Sunday, August 31, 2008

31st August - Who's made a mark this week?

Tomato Tuesday by Daily Paintworks
copyright the artists

Did anybody else spot the Tomato Get Together which was going on this week amongst some of the daily painters? I managed to get a screen dump before it changed! Above is the effort by the Daily Paintworks people. I also spotted a Cut Tomato on Duane Keiser's blog A Painting A Day while Julian Merrow Smith (Postcard from Provence) had Tomato, Goats Cheese and Bottle on Wednesday as well! (Note: I think Duane is experiencing blogspot problems at the moment.)

Titian created the big art story of the week in the UK - with arts correspondents battling it out to come up with a new angle. There are two Titian paintings (valued at some £300 million) which are available to the nation to buy at a bargain price £50 million each

There's now a big debate about whether the money can be found in time and whether it should. - see The battle of the Titians

However what I find interesting is the added focus on who are the new art collectors see Who might buy the Titians? Meet the new collectors of the art world and comments such as the following
There used to be an accepted wisdom that you couldn't put a price on great art. But that was before creativity became a commodity; before it became an asset so bankable that investors could be virtually guaranteed a three-fold return in the space of a year. Now, with a new generation of self-made collectors with an eye for talent and money to burn, art is big business and everything has a price tag.
By way of contrast The Times chose to highlight Tracy Emin's take on who should fund the purchase of the in Threatened Titians draw in crowds to central Edinburgh
“The British, Scottish, Irish and the Welsh people should get together and buy them. It would be a pound each. The price of a packet of biscuits. Tomorrow, if ten million people put in a fiver, we're covered. It's not that much. It just depends what people's priorities are. People shouldn't confuse spending on hospitals and education with art and culture and sport. It comes from completely different pockets.”
Tracy Emin reported in the The Times Online
Art Blogs
I've been advocating that art societies start blogs to communicate with members and those interested in their particular sort of art for very nearly a year now - and it seems to be working..........
However, I was sad to hear in news from the coloured pencil world about the recent deaths of both
In the meantime
Nearly sitting on zero
(The Greenwich Observatory and the Prime Meridien)
pencil and coloured pencils in sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

  • Charley Parker (Lines and Colors ) is still in plein air mode and has a really interesting and informative post (as ever) about Richard Schmid. This is Richard Schmid's website but do go take a look at Charley's post as he has a loooooong list of useful links about Schmid and his work. Incidentally I hadn't realised before that Schmid owns his own publishing company........
  • I've started to study Andrew Wyeth - see my blog post Andrew Wyeth - Resources for Art Lovers - and the new information site of the same name Andrew Wyeth - Resources for Artists has raced up the charts of popular art sites on Squidoo.
  • I know we all feel like destoying work from time to time. But how would you feel if one of your clients destroyed one of your paintings? It came to light this week that somebody decided to destroy a painting by Lucian Freud - see Inconvenient truths which was followed up by a reflective piece by Jonathan Jones Lucian Freud: Art without the feel-good factor
Art business and marketing I've got a separate post tomorrow which comments on the results of the poll - which is now closed - about What's the MAIN way you sell your art?.

Plus a new poll starts - which I think you'll find very interesting..........

I had the next link under websites and blogging to start with - and then I thought it has implications for marketing art!
  • The BBC reported last week that Two thirds of UK homes are now online Those most likely to be online are
    • homes in the south east
    • adults aged under 70 who have a university degree or equivalent qualification - 93% of this group had internet access.
Communications regulator Ofcom said earlier this month that PC and laptop use had grown fourfold since 2002.
If your marketing strategy or your art society have not taken the growth of online access and activity on board maybe it's time to take stock. Other art marketing stories I spotted included:
If no one knows your artwork is for sale, how can you expect people to buy it?

I know most artists don’t like to promote their artwork for sale. Whether it’s because they’re timid, shy, unsure about their talent or just don’t want to be pushy, most artists don’t like this idea at all. However, I hope to explain three of the simplest, most passive ways to market your work online; no bullish sales pitches needed.

Imagekind Blog

Art competitions Art exhibitions
Colour Some links to useful sites found as part of the Colour Project Tips and techniques Websites and blogging and finally...... For all of us who enjoyed our youth, here's an article to savour from the Observer about The 50 Greatest Art Videos on YouTube. Here are just a very few highlights - check out the article for more. Those were the days..........

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Techie Saturday - The new Subscriptions Links widget in Blogger

Feedeader options offered by the AddThis Subscriptions widget

Following the recent design revamp which has generated access to a lot of widgets for the side column (which I tend to think of as "Blogger goes Firefox"!) some of you may have been attracted by Blogger's new widget for subscribing to feeds and comments. If you have, or are thinking of doing so, there are two important points which need to be noted about the choice you're offering to readers of your blog.

First - the subscription widgets for feeds and comments only work for certain feedreaders.
Let your readers easily subscribe to your blog with popular feed readers
Blogger widget
In effect, the current set up means that Google (which owns Blogger) effectively controls access to feed readers for those using that widget.
In computing, a feed aggregator, also known as a feed reader, news reader or simply aggregator, is client software or a Web application which aggregates syndicated web content such as news headlines, blogs, podcasts, and vlogs in a single location for easy viewing.
Wikipedia - aggregator
Put simply this this is Google yet again trying to manage the competition. You are allowed to access the following feed readers ONLY
  • Google (surprise surprise!)
  • Bloglines
  • Netvibes
  • Newsgator
  • My Yahoo
  • Atom
Compare this to
  • the choice offered by the AddThis widget (at the top of my subscription module) - see image at top of post.
  • the choice offered by Feedburner (now owned by Google) for which feedreaders can be offered as an option - in terms of code added to the side column of your blog. (see right)
Feedburner Publicise - Chicklet Chooser

In reality techie readers will know that they should be able to add the blog feed into their favourite feedreader - whatever it is - but those that aren't so techie won't know and will therefore use one of the 'popular' readers - which stand to get a lot more popular as a result. My guess is that this will have a fairly hefty impact on market share for the rest given that Blogger is used by two thirds of people who blog. Personally I'm not in favour of promoting an oligopoly - I want people to be able to have a decent menu to choose from.

Second - and more importantly - the Blogger feed and comments widgets does not include an email option. In my experience, I can tell you that a lot of the people who read this blog like to get their feeds via email.

Feed readers are favoured by the geek community (the people who write widgets!) and there is tendency at times for geeks to think that nobody uses email any more for subscriptions. Wrong! Put simply by offering subscriptions via email your blog has a much greater reach.

If you would like to be consumer oriented I suggest you:
  • Give your readers a choice about which feedreader they use to subscribe.
  • Make sure you also add code which allows people the option of having their feed delivered by email.Both Feedblitz and Feedburner have options for this. Both are reasonably reliable but I do utter naughty words at both of them from time to time!
Check out Blogging for Artists - Resources for Artists for links to past posts about feedreaders and email services (see below)

[UPDATE: Having scheduled publication I woke up this morning to realise that I totally forgot to say that
  • I've got the AddThis subscribe option in my subscription module in the right hand column
  • AND you can subscribe to individual posts using the Bookmark icon just below this post - which gives you a choice as to how you subscribe.
  • The 'subscribe to this post' option ONLY offers Google as an option for subscription(!!!) - which is why I added in the AddThis Bookmark and Share option!]


Friday, August 29, 2008

Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2008 - deadline 15th September

The deadline for applications from representational painters for the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize is fast approaching. Artwork starts being collected from regional collection points in just under a weeks time. Those who can get to the City of London Hand In centre have slightly more than two weeks - final submissions will be received on Sunday 14 and Monday 15 September 2008.

This is the fourth year of the Prize which was created to encourage creative representational painting and to promote the skill of draughtsmanship. Prize money this year totals £22,500.

Khadija's hat by Charlotte Sorapure (exhibitor 2007)

The competition is open to living UK artists over the age of eighteen (on 15.09.08.) - who are invited to submit up to three original and recent non-sculptural works.
  • Only original, two-dimensional works in any painting media, that have been completed in the last three years and have not been previously exhibited are eligible
  • works must not exceed 72inches (183 cms in thier largest dimensions - including frame)
  • Works on paper must be framed and no metal or plastic frames will be accepted for judging. There should be no projections on the backs of frames.
  • All work (except commissioned portraits) has to be for sale.
The competition is co-sponsored by the Painter's Company Charity and the Lynn Foundation with media support from The Spectator. and includes
  • a First Prize of £15,000,
  • 5 Runner-up Prizes of £1,000 and
  • a Young Artist Award of £2,500.
The 2008 judges include artist Daphne Todd OBE PPRP NEAC HON HON SWA (Past President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters), Anthony Green RA and the 2007 prizewinner, Benjamin Sullivan. Laura Gasgoigne, Art Critic for The Spectator and Andrew Wilton, Visiting Research Fellow at Tate Britain complete the panel.

How to enter and downloads

Last year nearly 800 entries were submitted and 66 paintings were selected for an exhibition which I saw last November and commented on in it Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize and exhibition

For those unfamiliar with such exhibitions, I can tell you that (a) it's an excellent exhibition and consequently a big achievement for artists who get work accepted (b) it attracts entries from prominent artists and (3) it's worth reading the article by judge Laura Gasgoigne - as suggested in my blog post review of the exhibition.

do read her article on the exhibition which describes the selection process. What happens will come as no surprise to anybody who has ever been involved in a selection process for an exhibition or competition attracting a large number of entries - but maybe a bit of an eye-opener for others.

If you want to enter the deadline for entries in London is 14 and 15 September 2008 - however there are also regional collection points - which start in Birmingham next Thursday 4th September.

For full details of how to enter - including a leaflet which details submission rules, 2008 competition dates, a location map for the City of London Hand In Centre and details and timings of regional collection points - you'll need to download the following from the website of the organiser Parker Harris

There will be an exhibition of some selected 70 - 80 works at Painters’ Hall, 9 Little Trinity Lane, London EC4V 2AD from 19th to 29th November 2008. It's a magnificent venue and this is an exhibition which is well worth if you're able to do so.

For further information please contact the prize organisers, Parker Harris, on 01372 462190 or email:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Andrew Wyeth - Resources for Art Lovers

People who know me, also know that I always develop an information site every time I want to find out more about an artist. I've had Andrew Wyeth on the 'to do' list for some time as his paintings intrigue me - so I've started a new information site in my Resources for Art Lovers series - Andrew Wyeth - Resources for Art Lovers.
Andrew Wyeth (1917-present) is an American Contemporary Realist Painter who works mainly in watercolor and/or egg tempera. He is one of the USA's most popular and celebrated artists. This site provides an introduction to Andrew Wyeth and links to official websites, past exhibitions in museums and art galleries, books about the artist and his work and where you can find images online.
An Introduction to Andrew Wyeth (1917 - present)
I've had this 'in draft' for some time but visiting the Hammerschoi exhibition recently (Vilhelm Hammershøi - a curious mix of Vermeer, Hopper and Wyeth?) prompted me to progress it to a state where it can be published.

Book cover of Andrew Wyeth: Master Drawings from the Artist's Collection
by Henry Adams, Andrew Wyeth

At the moment the site is a collection of links I've assembled so that I can find out more about him.

If you also want to try and find out some more yourself then you just need to click on a link to go straight to that topicI'd be grateful for any advice as to whether or not I'm missing some great information sites about Wyeth. I feel at the moment unable to comment further about the differences of opinion about his work until I've read some more. Plus I'm still puzzled as to the use of magic realism in connection with his work - can anybody comment on that?

Also I've found lots of lovely books about him - but I never see any books about him in bookshops in the UK and am therefore very reliant on book reviews before knowing what to look at. I've included the publisher synopsis in the site and I think I'm leaning towards Memory and Magic.

Does anybody have a book about Wyeth or read one that they can recommend?

Book cover of Andrew Wyeth: Memory & Magic
- a retrospective of Wyeth's works

Why I like Wyeth's work

Nevertheless, having seen his paintings 'up close and personal' at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland Maine, I know I'm a fan and I can say why that is. The reasons I like his work are as follows
  • In a world where oil paintings rule the roost, he's one of a very few painters who have mastered media which others disdain or find too difficult (ie watercolour and egg tempera)
  • Wyeth works in a calligraphic way - painting as if he's drawing at times - plus he scrapes out and lifts off. It's as much about what's removed as it is about what is laid down - and that always has resonance with me
  • He also works with a very simple, some would say austere, palette but finds ways of making it work and making it relevant. I'm very into colour and I'm always intrigued by people who can work with so little colour.
  • Complexity is simplified - his objects and shapes in his paintings are pared down - while simple flat surfaces are far from simple or flat
  • His compositions are often brilliantly simple - ie brilliant in their simplicity and ability to draw you in. Partly this is because, in my opinion, he's an absolute master of tonal values. Maybe that comes from working in watercolour?
  • Some paintings have a back story told in a symbolic way but this is the area which I know very little about.
In the meantime, here are some links to important works by Wyeth
The woman crawling through the tawny grass was the artist's neighbor in Maine, who, crippled by polio, "was limited physically but by no means spiritually." Wyeth further explained, "The challenge to me was to do justice to her extraordinary conquest of a life which most people would consider hopeless." He recorded the arid landscape, rural house, and shacks with great detail, painting minute blades of grass, individual strands of hair, and nuances of light and shadow. In this style of painting, known as magic realism, everyday scenes are imbued with poetic mystery.
MOMA caption to Christina's World
To many his accessible paintings evoke some mythical rural past, striking a powerful chord in the American psyche. Like Dürer, whom he greatly admired, he placed great emphasis on observation, and his detailed style reflects this. Nevertheless, through the series of pencil and watercolour studies for a work, many details were often pared away.
MOMA - Andrew Wyeth - About the Artist
Great American Artists - Resources for Art Lovers

For those who like American artists, I've also realised that I've now developed enough sites to make it worthwhile having a group dedicated to them! So - if you're interested - why not take a peek at Great American Artists - Resources for Art Lovers. It's split into two groups:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Big News from CPSA - new exhibition arrangements and a new blog

CPSA has a brand new blog!

Coloured pencil artists around the world will be interested to learn that recent updates on the website of the Colored Pencil Society of America provide:
Exhibitions in 2009

The big news is that CPSA's Explore This! 5 is now to be an all year Online Gallery on the CPSA website.
The “Explore This!” Exhibition, instituted in 2001, will become a yearly online exhibition starting in 2009. This show allows other media as long as 75% of the surface is colored pencil as well as three-dimensional, collage, and relief artwork.
CPSA FAQs about Exhibitions
This is great opportunity for overseas artists who don't always work exclusively in coloured pencils and/or who don't relish shipping costs for framed work (that'll be me!) to submit their work to CPSA
  • the Exhibition Dates are Feb 1, 2009 to Jan 31, 2010 (ie online all year) on the CPSA website
  • The Call for Entries will open September 15, 2008 at (I'll repeat these details in a blog post when the call for entries goes live)
  • Deadline for Entries: Entry Selection and Awards Selection: Jan 5-12, 2009.
  • The Acceptance list will be posted online on Jan 14, 2009
CPSA's 17th International Colored Pencil Exhibition/Convention
  • CPSA's 17th International Colored Pencil Exhibition/Convention is in Atlanta, GA in 2009 and will be hosted by District Chapter 107 Atlanta. Calendar details are as follows:
  • Exhibition Dates: July 9 to August 29, 2009
  • Gallery: Hudgens Arts Center, Duluth, Georgia
  • Deadline for Entries: March 31, 2009
  • Shipping of Artwork: June 17-24, 2009
  • CPSA Convention Dates: July 27 - August 1, 2009
Featured Artists

The featured artist page on the CPSA website now provides links to the featured artists who have won the top prize in recent years at the international exhibition. The page for Featured Artist (under Members) now includes a page for Jeff George who was featured on this blog on 11th August (see CPSA 16th Annual International Exhibition 2008 - Award winners)

The three artists whose donated work attracted the top bids at Silent Auction at the 16th International Exhibition are Cecile Baird, Elizabeth Patterson and Pat Averill.

Colored Pencil Society News - the new CPSA blog

I'm really pleased to see that I've got a new contender for The Making A Mark Art Society Blog of the Year Award! It's really good to see national art societies taking up blogging as it is such an effective, efficient and GREEN way of communicating with members who are online. Plus of course it is very effective at helping to promote the particular sort of art that any art society is set up to support and promote which can only be a good thing.

I'm guessing that CPSA will still be finding its feet with this new blog as to content but I'd highly recommend that it considers the following as actions which will be helpful to the society, its branches and its members.
  • Provide updates on branch news from time to time - it's such an easy way for branches of a national art society to find out what each other are up to. Sharing innovation and best practice can become a viral process in no time at all!
  • Feature interviews with leading CPSA artists from time to time - in connection with major news they may have which helps to promote the cause of coloured pencil art.
  • Provides updates and reminders for key dates in the exhibition process
  • Provide technical updates
  • Provide a blogroll for links to the blogs run by (1) CPSA branches and (2) CPSA members - in the same way that the CPSA website now provides links to the websites of all its members. (add your website if you are a member of CPSA)
Another option is to seek feedback about options for change. One of the things which makes a blog a bit different for art societies is that they are interactive (people leave comments!) and hence can be helpful to discussion about change.

I think the UKCPS blog has proved a big hit with members and I'm sure that CPSA will also find that their new blog will have lots of new subscribers in no time at all. Check out the subscription box at the top of the right column. I've already added it into to my Art Society blogroll in the side column of this blog plus the 'Coloured Pencil Societies - websites and blogs' section of my information site Coloured Pencils - Resources for Artists and I'm now off to add my subscription to this new blog into my feedreader.

Now - how about going and leaving a comment to congratulate them on their new blog?

If you want to start a blog for you or your Art Society

If you a CPSA member or a coloured pencil artist reading this and you want to start a blog - but are still not sure how they work try taking a look at my 5* rated information site Blogging for Artists - Resources for Artists which provides a range of information which people keep telling me is very useful for those wishing to start a blog or improve their blog
Are you an artist and want a blog? Or maybe an artist who wants to work on improving your blog?

If you are then read on - you'll find links on this site to sources of advice, information, and all other matters which are relevant to blogging for artists and blogging by artists.

It focuses first on blogging basics, then on blogging for artists. Finally it covers some problems encountered by artists who blog and how to deal with them
Blogging for Artists - Introduction
For readers wanting to improve your art blog try taking a look at How to improve your art blog


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gold medal art - lessons from the Olympics for Artists

The Olympics Medal Table snapped in Trafalgar Square 19.08.08.

I've been avoiding too many references to the Olympics but it suddenly struck me that just like with Lessons from American Idol about creating and marketing art there were a few things that the Olympics have to teach us all as artists about success.

Now that the GB team have arrived back with "The Great Haul of China" (that's 47 medals including 19 golds and 4th place overall) - their best performance for a century - I thought it would be a good time to reflect on what can be learned from their efforts.

After all, in some art competitions you get a medal for your efforts if you win!

How do you achieve gold medal performance?

You may just want to do the best you can. However you may want to win prizes. I'd suggest the pathway to achieving either of these is essentially the same.

Here's my observations of what it takes to achieve gold medal quality in your artwork - expressed as..........

Seven pointers for achieving your personal best
  • Invest in your own success
  • Differentiate and focus your effort
  • Persistence pays off
  • Don't just think - do!
  • Plan to improve on your Personal Best
  • Make sure you finish
  • Reflect on mistakes and identify what works
Invest in your own success

It's quite clear that monetary investment played its part in the Team GB doing well at the Olympics.

The message is: The first step to success is recognising that you need to invest in yourself and your materials

To invest in yourself and your artwork means:

  • be a continual student - learn about great art / read about great art / look at great art
  • find a good coach
    • take workshops with artists who can teach
    • take classes with those who you can learn from
  • use the best materials you can afford
Differentiate and focus your effort

Differentiation was one of the really big keys to the GB success. They didn't invest heavily in all events. They looked at the sports that they were already good at and where the competition wasn't so stiff and invested in those - which is why we got so many medals in the cycling, sailing, rowing and the pool.

The message is: work out what you're good at and why you're different - and then do it!

Look at
  • identifying where you are competing with a lot of other artists who are all doing similar stuff.
  • whether and how your work is different - for example, is your work of a generic style or does it have individuality and speak of you? Can people pick it out as being yours in an exhibition / art gallery? If they can, do they walk over to it straight away?
  • do you only show your best art?
Persistence pays off

It's a long walk to the rostrum to collect a prize and it starts when you
understand something about what it takes to become auccessful and make a positive decision to produce top quality art.

But do you understand what it takes? Lots of Olympians - and artists - tell stories about what they went through before they became successful - and a lot of it is about dedication and persistence as an attitude of mind.
Stamina is also about being able to get out of bed each morning to do your stuff!

The message is:
Never ever give up if you want to get what you want.

This is about the mental stamina in the equation. You understand that practice makes perfect and are prepared to put in the effort. I've written previously about persistence in this post The Stickability Factor.

Don't just think - do!

Artists like athletes often build success in small steps. To be able to continue to continue to train you need to build a good mental attitude towards training and then you need to get on and do it.

Stamina is also about being able to put in the miles. Listen to the stories of successful Olympians and you'll hear about the grind and the need for grit.

The messages is:
Success rarely arrives overnight - it comes from practice, practice and yet more practice.

For artists, stamina and getting on and doing means
  • getting your art materials out and producing art!!!
  • producing the invaluable aids eg the value bars and the colour charts
  • producing artwork on a regular basis. (how many daily painters really paint every day?)
Plan to improve on your Personal Best

If you're an athlete, developing your personal best involves

  • practising on a regular basis to build your stamina for training
  • then using that stamina to train on a very regular basis
  • training so that your can deliver your best effort - inch by inch and second by second
As an artist, developing your personal best may involve
  • having a target or an aim in mind
  • false starts
  • lots of practice and preparation - nobody gets it right first time
  • reviewing subject matter and motifs and
  • repeating your work to try and do it better
  • practice, practice, and yet more practice
An interesting example are all the daily painters who have found that the repeated process of producing a work each day has honed their skills in composition, developed their skills in producing artwork which will sell and helped to identify which subjects sell well. In doing so their larger works all benefit as well.

Make sure you finish!

To win a gold medal you have to come first. But first you need to make sure you finish. This comes from the person who has struggled with the 'completer finisher' dimension of my activities all my life.

Making sure you finish means making sure that all art which leaves your studio is presented well and has been given the best chance to present well at its destination. In other words, speaking with the voice of experience......

  • do NOT leave the mats and frames until the last minute!
  • do NOT leave finding forms and completing them until the last minute!
  • do NOT forget to work out how long it's going to take to deliver your art!
  • do NOT forget to check which is the right day to take your pieces to the gallery!
Making sure you finish also means making sure you get to the start line in good time with all your kit!

Reflect on mistakes and identify what works

Understanding what went wrong and how you can do it better next time is valuable. However, identifying when your investment is not going to be rewarded and knowing when to walk away and is a really wise move.

Team GB did not do well in everything - and now need to understand why. Some of the reasons will be to do with the fact that the environment has changed. Other people are now doing much better than they've ever done before and the competition is stiffer.

The message is: Invest in effectiveness as well as efficiency - find out what works and what doesn't in the market; find out what works for you and what doesn't
  • If you don't get into an art competition you'd do well to take a close look at those who did.
  • Get honest feedback from people about your own artwork.
  • Mull over whether you can develop and/or refine your subject matter
Let me know about anything which occurred to you which is a lesson which transfers from the Olympics to the Studio - and leave a comment so we can all share.

Monday, August 25, 2008

RWS/Sunday Times Watercolour Competition - prizewinners and selected artists

"David by the Window" by Jennifer McRae
winner of the RWS / Sunday Times Watercolour Prize (£15,000)

Yesterday in the Sunday Times, arts correspondent and juror Frank Whitford announced the prizewinners in the Royal Watercolour Society / Sunday Times Watercolour Competition.

I'm highlighting the winners first and then focusing on the artists selected for the exhibition in this post. There will be another post once I've seen the exhibition which opens on 10th September.
The most prestigious annual watercolour event (previously the Singer and Friedlander/Sunday Times Watercolour Competition) is one of the few remaining prizes to celebrate the diversity and beauty of the frequently undervalued medium of watercolour. The result is a visual feast of dynamic and challenging paintings.
Bankside Gallery
RWS/Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Prizes

You can see the work of the shortlisted artists on the RWS website. The prizewinners are as follows
  • 1st Prize (£15,000) - Jennifer McRae - David by the Window
  • 2nd prize (£7,000) - Cameron Galt - Late Sunday Morning
  • Penguin Classic Prize for Cover Art (£1,500 /win a commission) - David Firmstone for The Persistence of Memory
  • Young Artist aged under 30 on or before 01.09.08. (£1,500) - Peter Haslam Fox for Self Portrait with Tower
  • Highly commended / shortlisted artists are
    • June Berry RWS Nightwalker
    • Mick Davies Man U Fans
    • Michael Williams Island and Waterhole
    • Brian Woods Maelstrom
Artists selected for the Royal Watercolour Society / Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Exhibition
Bankside Gallery - Wednesday 10th September - Monday 21st september 2008

I missed the announcement back in July of the artists selected for the RWS/Sunday Times Watercolour Competition - but these are now listed below

You can also read Frank Whitford's review in the Sunday Times here RWS/Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition
The judges, confronted by so many outstanding paintings this year, decided they should introduce a Highly Commended category for the first time. Sadly, there is no money for the four artists whose entries were singled out in this way, but at least they now know who they are
Frank Whitford
Below I've noted something about their art after their names where this was clear from a relevant website (but please correct me if I've made any mistakes). Obviously I haven't got a clue what work has been picked for the exhibition. I've also noted if they have more than one work in the exhibition and exhibited in this competition before. Plus.....
  • A hyperlink to their name indicates a link to their website or the website of a dealer associated with the artist
  • a hyperlink to initials after their name indicates a link to their member page on an art society website
The selected artists are:
Roger Allen - Derbyshire artist, a realist who focuses on landscapes - particularly of the Peak District
Fay Ballard - (ARWS) a trained botanical artist who draws her inspiration from plants
June Berry RWS RE NEAC RWS (2 works) - a figurative artist who focuses on her nostalgic memories of things past - highly commended for Nightwalker
Varsha Bhatia - an architectural artist
Akash Bhatt RWS a representational artist aiming to make the ordinary extraordinary
David W Birch
Paul Birkbeck - a book illustrator
Antonia Black - a watercolourist who works loosely and calligraphically with a bright palette
Hugh Bredin
Ann Bridges - a painter printmaker based in Wales
Dawn Chandler
Frances Chapman
Richard P Cook
Eileen Cooper RA - teaches at the Royal College of art and Royal Academy School who paints imaginative narratives
Mick Davies - colourful and imaginative painter, regularly shows with national art societies - highly commended for Man U Fans
Chris Edwick - very colourful and exuberant abstract paintings
Pauline Ellison
Mark Elsmore RBSA - former winner of the Three Counties Art Exhibition

The winner of the new award,
the Penguin prize for cover art
David Firmstone VPRWS The Persistence of Memory

David Firmstone VPRWS MBE - Vice President of the RWS, a past winner of the Sunday Times Watercolour competition and a landscape painter

Brian Fleming

Cameron Galt (3 works) - Runner up
Late Saturday Morning. Contemporary figurative artist
Look also at the work of Cameron Galt. There are two of his paintings in this show. One is a small self portrait, a masterly work of great seriousness, the other a splendid modern still life of great strength.
Richard Sorell PRWS
Mathew Gibson (2 works) - a runner up in this competition in 2005
Robert Green
Peter Haslam Fox - winner of the Young Artist award, who doesn't have a website but does work for a gallery!

The prize for the best submission by a young artist goes to Self Portrait with Tower by Peter Haslam Fox......Interestingly, from 2006 to 2007 Haslam Fox studied under McRae at Southwark Art Academy.
Frank Whitford
Emma Haworth - who observes and records scenes from metropolitan life
Alan Hepburn - who documents his travel in watercolour and mixed media
Wendy Hyams -
St Albans artist who produces miniature portraiture and still life illustration in watercolour.
Ian Cuthbert Imrie - a member of the American Society of Potrait Painters
Peter Jarvis
Nick Johnson - contemporary painter of the landscape and natural environment
Lucy Jones - contemporary painter
James Judge
Peter Kelly NEAC RBA -
Anita Klein - a painter whose humour finds favour with many people - she paints in acrylics and watercolours
Peter Knock - figurative painter
Lee, Sun-Don - a Taiwanese award-winning artist who exhibits internationally - exhibiting
Zen • Onenss of Emptiness and Existence
Kathy Lewis - an award winning artist working mainly in watercolours and oils. These are extracts from her sketchbook.
Dan Llywelyn Hall - intense paintings (which) unapologetically deal with the natural world. Won Young Artist of the Year in this competition in 2003 and has work in a number of corporate collections.
‘…Intriguing painting; in which a more or less coherent image gradually emerges from beneath a surface of scratches and splatters.’
Frank Whitford SUNDAY TIMES
Arthur Lockwood RBSA - paints industrial scenes of the Midlands
Alban Low
Margaret McMillan
Jennifer McRae - won the first prize. She is an Scottish award-winning artist who is one of my absolute favourite figurative painters. Studying the work on her website is an education for any aspiring artist. She's currently exhibiting a self-portrait in the Threadneedle Figurative Prize exhibition. She won second prize in this competition in 2002 and third prize in 2007 and judged it in 2003 and 2004. Currently painting Sir Tim Berners Lee for the Royal Society.

Watercolour in its purest form is painting with transparent washes and leaving the white of the paper as highlights. It is the most difficult of media. One must make decisions about drawing, colour, tone, composition as well as meaning and sentiment all at the same time. These feats of intellectual juggling with so many different elements would tax anyone, and when a painting made in such a way is successful, it is the cause for celebration and wonder. Such a painting is Jenny MacRae’s portrait of her husband. It is an amazing work, strong subtle and magnificent.
Richard Sorell PRWS
Robert Michell
Wladyslaw Mirecki - award-winning landscape artist
Wendy Murphy
John Newberry - training in architecture clarified his feeling for three dimensions, his scultptural sense, his awareness of space. The pictures are usually of 'abroad'.
Paul Newland
RWS, NEAC - winner of The Turner Watercolour Award 2008 and Turner Medal
Gavin OKeefe
Juliette Palmer RBA
Shanti Panchal - strong but subtle compositions with sometimes monumental figures
David Pearce
Michael Porter - experiments with landscape painting
David Prentice - past prizewinner and a painter I like a lot
Christopher Prewett -
Peter Quinn ARWS -well known for brightly coloured watercolours of interesting buildings, boats and street scenes.
Sue Read - paints delicate and luminous still lifes
Alan Robb - a figurative painter
Alden Roberts - a visual arts lecturer at Yeovil College who also got into this exhibition last year; this year her painting is a portrait of a part-time student. See article in thisiswells
Philip Rundall -
His work reflects his interest in colour and light through the exploration of still life - and latterly landscapes and portraiture. I'm a fan of his watercolours.
James Rushton RWS NEAC - paints in oil, gouache and watercolour; won a prize in this competition in 2004. I'm a big fan of his oil paintings.
Denis Ryan - a previous exhibitor with the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition.
Marcus Sandeman - has an interview about his work
“Breakfast at Tesco - The Morning After” in the South Wales Argus and a blog post about it here working on the RWS
Eileen Schaer - a self-taught, contemporary and non-traditional watercolour artist with a strong graphical approach
Rosa Sepple RI - self-taught figurative artist combining observation, memory and imagination
- and spontaneity
Stephen Shankland - Modern Scottish contemporary portrait artist. Winner of the 2004 BP Portrait Award. Specialist in figurative and portrait painting. (..with a succinct website description!)
T Shedley-Jordan - strives to create carefully observed, non-gimicky works that are full of light, depth and calm.
Ian Sidaway - author of popular art books
David Souter - British contemporary figurative artist
Nigel Swift - works mainly in acrylics
Simon Turvey SWLA - wildlife artist whose work is shown at national exhibitions
John Twinning - the only artist whose website announced the acceptance of a specific piece Low tide into this exhibition! (see news section on front page)
Tim Vyner - travels the world and records events as he sees them
James Faure Walker - researches how digital art blends with painting
Geoff Waterhouse
Terry Watts RBA - a finalist in a number of important competitions
Michael B White
Charles Williams ARWS, NEAC (2 works)
People are filthy, and beautiful, nasty and sublime, wicked and humane, evil and full of the most heartbreaking charity, and I want to paint it all. Sex, shopping, fear, love, television and sacrifice.
Charles Williams
Michael Williams - a highly commended artist
Lucy Willis - popular painter, printmaker, author and workshop teacher
Brian Woods (2 works)

If I've got anybody's links wrong please do let me know and I'll make an immediate correction.

Artists's backgrounds, categories and descriptions

This turned into a bit of a marathon in terms of finding links - and I'm still a bit concerned whether they are 100% accurate. However, it's been a very interesting exercise and what I found particularly noteworthy is that the artists selected seem to fall into one of three groups
  • RWS people - members and associate members - but there's not as many of these as would have expected. I wonder if RWS members enter competitions?
  • members of other national art societies and/or people who regularly enter and get into national art competitions - quite a lot of these, but it's possible I've missed some.
  • everybody else - including well known and award-winning artists.
A few have no organised presence or statement about their work online and/or lucid statements about why they work in watercolour. There's no requirement for this of course but I find more and more that people winning top prizes have good quality websites...........

Take note! For some artists, it was amazing how difficult it was to say what an artist is about in one line from information provided on website. For all artists reading this - do you think I could produce a one line resume about you if you had entered a national competition? (I know I'm going to be checking my website after writing this post and I'm almost certain mine needs to be revised in the light of this exercise!!!)

For information - the RWS/Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2008 Judges were
I've also only just 'twigged' that the Royal Watercolour Society seems to have got itself a new website. Check it out here - Royal Watercolour Society


Sunday, August 24, 2008

24th August 2008 - Who's made a mark this week?

What's the main way you sell your art - poll results as at 23rd August 2008

There's just six days left to vote in my poll What's the MAIN way you sell your art? The most popular ways of selling your art are set out in the above chart and the poll in the right hand column.

In terms of 'what works' this is how it currently breaks out in percentage terms for all those categories achieving 10% or more
  • 26% sell online - through their own blog (13%) or personal website (13%)
  • 24% sell in conventional places where you find art sold - bricks and mortar art galleries (11%) and art fairs (13%)
  • 17% of artists achieve sales due to word of mouth and friends and family
What seems to work rather less well in terms of getting sales? The following have attracted less than 10% of responses to date. They're either less effective or less popular or maybe just just lack evidence of how they generate sales.
  • art society exhibitions (9%)
  • online auctions (7%)
  • online art gallery sites (4%)
  • online group blogs or online group websites (0%)
  • B&M 'rent a wall' art galleries (7%)
It rather looks to me like those hosting group blogs and websites need to work harder at their stats. as this isn't looking very persuasive in terms of achieving sales.

Of course it could be that artists aren't checking how people got their blogs or websites..........

I'll be doing a detailed review of the poll results - with a commentary - very soon after the deadline for this poll which is 31st August. You're very welcome to leave a comment to indicate whether you find any of the results to date surprising or not and whether you agree or disagree - with reasons please!

Also please vote if you're selling art and haven't voted as yet. The poll closes next Sunday.

Art Blogs It's a bit of an 'animal art' start to this week's links to blogs.
The medal ceremony in Trafalgar Square
11.5" x 17", pencil and coloured pencils in sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

  • I found a new source for information about British Artists - and that's The Art Collection website of the British Council. I'm guessing that the range of artists represented on the website actually relates to all those artists whose art is in the collection of the British Council and/or artists who have participated in exhibitions sponsored by the British Council.
    • The artists section lists artists alphabetically and provides links to both the artist's website and the main art organisation they belong to.
    • The site also lists art by portfolios (which can also be listed by artist).
  • Going to the main website which relates to the activities of the British Council, this is the British Council's Art, Architecture and Design page and this page relates to the Visual Arts. It links to an amazing amount of resources about different forms of visual art and artists, works, activities and exhibitions (which in turn links back to the collection website). Do not start looking without suitable sustenance and refreshment close to hand!
  • The Times Online yesterday reported that Portraits by the artist as a very young man: early Lucian Freuds discovered.
Art Business and Marketing
The gallery business is not in the best of health at the moment. Lots of artists are reviewing their strategies for selling art and lots of artists still want to try and get into galleries if they can.
Real art, like real jeans, never goes out of fashion. You’ll never hear anyone say: “That Mona Lisa. She’s so last week.”
Jeremy Clarkson
  • Jeremy Clarkson (Jezza to his pals) commented We have the galleries, but where’s the art? It's certainly the case that there is more art sat in vaults than there is on the walls of art galleries and museums. What a difference it would make if art was loaned out to commercial galleries to display alongside that of artists trying to sell their art. Would it raise the game - and would it bring in more collectors? (I wonder when Jeremy Clarkson is going to make the ING panel - there were rumours it was going to be this year)
Art Competitions

Anthony Green RA with
The Heaven and Earth Machine
his shortlisted entry
for the Threadneedle Figurative Prize.
He's also a judge for this year's Lynn Painter Stainer Prize for representational art
Art Equipment and Supplies
  • Charley Parker (Lines and Colors) has a hugely informative post about pochade boxes - where he takes a look at the different makes and their various pros and cons.
Art Exhibitions Tips and techniques Websites and blogging
  • is supposed to be a big new cutting edge blog directory - and yet again it's a Directory that's not got an art and illustration category.
and finally.............. Just to show that creativity is not dead in government, this is the 10 Downing Street response to the 'Clarkson for PM' petition (that's Clarkson as in the aforesaid 'Jezza').

[Apologies to those who looked at this twice and felt confused - I decided to rearrange items after publication!]