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.



  1. *blushes*

    No mean feat behind a couple of kilos of boofy white hair.

  2. How wonderful all of this is! Congratulations to Carol Collier for her justly awarded and beautiful painting! I, of course, would like to award a LAFBP (you work it out ;D) to Sarah Wimperis for her beautiful painting 'Afternoon Hedge.'
    I'm so very pleased to be mentioned again in the Travel Sketcher category! Wait til you see what I'll be up to next year;D.
    Congratulations to Martha and Dermott, too! This post has put a big smile on my face.

  3. Cosmo has a message for Dermott. He says "Huh! Real boys get a hair cut!!!"

    I've told him that to preserve independence it's not possible prizes to the family of those dishing out the prizes - but he's not impressed. In fact, he's sulking. There's a lot of tail waving going on.

  4. Katherine, thank you so much for highlighting all these amazing artists and their work. I'm still slightly stunned to see my name here, but so honoured. Through your posts I've seen incredible artwork and I'm still going through the links! The inspiration will keep me going for a long time to come! Excellent choices, all are SO talented!

  5. MEMO TO: Cosmo

    FROM: Dermott

    REF: Losing

    My heart goes out to you.



  6. Oh Katherine, it is indeed an honor to be recognized, and especially in the company of these most illustrious finalists and all of these other amazing artists.

    Happy New Year to all.

  7. I am amazed how much attention and effort you put into your blog work Katherine...I am very pleased and feel very honored that you put a spotlight on my vineyard strolls.

    Your continous work is a generous gift and deserves a special award : respect and high regards from your readers...
    Thank very much for so many valuable informations and inspirations given in 2007.

  8. I´m most honoured and flattered to be in your short list. Congrats to the winners and have a 2008 full of sketches!

  9. Felicity, Martha, Martin and Enrique
    - a big THANK YOU for your blogging and the images you produced in 2007


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