Sunday, May 02, 2010

2nd May 2010 - Who's made a mark this week?

Paintings by Shirley Trevena RI
at the 198th Exhibition of the RI of Painters in Watercolour
copyright of all paintings - the artists

I felt like I was getting a tonic when I went to see the 198th Exhibition of the Royal Institure of Painters in Watercolour this week. I saw a very wide range of styles of representation and figurative painting - with people painting the way they like painting rather than trying to be other people.

Shirley Trevena RI - much loved as an artist/author/tutor by watercolour artists the world over - had four paintings included in her own unique style - see above.

Bright colours bounced off the walls at me and made me feel good. In fact Spring was very definitely present in that exhibition. It made me wonder how many artists think about the season they're exhibiting in when showing work. On the right you can see 4 more paintings - this time by Tony Hunt RI - the Vice Chair of the RI

Paintings by Tony Hunt RI

I took a lot of photos - and you'll find more images from the exhibition in this post - because they deserve to be seen!

However the point I'd like to underline is this.

Exhibitions which are hung well to provide a constructive contrast between painting styles and which have paintings which make people feel good create a very positive atmosphere. There are few thoughts of 'same old same old' or of artists playing it safe in a recession.

Doing what you do best and painting what you enjoy painting creates a very positive vibe .....and it also helps sales!

Painting by Terry MicKivragan RI (Membership Secretary)

Art Blogs

Area Based Art Blogs

I asked recently about whether people were starting blogs for artists living a particular area.

This is the blog of the South African Society of Artists. I love the weather forecast widget at the top of the blog for all the outdoor artists! It is also very usefully using the Blogger pages option to list exhibitions, workshops, art teachers, artists models and interesting articles. This is an example of a format which could usefully be copied by other societies. I was very touched to see that they had Making A Mark listed as one of three useful sites! :)

Daily Painters: What I hadn't realised was that the Daily Painters have been developing blogs for dimension of their blogging. Makes sense - it gives scope for local exhibitions around a theme. My one comment is that some of blogs below have an incredibly busy format and this really stops the eye from focusing on the artwork. Less is more when it comes to marketing. How many galleries cram their gallery walls with adverts while inbetween the artwork?
Daily Painting is not producing a single painting every is simply that painting is part of your life everyday, whether you are sketching, supply shopping, painting, doing photos... it all makes up being an artist and painting daily.
Drawing and sketching
Landscape art
Painters and Painting
Wildlife and Animal Art
  • Kim Ratigan alerted me to the endeavours of Linda Shantz, has once again undertaken her personal challenge of "Thirty Horses, Thirty Days" You can view it on Thirty Horses, Thirty Days

Women painting women

Art Business and Marketing

Art and the Economy / Art Collectors

  • The Scotsman reported this week that paintings by Artist Jack Vettriano Fails to Seduce Buyers. The notion being suggested is that the Jack Vettriano's controversial work might now plummet in value after the auction snub it got last week. Earlier last month, he gave an interview to the Daily Mail about The secrets of my success: Jack Vettriano. Maybe the moral of the story is that you should never be complacent about your success - or talk too much about it? These are the images from his latest exhibition - Days of Wine and Roses
  • The New York Times Artsbeat Blog reports on a Dispute in Los Angeles Over Arts Financing. As money continues to be tight for arts funding I think I can predict there will be more about more news items relating to arts funding. Personally when money is tight I don't have a problem with it being allocated towards those organisations which benefit the most people. It will mean niche interests get squeezed.

Art Competitions

  • BP Portrait Award 2010 - Shortlist announced on Wednesday. I've got access to the high resolution press images and I have to tell you that Michael Gaskell's is even more impressive close up - but it will be small - and the emotional impact of Daphne Todd's portrait of her mother on her deathbed is intensified.

Art Society Exhibitions

Art Exhibitions, Fairs and Shows

This exhibition brings together 42 remarkable works, including paintings by Jacob van Ruisdael, Aelbert Cuyp, Nicolaes Berchem and Meyndert Hobbema.
Designer Thomas Heatherwick's British pavillion is a 'Seed Cathedral'. It's a fabulous spectacle, but at what cost?
Art Education / workshops / Tips and techniques

Art Education


I know that life has not been so easy for some artists who are tutors and that they've had workshops which have been slow to fill and others which have had to be cancelled. However other artists are doing roaring business (see below) - and it might be worth studying ALL their sites to work out why. The upcoming Karin Jurick (A Painting Today) workshop in New York City is full but you can sign up for future workshops as follows
  • November 1-5, 2010 - held at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. More info can be found here.
  • May 23-27, 2011 - held at the National Academy of Design in New York City. More info can be found here.
All Carol Marine's workshops between now and the end of 2010 are full with a wait list. So if you're thinking of trying a workshop with Carol you need to start thinking about making a booking now - and eyeing up dates in 2011! They're all listed on the right hand side of her blog Carol Marine

Tips and Techniques

Art Studios

A rather specialist topic but one which is particularly relevant to oil painters Ventilating Your Studio By Louise Buyo for Art Calendar. There are 5 tips for improving art quality in the studio and suggestions for further reading.

Art Supplies

  • Neil Hollingsworth (Paintings in Oil ) highlighted who's starring on some new art supplies Paul Coventry-Brown
  • John Smith has written a long and very interesting article about The Rise and Fall of Artists and their Materials on his blog Thoughts from my studio. It doesn't seem to have URLs for specific blog posts

Opinion Poll

Websites, webware and blogging


and finally........

In the final week of the election campaign I thought I'd have a political end note.

The legendary political cartoonist for The Guardian Steve Bell (Steve Bell in Wikipedia) was filmed this week sketching "Mandy" ie Peter Mandelson as he deals with Gordon Brown's 'bigot' gaffe and addresses business bosses at the Royal Albert Hall for the Guardian in Steve Bell's election: 'He has very demonic eyebrows, everything about Mandy is sinister'. Watch it - and note the coloured pencils!

However - did you know that
Bell is fond of parodying famous paintings. Examples include his parody of Goya's The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (in an editorial cartoon about the UK Independence Party); William Hogarth's The Gate of Calais about the ban on UK meat exports following outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and bovine BSE; and - before the 2005 General Election when it briefly seemed as if the Liberal Democrats might seriously threaten Labour - J. M. W. Turner's The Fighting Temeraire, in which a chirpy Charles Kennedy as tug-boat towed a grotesque and dilapidated Tony Blair to be broken up
You can see more of his cartoons archive in BellToons


  1. Thank you for the mention Katherine.

  2. Hello Katherine - I am really glad I found your blog. I appreciate very much the links to other artists/shows. Even though I can't attend (live in Canada), it is encouraging to see all the wonderful watercolour works/artists. I particularly like the botanical works, something we really don't see in our area. I hope I can be inspired to try it out myself, using my garden as reference.

  3. Thanks for the Daily Painters of Texas mention and the new paintings of Shirley Trevena (an favorite artist). I have her book and dvds and love her fresh style.

  4. Hi Katherine - thank you for mentioning my Palette Knife Painters Blog - what a surprise! A pleasant surprise. Happy Painting!

  5. I particularly enjoyed the links to the Guardian's cartoonist - some of his comments on his 'prey' made me laugh, he's not falling for any of it! ;) I envy you getting to all these wonderful exhibitions. I would have loved to have seen Shirley Trevena's work in the flesh.


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