Thursday, December 25, 2008

Vote for the best artwork on a blog in 2008

Ladies and gentlemen - welcome to your opportunity to vote for the best artwork on a blog in 2008.

This is the third year of the Making A Mark Awards (MAMA!) and last year I introduced an Award for the best drawing or painting developed by an art blogger and posted on an art blog. The candidates for the Award are entirely determined by nominations from people who read this blog. I then draw up a shortlist and you vote to decide who gets the award.

One of the things I aim to do with the award is promote drawing as well as painting - although that does seem to present a difficulty as drawings are often less 'finished' than paintings. I've resolved that this year by allowing the drawings nominated to be a series on a theme - although that only emerged as the nomination process progressed.

17 nominations were received in total and I'd like to thank all of you who spent some time making your choice of work by another artist and finding some words to say why you thought it deserved to be nominated as best artwork on a blog in 2008. You can see all the artists and works which were nominated in Making A Mark Awards: Nominations for the best artwork on a blog in 2008.

My role in the 'voting' process is limited to acting as juror and whittling down the nominations received to just five pieces. In doing so, I reviewed the image in the original blog post (and any linked posts) and took a look at what the artist and others had to say about it. I was looking for images which connected with and had an impact on both me and other people.

As always with selection processes, my choice is individual to me. In short, every piece had something special about it which 'talked' to me from the screen. This year I'm going to try and explain what that is after each piece. I have to share that this year the choice was really difficult.

Vote for the best artwork on a blog in 2008

What you have to do now is decide which one you like the best (see images below) and then vote for it - once only please! ;) I've made the deadline a minute past midnight (GMT) on Sunday 30th December. I suggest clicking on the images before voting so you can see the work properly. I will then announce the winner in the second part of the Making A Mark Awards in a post later on Sunday 30th December 2007.

After you've voted you can view the results by clicking on the 'view result' link in the bottom left hand corner (just above the polldaddy link)

Shortlist of best artwork on a blog in 2008

by Susan Abbott (A Painter's Year)
For the Painting Nomination, I nominate Susan Abbott of A Painter's Year. The July, 9, 2008 entry "Arch & Ruin, Bonnieux"
nominated by E. Floyd (Elizabeth Floyd Studio)
I know Bonnieux in Provence - and the sky is that blue and the shadows can sometimes seem that mauve! Susan Abbott's watercolours make me want to get out my Schminke paintbox again and have another go at watercolours. Her colours are pigment rich, clean and transparent and 'of the place'. Her brushwork is fluid and she's also pretty adept with pen and ink as the drawing provides the basic structure for the subsequent washes. Artists who are strong on colour often catch and keep my eye and this one 'got' my eye!

A Walk in the Ocean
(7" x 5" ?, pastel)
by Margaret Dyer (Small Pastels and an Occasional Oil 17th April 2008)
Margaret Dyer's figure drawings are superb. Her blog makes it hard to choose just one, but nevertheless I nominate A Walk in the Ocean
nominated by Casey Klahn (The Colorist)
I'm eternally greatful to Casey for introducing me to Master Pastelist Margaret Dyer PSA's work. I'm sure I've not come across her work before - and the consistency and calibre of her work meant she went straight into my blogroll, follower list and Google Reader! This work is an excellent example of the sort of work which catches your eye and doesn't let go! I love the subject matter, the complimentary colours and the composition. It's a poem in "less is more".

acrylic, 18 x 24 on Gessobord
Dee Dee Murray (Dee Dee Murry Art Studio February 21, 2008)
I loved this piece before it won the 2008 Artist's Magazine annual competition. (Wildlife Division).
nominated by Sheona Hamilton Grant (Black on Grey on White)
Dee Dee does not post to her blog very often - however she is a very generous artist when she does. Indeed, what tipped the balance for me with this painting was not that it had already won the wildlife division of the Artist's magazine annual competition (coming first out of 1,600 entries) but rather that Dee Dee had originally posted it on her blog in stages as a work in progress. This is Great Grey Owl 1, WIP 2, WIP 3, and finally the finished painting. Sharing how an artwork is developed is one of the great gifts of the Internet and Dee Dee delivered a great present.

South Connector
(Oil on Wood, 24x32)
William Wray (Urban Painter William Wray May 20, 2008)
This painting of the 605 heading South combines a very strong design (an asymetrical composition with the curves of the freeway and the shooting palm trees) with a striking use of lights and shadows. William Wray is a modern master of the grey and muted tones. With a limited palette, he brings out the strengh of the american urban landscape and puts ordinary life in the spotlight. You can feel the dust and the density of the air.
nominated by Benoit Philippe (My French Easel)
I do like a painter who knows how to paint with coloured greys in a way which speaks of atmosphere and temperature. William Wray is an urban impressionist and a committed painter of blight. This painting is an interesting one because he added the blimp to stop the painting feeling too centred - the exercise of artistic licence is always possible. As he describes it on his blog.........
A rare blatant cheat from me as I like to paint "honest" real places, but I think it gave more interest and balanced the composition to a asymmetrical view I can live with.
William Wray

Yes William, agreed, but you get my vote for the sheer ingenuity and audacity of adding in a blimp! That and the fact your painting brought back vivid memories of driving the freeways in LA.

The November 2008 Archive of drawings/posts to Learning Daily
by Cindy Woods (Learning Daily)
nominated by Julie Oakley (Julie’s Pictures)
I have to say that the greatest art of 2008 for me has to be all of the November postings by Cindy Wood – I'm finding it very difficult to choose a particular drawing.

A celebration of the four year anniversary of her blog on November the first. A drawing of the inimitable be-hatted Annie on November 2nd, Halloween pictures, a celebration of the Obama victory, sketches of her friends, sketches of making music and drawings of her final days in hospital. The whole month is a microcosm of all of Cindy's art which shone out with talent, truth and love. I can't choose one drawing, but maybe another reader could pick the one.
This was the very first nomination and the one where I decided to have a Turner Prize moment - and allow in a suite of work - and my excuse is that I've always been a huge fan of Cindy's work from before I started this blog!

Nobody who sat and looked at and read Cindy's final posts in November can fail to have been moved by them. They start in normal Cindy style as drawings of her fellow residents at The Virginia Home dressing up and celebrating Halloween.

They move through the drawings of her final chemo and her final radiation treatment. The last drawings posted, after she announced she was entering hospice care, are especially moving - and she was holding portrait parties at her bedside up to the end! All her drawings were done, as always, with Cindy's acute observation - with some obviously done from memory as she is herself the subject of the drawings. "Finally food" (see right) made me smile and cry at the same time.

Cindy was hugely talented. Besides having an ability to make people real with a wonderful and deceptively simple line she was also able to connect with people through her drawing - as the testimony of the very many people who commented on her posts in November testifies.

I commend to you Ronda's reprise of Cindy's past drawings of Christmas which are currently being posted to Learning Daily.


Finally - I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers the greetings of the season - whichever are appropriate to your culture and beliefs.

May all your festivities be happy ones and I hope something or somebody else is doing your washing up!

I'm now taking a short break and will be back with first of the two posts which comprise the Making A Mark Awards on the 29th December. The result of the vote for this award will be formally announced on 30th December.

(Don't forget to also Vote for the best portrait by a female artist in 2008! )


  1. M. Dyer's work has had my admiration for some time. I bought her self-published book, which is chuck-a-bluck full of these figure works.

    While I was being indisposed this year, she taught a workshop in the Seattle area on the of my greatest disappointments of this year, esp. since I want to get into doing figure works!

    Very happy you liked this recommendation, Katherine. This group of artworks by different bloggers seems a little bit better than last years' - although smaller. I am ga ga over Susan Abbott's work, which is new to me.

    The kids are getting up! Ho Ho Ho...

  2. Thank you to everybody who has voted.

    With just one day left to vote, this poll has already exceeded the number of votes cast in this poll last year.

    If you've not yet voted why not take a little time to make up your mind which image you think is the best artwork on an art blog in 2008?


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