Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Gayle Mason SOFA sells before the SOFA Annual Exhibition is even open!

Aristocrat by Gayle Mason SOFA (sold)
coloured pencils on Ampersand Pastelbord
displayed in the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Feline Artists
image copyright Gayle Mason/photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Two bits of good news for my friend Gayle Mason, an animal artist who specialises in cats (see 'Fur in the Paint'. She's been juried into full membership of the Society of Feline Artists (SOFA). This means she can now use SOFA after her name. Plus she sold her first work at the 13th Annual Exhibition before the exhibition was even open!

Gayle Mason and feline friends demonstrating
at the UKCPS stand at Art Materials Live, NEC
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

"Aristocrat" just took his red spot for granted! This is the cat that many people will have seen as a work in progress if they came to the UKCPS stand at the Art Materials Live show at the NEC last November. He behaved like a magnet there and kept drawing people over to take a closer look at him! He then performed a similar feat at Gayle's stand at the Supreme Cat Show last November so we knew he had 'purr appeal'!

Gayle and I attended the Private View Annual SOFA Exhibition yesterday in which we both have works exhibited. The annual exhibition is always held at the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery opposite the Old Vic Theatre and just across the road from Waterloo Station. It continues until 20th September - and the gallery is open until 7.30pm each evening Monday - Saturday.

You can see examples in the online exhibition of works submitted for inclusion in the brochure which appear on the website - and in my photos of just some of the gallery walls and exhibition screens in this post. However works were disappearing off the walls and walking out the door while we were there.............. They'll be replaced by works also selected for exhibition.

The winner of the (open) Llewellyn Alexander Award is non-member Karen Hunt for her outstanding charcoal drawing "Stretch" of a reclining cat stretching (see right). Unfortunately there's no image on the website and it was in the window - right next to my "I spy a spider" and it's impossible to get shots of works in the window without reflections complete with security grill!

This exhibition always demonstrates wonderfully well the infinite number of ways in which you can take one subject and portray it in any number of different ways.

The felines in question can be wildlife, pedigree or moggie and are displayed in a variety of media as large, small and miniature paintings drawings and prints.

Artists whose work is exhibited and are well known to art collectors include:
  • Irina Garmashova and Denise Laurent SOFA - who are both artists well know to online art collectors. Both produce very colourful and popular work. You can see their original paintings in oil or acrylic on the gallery website plus you can see Denise's in this post The SOFA London Show on her blog The Painted Cat. They both have four originals in the show.
  • Martin Dexter SOFA and Diane Elson both produce imaginative paintings involving numerous cats in interesting and fantastical scenarios.
  • Janet Pidoux SOFA SWA and Celia Pike SOFA both produce very appealing paintings of domestic cats. Janet works in pastel and Celia works in gouache. I particularly liked Janet's Best of Friends and Celia's "Woody's admirer"
  • Sue Sareen SOFA and Lois Sykes SOFA both produce more 'painterly' renditions on cats
  • I spotted SOFA member Stephanie Manchipp's watercolour Quiet Corner and immediately thought it would be sold before we left - and it was, as was another of her works Venetian Daydreams!
  • I mentioned Jacqueline Gaylard SOFA in my earlier post as her paintings always demonstrate exceptional technical prowess and are always extremely popular - however Golden Girl is absolutely stunning in terms of hyper-realism.
This is also an exhibition which always does extremely well in terms of selling work. The Society is helped in no small part by exhibiting in a professional commercial gallery with associated expertise and mailing list. Both Gayle and I find Gillian Llewellyn Lloyd a source of very useful and helpful information about presentation and what tends to work well in terms of sales.

This is also an exhibition which tends to change slightly from year to year. This year, I noticed the following changes:
  • It would appear that artists have been sensitive to the current economic situation and have tended to submit more smaller and affordable paintings and I think there are more fine art handmade prints than before. There are a lot of very small works.
  • There's rather less 'big cat' art this year - which might be explained by the popularity of the exhibitions of wildlife art elsewhere.
  • There's also rather fewer larger pieces involving a number of cats than usual (although there's plenty of smaller pieces).
  • I think I saw more monochromatic and limited palette work than before - although there's still plenty of colourful pieces in the exhibit.
  • I saw sketch drawings and studies for the first time (I think)
  • The miniatures looked very good
  • The artwork which impressed the most involved cats with nice faces and/or very characteristic cat poses, strong composition and good quality presentation.
Membership of SOFA

Now, all I have to do now is NOT lose the invitation to apply for full membership before I'd even opened it (which is what I did this year!) and actually get my act together to submit a portfolio to the jury next year. If you're also interested in applying you need to become an Associate Member first and complete a year's membership as an Associate. After that entry to full membership is juried.
How to apply
....The Selection Committee require to see a minimum of 5 originals. Please bring source of materials i.e. photographs, sketches etc. that you used to produce the originals. Not all of the work has to be framed. You may also bring prints, sketch books and other quality reproductions to support your application.

The Selection Committee will be looking for originality, professional use of the medium, consistency, composition, drawing and representation of the cat (at least one full figure, not just portraits please). There should not be any direct copying from commercially printed sources e.g. photographs and paintings in books, these should be for reference only. It is vitally important to be aware of Copyright.You will have to apply for an application form.
Society of Feline Artists - membership
Non artists can apply to become a Friend of SOFA and are then eligible to be entered into the prize draw at the annual exhibition and to win a painting of a cat.

Feline Art: For those interested in feline art, check out my 5 star-rated information site Feline Art - Resources for Artists.



  1. and it was really well deserved Gayle :>) a beautiful piece - and Katherine in the window :>) in a prime location

  2. Wow that golden girl is one amazing work!!! I really thought it was a photograph at first.

    Thank you for sharing the links.

  3. Have really been enjoying discovering your blog - and thanks for the great information on a previous post about mailing list systems.

  4. Well, I'm just in awe at Gayle's work and talent, it's no surprise it sells so quickly!

  5. I like the cat sketches on your website.
    They're some cute kitties!


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