Saturday, May 30, 2009

31st May 2009 - Who's made a mark this week?

Photos from the International Garden Photographer of the Year Exhibition, Kew Gardens
Top row - Plant Portrait prizewinners; Edible Plants Prizewinners;
Bottom row - a selection of photos in the wildlife in the garden; one of the portfolios
copyright the artists

Well! In the first week of the pedometer, I walked more than 55,000 steps while doing three major walks with "he who must not be bored while I sketch", seeing five exhibitions and going on a sketching trip to sketch the 2012 Olympic Stadium - see Sketching the Olympic Park (more of this to come).

The exhibitions I saw were:
  • the Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers - of which more next week.
  • the International Garden Photographer of the Year Exhibition - which is outdoors near the Pavilion Restaurant at Kew Gardens! The selected entries were chosen by a panel of thirteen judges from thousands of entries received from around the world, You can see the winners here. The overall winner of the £5,000 prize for the best single image is UK-based photographer, Jonathan Berman for In Tresco Abbey Gardens . This is an infrared photograph of Tresco Abbey Gardens on the Scilly Isles which has an ethereal dream-like quality. You can also see the photos I took of the exhibition - amongst the trees - in this Flickr set. I'm still trying to work out what the photographs are on so that they don't deteriorate or fade while outside in all weathers!
  • three different exhibitions of botanical art at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at Kew Gardens:
    • The Power of Plants
    • Down Under: Contemporary Botanical Artists from Australia and New Zealand
    • In Search of Gingers
Tomorrow I'm going to the Private View and awards ceremony for Wildife Artist of the Year.

Drawing and sketching
  • On Tuesday I provided the results and commented on the survey about How do you draw? #2. I aksed whether you've ever drawn yourself drawing here are a couple of images of other people who drew themselves while drawing.

(Left) Felicity Grace - self portrait marathon (Right) Vivien Blackburn - self portrait for a grandchild
copyright the artists
Coloured pencils and pastels
  • Today's the last day of The International Association of Pastel Societies 2009 Convention in Albuquerque. It'll be interesting to see what pops up on blogs next week as participants get home.
  • I'd be really pleased if I could produce paintings like the ones in this post 4 days of Painting in Sonoma on Bill Cone's blog (Bill Cone) - never mind produce them all while painting plein air! You can tell this is somebody who got honed his techniques by painting a lot - just look at the number of pastel paintings he produced in 4 days! It's made me have another think about Canson paper as I was convinced they were oils to start with!
  • Deborah Secor (Deborah Secor - Art and Faith) has been producing 15 pastel paintings - and taking less than an hour for each. For more details see The Completed Challenge!! and below. It's interesting to see the new Pan Pastels on different surfaces - and some great skies and clouds!
All of them are 9x9", all in pastel, some with PanPastels, some with sticks, and some with both, but on different papers (Wallis, Pastelmat, Colourfix). None of them took me over an hour to paint, start to finish, and most were less--some much less. I did as I promised and posted the good, the bad, and the blah.
Deborah Secor writing about her challenge
  • Karen Margulis (Painting My World) based in Georgia has been recently staying in Taos, New Mexico and plein air sketching in pastels some of the subjects painted by Georgia O'Keeffe.
  • plus see the art education and book review sections below.
Before I left, I stood among these fine pieces and pondered the grand issue of Quality. What is it that makes a painting worthy of this kind of national show?
I observed that it's three things: Exciting composition, exciting color, and exciting brushwork. If you wish, you can boil this down to one thing: Drama.
Simon Schubert starts with a blank sheet of paper and strategically defines his images using only folds. The series of marks appear becomes to jump from the page as if it was a piece of pressed tin. The images are hauntingly beautiful.
West Collection - Simon Schubert
Art Group Blogs

Art Business and Marketing

When do we become so desperate to sell our work that we will push the limits of integrity and good form?...........Think about your core values and integrity as a professional and keep them alive in all of your dealings with artists and patrons. Don't be so desperate for fame and recognition that you will leave them behind.

Art Competitions

BP Portrait Award
The Threadneedle Prize for Painting and Sculpture

Just a reminder - you now have just TWO days left to register your work. Registration closes at midnight on Monday 1 June 2009. Go online NOW to register up to three works

Art Education / Tips and techniques

Many of you have asked for more classical art teachings from obscure primary sources. So today and tomorrow, I’d like to share some rare nuggets from Howard Pyle.
James Gurney

Art Supplies

Book reviews

  • I did a book review of the very first pastel book I ever bought - still great after all these years! - See Book Review: The Pastel Book
  • Nita Leland (Exploring Color and Creativity) wrote in Books in high places about how she saw her book Confident Color on the shelves of the bookstore at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Which reminds me - I need to tell her that I saw it on the bookshelves of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew! ;)

Websites and Blogging

  • Matt Cutts (the man who fights spam for Google) has provided an update on Straight from Google: What You Need to Know Do download the Powerpoint presentation - it's got lots and lots and lots of really good tips.
  • Lots of announcements about new products this week:
    • A new search engine called Bing is about to launch this week. It's Microsoft's answer to Google. Keep an eye out for it and see whether or not it's just the same search engine as Live with a new brand name.
    • Mashable highlighted Google Wave: A Complete Guide- it provides an overview of the basics of Google Wave and a link to an in-depth guide to the terminology associated with it and more on Google’s newest product. I'm not at all sure how it's relevan to artists - but then I didn't see how Twitter would be either!

and finally.........

Nothing to do with art - or is it? I finally got an answer to a question which has crossed my mind from time to time from Ariane a Guide Interpreter at Giverny (Giverny Impression) in Gardener at Giverny

I'm now off to go and see how another garden is getting on............

Making a Mark reviews......

MAM Poll May RESULTS: Preferred media for drawing or sketching

Making A Mark Poll (May 2009) - Which media you like using for drawing and sketching?

At the beginning of May I started an opinion poll which posed the question Which media do you like using for drawing or sketching?

This month the poll allowed multiple responses. That's because I know lots of you have two or three types of media you like to use. It was suggested that people limit responses to those media used on a regular basis.

In total there were 183 respondents who provided 532 responses - which makes an average of very nearly 3 types of preferred media which are used on a regular basis

The averages in the chart relate to the percentage of respondents indicating a particular option. In other words 70% of respondents use graphite while 35% use watercolour and 22 % use charcoal. The percentages don't add up 100% because just one person could have said that their three favourite media were pencil, watercolour and charcoal.

The top three media for drawing and sketching

You might be surprised by which are the top three media for drawing and sketching.
  • a whopping 70% of all respondents use graphite - this was by far the most popular medium for drawing or sketching
  • 42% of people responding like to use coloured pencils. It's quite likely that at least one of them has been influenced by the fact that a lot of coloured pencil artists read this blog!
  • 35% of artists taking this poll prefer to paint with watercolour when sketching
There again, if pencil came top isn't it more logical that there more use of pencils - this time coloured - before you got out a brush?

Traditional pen and ink wins out!

Of those who like using pen and ink, there's a preference for using pen and ink the old fashioned way - but it's close!
  • 27% of respondents say their preferred medium is traditional pen and ink
  • while 24% opt for other forms of pen and ink - such as ballpoints, rollerballs or graphic pens
  • just 12% like using marker pens for colour
Soft pastels are the favourite

Between the pastels there's an expected preference for soft pastels
  • 17% of respondents use and prefer soft pastels on a regular basis
  • while 12% use hard pastels or conte sticks
  • and only 9% use oil pastels
Dry media and colour

People who use dry media quite often progress through diferent dry media. However if looking to use dry media to provide colour then
  • 42% prefer coloured pencils
  • while only 17% like soft pastels
The very traditional and the very new
  • 22% like using charcoal - probably the oldest drawing medium of all
  • while a third of this - 7% - like using digital drawing tablets.

Do please comment on what you like to use the most and why.

The next Making A Mark poll will be posted on Monday 1st June.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

BP Portrait Award - who enters and who gets selected

Number and percentage of artists selected - by age group

I've been sent some data relating to who entered and who got accepted into the BP Portrait Award - and being an inveterate number cruncher I duly crunched - and this post summarises the key messages!

Who enters?

More artists over the age of 40 are entering each year

2,006 2,007 2,008 2,009
Under 40 1,113 1,164 947 1,015
Over 40
706 780 881
Total Entries 1,113 1,870 1,727 1,896
  • there's been a big increase in the number of entries since 2007 which was the first year that the BP Portrait Award was opened up to all age groups
  • however the number of artists under the age of 40 has remained relatively static
  • while the major increase in entries has come from artists aged over the age of 40
Over a quarter of the entry comes from abroad
  • this percentage increased significantly after 2007 as international artists began to realise that the Award accepted entries from overseas and the significance of the Award in the world of portraiture
Who gets selected?

The chances of selection reduces as the number of entries grows
  • The gallery in which portraits are exhibited has a finite size and the number of works in the exhibition do not vary much from year to year
  • That means that as the number of entries increases, the chances of getting selected reduces
  • In 2007, 3.21% of entries were selected. In 2009, the percentage has dropped to 2.95%
  • In very broad terms, the chances of being selected are 3 in 100.
Fewer UK artists are now selected for the exhibition and now account for around two thirds of the exhibiting artists
  • overall there has been a decrease in the number of entries selected from UK Artists. In 2006, UK artists represented 79% of the artists in the exhibition. The percentage this year is just 68%
  • How this links to the increased number of entries, the increase in the average age of the entrants and the increase in competition from international artists is unclear.
International artists have a better chance of being selected
  • the number of entries from international artists have increased - as have the number selected for exhibition
  • however in 2009 when compared to their peer group, international artists are also more likely to be selected
  • this means that in 2009 the number of international artists selected - as a percentage of the number of international entries - is higher than the same statistic for UK entries.
  • this has changed from last year when the chances of selection were very even irrespective of source
Under or over 40 - chances of selection were even in 2009. HOWEVER, more artists over the age of 40 are being selected for the exhibition each year.
  • the proportion of artists - as a percentage of the number of entries for their age group - has increased for the over 40s since 2006 and decreased for the under 40s.
  • Selected artists over the age of 40 represent 2.95% (up from 2.27% in 2006)
  • Selected artists under the age of 40 represent 2.95% (down from 3.78% in 2006)
The major omission in the statistics

What the published statistics don't tell us is anything about gender.

I commented on this last year - in BP Portrait Award shortlist announced - a woman will win!
The fact that there is no female artist in the short-listed finalists (as in 2007 and 2005.........) is certainly not a fact I'd want to celebrate - hence the irony of the title of this post. There was one female finalist in 2006 and one in 2004 and a female artist did win in 2003 so it's not all bad news!

I'm not criticising the panel - I'm sure they picked what they saw as the best. Rather I'm suggesting that many more women artists need to enter competitions like this and the exhibitions with prestigious awards like the Ondaatje (as covered yesterday - see end). There are certainly many women artists who are extremely competent portrait painters and yet, as demonstrated for example by the membership of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters the portrait world seems to be overwhelmingly dominated by artists of the male gender!
I've noticed that the RSPP is improving - but there's still no data on gender from the BP Portrait award organisers.

Next year maybe they will ask the question? Do comment below if you'd like to know more.

Links to past posts about the BP Portrait Award on this blog:
Making a Mark reviews......

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BP Portrait Award 2009 - the shortlist

The BP Portrait Award for 2009 - one of Britain's most prestigious art prizes - will be announced on Tuesday 16th June.
The entire competition is judged, on an equal and anonymous basis, from original paintings. An exhibition is then created from a selection of the entries.
My prediction - Last year I predicted which artist would win and got it right for both The BP Portrait Award and the Young Artist Award prior to seeing the art in person! I don't know if I can repeat that feat again this year but here goes......

I don't know the size of each of the work or even what media has been used to paint them. However, after looking only at the images, my initial reaction is that the winner will be Michael Gaskell with Tom - but then I'm a great fan of Holbein! I then looked at the bios and that only served to confirm my view as most previous winners have done well in previous BP Award exhibitions and Michael Gaskell is the only artist to have been previously shortlisted for a prize.

These are the three artists who have been short-listed from a record number of 1,901 entries received for this Award which is now in its 30th year.

Annalisa Avancini for Manuel

1000mm x 800 mm, oil
copyright Annalisa Avancini

Annalisa, 35, is a painter and design teacher from Italy who studied at the Arts High School of Trento and the Marangoni Institute in Milan. She worked as a fashion designer for several years before turning to teaching in 2003. This was the third time that Avancini had painted Manuel, 31, a friend she met when staying with her brother in the mountains of the Trento province.
His eclectic personality is what attracts me. His story shines through his face. Despite his young age his life is rich in experience.
Avancini started this most recent portrait last summer, attracted by the contrast between Manuel’s expression, the old chair and the sunlight coming in through the window. Avancini’s work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States and she won First Prize in both the 1st Contemporary Art Show 2006 at the Museum of the Americas, Miami and the Painting Prize for Young Artists 2007 at the Verona Fine Art Society.

Michael Gaskell for Tom

270 x 210 mm, Egg Tempera
copyright Michael Gaskell

Gaskell, 46, studied at St Helen’s College of Art and Design and Coventry Polytechnic and has been exhibiting his work for over twenty years. The shortlisted portrait is of his son, Tom, who was 17 at the time of the first sitting. Gaskell continued to work on the portrait over the next two years.
He was at the period in adolescence between boy and manhood and fleetingly suspended between both. In spirit my painting owes most to Botticelli’s Portrait of a Young Man which is its primary inspiration and a painting I’ve always loved. The pose itself is more reminiscent of a number of portraits by Holbein, an artist I greatly admire.
Gaskell won Second Prize in the BP Portrait Award 2003 and was commended in both 1999 and 2001 and his work has been the subject of five solo exhibitions.

Peter Monkman for Changeling 2.

Changeling 2
1220 x 900 mm
copyright Peter Monkman

Currently Director of Art at Charterhouse, Surrey, Monkman, 44, studied visual arts at University of Lancaster, John Moores University Liverpool and the University of London. The shortlisted portrait is part of a series of portraits of his daughter, Anna, that explores the concept of the changeling, a child substituted for another by stealth, often with an elf.
I challenge the fixed notion of an idealised image of childhood and substitute it for a more unsettling, complex, representation that exists in its own right as a painting.
The initial ideas for this portrait came from photographic studies of Anna playing in woods in Brittany where the light had a magical quality. Monkman’s work has previously been exhibited in the BP Portrait Award in 1999, 2001 and 2003 and more recently at the Mall Galleries, Cadogan Contemporary, Watts Gallery and at the Science Museum, London.

Young Artist of the Year: Interestingly none of the three artists identified above are eligible for the BP Young Artist Award (£5,000) as all are over the age of 30. The information I've got doesn't say who has been shortlisted for the Young Artist Award.

Panel of Judges: The competition was judged from original paintings by this year’s panel;
  • Sandy Nairne, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London (Chair)
  • James Holloway, Director, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh
  • Gillian Wearing, artist and photographer
  • Charlotte Mullins, art historian and critic
  • Des Violaris, Director, UK Arts and Culture, BP
This year’s BP competition entry was of a very high quality, with a large number from around the world. The short-listed works show the range of techniques and styles that make portrait painting so exciting
Sandy Nairne
, Director, National Portrait Gallery

Some BP Award statistics

For those interested to see how their entry fared I've got some statistics relating to the competition and will be posting those in another post tomorrow.

Exhibition details

The exhibition of the BP Portrait Award 2009 and the BP Travel Award 2008 - supported by BP - is in the Wolfson Gallery of the National portrait Gallery from 18 June until 20 September 2009. Admissions is free. After that it will subsequently tour in 2009-10 to Southampton City Art Gallery and the Dean Gallery of the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh.

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London, WC2H 0HE
Opening hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 10am – 6pm (Gallery closure commences at 5.50pm)
Late Opening: Thursday, Friday: 10am – 9pm (Gallery closure commences at 8.50pm)
Recorded information: 020 7312 2463
General information: 020 7306 0055
Underground: Leicester Square/Charing Cross

Links to past posts about the BP Portrait Award on this blog:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How do you draw? #2

How do you draw? - a chart of the results
My poll on How do you draw? last month occurred just before my computer malaise - hence I never got round to doing the posts about the results.

The poll looked at two quite different aspects of the mechanics of drawing
  • the angle of the support
  • whether the support is static or moved around
The Angle of Drawing
First there's the issue of the angle of your support and what tools or equipment you're using to help you draw. Most people probably assume that drawings can only be made using paper. However much contemporary drawing is done using digital tools or 'found' media in the environment.

How we draw also depends on the tools which are available and our very individual preferences. For me it's not a question of 'right' or 'wrong' responses to the question about how we draw - even if ergonomics suggest there are 'better' ways of drawing.
How do you draw? #1
101 people responded to the part of the poll which asked about the angle of drawing. You can see the results of how people favoured different options in the above chart.

Two thirds work flat or at a slight angle and around a quarter of respondents work with whatever is available (otherwise known by many as 'sketching on your knees'!)
  • 42% work on a flat surface where the paper is free to move around.
  • 22% work at a slight angle or have their paper fixed to a table top drawing board
  • 22% work in the environment and draw on whatever is available
  • just 11% work at a steep angle with their paper on a professional drawing board
  • 2% work with their paper fixed to a wall
  • and 2% work using a digital tablet
This suggests to me that
  • most people don't actually invest in drawing technology - such professional drawing boards or drawing tablets - to aid their drawing
  • at least around a quarter are happy to work in any environment - so long as they've got something to draw on
Static vs moving the paper around

I was next interested in the issue of whether people who draw keep their paper/support pinned down and static or whether it is moved around and the drawing is approached from different angles.

Whether or not you can move the drawing around greatly influences your approach to drawing.

Do you keep your drawing support static or do you move it around while drawing?
results of survey (April 2009)

As you can see
  • over a quarter of the 96 people who responded always move their support around
  • well over two thirds always or sometimes move their drawing around while drawing
  • just over a quarter of people (26%) always or usually keep their support static while drawing
  • just 3% of people move themselves (as opposed to the drawing) while drawing.
I often see photographs of people drawing at professional drawing boards with their paper attached to the board. It would seem that this isn't in fact the most popular way to draw.

Maybe we need to see more photos of people drawing - or maybe more drawings of people drawing.

This was the drawing I did of my favourite way of drawing - which some of you may remember from my blog post What increases your artistic productivity? (Click the image to see a larger version)
Drawing with ease
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

How about you? Do you have a drawing of you drawing? If you have a drawing of you drawing or do one this week, leave a link to your blog post as a comment below and I'll post the best one in 'who's made a mark this week' next Sunday.

Making a Mark reviews......

Monday, May 25, 2009

5 guidelines for beginning to use soft pastels

This post outlines 5 ways that people new to soft pastels - or maybe contemplating using them for the first time - can get both a good grounding in soft pastels and avoid wasting their money.

I know I always have a lot of questions when starting to use a new media. A while ago I contributed some thoughts in another place about different approaches to getting started in soft pastels for the first time. It was based on the range of approaches I adopted when I started to use soft pastels for the first time. This is an updated version of that piece.

#1 Reference the experts - take a long look at some really good pastel drawings and paintings

Sleepy baby c 1920 by Mary Cassatt (1844 -1926)
Pastel on paper, 25 1/2 x 20 1/2 in. (64.77 x 52.07 cm)
Dallas Museum of Art / source Wikipedia

I found that when I saw what can be done with pastels I was really inspired to try and achieve something similar.

Get a good sense of what can be achieved in soft pastels:
  • Take yourself off to an art gallery and go and look at some really good pastels.
  • Review the work of good pastel artists in history - artists like Edgar Degas, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, Quentin de La Tour, Rosalba Carriera and Mary Cassatt
  • Find out when your local pastel society has its annual exhibition - for example, the Annual Exhibition of the Pastel Society in the UK opens on 10th June in London.
  • Look at the websites of good pastel artists - past and present - for the same reason.
#2 Acquire the basics - Get a good basic set of medium soft pastels and build slowly from there

Pastels which are too soft or too hard probably give the wrong impression of soft pastels and might turn people "off" rather than "on" to working with soft pastels.

I'd always recommend starting with a good basic set of pastels which are categorised as being 'medium' soft pastels (as opposed to 'very soft' and 'not very soft'). I started with a set of 32 Rembrandts - which I continue to use under softer pastels. They weren't as expensive as some pastels, provided a good range of colours and were relatively easy to get hold of in open stock of in the UK. If you choose one which is difficult to find in open stock you're going to be cursing when you lose or finish a popular colour!

The brand of pastels is probably less important than whether the pastels feel right to you. Beware that 'feel' isn't conclusive until you've found the support you want to work on long term. So be prepared to experiment and to make some changes.
  • Start with a basic set of medium 'soft' pastels
  • Try a few softer pastels from open stock in different ranges until you find one you like. Build up a small stock and use them for some time before making the (big) financial commitment to buying the full set
  • When you're certain you want to continue with pastels, get hold of some harder pastels (eg conte sticks or nupastels) in useful colours. They're very good for getting harder edges and laying down initial marks. I always buy colours I will use rather than complete sets.
  • Keep experimenting with samples of different brands
#3 - Try a range of supports - and find out which suits you best

It's my belief that different people respond very differently to different types of surfaces. My pastel work only took off when I tried an abrasive pastel surface for the first time. I wasn't getting on with paper at all and absolutely adored the way the abrasive surface gripped the pastel. Others will feel completely differently - but thwat's important is that you find the 'feel' of a support which works best for you and allows you to do what you want to do to.

On Making a Mark Reviews, I'm currently producing a number of summary reviews of some different supports for use with pastels or coloured pencils on Making A Mark Reviews. Yesterday I had a summary Product Review : Clairefontaine Pastelmat
and later today I'll be posting about Ampersand Pastelbord. I'll also be covering the various pastel papers and other abrasive supports in future.
  • Try different surfaces until you find the one which feels right for you.
  • Try a pastel paper and try an abrasive support. They're not all the same - however you'll soon find out whether you want to try more pastel papers or more abrasive supports
  • Keep trying new supports - you'll be surprised at what's now available!
#4 Art Instruction - get a good book

An important step is to get hold of one or two good books on the subject. Preferably one which provides a lot of help in the text as well as in the pictures. A good example is one of the books which really stimulated me when I was starting out was The Pastel Book by Bill Creevy. I learned an awful lot about pastels from that book.

I've included a range of pastel books rate in Pastels - Resources for Artists - my resources for artists information site for pastel artists - both newbies and the more advanced. It includes books about pastel portraits, pastels plein air, pastels by past masters etc as well as a range of art instruction books.

I'll be doing more detailed reviews of the pastel books that I own on Making A Mark Reviews in coming weeks and months.

#5 Art Instruction - try a workshop with an experienced pastel artist and art tutor

A pastel workshop is a great way of picking up tips earlier rather than later - otherwise characterised as how to avoid learning the hard way! However to get great tips you need to find a great tutor!
  • Pastel societies often run workshops. You can usually be assured that a pastel society will only contract with reputable tutors in pastels - either from their own members or popular/reputable pastel artist who society members want to learn from.
  • ALWAYS have a really good look at a pastel tutor's own work before you sign over any money. Being able to work in pastels and being a pastel artist are two completely different things! Artists who primarily work in another medium may not offer the same calibre of of expert help in pastels - hence why you need to look at the work and what they mainly produce. There are also a lot of good tutors out there and there are quite a few mediocre ones as well. Having a look at the work tells you something about their own skill levels and whether they have anything to teach you. However it doesn't tell you whether or not they can teach.
  • Sounding out people who have done workshops with a tutor or looking for reviews of pastel workshops on the Internet can be helpful in terms of finding out about the calibre of the tuition - as opposed to the artwork.
This is the post I wrote after doing a pastel workshop with Sally Strand - The best ever workshop - pastel painting with Sally Strand

Part completed Still life demo and part-completed life model - both on a 1/4 sheet of watercolour paper
Set-up and all images copyright Sally Strand

If you've ever done a workshop and it's somebody who you'd recommend why not do a blog post? It's a great way of thanking the artist for good quality support as it's a sign of appreciation which keeps on giving!

Do comments below if you have any more tips and guidelines for people who are starting out with soft pastels.

Making a Mark reviews......

Sunday, May 24, 2009

24th May 2009 - Who's made a mark this week?

Peony and his Buds by Jacqueline Gnott
26" x 21" ~ Watercolor on Paper

copyright Jacqueline Gnott / used with permission

I love peonies and I was stopped in my tracks this week when I saw Peony & His Buds by Jacqueline Gnott (Contemporary Realism). Despite being a scribbler I do really appreciate somebody who can paint flowers in watercolour in a way which is carefully controlled but not too tight. It's those luminous wet in wet washes which get me every time!

Do also have a read of Jacqueline's talks about the little routine she uses when she finishes a painting - one which I know I recognise and I guess a lot of other people do. Why not go and admire and see if you do the same thing?

Art Blogs

Drawing and sketchbloggery
Coloured Pencils and Pastels
  • Gayle Mason has posted another work in progress on her blog Fur in the Paint. If you follow this link - cat in coloured pencil - you can review the different stages the latest kitten went through in getting to Kitten finished!
  • Plus for those of you who were following my work in progress this week - here's a montage of where it's got to. The drawing has now gone for a little rest so I can then look at it with a fresh eye before deciding whether any more needs to be done

Miss Victoria Stiefvater - a portrait in progress
8" x 8", coloured pencils on Sennelier HP

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

The same is with journaling and art.....You must get started and build the frequency of doing it before you can take notice that there is a change starting to happen inside of you that will finally come out and change your very environment. WOW that was a mouth full.
Miniature Art
Art Group Blogs

Art Business and Marketing

  • Joanna Mattera (Joanna Mattera Art Blog ) has written a really excellent post about Vanity Galleries - with particular reference to New York - see Marketing Mondays: The Vanity Gallery. Do read the comments as well as the post. Joanna writes consistently good posts and provides wise advice and I commend her blog to you.
  • Check out another of her posts if you've ever anticipated going full time as an artist Marketing Mondays: How is your pie sliced?
  • Robert Genn wrote about options for selling art if you live in "the boonies" - including selling on the Internet. Read Off the beaten track for his views and the comments of other artists. I'd have liked to see him recognise that many artists now in fact sell art via their blogs and don't always need premium sites to do so..........
  • I've been corresponding with Tony Moffitt since he started his new blog Tony Moffitt's Art World and passing on a few tips of my own. Check out The 21-Day Action Plan for Shy Artists (in the side column).

Art and the Economy

I just loved watching the The Great Contemporary Art Bubble on television - in fact I was cheering from my amchair at the exposure of something which I've not been a fan of for some time - see The Contemporary Art Bubble and Art Omerta. Plus I learned about the real purpose of the major art fairs - tax haven banking opportunities! [expletive deleted]

Art Education

Art Exhibitions

Exhibitions in London

This major exhibition is Richard Long's first survey in London for eighteen years and is a unique opportunity to understand afresh the artist's radical rethinking of the relationship between art and landscape. Long's work comes from his love of nature and through the experience of making solitary walks.

Tate Britain - Richard Long: Heaven and Earth

Now that the scientists, and to some extent film-makers, have done the spade work on our ongoing destruction of the Earth, it’s the turn of artists to bring the issues upfront and in your face.
Exhibitions in the rest of the UK
The exhibition looks at the moment in twentieth-century art, when a group of artists began to perceive colour as 'readymade' rather than as scientific or expressive.
Exhibitions in Europe
Exhibitions in New York

Here's a little bit of a feature for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York this week - for friends who are visiting this next week!It seems to be the season for openings of refurbished museums or new extensions! I'm running into announcements everywhere I look.

Art History

Art Supplies

Art Studios

Book reviews

Websites and Blogging

I've been doing a mini-series all week in which I've been reviewing the results of 2007 SEOmoz survey Search Engine Ranking Factors v2 and looking at the ones which are tagged as positive, negative and controversial and identifying what the implications are for artists. You can read more about this in:

Back to the rest of what I came across this week

and finally.........

The cartoonists and the graphics design people have been having great "fun" - if fun is the correct word for all the cries of outrage, heckling of MPs and historic Parliamentary events which have been going on this week!
Moats, Maltesers, bath plugs, Tudor beams, loo seats... It's a rich, glittering mine for us.
Expenses and a mine of cartoon images
I wonder if we're going to have a brand new - and ironic - meaning for "The Untouchables" on wikipedia? It truly is really ironic that Elliot Ness's Untouchables were picked for their incorruptibility

I'm now off for my walk - and there will be more images posted later.