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
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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......


  1. Thanks for the mentions Katherine. As always, your blog is at the top!I will lave Art Notes intact and perhaps post occasionally.

  2. It was great seeing Bill Cone's name here. I've been a fan of his since the early 80s when he was an illustrator for the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper. I sent him a letter telling him how much I loved his quirky ink drawings. I asked him a bunch of questions and he graciously wrote me back, answered all my questions, and included a couple sketches which I still have. A couple years ago I came across his blog and wrote to him again (leaving a blog comment) and he confirmed that indeed he was the same Bill Cone. What a nice man and an absolutely fantastic artist!


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