Monday, December 17, 2007

The value of giving awards and testimonials - and a prize!

40cm x 30cm, coloured pencil on Arches HP

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

End of year traditions include giving awards to those who have done something excellent during the year. Last year I decided to initiate the Making A Mark Awards and I will be repeating them again this year - posted to this blog on 29th and 30th December .
Ladies and gentlemen - I'd like to introduce you to "The 2006 Making A Mark Awards" for excellence in blogging art and about art in 2006 - according to me. Absolutely no consultation or voting has been involved!
Blogging Art in 2006 - The Making A Mark Awards
However, this year I'm going to to consult with you about one award and have a poll - for which I will need nominations - more details below.

The value of testimonials
testimonial noun 1 a letter or certificate giving details of one's character, conduct and qualifications. 2 a gift presented (often in public) as a sign of respect or as a tribute to personal qualities or services.
Chambers 21st Century Dictionary
Testimonials mean that we communicate, as a community, about what we value - and in doing so we can share that value when it is something that others can also experience.

It seems to me that blogging is an excellent medium for testimonials about the work and people and products associated with art. I certainly use my blog on occasion to focus on an artist or an art material I use or a workshop/course - and I write in a way which is intended to be a tribute. I make a mark in respect of the subject.

I want to make a mark - give a testimonial - because I know how much I value excellence and high quality and because of how much I have benefited in the past from being told about people or things which are excellent. It's my version of 'paying it forward'.

I also do it because I know how much it can mean to the other person, or the manufacturer or provider to know that they are "hitting the mark". Besides the compliments I get on this blog as comments I also regularly get e-mails from people saying how much they value the content of my blog. I'd like to thank all those people who have written this year - it means a lot to me.

Speaking personally I endeavour to be both generous and selective. With the weekly posts I try to be as inclusive as possible so that people or organisations who contribute something of value or creditworthiness are recognised. However I also feel the need to exercise judgement and to make sure I don't undulge in 'happy clappies' too much in this blog or use the word 'excellent' too often - otherwise it loses all meaning.

Testimonials can also have a positive impact over and above just making you feel good. I also know from my marketing background and experience that the power of personal/user feedback can be truly awesome. 'Word of mouth' can have a very long 'shelf life' and great reach and thus can also have more impact than any amount of advertising. 'Word of mouth' (or blog) is truly 'viral marketing'.

So, in my opinion:
  • if you experience something and it is of value - say so! Hence why I write my 'who's made a mark this week' posts as well as highlighting books, exhibitions, artists etc.
  • If something you experience is particularly excellent - highlight it - provide a testimonial!
For example, I wrote about The best ever workshop - pastel painting with Sally Strand in October last year when I got back from my trip to New England. As many of you know, people who participate in workshops and painting holidays very often share their experiences of tutors that have been excellent and experiences which have been awful. It's one of the most enlightening parts of any workshop or holiday! Last year, it seemed to me that blogging about an excellent experience was a natural extension of that - hence the post. That post continues to rank high in my stats relating to individual posts and Sally has now even put an extract from the text on her website - Read a workshop student's testimonial!

The value of awards - and the best drawing or painting of 2007 by a blogger

Awards may seem a bit cheesy - but I also think they can be great fun as well giving me a way of recognising who, in my opinion, has been excellent - 'who's made a mark this year'.

I'm trying to give awards to the best of the best - with the natural caveat that I didn't see or read everything that was on offer!

Which is why I need your help.

As part of the Making A Mark Awards (MAMA!) for 2007, I'd like to introduce a new award and give a prize to the best drawing or painting of 2007 produced by an art blogger in 2007 and posted on an art blog in 2007.

However I'm only too conscious that I only see a small part of what gets posted - however working on the basis of the collective wisdom of crowds (which is exceedingly powerful) - it seems to me that between us we can maybe work out some candidates of worth.

So we're going INTERACTIVE! The way it's going to work is like this:
  • you identify and nominate a candidate for the best drawing or painting you've seen on an art or illustrated blog in 2007
    • You can nominate a maximum of two artworks - one drawing and one painting.
    • The nominated artwork must have been produced by an art blogger in 2007 and posted on their art blog in 2007. Work by non bloggers or work posted on websites which are not blogs is not eligible.
    • You may not nominate your own work
    • You can't nominate anything I've done! (I'm not going to nominate either - but will choose who the finalists are)
  • Use the comments to nominate. In creating a nomination you are paying tribute to the person concerned, the award becomes inclusive and anybody can go and take a look at the nominations.
    • You must state the name of the artist/blogger, the name of their blog (and provide its URL)
    • state the date of the post and the name of the work which you are proposing. (Ideally use html to post the URL of the post in question.)
    • Please also say why you are nominating this work.
  • The Deadline for nominations is midnight GMT on Friday 21st December. That gives me two days to complete viewing of all images and to get a poll and permissions sorted.
  • I'm going to need the written permission of the person concerned to post their image on this blog - if permission isn't forthcoming then the image can't be included in the poll. So ideally any help which can be given in terms of nudging that person into saying they're happy to give permission in the comments section below would be much appreciated - saves me having to ask!
  • I will be the juror for the purposes of selecting 5 finalists
  • On 24th December I will then create and post 5 images and a poll on this blog. You then vote to choose the best drawing or painting of 2007 (produced by an art blogger and posted on an art blog). Which gives you something to think about while I take a short break over Christmas! ;)
  • The deadline for voting is midnight (GMT) on Saturday 29th December.
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:
  • 17th-21st December: Poll for the best artwork is open for nominations - in the comments section of this post
  • Friday 21st December (midnight): Deadline and close of nominations for the best drawing or painting produced by an art blogger and posted on an art blog.
  • Saturday 22nd December: Blogging Art- Review of the Year (Part 1)
  • Sunday 23rd December: Blogging Art - Review of the Year (Part 2)
  • Monday 24th December: Images and poll for the "Best Artwork by a Blogger in 2007" will be posted
  • Saturday 29th December: Making A Mark Awards (Part 1) and deadline for poll.
  • Sunday 30th December: Making A Mark Awards (Part 2 - includes the results of the poll)
  • Monday 31st December: My own personal review of the year.
[Blog post amended on 18th December to make it clearer that this is part of a suite of awards called the Making A Mark Awards]

NOTE and Links:

The End of the Year Review:
At the end of December 2006, I did an "end of year review" about blogging art which came in four parts (which now all have a label - 'who's made a mark this year')
You can see the timetable for this year's End of the Year Review in the above post.


  1. It is my great pleasure to nominate for the award of best drawing: Orange Fiesta, by Nicole Caulfield, of Nicole Caulfield Fine Art dot Blogspot. Posted September 15th, 2007.

    This drawing presents challenging colors, value arrangements, and compositional elements.

    I'll get back with a painting nomination.

  2. Painting is harder.

    Finalists I am looking at for my nominee are Elizabeth Love, Gesa Helms(very free & colorful work), Joan DaGradi, Marcia Molnar, Martha Marshall, Tracy Helgeland, and Michael Chelsey Johnson.

    One thing that is hurting some artists is that, while they do perfectly great finished works, their miniatures for frequent posts fall off for me. Not that they aren't good and great works, but a little bit of scale helps when judging technique and statement.

    Here it is;

    I am pleased to nominate for best painting:
    What is the Chief End of Man?
    May 2007
    Mixed media on canvas
    by Elizabeth Love, which can be viewed here:

    Her blog is nzart-lizzie-l.blogspot and the post is dated May 31st, 2007.

    Rationale: Elizabeth's painting is a stunning combination of fields and dark gestural elements, balanced and with excellent color intrigue.

  3. My nomination is Sarah Wimperis for this work

    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 :)

  4. Painting Nomination:
    Karin Jurick, A Note To Self.

    Posted on her blog Aug 24, 2007.
    Image can be viewed here.

    Rationale: 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.

  5. Drawing Nomination:

    Debby Kaspari,

    Posted on her blog, on Feb. 16, 2007.

    Rationale: 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.

  6. I am a big fan of Karen Margules. I would like to nominate
    While she has done a number of marsh paintings, I am drawn to the pallett she has chosen for this one. The sky sets a wonderful somber mood, yet the marsh still invites you in.

  7. Thanks for all the nominations received so far.

    This is turning out to be really interesting and I'm very glad I've done it this way now.

  8. bonne chance katherine with the 'Golden Apple of Paris' !!!( that mythic apple awarded to the beautiful godess, the one that started the war of troy). in fact bonne chance everyone!

    without wishing to be difficult or 'a in spanner in the works', please may I question the worth of a prize for excellence of an individual posting... as opposed to the blog throughout the year. afterall, much attention is made about 'a painting a day' rather than 'a painting blog'. as you rightly point out 'stickablity' is a key factor. for this , i award julian merrow-smith my 'painting a day' award.

    one of the things I like about art blogs is observing how the practice unfolds over time. is there any evolution? is there any learning?

    for my learning awards, i'll have to do a double nomination (i'd nonimate you katherine but you've called 'exculsion due to fairplay')

    because this is such a brave start of a blog (i declare an interest as she is an ex-painting holiday student of mine). blogging can help talent come out, at whatever level of one's personal 'art journey'. this is why i salute this south african blog.

    of watercolour fame, for his unrivalled thorough & systemmatic approach to learning. the quality of his commentaries & his technical expalantions are fine quality writing about brushes & paints etc. amazing focus.

  9. Adam - maybe you missed my post on Sunday?

    At the end of the year (29th and 30th December) - and as part of a Grand Annual Review (I suffer from grandiosity at this time of year, it keeps me out of the shops!) I will be posting the Making A Mark Awards in which I identify those blogs which, for me, have excelled in some particular respect.

    You'll find the links to last years Making A Mark Awards in Sunday's post - but I'll now add them in (with a note) to this post as well

    The point about this post and prize is that last year I had absolutely no consultation. This year we are going interactive in relation to just this one prize which is very specifically about one artwork (and NOT one blog)

    So - maybe have another go and nominate an artwork?

    Of course, I also look forward to reading on other people's blogs about their own opinions of who excelled this year - and also about well they did in achieving their own objectives.

  10. My nominee: Duane Keiser and his Krispy Kreme donut painting:

    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.

  11. I nominate Tina Mammoser of The Cycling Artist ( for the best painting of 2007.

    It took me quite a while to decide on only one painting to nominate, but finally I settled for Night Tides, a large size (100x100 cm; about 40”x40”) acrylic on canvas. See August 5, 2007 post;

    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.

  12. The title of the painting I nominated by Karen Margulis is Quiet and it was posted October 20, 2007. The title of the post is Cloudy Day at the Marsh. Here is the URL for the enlarged version:
    It really is quite wonderful.

  13. oh OK,no problem, thanks for the clarification. sorry for any annoyance caused. look forward to hearing what you've got to say!

    well then, my nomination for the best artwork image in a blog is carol carter's 'up from the abyss' at

    i ilke 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...

  14. Absolutely no problem Adam - any slight twinge of irritation I may have experienced was only with myself for not having made it clearer in the original post! One forgets at times that people read posts as one-offs rather than in a sequence....

    When I read the original post back I could quite see how you'd arrived at the comments you made.

  15. First I thought I had nothing to contribute,but then how could I not think about this..
    Anita Murphy -"Freedom of Speech"

    I wish you peaceful christmas days and a happy new year.
    all the best

  16. I am nominating David Castle's Elementals No. 18
    Date of post is 9/10/07 David's blog posting of this piece can be found here.

    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.

  17. I haven't yet been able to pick an individual artwork, but in case I run out of time, wanted to put in general nominations: for painting: M. Collier: For drawing: Cin Woods at for her unique style and consistent ability to give each subject their own personality from their faces to their feet--her feet are wonderful).

    Oh yes, one other that is combined painting and drawing: Pete Scully of

    And though you didn't ask, this artist's photographs are wonderful:

    I know there have been some really striking paintings and drawings that stuck with me for a long time after seeing them this year (two of yours are included in that category) but I just don't have the time to go back through several blogs and look at everything they did all year to find the ONE but I hope this helped a bit.

  18. Martin - I remember that particulat blog post well - but it has two images. Do you mean the one of the chair facing the grill?

    Jana - thanks for commenting on blogs you've enjoyed however I do need nominations for a specific image.......a painting and a drawing.

    Just under two days left - keep those nominations coming........

  19. Many thanks to people who have highlighted this award and interactive competition on their blogs - including:
    - Marion Boddy Evans of - see today's post
    - Robyn at Have Dogs Will Travel who has got us on her 'to do' list. (I'm expecting Dermott to do his bit too!)
    - Anna at See.Be.Draw

  20. I would like to nominate for the award of best drawing: Cream Burmese by Felicity Grace -
    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.
    Next year, Katherine, if you plan to continue this award I'm going to keep a running list of possible nominations. This is SO DIFFICULT!

  21. 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.

  22. 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.
    Karl Heerdt - Daily Gems - August 16, 2007

    Choosing a best drawing is even more difficult because I'm not sure how to define a drawing. Is it only dry media?

    My pick may not qualify but I'm going to nominate a beautiful study of a Stag Beeltepiece from Nathan Fowkes amazing blog Nathan Fowkes Art
    Nathan Fowkes - Nathan Fowkes Art
    Aug 16, 2007

    In case the Nathan Fowkes piece is judged not to be a drawing, 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.
    James Gurney - Gurney Journey
    Oct 16, 2007

  23. For best painting, I nominate Sarah Wimperis' 'Hedge, Late Afternoon,' posted November 7 on her blog
    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.
    For best drawing, I nominate Cathy Johnson's "Sleeping," posted June 26, 2007 on her flickr account (and I think) on her blog 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.

  24. Hi Katherine...I was wondering why my blog stats showed so many links to my post "New Series"! What a lovely comment Casey has left on your site regarding the work.
    I've bookmarked your site...looks like it's full of everything I like to read about!
    Many blessings.

  25. I would like to nominate Dee Farnsworth for her wonderful painting "Descanso Garden", posted Feb. 21, 2007. Here is the link:

    And for the best drawing, I would like to nominate France Belleville for "Papi avec bretelles", posted Aug., 30. The link:

    Kind regards,

  26. Hi Katherine,

    sorry that I was not clear enough. I would like to nominate the first drawing with the empty chair facing the grill.

  27. OK folks - that's it. The nomination process is now closed.

    I'd like to thank everybody who made a nomination.

    On Monday I'm publishing a complete list of all those nominated plus my choice of the five which will go forward to the 'final' and the poll for the best artwork completed and posted on an art/illustrated blog in 2007.

    Now I've just got to my head around Blogging Art in 2007 Parts 1 and 2, how to get a poll onto this blog and getting the turkey!

  28. Thanks Claudia - The correct URL for the Dee Farnsworth nomination is actually

    (Tip: Click on titles of posts in archives to get the unique URL for a post.)


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