
    • Use the "site related keywords" tab to check out key words associated with different URLs - check your website and blog! It can tell you about the keyword search volume for each keyword it finds and the level of competition from advertisers.
    • with the keyword variations tab you can see whether any phrase associated with you (eg blog title)has any sort of search volume and what variations might be used.
I'd love to hear from anybody who has any other useful tools for keyword analysis.


Ed Terpening said...

I love the news about Rob. Even in "Sunny California" (you know the truth on that score, Katherine), I have painted from the car--especially to avoid the wind along the coast.

Thanks for the mention this week. I also posted #6 of 10 observations on plein air painting.


rob ijbema said...

Katherine,i didn't need the wipers,i used the side window,
open for a bit of plein air!

great article,
had 2 lovely sunny days,
what to do now?

have you seen any of the car paintings from Trevor Chamberlaine?

Making A Mark said...

I know - I can't quite believe it - it looks like next week might almost be normal!

I know Trveor's work but I don't think I'ever consciously looked at a car painting. There's a good write-up of his work on the handprint site

A Reason to Paint said...

We keep hearing about your record rainfalls on the news - when you get sick of it could you please send some down to Australia.

I've painted in the car before, sometimes it's safer if you like to do nocturnal painting. The hardest part is having everything within easy reach without spilling paint and mediums on the car upholstery. Someone needs to invent a handy car easel with ample storage!

Anonymous said...


Thank you for highlighting my sketchbook posts!

Your info on keywords tools is also of particular interest to me and quite helpful. Thank you!

Cin said...

wish you could send a bit of that wet weather here, we're experiencing a horrible drought, so sad to see the beautiful old trees outside my window in distress.

terrific sketchbook page!

Jill Smith said...

Katherine, be so careful with google alerts as l was getting them for a year and getting some fantastic sites but six weeks ago l got an awfull virus of a art site then two weeks late got another so the alerts have been knocked on the head.

Making A Mark said...

Jill - I actually open very few of the ones that come up.

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