Sunday, July 13, 2008

13th July 2008 - Who's made a mark this week?

St James Park - the Lake View, with trees
32" x 12", coloured pencils in double page spread of sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

I did a workshop at the National Gallery yesterday - the Anatomy of Trees with Sarah Simblet. After the talk in the morning, we went out into St James Park yesterday - which was crawling with tourists of just about every nationality - and I christened my new 12"x16" landscape sketchbook with a double page spread of the view down the lake from top end next to Horse Guards. You can see masses of trees - literally - in what is (I think) my biggest ever sketch to date this one is 32 inches wide! (Click the image for a look at a bigger image). I'll be posting this sketch on sketchbook blog later today - and saying a bit more about the workshop too.

The workshop anticipates Sarah's book about the Anatomy of Trees which is due out next May. I'll be writing more about the new book when there is more information - I think I might possibly be getting a review copy! For those who don't know Sarah, read my review of her book The Drawing Book - into the vivid heart of drawing. This comes highly recommended by me - I rated The Drawing Book as 5 pencils and a 'must buy' last October - so as you can imagine, the idea of a new book has really made its mark on me this week!

For those who'd also like to do a workshop with Sarah Simblet, the good news is that the National Gallery have engaged her to do a series of workshops next year. I'll also be posting more about those here when I know more.

Art Blogs

And this is what you see when you come up the stairs. I can't say that my heart doesn't jump just a little bit when I see all this.
Tracy Helgeson - Photo Tour
  • I've posted before about Tracy Helgeson's new studio - but she's now done a post Photo Tour providing a complete tour of the new studio in her blog Works by Tracy Helgeson - and my is it impressive. Lots of inspiration here for those who were wondering what to do with their roofspace! If you want to see all 15 photos on the tour you need to go and visit Tracy's blog! I'm now wondering whether I should have an award for best studio revamp and/or best studio tour as part of the end of year Making A Mark Awards on this blog - but Tracy is going to take some beating! Do you think you can do better?
  • I missed Liz Massey's in-depth interview with Jana Bouc In the Studio With … Jana Bouc on Creative Liberty. Jana's blog is Jana’s Journal and Sketch Blog
  • Jeff Hayes (State of the Art) who has been blogging for nearly 3 years, has a Brand Spankin' New Blog! called Watching Paint Dry. This one will be his discussion blog, where he'll be posting every working day - images of in-progress paintings, thoughts about techniques and materials, and maybe a few art-in-general discussions.
  • Jeff also highlighted a blog from somebody who has a novel idea for how to build a collection of self-portraits. You donate the work to the owner of the blog (for free) and it then features on the blog - A Collection of Self-Portraits..........
  • .........I wonder if that's how Charles Saatchi started out - give me your work and I'll give you a platform? Did you know that the Saatchi Gallery website had 68 million hits in the last 24 hours> Read an interview more about him in this interview with Charles Saatchi

  • Cathy Gatland (A Sketch in Time) was practising her skills in sketching people last week - during the two Wimbledon Finals - in Wonders of Wimbledon - see above (I only caught the end of the Men's Final but immediately sat down to watch when I realised they were still going coming up to 9pm!)

Mark's work was often large, always impressive and frequently featured pure and unmixed colour. I first saw his work in 1993 when he won a major award from The Pastel Society , I remember being very struck by how he combined the abstraction of subject matter with a very limited palette of rich colour. It really stood out from the more traditional offerings at the time. He clearly demonstrated how powerful pastels can be when used in a colourist way. Even when his palette was made up of mainly pale colours, his characteristic use of colour had a huge impact.
  • I forget now where I came across Nicholas Simmons - but it was something to do with the fact that in 2007, he won top prize at the National Watercolor Society 87th Annual Exhibtion. I recommend that all watercolorists take a look at his website. He also has a blog.
Tip and Techniques
Carl Binder, a behavioral psychologist and performance consultant, defines fluency as “accuracy plus speed” or “quality plus pace.” He believes the measurement or time element is the key to determining mastery, as he asserts that, “We see many children and adults who can perform skills and demonstrate knowledge accurately enough–given unlimited time to do so. But the real difference that we see in expert performers is that they behave fluently–both accurately and quickly, without hesitation.”
Liz Massey - Practice makes fluent
Art Business and Marketing
Art Exhibitions
Hammershøi's most compelling works are his quiet, haunting interiors, their emptiness disturbed only occasionally by the presence of a solitary, graceful figure, often the artist's wife. Painted within a small tonal range of implied greys, these sparsely-furnished rooms exude an almost hypnotic quietude and sense of melancholic introspection.
Royal Academy - Vilhelm Hammershøi: The Poetry of Silence
Art Fairs
Art materials
Art Societies and Artists' websites
  • More and more coloured pencil artists who are members of CPSA are having links to their websites added to the CPSA website. It's always a perk for your website to have a link from a 'heavy weight' website and this is a bonus which no member with a website should ever pass up. If you're not a member of CPSA why check whether your art society offers this free facility to its members.
  • Vera Curnow is the founder of CPSA and it's great to see that Vera Curnow's website has had an overhaul and a fresh new look. I love her Attitudes Gallery which may well appeal to all those other people who now experiencing the chronological challenge.
  • I committed a major gaffe at the end of June and forgot to do my round-up of posts by other people who have been making contributions to The Colour Project. I've now remedied that omission with A Colour Round-Up - lots of posts from lots of different people.
  • Last week I was studying Hues - a systems perspective - about primary, secondary and tertiary colours
  • followed by trying a post about various theories hich try to describe colour in space - and ended up coming up with my very own Matrix of Theories about Colour Space (see right) in an attempt to make sense of them - and which relates to what perspective! You can read more about this in Describing a colour space - there's more than one colour wheel!
  • I didn't quite make it to doing colour harmonies - complementaries, analogous colours etc - but will try and get that done this week!
Data protection, privacy and security

I've got a number of items related data protection, privacy and security AND Google this week.
Websites and Blogging
  • I'm getting lots of feedback from people saying how much they're enjoying the new Blogger Blog List widget - as featured in 6th July 2008: Who's made a mark this week?. I know I'm certainly reading more posts by people who post frequently as a result - and I'm hearing the same from other people. How about you - have you used it yet? Quick tip for those wanting to introduce this new widget - add the new widget first and then have another window open where you can see your existing blogroll. Then just right click on each link in the existing blogroll and use the 'copy link location' function and then paste the link into the widget and the title appears automatically!
  • [Update: I forgot to include this one!] To my knowledge Feedburner still hasn't explained its completely shambolic performance on Sunday 29th June and days either side - and the FeedBurner Help Group (part of Google Groups) is completely full of threads from people complaining about their statistics being wrong for the last two weeks
  • I've think I've narrowed down my fluctuating subscriber numbers to Windows RSS Platform which represents subscriptions via the Microsoft Windows RSS platform. Which I think means that either Microsoft is having problems managing feeds as the difference is too big to be individuals or it's Google owned Feedburner still having problems or it's another edition in the the Google/Microsoft wars. Some of us are experiencing combat fatigue!
and finally..............

Coloured pencil artists have often been heard to say that they find the process of using coloured pencils to be very therapeutic and almost meditative at times. (This is when they aren't using a famous brand of coloured pencils renowned for breaking 'leads' when being sharpened).

It appears that this notion now has wider appeal. proudly presents The Executive Colouring Book! Otherwise known as

the legendary... the subversive... the long out of print...
The Executive Coloring Book
by Marcie Hans, Dennis Altman & Martin A. Cohen, 1961

Look and Learn with the Grey Men! Those of us who have now left Executive Life In The Financial Trenches behind for good chortled loud and long when looking at the publication behind this link! I gather that there was originally a plan to create a version for the Women Executive but nothing came of it. Sounds like a huge opportunity for a bit of female creativity to me!


  1. I'm fighting back the envy that you can attend workshops at the National Gallery, Katherine. I'm so glad you are going to share.

    This is such an impressive plein air sketch, big and beautiful. You are going to have to find chunky coloured pencils if your sketches get any bigger.

    Also enjoying your tips on sketching Cosmo.

  2. I love my sketchbooks that are that size - I use one for the waterways project - it's so much freer to work that size.

    Quite big to hold!

    Will you go back and finish this?

  3. I hope you want to do more of these
    lovely plein air giants, Katherine.
    I so look forward to more.

  4. Oh my goodness your new skecth was huge - good on you! Love the cats btw. Thanks for all the interesting links; so much cool info to check out.


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