Sunday, October 05, 2008

5th October 2008 - Who's made a mark this week?

Flying Dunlin by Celia Smith ASWLA
Wire and Tunnock Cake Wrappers

copyright - work: Celia Smith / photo:Katherine Tyrrell

The feature this week is wild!

I was supposed to be sitting in the New Gallery of Royal West of England Academy in Bristol this morning at the AGM of the UK Coloured Pencil Society (UKCPS) - and then attending the Private View of the 7th UKCPS's 7th Annual International Open Exhibition in the same gallery in the afternoon - see the UKCPS News post.

That was before the severe weather warning. There's a band of absolutely torrential rain passing across southern England today. I've had to drive in these severe weather warnings on business before now. In fact I once crossed the Severn Bridge just before they closed it and drove to the west coast of Wales on a Sunday night in one. I then spent the next week finding ways round all the flooding. Once bitten, twice shy!

So instead I'm sat in London with Canary Wharf lost in the rain mist outside my window. (Now there's another series I ought to get going again!)

Instead, I'm going to be writing about the UKCPS Annual Exhibition tomorrow - after I've written the blog post announcing the winners on UKCPS News tomorrow morning! ;)

My feature artist this week is Celia Smith ASWLA who works in copper wire to produce the most stunning 3D work of birds. I was completely bowled over by her work at the 45th exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Art which I went to see at the Mall Galleries this week (my review of it will be posted on my blog later this next week). Every single piece of hers that I saw was absolutely 'knock-out'. They all made me stand and stare as I encountered them from the beginning of the exhibition to the end. The image at the top is one such.

One of the things I really liked about her work was that it actually gained from being placed close to a vertical surface and became even more 3D due to the impact of lighting and shadows. Another aspect I loved was that all her birds were acutely observed from the form to the line to the very behaviour of the bird she was portraying in wire.

She really demonstrates very clearly the huge value to be gained from working from life and making studies before you begin. Do check out her website where you can see more of her work.

Congratulations to....Richard Bell who is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Wild West Yorkshire - his online nature diary.

Richard has got a new book out Drawing on Reserves (nice pun!) which combines a practical guide to drawing wildlife with keeping a sketchbook nature diary.

Drawing on Reserves by Richard Bell
(Willow Island Editions) Paperback
ISBN: 987-1-902467-17-7 (May 2008)

Art Blogs
Art and efficient working has received a focus of late by some artist bloggers - here's a couple:
As an artist if I made art 24/7 and never marketed it I would eventually run out of room in my house for the art. I spend a full 50% of my time running my art business.
Art Business, Art Economy and Marketing

The meltdown continued apace this week - which prompted some of the following - plus others of relevance
I'm looking to add more suggestions from artists about how to cope with these challenging times - let me know if you write a relevant blog post suitable for adding into my new information site.

We certainly live in curious times:
online banking fraud jumped a massive 185% driven by an increase in phishing attacks, where fraudsters send a fake email to bank customers asking them to give their password and other personal details.
It'll also be interesting to see what recent events in the money world do to the traffic stats for online art marketing sites - see Empty Easel's chart of the different sites he's tracking.

I'm just wondering which of the sites have their figures distorted by forum traffic which appears to represent the site as having more buyers than it actually has. You know traffic is 'clean' when any forum has a completely separate domain name - as Squidoo has for its SquidU Forum.

Dan is doing an update of his site at this week - I'll be interested to see what the redesign looks like. In the meantime, last week..........
Each group, the “fine artists” and the “commercial artists,” both admit to wanting to sell their work, and to make a living from their creativity—yet there is a clear sense of elitism in the fine arts camp.
I've been looking around for updates on the Orphan Works Bill and copyright matters generally
Advocacy group Public Knowledge’s Alex Curtis called the September 11th hearings blitz “a perfect storm of bad copyright legislation.”......
Then Kirsty and I explored funding for the arts - which led via a circuitous route to Barack Obama.
The Canadian author and well known knitter, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has just written a searingly polite but vicious post about the recent obnoxious comments about the arts made by Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper
  • so started Kirsty Hall as she commented on some comments made in Kirsty's post An average artist responds but she took exception to a comment made in response to Stephanie's blog post (on Yarn Harlot) and explained why [updated to revise a misunderstanding]
  • ....and I then responded
  • ....and then Kirsty responded to my comments in More on funding
  • ....and I then got totally distracted because I started to read Yarn Harlot and found a link to Tracy in Illinois and her blog Stringativity. Tracy had a a post back in December last year where the blogger wrote about her Yarn Harlot - ness which involved asking Barack Obama to hold her knitting while she took a picture! OK - so I wander around bit while looking at art blogs and this has nothing to do with the art business - but it's a good story and a good blog post!
Art Collections and Collecting
Art Competition and Exhibitions

There were lots of exhibitions were opening in the UK this week including
In the USA Charley Parker has done a very helpful post about Paths to Impressionism, French and American Landscape Paintings from the Worcester Art Museum

Art group
  • How many pastel artists out there have come across the pastel artists group on Flickr? It's discussions are infrequent and I'm wondering if this is to do with lack of awareness.
Art Projects - Working in a Series
Art Videos
Art Workshops
Although drawing wasn't the point of this week's workshop, Lois noted - and I whole-heartedly agree - that drawing is a fundamental skill for any painter, Impressionist or otherwise. You simply can't hide poor drawing.
Michel Chesney Johnson
Websites, Blogging and the Internet
  • Have you noticed how the "Blogs I'm following" tab on Blogger dashboard now has images - much better!!! :)
  • Plus on 1st October Google created a new homepage for Google Blog Search which now shows clusters for hot topics plus categories in the side column - although there isn't one for art!
  • Empty Easel has an article about Don’t DO That! 12 Web-design Mistakes that Online Artists Should Never Make which has lots of jolly good tips. I disagree with just one recommendation (6. Don’t be stingy with the size of your large images.) which is that if you actually upload as large an image as possible (ie the one you get when you click an image to see the bigger version) you're actually creating quite a load for anybody trying to access your blog post plus contributing to how much of their download allowance you use up. Also the bigger the image the easier it is to copy. I always use 500 pixels longest length and less than 100KB as my basic rule of thumb for all images and only exceed that for a good reason.
  • Last month, Tim Berners Lee announced that he has set up The World Wide Web Foundation. You can read the FAQs here.
The mission of the Foundation is:
  • to advance One Web that is free and open,
  • to expand the Web's capability and robustness,
  • and to extend the Web's benefits to all people on the planet.
and finally.....

Two items - which are sort of connected.

Thanks to Edward Winkleman for his post Rather than Checking the Dow Every 3 Seconds which led me to........Crisis in the Credit System - by Melanie Gilligan, a Canadian-born conceptual artist based in London; she had shows at Tate Britain and the Serpentine Gallery last year. I love the fact that it's been filmed in the East End not far from me and I find out about it via a New York Gallery Owner blogger!

Blog Action Day is October 15th and this year the topic is Poverty. Here's the blog to keep up to date with what's happening. Visit the Resources pages for help on ideas. Why not create a draft post now for October 15th so you won't forget?
Blog Action Day is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.


  1. Thanks for the link Katherine. One small correction; the comment I took exception to was not written by Stephanie, it was by a commenter on her blog.

  2. Ah - I see what's happened - I went back and reread your blog post and it could have been read either way.

    I'll revise my blog post to make it clearer.


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