Sunday, December 13, 2009

13th December 2009 - Who's made a mark this week?

Now we are 4!

Today this blog celebrates its 4th birthday.

I first started Making A Mark started on Tuesday 13th December 2005 with a beta blog of just 4 posts.

The first ever image
Eating at the Club Gascon
in Two of my favourite occupations
8" x 10" pencil in Moleskine Sketcbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

I then published to the world at large in January 2006. Since then, this blog has:
  • gained 2000+ subscribers (and a few bots!)
  • had more than 600,000+ visits from unique visitors
  • published 1,401 posts - which means I get a daily visit from the Google crawlers!
  • helped to generate over 100+ websites providing resources for artists and art lovers - virtually all of which came about either as a result of blog projects or as a result of researching topics for this blog
I'm very proud of this blog - to devise and develop something with only goals and values in mind rather than a detailed plan has been a bit of unique experience for me!

I write this blog because I'm writing about art - a topic I enjoy very much - and one which I continue to find endlessly fascinating. I do also very much enjoy all the notes I get from time to time from people who have just discovered it - and then begin to realise what's in the archives. Which is when I go back and look and remember the activities, events and interests which led to different posts. I find I really enjoy reading my archives too! Seriously - all that positive feedback provides a huge incentive to keep going! :)

Here's a present for all those who come and read and for all those that I have read over the last four years!
12 tips for how to become and remain a long-term 'daily' art blogger
  • focus and values - I find it useful to have a framework in my head about WHY I'm blogging and the values which drive HOW I blog
  • write about what you enjoy and value - and that way you'll never ever be bored
  • learning and sharing (and sharing your learning) are two approaches to blogging art which have provided me with an awful lot of material
  • I probably spend as much time, if not more, on reading about my interests as I do writing about them
  • be interactive: find time to read/look at and comment onother art blogs - ALWAYS a really great source of stimulation! :)
  • pace yourself - find a frequency of posting which works for you and then take regular breaks as well
  • a modicum of routine can be very helpful to staying on track
  • stick to one topic per post if possible
  • be flexible - try out new ideas for a series of posts or regular/routine posts
  • keep a file of ideas for posts (ie I sometimes just write a post title and save it as a draft!) for when your imagination takes a break
  • have a notion of what you'd like to focus on in coming weeks....
  • ....but also 'go with the flow' and don't be a slave to "the plan".

Art Blogs

I like Robert Genn's article When all the artists are women - the comments make for some really interesting reading as to different perspectives. Male artists won't read it - or will they?

Drawing and sketching

Another Talking Head? Tyrrell draws Bennett on Bennett
pen and sepia ink
Painters and Painting

  • A new art blog Art of the Landscape for me by John W Stinson - who paints the rural landscape of the Northwest USA. I really like the way he talks about the places he's painting.
  • Ed Terpening (Life Plein Air) has been invited to paint at Hearst Castle! See Hearst Castle Invitational
  • I like the way Sarah Wimperis (The Red Shoes) seems to have started painting in series - recently a series of noctures and now a series of small paintings from a "walk in winter". I always want to look at a blog some more if I know artists have a series on the go.
  • excellent post by Jana Bouc (Jana's Journal and Sketchblog) shoiwng how she works out which paints will work when painting flowers - in this case an orchid - Refusing to Fail or Quit: It was either me or the orchid...
  • A tutorial on The Guardian How to shoot a Jane Bown portrait is actually about photography but a number of the could as easily be employed by the portrait painter
  • James Gurney (Gurney Journey) has written about something which I've noticed on my camera - the little chip which decides which art is a face and which is not! Read Face Detection. So there you go - next time you're having problems with a portrait get your camera out for an independent critique!
  • I'd love to see some more nominations for the best portrait on an art blog - see the Making A Mark awards below

End of Year Reviews

  • The Guardian/Observer has got its end of year review of art in 2009 out already - see 2009 in review: Art
  • If you're doing an end of year review do leave a comment with a link
The Making A Mark Awards

Last week was a marathon of posts inviting people to nominate art blogs and/or artwork on an art blog for awards. I really did wonder part way through whether I'd done the right thing in opening up all the awards to nominations but I've had a number of really interesting nominations as a result so I'm very much leaning towards it being a good idea. It's also proving to be a good way of checking out the popularity of some ventures.

For those who only visit once a week for a catch-up here's all the posts - and do read the comments to see who's been nominated. Nominations close on 24th December - and I'm really looking forward to seeing a lot more of your suggestions.

Here's the invitation to nominate - and each of the prizes lists all previous prizewinners. Interestingly every single one of the people who got an award is still blogging.

Links: The Making A Mark Awards 2010 for blogging about art - Making A Mark: End of Year Review

Art Business and Marketing

Art and the Economy / Art Collectors

Almost everyone who was interviewed for this special report said that the biggest problem at the moment is not a lack of demand but a lack of good work to sell. The three Ds—death, debt and divorce—still deliver works of art to the market. But anyone who does not have to sell is keeping away, waiting for confidence to return.
  • The Financial Times comments on Luxury purchases: The rush for real assets - it's the reason why old masters are commanding such high prices. It's also the reason why many who bought into contemporary art on the say so of their 'art curators' may now be getting the heebie jeebies!
When faced with the very real prospect of currency devaluation, and mounting inflation expectations, the safest store of wealth should be tangible assets, such as housing, commodities and land, or claims on these assets.
A drawing by Raphael was sold for £29,161,250 at Christie’s in London last night, making it the most expensive drawing bought at auction.

Art Competitions and Art Societies

Turner Prize
Who knew that the Tate & Turner Prize could get it Wright? I like the piece that won - and I actually want to visit the Turner Prize Exhibiton for the first time in years!
Future Generation Prize
  • The Future Generation Art Prize, established by the Foundation set up by the billionaire art collector Victor Pinchuk is a a $100,000 biennial award for a contemporary artist under 35. It aims to discover, recognize and provide long-term support to a future generation of artists. 20 shortlisted artists will be selected to show their work in an exhibition at the PinchukArtCentre (Kiev). The Board of the Foundation raised my eyebrow - but not in a good way! It includes: Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Sir Elton John as well as Glenn D. Lowry Director (MOMA); Richard Armstrong Director, (Guggenheim in NY); Alfred Pacquement Director (Centre Pompidou),and Sir Nicholas Serota Director (Tate). Do I spy some hostages to fortune?
BP Portrait Award
  • activity by artists researching the BP Portrait Award is hotting up if the hits to my blog are anything to go by!

Art Exhibitions and art fairs

Looking Around Reflections on art and architecture by TIME critic Richard Lacayo - is a blog which is new to me. However I then discovered that it stopped at the end of November as the author confessed to needing more time for other activities!

Art Societies
  • The Mini Picture Show 10 December 2009 – 22 January 2010 - an exhibition of small works by Members of the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers at the Bankside Gallery (next to Tate Modern). I notice the Bankside has a brand new website - it looks as if there might be unique URLs at long last!
Art Bloggers and notices abiout their exhibitions

Just to clear up any misunderstanding - the invite to art bloggers (How to highlight your exhibition (artist bloggers only)) to notify me of their exhibitions for highlighting on this blog does NOT extend to normal commercial galleries wanting to get more coverage of their exhibitions. The invite is limited to art bloggers and the information has to come from the art blogger NOT the gallery.

Art Education / workshops / Tips and techniques

art videos
Tips and techniques

Art History

Art Studios

Art Supplies

Book reviews


  • Red is a play which about the artist Mark Rothko - it's on at the Donmar Warehouse in London until 3rd February - here's a review in The Guardian - The mean reds - by author William Boyd


Opinion Poll

Websites, webware and blogging

and finally........

Only in the art world..........see this BBC news item about Gallery searches for stolen brick

I found this a lot more visually stimulating - mind you it does involve drawing!

Due to "machinations" on the home front, I'm not away this weekend after all but will be next weekend - and I'm very unlikely to be posting much if anything week. I'm now off out to collect signatures on a petition - that's if the flu doesn't get me first! (sneeze, sniff, sneeze!)


  1. Congratulations Katherine
    I remember when this blog started.
    You should indeed be very proud of Making a is The Tour de Force of art blogs.

  2. Congrats Katherine!!
    Thanks for the mention this week.

  3. Katherine, Congratulations, you are an inspiration. Thank you for the list. I've copied it to ponder as I'm working on lining up my priorities for the coming new year.

  4. Hi Katherine,
    wasn't the Alan Bennett weekend just GREAT?! I recognised him straight away from your sketch, and wished I'd tried sketching him too. Those Mark Lawson interviews make good life drawing opportunities (for those of us who don't get out much!).

    Also, just wanted to say congratulations for the Creative Tourism Best Art blog award. 3rd place! You deserve it. Your site is brilliant.

  5. Congratulations on your blog's 4th. I think we started blogging around the same time.

    I'll look forward to the next 4 years.

  6. How did we get by before Making a Mark? Many years ago I looked forward to getting the Sunday New York Times in the same way I now look forward to getting the Sunday edition of Making a Mark in my email. Congratulations of four years of reaching so many with so much great information, all served with enthusiasm and a wonderful wry sense of humor. I held up your blog as a good example to my employers as they begin the process of creating a blog. Thanks for all your efforts and for your nods to my blog from time to time. All so very much appreciated!

  7. Many thanks for all the congratulations. I can't quite believe it';s actually 4 years!

    Andrea - I was very pleased with that rating too - especially when it improved!

    Jana - that is a really nice thing to do! (blushes!)

  8. Yes, congratulations are definately in order. I don't get to visit as often as I'd like but I love knowing your blog is here and really appreciate your obvious enthusiasm for and dedication to its development and upkeep. More informative than any art magazine - though not yet readable in the bath!

  9. Maybe I'll have to work on the podcast version - you'd love the accent! :)

  10. Hi Katherine,

    Congratulations and thank you for your effort.

    Kind regards,


  11. Belated birthday greetings MAM - I was away this Sunday, but I think I could count on one hand the number of your posts I've missed in the past four years. Congratulations, Katherine.

  12. Wow Katherine, congratulations on your blog's fourth birthday and your award as the 3rd top blog of the UK!...(it should have been 1st.) What an amazing accomplishment! I am so glad they took notice of all your work. The whole art community has. You are an inspiration to all.
    Also, thank you for the mention about my studio and recent value work.


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