Sunday, October 19, 2008

19th October 2008 - Who's made a mark this week?

This is the 1,000th Postcard from Provence.
Oyster Shell, Knife, Lemon Quarter and Goblet
19cm x 13cm (8"x5"), oil on gessoed card at auction

copyright and courtesy of Julian Merrow Smith


Back in February, Postcard from Provence, had its 3rd birthday and Julian Merrow Smith agreed to an interview with me to celebrate the 1,000th Postcard from Provence. On Friday I published that interview in The 1,000th Postcard from Provence. You can now see that 1,000th Postcard from Provence above and also read Thanks to Julian for all his help with the interview. I had a lovely time going through the archives to select paintings from the last three and half years for Friday's post.

Another person I celebrated this week was Tracy Hall. On Monday, Tracy accepted the most prestigious prize in the world of miniature art for her painting Red Admiral & Rook - which fans of Tracy and her blog Watercolour Artist Diary will remember from Rook painting in miniature - complete with the requisite one penny coin to demonstrate just how small 2.25" X 1.75" really is!

You can read all about it in my Tuesday post The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers - Annual Exhibition 2008. Tracy has now achieved a 'hat trick' with prizes in all three of the miniature art exhibitions she's entered here in the UK and in the USA.

Moving from miniature art to small paintings but staying with the 1,000 paintings theme Duane Keiser's new blog Oddments - a 1000 small paintings is letting people buy paintings the 'crackerjack' way. I've not seen this online before - is this another Keiser first? Plus he announced on Friday that he's been working on a big project which has been taking up quite a lot of his time. Could this be the next 'big thing'? Who knows - I certainly don't but I do know that Duane keeps coming up with new ideas which others follow. Duane and Julian between them popularised the daily painting blog format which has since between taken up by many artists for selling their work online. I think most people have by now realised that a painting a day is a major challenge and have settled for painting a little less often.

Daily Paintworks - changes to the line-up

The Daily Paintworks people make a commitment to paint and post a set number of new paintings each month. That's easier said than done when the profile you can get as a result means that demands for your painting take off!

Within the group members and names have changed recently as other demands (such as major commissions, galleries, exhibitions and 'life' changes) have had to take precedent. So the Daily Paintworks people have said
The Daily Paintworks email certainly continues to be one of the emails I look forward to getting each day! You can read more about daily painting in my post from December last year Daily painters, paintings and paintworks - and where you can see them.

Art Blogs
Urban Sketchers is a community of artists around the world who draw the people and places of the cities where they live and travel to. This blog is an extension to the Flickr Urban Sketches group started in November of 2007 by Seattle journalist and illustrator Gabi Campanario.
Art Business and Marketing

Art Review's Power 100 was published this week - it consists of an awful lot of names which I don't recognise at all and am not getting excited about enough to look them up, mainly because I have an inbuilt resistance to thinking of Damien Hirst as the most important living person in art!
1 Damien Hirst - artist
2 Larry Gasogian - gallerist
3 Kathy Halbreich - gallery director
4 Sir Nicholas Serota - museum director
5 Iwan Wirth - gallerist
Source: ArtReview
In the meantime Laura Allsop posed the question Will women artists ever get the respect they deserve? given that there are only 30 women on the list.
Once again, men outnumber women on the Art Review's Power 100 list - further proof, if you need it, of the lack of equality in the art world...............only three out of the 30 artists featured in the Power 100 are female, and these three all appear in the second half of the list
Art market sliding: On the city front the news continues to be woeful......however this week, I've also started to spot articles suggesting the market turmoil is now having an impact on contemporary art at the high end and the tide is turning. Included below are an assortment of articles from Friday and Saturday commenting on the state of the contemporary art market - it won't make for easy reading for some....... however the quote below might bring smile to a few faces (it's a very good article too)
The great thing about the imminent possible crash in the art market is that there are no victims. By which I mean, there are no victims other than enormously rich people. Even better, some of the enormously rich people who may lose their shirts are bankers.
The Observer Carole Cadwalladr Before the bubbly stops flowing ...
If Sotheby’s contemporary art evening auction in London tonight did somewhat better than expected, it was only due to the pre-sale across-the-board lowering of reserves.
Art Info - Lowered Reserves Power Unremarkable Sotheby’s Result
  • One of the blogs to keep an eye on is Sellout which burned very bright earlier this year before closing down. It's now back up and posting about
  • On Thursday I asked What happens to artists in a recession? (note what I said about contemporary art prices at the high end) I tried to avoid total gloom and doom by striking a middle line between the bad news and some more positive thoughts (and some suggested prompts for action).
  • Darren Rowse (Problogger) has a blog post about 13 Tips to Recession Proof Your Blog. Darren is a professional blogger - but some of his tips are very applicable to artists facing a recession. The tip about website hosts not being immune from bankruptcy and failure seems particularly pertinent. Nobody is too big..........
Frieze Art Fair and a few art auctions triggered the negative press highlighted above. Frieze closed yesterday with sales in the thousands rather the millions it generated last year..........
As we know ;) Damien Hirst has been keen to follow the success of art bloggers selling their work direct to customers via ebay and other online auctions and has taken to selling work direct to collectors via the auction houses - missing out the galleries. Auction houses are now buying galleries...........
  • Laura Cumming in The Observer last Sunday queried What price the rise of private art? - in a fascinating article which comments on the number of curators who have switched from museums to the "dark side" and various other aspects where boundaries are blurring and changing.
The map of the art world has been transformed over the last 10 years as people and money have moved from public to commercial galleries, while collectors and dealers wield ever more influence. But as commerce dominates, where will the radical and challenging approach to art take place, free from the pressures of the market?.............The entire industry is forming and reforming by the day like some monstrously engorged digestive tract, in which public and commercial are mulched.
Art competitions
Art Education

At the end of September the Times newspaper had a series of Art School articles on its Times-Online site:
Art Exhibitions
Art Forums
Art Practice
  • Nearly 60 people have responded to Making A Mark's October Poll which asks what is your main reason for working in a series. Two options about exploration are out in front. Click the image to see a larger version of the chart. There's 12 days left to vote.
Poll - What's your MAIN reason for working in a series?
Chart of responses as at 18th October 2008

(see poll in right hand column)
Art Videos
Book Reviews
Tips and techniques
Websites, blogging and software
  • Most of you probably use some sort of office suite for your routine communication and keeping records. If you balk at Microsoft Office prices then take a look at a FREE productvity suite Open Office 3 and this review from cnet news (the people behind The demand from people downloading was so great it crashed the website on the first day out of beta!
  • (For USA readers only) Quicken Online, the Web-based financial software, is also now FREE - again checkout this review from cnet news. If you do use web-based software for doing anything with money online then I highly recommend you read how it works, make sure you have an up to date browser, a good security suite and don't do anything risky eg wireless communication on a public non-secure network. Basically all the same sort of stuff you'd do if you were communicating with your bank online.
  • Free links to your site - Matt Cutts highlighted the fact that the Google webmaster blog has announced that you can find the pages that link to 404 pages on your site.
and finally...............

Banksy has an exhibition in New York. Here's the links to the exhibition - and the comments is the leopard in one of the storefront windows that stops passers-by first. “Is that — real?” a woman asked on Wednesday, peering at a large furry object perched on a tree branch, its tail swinging. It’s not: it is an ingeniously arranged fake fur coat.
New York Times review


  1. "I have an inbuilt resistance to thinking of Damien Hirst as the most important living person in art!"
    I don't read 'powerful' as meaning important. Powerful seems to relate to money and influence, not necessarily the art itself.

    And with all the talk of Hirst and auction houses it seems everyone has missed the fact that Hirst isn't alone in this. I shared online a couple days ago the Art Newspaper announcement that Annie Liebovitz is now represented by an auction house. I feel her doing this is a much more interesting sign of what's happening than Hirst doing it.

    And I love the idea of 'cracker jack' oddments! And also kudos to Duane, his oddments have gone up 50% in price in a year. So the demand must be fantastic. :)

  2. Art Review was a magazine I USED to subscribe to. it had interesting articles on a wide range of contemporary artists and major exhibitions

    - but it lost its credibility when the previous editor left, a few years back now - it was no longer about art but about conceptual art, money, photos of the seemingly self obsessed new editor at various openings and venues and utterly utterly boring! I cancelled the subscription.

    I wouldn't give its idea of the top 100 any credibility!


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