Sunday, June 22, 2008

22nd June 2008 - Who's made a mark this week

a GIANT waffle cone with a scoop of ice cream
copyright Darren Maurer and friends

Artists continually surprise me. This week it was Darren Maurer, one of the members of the Daily Paintworks group who deliver an update on their work to my inbox each morning. Last week I sat and looked at Darren's work in my e-mail and thought - "That's a giant ice cream cone!" I clicked the link to the Daily Paintworks site - and there was a bigger picture. So I clicked through to this blog - and this post More than just a Painter. What I saw was
a three dimensional waffle cone with a scoop of ice cream on top. The entire ice cream cone measures about eleven feet high and is close to five feet in diameter at it's widest point
It turns out that Darren - whose blog's title is Miniature Masterpieces - is in fact more than just a painter,and more than just a miniaturist. He's also a bit of a sculptor and a structural engineer on the side. Along with family and friends he enjoys building giant objects and has a penchant for solving problems like how do you get a giant ice cream cone to stand up straight on top of a float when it's windy. He's been building large three dimensional objects for the last 10 years and has a secret hankering to somehow make this part of his art business. Maybe Darren is really a sculptor at heart. Sculptors often make very large pieces. I wonder if Iowa is ready for another Anthony Gormley and a 20 metre high Angel of Iowa?

For the record the ice cream chosen for the top of the cone is Darren's daughters' favourite ice cream - called Bunny Tracks. Those on a diet should NOT click the link to view what's in a Bunny Tracks Giant Ice Cream cone. (How come we don't have interesting cones like this in the UK!)

Following on from last week and this I'll be on the look-out for more images to continue my summer seasonal theme next week! Do let me know if you see any...........

Art - portraiture and portrait prizes

This week had a bit of an emphasis on portraiture and portrait painting - so here are links to three of my posts last week plus a few more to other websites. I discovered a side-story about which i'd previously been unaware.
  • Making A Mark
  • By way of balance - Brian Sewell, art critic of the Evening Standard is renowned for being waspish generally and acerbic about the Tate Modern and conceptual art. He was a judge of the Portrait Prize in 2005 - but has been less than complimentary about it ever since. These are his very barbed comments on:
    • BP Portrait Award 2008 Portrait Award is a Mug's Game - Personally I'd prefer to read rather more analysis and rather less mud-slinging! His points are often sound but for me are spoilt by the rhetoric - I'm often left with the impact of the rhetoric rather than memory of the points being made.
    • BP Portrait Award in 2007 How ugly can the faces get? - I do think he has a very sound point about the risks associated with a sponsor having a representative on the the judging panel. This should be a portrait competition - not a marketing exercise. However, I'm in two minds. He says the the sponsor expresses concerns during the judging process about how pictures chosen reflect on the sponsor - and, to my mind, this really should not be a consideration - sponsorship of the arts should be freely given without fear nor favour. However in relation to how representative the pictures are, then my concern more generally would be about how the shortlists and awards have reflected gender over the years. These have been very male dominated short lists in a competition sponsored by a very male dominated industry! Maybe the NPG and BP could redress the balance and dig deeper for a prize to encourage female portrait artists?
  • Maybe what stirred Sewell's ire is the quote from him used after he served as a judge on the BP website in Picture Perfect - an item about the impact of the prize on past winners (full article here as pdf file) - as follows
“Of all annual prizes for the visual arts, this is intellectually the most valuable,” argued the eminent critic Brian Sewell recently. “Year after year at the Portrait Award, it has seemed to me that there is a flicker of new life in the old genre and that it is to painters included in this annual exhibition that every adventurous patron seeking a portrait should first refer.”
BP Picture Perfect - quoting Brian Sewell
Always interested in people, Mrs. Boochever saw the endowment of a portrait competition at the National Portrait Gallery as a way to benefit artists directly. Her knowledge of the portrait museums of England, Scotland, and Australia allowed her to understand the role their competitions play in encouraging portraiture, and she saw the endowment as a unique opportunity to fill a void in the American art world.
National Portrait Gallery - Virginia Outwin Boochever
    • I think Mrs Boochever was spot on in relation to the role played by competitions. But I wonder if the USA also has a Brian Sewell - or maybe the Evening Standard will stump up for transatlantic airfare?
    • I think I've previously mentioned Face to Face which is the blog for the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian. It looks like it's going to provide a periodic update on the new competition - see Second Portrait Competition Launches.
Art - the colour project

I've not done any posts on colour this week but my project continues next week. In the meantime, here are some interesting links I came across during the week.
Kahn: I’m always drawing outside. One has to compensate with real experience for the synthetic process that happens in the studio. Real experience, to me, is being in a place where something happens to you that gives you a vague feeling and it could be made into a picture. In the studio you have the sense that you already know how to do a whole lot of stuff and your going on the basis of your own history. Outside in nature you feel it doesn’t allow you that.
Wolf Kahn with David Kapp and Robert Berlind by Robert Berlind and David Kapp.
Art blogs
My “Broadcast Puppet Theater” will present “Art Attack” a short 30 minute puppet play on July 4th weekend at my studio here in Santa Fe, along with comic performer/artist friend Barbara Mayfield. It was very empowering making a gallery director puppet, famous artist, collectors, etc. and acting out several of these scenes. Above is a photo of the cast.
Nancy Reyner - Key Word - FUN
Art and Business Marketing
  • Tracey Helgeson (Works by Tracy Helgeson) had a thoughtful blog post this week about a topic which is concerning many artists - The Economy of Art - and what to do next.
  • I asked a question about Which is the best e-mail newsletter software? - and I then had some very constructive suggestions from readers as to other software which can be considered. I'm hoping for a few more contributions and then I'm going to round it all up and create an information site which will then provide a base for any more information I come across in future. So if you've used newsletter software or want to why not take a peek at the post and tell me what you think.
Art Competitions
  • See the reference to the second Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition above
  • Anybody who has registered work for the brand new £25,000 Threadneedle Figurative Prize needs to note there is a major change to delivery arrangements - see Threadneedle Figurative Prize Receiving Days - an important change
  • The American Academy in Rome invites applications for the Rome Prize competition. The Rome Prize is a prestigious American award made annually, through a national competition, to 15 emerging artists (working in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Design, Historic Preservation and Conservation, Literature, Musical Composition, or Visual Arts) and to 15 scholars (working in Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and early Modern, or Modern Italian Studies). Rome Prize winners go to the American Academy in Rome! Each Rome Prize winner is provided with a stipend, meals, a bedroom with private bath, and a study or studio. The deadline for applications is 1st November.
  • 9th July is deadline for receipt of applications to submit work to the annual exhibition of UKCPS. The exhibition is being held this year at The Royal West of England Academy in Bristol from Friday 3rd to Tuesday 28th October 2008
Art auctions
  • Le Bassin Aux Nympheas is a painting by Claude Monet which has been rarely seen in the last 80 years. It's now on display in London in advance of a sale at Christies on Tuesday 24 June. The BBC has a video about it- Rarely-seen Monet goes on display. Oliver Camu explains the painting - both compostion and brushwork - and it's a MUST SEE! The painting is about 1 metre by 2 metres and is expected to sell for about £18 million.
  • By way of contrast, I'm completely stumped as to why anybody would think a self-portrait by Rembrandt would be unique! See another BBC article Rembrandt painting 'is authentic'
Art exhibitions
  • Views from the Uffizi has opened at the Taft Museum in downtown Cincinnati - now that's an exhibition I'd like to see!
A selection of 40 landscape paintings from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, surveys the evolution of landscape painting in Italy over three centuries, from the Renaissance through the 18th century. Included are works by such great painters as Botticelli, Guercino, Poussin, Claude Lorrain, and Canaletto.
  • Art in Action opens in just under a month.
    • It started in 1977 with the simple premise that people like to see how people create things. The event is now a showcase for a wide range of disciplines including painting, sculpture, drawing, ceramics and textiles.
    • This part of their website tells you what you can expect from Art in Action in 2008. more than 400 artists, designer-makers, craftsmen and women, musicians, performers, teachers and lecturers will be coming together over four days to stage the most exciting arts event of its kind in Europe. In addition over 20 leading art suppliers are represented.
    • It takes place at Waterperry House, Waterperry, Near. Wheatley, Oxfordshire OX33 1JZ and this is how you get Art in Action
    • It's open 10.30am - 5.30pm each day, Thursday 17 July to Sunday 20 July 2008, inclusive. This is the daily programme and ticket prices. You can buy tickets online.
Art materials and supplies
Websites and blogging

I use three different stats sites - growth having come from wanting more and better data (I appear unable to leave the 'analyst' behind!).
  • The original was Tracksy. Tracksy now seems to have expired. If you try logging in you just get "Session timed out. Please log back in." I liked the simplicity of Tracksy so I started looking at alternative trackers/web counters and came across....
  • The Free Tracker Test which tests and compares all available free visitor trackers for webpages that comply with three rules:
    • they do not rely on server scripting (as your homepage provider may not support scripting),
    • the tracker comes with visitor statistics (it is more than a simple number counter).
    • And, of course, the tracker must be free of charge: it should cost you nothing.
  • This part of the site shows you the results. It's got Statcounter (my other stats webware) rated higher than Google Analytics - which may be debateable - but I think is fair comment.
and finally...........

I've seen this highlighted on a number of websites - and but I think Deborah Secor (Deborah Secor - Art and Faith) in New Mexico found it first. Try testing The Instant Art Critique Phrase Generator. You just need to plug in some random numbers. I tried 12345 and got......
With regard to the issue of content, the disjunctive perturbation of the spatial relationships brings within the realm of discourse the distinctive formal juxtapositions.
'nuff said?


  1. I took a look at that website with the ice cream cone. 400+ calories and a page of ingredients for one little ice cream cone. What could be better? I'm glad you and Robyn had a good time. It's so nice when cyber friends can get together and get to know each other.

  2. I never guessed when I started blogging that the rewards would be so great! As I said, Katherine, meeting you for the first time was like catching up with an old friend - an extremely generous, entertaining and not-very-old-at-all friend! THANK YOU!!!!

    I do hope it is the first of many such outings we share and that the treats I have in store for you in Tuscany are at least half as wonderful as those you shared with me.

  3. Jeanne - I looked away very fast!

    Robyn - last Monday was very enjoyable. Like you I also hope it wasbe the first of many such meetings and trips in the future.

  4. I read Brian Sewell's reviews and mulled over them for a couple of days but I'm still incredulous at the way he dismisses self taught artists! There is much to be said for going to art school but they can also churn out students who are clones of their tutors, unable to think outside the box, pandering to fashion. Very strange.

  5. Good point Felicity.

    I've got a notion that Brian Sewell might also be dismissive of the way some art schools actually teach painting! ;)

  6. a wonderful "loaded" post for you again, with so may new links and interesting reads and of course, reading about you and Robyn meeting up, was great. What more exciting place to do it than London, where the pulse changes so often, allowing you to constantly be inspired!

  7. If I had a better memory I might be able to say for sure, but I do have a vague recollection of some scathing words about art schools and the lack of traditional drawing skills (from reading the Evening Standard quite a few years ago).


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