Monday, December 31, 2007

Making A Mark in 2007 - the results

This is the final post in my annual review of artistic endeavours in 2007 - and relates to my own personal review. I'm taking my plan for 2007 as my start point - and the detailed post for that can be found here. However its thrust was characterised as being thematic
My overall goals for 2007, in order of priority, are:
  • learning – continuing my own personal development as an artist
  • doing – much more emphasis on ‘doing’ in 2007 and producing more artwork using what I’ve learned and the material I’ve accumulated to date. My travels support both ‘learning’ and ‘doing’.
  • sharing – a continuing focus on developing how I can share what I learn and learning from others who share what they do
  • selling – This had a very low priority in 2006. I now aim to introduce changes which might encourage and generate sales in an efficient way.
  • showing – besides showing work on this blog and my website, I plan to participate in a limited number of exhibitions and further develop local and on-line gallery arrangements.
Making A Mark in 2007 - the plan

This was my main focus - again - in 2007 and had a number of different strands.
Learning about other artists

The major change in 2007 were the structured projects to learn more about specific artists and their work. As a result, in 2007, I learned about specific artists through reading very many books and finding lots on online resources - both images and background information - to help with my research.
  • John Singer Sargent - a revelation and very educational in relation to composition, colour saturation and value, his approach to plein air sketching, portraiture and drawing (January),
  • Vincent Van Gogh - focusing on his drawing, which I absolutely adored (February),
  • Waterhouse and the Pre-Raphelites - who I didn't take too at all (March);
  • James McNeill Whistler - very interesting in relation to (May);
  • Georgia O'Keeffe - an introduction to notan (June)
  • Claude Monet - and his gardens (September)
  • William Morris and the arts and crafts movement (Flowers in Art project in June)
I was extremely surprised to find that virtually all the artists were influenced by Japanese artists and the prints produced in the late nineteenth century. This is an influence I'll be investigating further in 2008.

Learning through projects

As well as the projects related to specific artists I had three other major projects during 2007
I've done more book reviews this year than ever before - and that's also helping me learn more about what makes a book work well for the reader - which will come in useful.......

I learned that trying to pack into too much to one month causes problems when the rest of you life doesn'r tun too smoothly and that is going to influence how I organise activities during 2008.

Learning through visiting exhibitions

I made a major commitment to SEE art in 2007 and attended a number of exhibitions as a result. I was delighted that one of the key features of this for me was being able to visit exhibitions with fellow bloggers from both the UK and overseas!

A quick trip through my list of blog posts indicates the following as a record for me and a resource for anybody stuck for something to do on New Year's Day! The links are to the related blog posts. Visits dropped off significantly during my imitation of a limp lettuce phase in the summer.
Plus a fair amount of just visiting permanent collections - here's the post I wrote about activities at the National Gallery.

Over and above the exhibitions listed above, I've also visited the online virtual exhibitions of very many artists on the various gallery sites which are on the internet while pursuing projects and areas of interest.

All in all I've been immersed in looking at art produced by other people for a good part of 2007 and am feeling I've benefited hugely as a result!

Drawing Classes and Lectures

I attended all the lectures about artists and drawing that I could get to in 2007. All of these were free - the only requirement being that they ran once only at a specific location. The major series were the lectures organised by the Ruskin School of Art as a major partner of the BIG Draw 2007. I don't think I wrote up all the lectures but you can read my comments on one of them here - The Draw of Drawing. Also, if you ever get the opportunity to go to a lecture by sarah Simblet grab it - she's an excellent lecturer.

I continued with my Drawing the Head all year and also sat riveted in the Princes Drawing School one evening in the summer watching two films about Lucian Freud in which he talked about his work - very much a one-off event.

Learning about other media

I still haven't tried acrylics or oils - although the urge is growing! However I found I became increasingly interested in etching during the course of 2007 and now want to find a course where I can learn more about it. Plus I need to find aomebody with a decent press! I've also done a number of reviews of various art materials and shared these on this blog.

Continuing development in techniques

I tried drawing using different media in my drawing class and was doing virtually all drawings in pen and ink towards the end of the summer term. I've also been investigating different pens and now want to learn how to etch as well!


I've still produced less art than I would like. What I've done has often been linked to developing my knowledge about different aspects of art history and I've accepted that as the trade-off.

I decided I wanted to develop bodies of work around specific themes and worked some out in advance. Botanical macros and gardens took off, but Canary Wharf skies and landscapes seem to have stalled somewhat. The conclusion I came to was that the demands of work for specific exhibitions and the monthly projects made making time for art which was un-related to either somewhat difficult.

I'm certain that macros of flowers and (unexpectedly) cacti/succulents and gardens benefited from the two months I spent studying 'flowers in art' and 'gardens in art' plus the month spent on Georgia O'Keeffe. I very much enjoyed producing pen and ink drawings of flowers in 2007 - trying different ways of creating images in the process. I loved the abstract shapes found in the cacti and succulents and intend to continue to develop the series which exploded during June on an ad hoc basis.

I also learned I absolutely adore using coloured pencil to achieve the very subtle colour modulations through optical mixing of colours - and I'm very pleased with what I'm achieving as a result. Flower macros will continue into 2008 - and I expect will become increasingly abstracted and colour oriented.

I haven't developed the catnapping pen and ink drawings - but have created a print gallery for some of those produced to date. Producing more drawings is still on the agenda as a 'to do' item. I was rather more successful at developing feline art for the SOFA exhibition in September.

I've done a lot more sketches of people in restaurants and cafes - which are now referred to as Interior Landscapes - with food! I now need to start developing these as more resolved work or to start producing drawings which are not in sketchbooks.


Sharing and educating is very much becoming a theme of my endeavours. I initially trained and qualified as a teacher and I guess it's maybe inevitable that this should be so.

I've created 392 posts on this blog this year. This blog is very much about sharing information and providing access to sites on the internet which people might otherwise not be aware of. What you do with it of course is up to you. What I do is give myself a log of what my activities are and the things I find or do which are interesting to me.

Finding ways of sharing and indexing material I produce has been a preoccupation on 2007. This includes finding ways of indexing information contained in posts on this blog. I'm forever discovering more posts I'd forgotten I'd written to add into the increasingly popular resource sites! These sites in turn bring more people to view my work and to read my blogs. I guess I'd characterise the process as leaning towards a 'virtuous circle'.
This year I started to consider ways of developing workshops for the future - but unfortunately a bout of ill-health in the spring/summer left me in a limp lettuce state and stalled plans for investigating how to make a reality of these. Having resolved what the problem was I'm now 'taking the tablets' and hoping to resurrect planning in 2008.


While very much interested in the business end of art, I've yet again given a very low priority to achieving sales of my work. I'm fortunate to be in a position where I can allocate my time according to my interests which in my case is much more about developing my artwork rather than selling it. However I did manage to create a resource for selling prints and I need to get on with adding in a few more images to that resource. I also sold work at both exhibitions in central London, sold prints via the new Imagekind facility and completed a commission for the Derwent 2008 catalogue for the Cumberland Pencil Company.

The current economic climate (credit crunch etc) inclines me more towards pursuing sales of prints rather than originals.


I exhibited with the Society of Graphic Fine Art and the Society of Feline Artists (both in major galleries in central London); the United Kingdom Coloured Pencil Society; Art for Youth North 2007; and with Fine Line Artists in Ontario, Canada.


The combination of major travels in 2006 and feeling like a very limp lettuce through most of spring and summer in 2007 acted as a deterrent to any major trips in 2007. However a supportive partner and medication to build up my very depleted iron reserves enabled me to be escorted on some trips out to gardens in the summer. I think I'd have really missed getting out and about if the summer hadn't been quite so dire!

Making A Mark - a performance indicator!

I thought I'd finish with a couple of charts of the way the unique number of visitors to this blog have grown in the last two years. This might be seen as a sort of performance indicator for one of my main activities - sharing and this blog!

The top chart relates to 2007 and the bottom one to 2006. I've not shared this information before in this level of detail and my only reason for doing so now is because people sometimes ask about how I get subscribers and traffic.

Overall it's been a steady upward trend with a few bumpy bits along the way (eg I was away for about seven weeks and not posting at all in the summer of 2006!). Basically in my first month of blogging I got 200 visitors and this month I will have nearly 14,000. At the end of today - and 2007, I'll be a few page views shy of 0.25 million page views - for all those visitors who have clicked on the links and visited other pages within the blog.

20072006I put it all down to posting on a regular basis, providing content that people want to read and remembering to find time to visit other people's blogs and to interact as part of a blogging community. Few people are interested in everything but quite a lot of people are interested in quite a lot of my blog posts and a few are interested in most of it and consequently subscribe. The scope of the blog and the breadth of interests plus the 'clout' the blog has earned also means that my blog now ranks well on a number of key words terms and attracts rather a lot of visitors through seaches as a result. It's doing well.

Now all I need to do is to work out what to do next!


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Blogging Art in 2007 - The Making A Mark Awards (Part 2)

Welcome to the second half of the Making A Mark Awards, which includes an announcement as to who won the competition for the best artwork posted by an artist blogger on an art blog in 2007.

Yesterday Part One of MAMA covered:
  • The Painting a Day Stickability Shield
  • FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal
  • The Make Me Think Gong
  • “The Moose”- award for the best animal in an illustrated blog.
  • The Best`Art Blog Project of 2006 Virtual Challenge Cup
Today, Part Two, it's the turn of:
  • The Travels with a Sketchbook Shield (which absorbs the 'Get Off Your Blogging Bottom and Sketch' Brass Plate)
  • The Painting Plein Air Plus Prize
  • The Going Greener Gong
  • The "Tales from the Frontline" Mention in Despatches
  • The Amusing Musings Trophy
  • and finally………The MAMA Prize – for the best artwork completed and posted on an art/illustrated blog in 2007
The Travels with a Sketchbook Shield

As I’m introducing some new awards I’ve decided to amalgamate
  • the “Travels with a Sketchbook Award (won last year by Laura Frankstone (Laurelines) primarily for blogging her sketches of Paris in October) and
  • the “Get off your Blogging Bottom and Sketch”Brass Plate (won last year by Julie Oakley with her One Mile from Home blog).
The new Travels with A Sketchbook Shield goes to the most intrepid and/or industrious artist travelling with a sketchbook and a view to educate.

In a close run contest (lots of umming and aaaahing!) the other contenders for this award in 2007 have been:
This year the winner is Martha (Trumpetvine Travels) of Berkeley California, for her well written, nicely linked and lavishly illustrated posts from all corners of the USA in 2007. She nudged ahead of some very strong competition with her two excellent posts on how to sketch - see my reference in one of my weekly posts below.
Martha (Trumpetvine Travels) has two extended and excellent posts this month on "how to sketch"
  • How to sketch - materials sets out the various different items in her toolkit - she uses pen and ink and watercolour to sketch in her own customised moleskine sketchbooks.
  • How to sketch - demonstration provides a step-by-step demonstration of how she goes about producing a sketch. It's an excellent explanation of all the things she does
30th September 2007: Who's made a mark this week
Martha has had a site about sketchbooks for some time (Trumpetvine Travels which I featured and enthused about on this blog back in April 2006) but only started blogging at the end of 2006. Check out the links to her sketchbook travels below.

Chinatown: Corner of Grant & California by Martha Trumpetvine Travels - Sketchcrawl 14: San Francisco
The Painting Plein Air Plus Prize

This award is for excellence in plein air painting plus a strong commitment to sharing information and was won last year by Ed Terpening (Life Plein Air).

There are a number of people whose plein air work I enjoy. Contenders this year are:
  • Ed Terpening (Life Plein Air) made a serious bid to retain his title with his series of detailed posts on top observations relating to painting plein air.
  • Michael Chesley Johnson (A Plein Air Painter's Blog) teaches painting and writes for journals and also shares some of his approaches, techniques and materials on his blog.
  • Martin Stankewitz with his project A Year in the Vineyard, accessed in English via his blog Edition Handruck, is an education in the value of working in a series and working whatever the weather.
  • self-styled painter of blight William Wray (California Painter William Wray) - whose paintings always remind me of how really good painters can create great paintings out of subjects which the rest of us would walk straight past.
The winner of the Painting Plein Air Plus Prize is William Wray who regularly paints plein air and participates in plein air paint outs as well as doing studio work when he works from references collected in his travels.

12" x 16" oil on linen by William Wray
Thunderbird and Boat, more SLO

His selection and treatment of his subjects on his blog is an education in itself. Bill varies as to how much he talks about his subjects and his settings - but his comments, especially about the light he is painting in and its impact on the painting plus choices made in relation to composition are always worth reading.

The Going Greener Gong

This award is for the art blog which I've found most stimulating in relation to getting us in touch with nature and the environment. It encompasses those who blog about animals, birds, flowers and plants - but blogs aren't required in any way to limit themselves to just those topics but they do need to have a feel for being green and sustainable about them.

Blogs which have impressed me an awful lot this year - so much so that I've introduced this new award and a new Nature Corner section in my blogroll - include:
  • Tracy Hall’s Watercolour Artist Diary blog (recording nature in detail in the Orkneys)
  • Pica and Numenius for two blogs Feathers of Hope (A weblog on nature and place, the design arts, critters, and baseball...) and Bird by Bird (Sketching a bird a day, one at a time). Numenius has also started a third (non-art) blog The Semantic Naturalist which aims to achieve a well-developed semantic network for natural history information. Special mention must go to Pica and Numenius for recording their practical commitment to saving birds.
  • Irene Brady's Nature Drawing and Journaling Workshops (recording a workshop trip to central America - demonstrating how to record nature up close and personal)
  • Richard Bell's nature diary Wild West Yorkshire which has accumulated very many pages since it started in 1989 and to go with the very many admiring comments he has received. (I like the quirky design of this site but have not yet worked out to get a feed off this very unusual blog - but you can add yourself to the mailing list by e-mailing Richard
I've really enjoyed all the blogs which have shown how it's possible to get back to recording nature in sketches, journals, drawings and paintings. It's also been really difficult to choose between them.

However, before moving on to other blogs in future years, I feel it only appropriate that the inaugural award of the Going Greener Gong goes to Richard Bell for Wild West Yorkshire - he's a real stalwart of Nature Diaries and I know has inspired others.

I'm hoping to see even more nature oriented/greener art blogs in 2008!

The “Tales from the Frontline” Mention in Despatches / The “Amusing Musings” Tropy

The first of these is for my favourite blog or blog entries by somebody who lives with an artist - won last year by Ruth Phillips (Meanwhile, here in France) for tales of life with an artist who paints 'postcards' in Povence. The second is a trophy which is awarded for keeping me amused - as Hugh McLeod (Gaping Void) and Maggie Stiefvater (Greywaren Art) did last year. It’s clear from a lot of research that many people enjoy humour when reading blogs!

For me, the undisputed winner of both these awards in 2007 is Dermott the Australian Old English Sheep Dog who lives in Castiglion Fiorentino in Tuscany, Italy with Mr and Mrs We Spent a Long Time Boofing This Dog. He features occasionally in Mrs (Robyn Sinclair) Snowy's blog Have Dogs, Will Travel and now has his very own blog I am Dog Hear Me Snore (check out the labels!). However Dermott believes in sharing his boofiness around and as well as commenting on Mrs Snowy's blog, he also reserves some of his very best art critic efforts for comments on other people’s blogs - particularly the blogs of people who draw cats!

As well as learning to type, flirting, making all his readers laugh out loud and castigating the name of my male cat he obviously has his heart set on becoming an art critic of some renown - so I thought I'd better get on with it and give him a prize for his efforts to date. Then I thought better of it and gave him two prizes!

…and finally The MAMA Award for best picture
It's not a matter of painting life, it's a matter of giving life to painting.
— Pierre Bonnard
Like the Oscars, I’ve saved “best picture” to last! ;) This prize is awarded to the best artwork completed and posted on an art/illustrated blog in 2007. This has been my first exercise in consultation on the MAMA Awards and it all seemed to go rather well (phew!).

You were all kind enough to come up with 19 nominations for this prize which you can see in this post. Can I say how much I enjoyed seeing works I'd not spotted on blogs I know well and having artists and blogs shown to me which I'd not come across before. I highly recommend a slow trip through the nominations and visits to the art blogs of the images which appeal to you.

From these I choose five contenders for a poll of readers of my blog. The five chosen were:
The poll has now closed but recorded 84 votes in total since last Monday. If you click on the words 'view results' you can see how these votes were distributed in percentage terms. The pattern of voting has been very interesting - Sarah Wimperis took an early lead but for the last few days one painting and one artist has been consistently in the lead and, in the end, has become a decisive winner.

In third place came Karl Heerdt with his very atmospheric rendition of "Eruption".

The runner-up was Sarah Wimperis's almost abstract watercolour painting of "Hedge - later afternoon" which has had a devoted following throughout.

I'm pleased to announce that the winner of The MAMA Award for Best Picture, with 33 votes, is Carol Carter (Carol Carter) with Up from the Abyss (see below).

"Up from the Abyss" by Carol Carter (Carol Carter and Hot News)
40x30, watercolour
I like this watercolour because it's unusual (despite it being one of many in her 'swimmers' series). It's big (30x40 inches), it's wet (just look at the wet work in the shadows), it's masterful with technique (done from a photograph I imagine but doesn't look photorealist), it doesn't give up it's meaning at the first glance (brave to demand this on the web with the average surfer judging a painting in less than ten seconds), it's curious (the psychological shedding of an oldself or second skin in times of difficulties....), it's hopeful (the new taking form), it's pretty (love those colours!), it's hip...
nominated by Adam Cope (Dordogne Painting Days)
Carol Carter received her MFA from Washington University, St. Louis. She received a MAA-NEA Fellowship in Painting and Works on Paper in 1994. Since that date she has received quite a few other prizes for her painting as her website biography indicates.
painting for 30 years....... raised a son.... own my own studio..... football/CHIEFS fan... love to bike... and make a living as an artist....
Carol Carter - blog profile
Her handling of watercolour is masterful as is the composition of this painting. You can see more of her watercolour swimmer nudes for a series completed in 2006 and 2007 on her website (which I only discovered this morning - along with her other blog Hot News). Other subjects are extremely exciting landscapes and botanicals and a recent series of paintings of people. It's good to see that Carol also regularly delivers watercolour workshops (as you can see from this list) and you can see what the one held in April 2007 was like on a 'blog'-like account on her website.

Carol only started to blog in August 2007! I'm sure many of us would like to encourage Carol to show us more of her work on her blog in 2008 and I'm leaving a message to this effect on the blog post which relates to this painting. Feel free to do the same!

I should add that, without the help of consultation, choosing who should win some of the categories has been very difficult indeed. Indeed choosing who should be contenders for prizes caused me to spend a long time checking through blogs again and again!

You may not agree with my assessment so I'll just reiterate here that these are all people who have had an impact on me. Do let me know if you do anything similar as I'd love to see what sort of choices other bloggers make. I also know I'll love looking at and reading all your blogs in 2008 - I've got many more in feedreader than I have in my blogroll!

Next up - tomorrow - comes my personal self-assessment. Last day of the year seems a good time post my own review of my blogging and artistic activities in 2007.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Blogging Art in 2007 - The Making A Mark Awards (Part 1)

Last year I inaugurated the Making A Mark Awards (MAMA) as the third part of my review of blogging art in 2006. I very much enjoyed creating the Awards (and inventing the names of each one!) and, judging by the comments, they seemed to go down well with readers so I'm continuing with them again this year.

My original inclination was to recognise the most influential blogs in some way - before it struck me that since it was only my opinion, the central notion of the awards had to be about blogs or blogposts which had an impact on me - so that's what they are.

I've changed the categories this year. I've merged two of the awards and created two new ones - both of which are in Part 2. These are:
  • A new award for an art blog with green credentials.
  • and finally....a new award for the best artwork completed and posted on a blog in 2007 - which people have been voting on over the last week (deadline midnight tonight!)
I'm going to try hard to award prizes to new people this year if I can. You will note that my own personal peccadilloes crop up as implicit criteria – such as the fact that I always value people who make me think, make me laugh and teach me something new.

On with the awards! The Prizes are:

  • The Painting a Day Stickability Shield
  • FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal
  • The Make Me Think Gong
  • “The Moose”- award for the best animal in an illustrated blog.
  • The Best`Art Blog Project of 2006 Virtual Challenge Cup
  • The Travels with a Sketchbook Trophy (which absorbs the 'Get Off Your Blogging Bottom and Sketch' Brass Plate)
  • The Painting Plein Air Plus Prize
  • The Going Greener Gong
  • The Amusing Musings Trophy
  • The "Tales from the Frontline" Mention in Despatches
  • and finally………The MAMA Prize – for the best artwork completed and posted on an art/illustrated blog in 2007
The Painting A Day Stickability Prize
"What they call talent is nothing but the capacity for doing continuous work in the right way." Winslow Homer
Duane Keiser (A Painting A Day) and Julian Merrow Smith (Postcard from Provence) won the prize last year and I'd like to give them both an honourable mention this year for continuing to produce and publish a new painting virtually every single day. Julian informs me he's nearing his third anniversary! I know they both are still producing paintings which make me sit and stare at my screen thinking about how I must take up oil painting!

I’ve previously highlighted the concept of stickability, however - to be honest - I'm less bothered about whether people manage to produce a painting absolutely every single day and much more interested in whether they produce a good quality painting nearly every day.

For me, in 2007 the artists whose daily paintings interested me this year are the same ones as interested me last year - and they're all women! Namely Karen Jurick (A Painting Today), Carol Marine (Carol Marine’s Painting a Day) and Sarah Wimperis (The Red Shoes). I'm so very pleased that they are now all gathered together under the same banner - Daily Paintworks - as it makes my daily viewing so much simpler!

It's also great that both Carol and Sarah started delivering workshops and painting holidays this last year which will enable others to share their approaches to painting. Great also to see that both Karen and Sarah had two of their daily paintings works nominated for the best artwork posted on a blog in 2007.
Bowl of Rubies by Carol Marine
6" x 6", oil on canvas

The award goes to the person who, in my eyes, has been consistent, has posted most often during the year and who has also continued the tradition, started by Duane, of also sharing her talent and her approach with a wider public through the workshops she has been teaching this year. The Painting A Day Stickability Prize this year goes to Carol Marine.

I also find Carol's colour palette very easy to relate to; I love looking at how she varies simple shapes and colours yet again to produce a fresh-looking painting. Probably most important is that I can pick any month and I'd happily hang a lot of her paintings on my walls! This image is her 400th daily painting since 5th October 2006.

The FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal
Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. Kofi Annan
I like sharing information on this blog and in my various information websites (see Making A Mark - Resources for Artists) so I’m always very pleased to see other people who have blogs that focus on the visual arts who also share information which aid artists who are also bloggers in some way. This category is open to people who aren't themselves artists or don't post art on their blog as the sort of information we all need isn't limited to how to draw or paint!

Here are some of the people who immediately came to mind - and who weren't going to crop up in other categories - when I started to think about who should win this award this year.
.....and the winner of the FAQs and Really Useful Answers Medal is Charley Parker for the following series of very comprehensive posts on his blog Lines and Colors

The “Make Me Think” Gong
Artists today think of everything they do as a work of art. It is important to forget about what you are doing - then a work of art may happen. Andrew Wyeth

Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor. Robert Frost
Last year this was restricted to those blogs or near-blogs which produced regular newsletters. This year I’m restricting it to just those who are artists and/or have art blogs. I'm also eliminating the e-mail and newsletter element and am focusing just on the ‘makes me think’ bit as otherwise it would eliminate anybody who can write just one stunning post which really stops me in my tracks and really makes me think – or people who I regularly enjoy reading but who don’t produce newsletters.

So this gong is now about making me think in relation to the activities of artists who are operating online and it’s written by an artist or illustrator who has a blog.

Strong contenders in this category - which means people whose blogs I enjoy reading for the narrative as much as the images - are:
All three frequently refer to the wider aspects of how we live our lives, difficulties we have to deal with and approaches which seem to produce good results. They all speak about both everyday matters and bigger concepts in an everyday way. They often make me step back and think about what I'm doing and how I relate to what they are talking about. In other words they take my perspective out for a spin!

However Robert shared this prize last year so this year I propose that both Tracy and Jeanette share the "Make Me Think" Gong in 2007.

Others who deserve an honourable mention are
  • Anna of See.Be.Draw (for her meditations on the art process and practice) and
  • Rose Welty at Rose's Art Lines for joining in on a number of my art projects this year and ALWAYS finding something out that I didn't!
“The Moose” - Best Animal in an Illustrated Blog Award
The smallest feline is a masterpiece. Leonardo da Vinci

Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose. Garrison Keillor
This award is called “The Moose” after Maggie Stiefvater’s cat Moose who broke ACEO records and won this award for her last year.

There are any number of blogs which should receive an honourable mention for the way in which they portray animals generally – and these include award-winning Rebecca Latham’s Nature and Wildlife Art blog and Tracy Hall’s Watercolour Artist Diary blog for her beautitful rendition of birds and other animals found on the Orkney Islands.

However, the award goes to just one animal – so it has to be a pretty special whether it's just one drawing or a whole suite of them! The contenders this year are:
For this prize drawings or paintings of animals are always going to have the edge over the real thing so I’m afraid that rules out Dermot and Tripod in their exceptionally photogenic mode.

I'm very tempted by Simon's video however I’m awarding the prize to Gayle Mason as she has consistently produced excellent drawings of both dogs and cats during the course of the year – and shared her art materials and approaches as well on her blog.

"Out of Sight"
10" x 14" coloured pencil on Arches HP paper
copyright Gayle Mason

"Out of Sight" also has the distinction of being sold twice over by the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery after it was exhibited at the Society of Feline Artists exhibition in London in September. Fortunately, Gayle's approach meant that by changing the colour of the eyes the second drawing became another original piece as a commission for the second buyer!

Some of you may have noticed there was a certain commonality to the animals chosen as contenders (except for Dermott!). What can I say? Cats are the only animals I draw - maybe I should make this a feline art award! ;)

The Best Art Blog Project of 2007 Virtual Challenge Cup
In art or architecture your project is only done when you say it's done. If you want to rip it apart at the eleventh hour and start all over again, you never finish. I was one of those crazy creatures.
Maya Lin
Blog Projects seemed to be very different in 2007 - with a number of small groups of people or individuals having their own projects. However I either didn't come across or can't recall any really big ones like the ones which won the cup last year.

Possible candidates include:
  • the projects I've been involved with which spent a month focusing on one artist - such as John Singer Sargent or Vincent Van Gogh or took one subject as a theme - however I'll be commenting more on those in my own personal review of the year.
  • the regular challenges of sites like Illustration Friday or Everyday Matters - but I don't participate in either of these although I do very much recognise their worth to other people. I have to confess though that I find the various sites associated with the latter to be extremely confusing!
I've also got to mention the Campaign for Drawing's Big Draw which - if it had an element involving blogging or art bloggers - would have undoubtedly also be on the list as this is one very impressive project!

However, my vote this year goes to the one project which I have participated in which is global and involves lots of people, a lot of whom are bloggers.

This is the International Sketchcrawl drawing marathons which are now taking place on a fairly regular basis.

I also like the way that Enrico Casarosa's arrangements for the various internet sites which provide information (about the sketchcrawl/ details relating to participation and materials / forum / blog / newsletter) are also getting progressively better so that there is now one page on the website which provides clarity and access to the whole project. You even get a countdown now to the date of the next sketchcrawl!

So - that's the first half of the Awards - please come back tomorrow for the second half of MAMA!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Vote for the best artwork on a blog in 2007

Ladies and gentlemen - welcome to your opportunity to vote for the best artwork on a blog in 2007 - from those selected as the finalists from nominations received.

As part of the Making A Mark Awards (MAMA!) 2007, I'm awarding a prize for the best drawing or painting developed in 2007 by an art blogger and posted on an art blog in 2007. 19 nominations were received in total and I'd like to thank all those who spent some time making their choice. I gather people would like more time next year!

My bit of the 'voting' has been limited to acting as juror and whittling down the nominations received to just five pieces. These are shown below in alphabetical order. As always with selection processes, my choice is individual to me. In short, every piece had something special about it which 'talked' to me from the screen.

What you have to do now is decide which one you like the best (see images below) and then vote for it - once only please! ;) I've made the deadline a minute past midnight on Sunday 30th December - but I'm not sure which time zone this is! (I'll check with polldaddy and get back to you). I suggest clicking on the images before voting so you can see the work properly. When you've voted you can view the results by clicking on the 'view result' link in the bottom left hand corner (just above the polldaddy link)
I will then announce the winner in the second part of the Making A Mark Awards in a post later on Sunday 30th December 2007.

"Up from the Abyss" by Carol Carter (Carol Carter)
40x30, watercolour
nominated by Adam Cope (Dordogne Painting Days)

Cream Burmese by Felicity Grace (Sketches by Fiz)
nominated by Robyn Sinclair (Have Dogs, Will Travel)

Eruption by Karl Heerdt (Daily Gems)
8" x 10", oil on canvas on panel
nominated by Bill Sharp (Bill Sharp's Sketch blog)

Krispy Kreme by Duane Keiser
60" x 60", oil on canvas
(A Painting A Day by Duane Keiser)

Hedge - late afternoon by Sarah Wimperis (The Red Shoes)
25.5cm x 20.5cm / 10in x 8in; Watercolour
Nominated by Laura Frankstone (Laurelines)

I've listed all the nominations in a separate post if you'd like to take a look. If you'd also like to use the comments function below and suggest what would have been your final five please do so. There is no right answer as such - and I know I found selecting the final five very difficult indeed.

I'm now taking a break and will be back on Saturday with the Making A Mark Awards. Best wishes to all my readers in this festive season.
Note: What happens when - my end of year review

This is an overview of when I will be posting all my end of year review blog posts:

Nominations for the best artwork on a blog in 2007

Here are the final nominations - with images - for the the best drawing or painting developed in 2007 by an art blogger and posted on an art blog in 2007 which I'm awarding as part of the Making A Mark Awards (MAMA!) 2007. See this post for further details of how the nomination process worked.

There'll be another post following this one later today with the five finalists and voting details. I've got four sorted and am just having a few problems choosing the final one! Please make sure you check back to see the finalists and vote for your favourite of the five finalists.

Finally, congratulations to two Daily Paintworks artists - Sarah Wimperis and Karen Jurick who both had two works nominated.


"What is the Chief End of Man?" by Elizabeth Love ( NZ Art)
nominated by Casey Klahn (The Colorist):
"Elizabeth's painting is a stunning combination of fields and dark gestural elements, balanced and with excellent color intrigue. "

"Kitchen window with three cups " by Sarah Wimperis (The Red Shoes)
Nominated by Vivien Blackburn (Painting, Prints and Stuff)
"I think her sense of light. colour and composition are wonderful and I love the loose handling of the paint. Still life is something I very very rarely do myself but when I see it done this well it makes me feel like doing one :) "
Hedge - late afternoon by Sarah Wimperis (The Red Shoes)
Nominated by Laura Frankstone (Laurelines)
This epitomizes Sarah's deft way of dealing with dualities: light and dark, warm and cool, mass and texture, complementary colors like red and green---all rendered so vividly with her characteristic joie de vivre.
"Note to Self" by Karen Jurick (A Painting Today)
Nominated by Rose Welty (Rose's Art Lines)
"This painting is a transporter for me. It transports me to moments in my memories. Beyond that, the background bushes are full of light and movement. And yet, the woman is full of calm and repose. The moment captured is both still and active - in perfect balance. "
The Color Purple by Karen Jurick (A Painting Today)
nominated by Robyn Sinclair (Have Dogs Will Travel)
For best painting I'm nominating Karen Jurick - The Color Purple - from her beautiful series of people looking at art. It is hard to pick a favourite in the series. Karen's wonderful brushwork is inspiring.
Krispy Kreme by Duane Keiser (A Painting A Day)
nominated by Tina Mammoser ( The Cycling Artist)
Duane has been at the forefront of blogging art and the daily painting movement. This is one of his large scale works and it's just yummy.
Night Tides" by Tina Mammoser ( The Cycling Artist)
Nominated by Anna of Se.Be.Draw.
I nominate this painting for three main reasons: size, technique, and impression. Tina is a creative artist doing artwork in all different sizes, but it takes a strong artist to pull off such a large painting. I am quite impressed with the way she works with colors, mixes, and glazes, as her technique gives depth to the painting and creates a multitude of beautiful shades of blue. The result is an abstract painting of the English coastline that I can relate to although I am sitting in a different part of the world.
"Quiet (Cloudy at the Marsh)" by Karen Margulis ( Painting My World)
Nominated by Miki Willa (Pastel and More)
I am a big fan of Karen Margulis. While she has done a number of marsh paintings, I am drawn to the pallette she has chosen for this one. The sky sets a wonderful somber mood, yet the marsh still invites you in. It really is quite wonderful.
"Up from the Abyss" by Carol Carter ( Carol Carter)
nominated by Adam Cope (Dordogne Painting Days)
I like this watercolour because it's unusual (despite it being one of many in her 'swimmers' series). It's big (30x40 inches), it's wet (just look at the wet work in the shadows), it's masterful with technique (done from a photograph I imagine but doesn't look photorealist), it doesn't give up it's meaning at the first glance (brave to demand this on the web with the average surfer judging a painting in less than ten seconds), it's curious (the psychological shedding of an oldself or second skin in times of difficulties....), it's hopeful (the new taking form), it's pretty (love those colours!), it's hip...
Elementals No. 18 by David Castle (David Castle Art)
nominated by denverguy67
I am nominating this piece as it inspires me and just makes me happy overall. The purples, greens and blues are so soothing and relaxing, and each time I look at the painting, I find something new. It is not your traditional watercolor. Clearly David has an eye for color, sharp lines, and dimension.

Eruption by Karl Heerdt (Daily Gems)
nominated by Bill Sharp (Bill Sharp's Sketch blog)
It's very very difficult to choose a best painting from all the excellent work being done on blogs these days but onr of my favorites is Karl Heerdt's Eruption. Sadly, Karl doesn't seem to be posting to his blog anymore.

Descanso Garden by Dee Farnsworth (Dee Farnsworth)
Nominated by Claudia (Time Passages)
I would like to nominate Dee Farnsworth for her wonderful painting Descanso Garden


Fiesta Orange by Nicole Caulfield ( Nicole Caulfield Art Journal)
Nominated by Casey Klahn (The Colorist)
This drawing presents challenging colors, value arrangements, and compositional elements.
Sleeping by Cathy Johnson (The Quicksilver Workaholic)
nominated by Laura Frankstone (Laurelines)
For Kate, drawing is as necessary as breathing. For her, drawing another human being or animal is a way of knowing and of registering intimacy, love, profoundest respect. In the sketch mentioned above she gives us her husband Joseph deeply asleep, vulnerable, his mouth open, his body fully relaxed. There's intimacy here but not intrusiveness. This is what drawing does, at its best.
"A Tropical Vacation of the Mind" by Debbie Kaspari ( Drawing the Motmot)
Nominated by Rose Welty (Rose's Art Lines)
You can just feel the tree standing there. The leaves on the ground seem to breathe. Not to mention the range of values and textures.
Freedom of Speech by Anita Murphy (Am-Art)
nominated by Martin Stankewitz (Edition Handdruck / Freiluftmaler)
First I thought I had nothing to contribute,but then how could I not think about this..

Cream Burmese by Felicity Grace (Sketches by Fiz)
nominated by Robyn Sinclair (Have Dogs, Will Travel)
Obviously I have seen some wonderful drawings by art bloggers this year but this one was memorable for Felicity's beautiful style and her ability to capture the spirit of her subject.

Postcard from Georgetown by James Gurney (Gurney Journey)
nominated by nominated by Bill Sharp (Bill Sharp's Sketch blog)
I'm going to nominate a second piece from the really wonderful blog of James Gurney. James is a master of many media and his blog is full of valuable observations and just fun to read. This one is a sketch of a street scene in Georgetown Wash DC titled Postcard from Georgetown.
Papi avec Bretelles by France Belleville (Wagonized)
Nominated by Claudia (Time Passages)
And for the best drawing, I would like to nominate France Belleville for "Papi avec bretelles"

What happens when - my end of year review

This is an overview of when I will be posting all my end of year review blog posts: