Sunday, June 27, 2010

27th June 2010 - Who's made a mark this week?

Every year I really look forward to finding out who has won the most prestigious portrait prize in the world.  This year the BP Portrait Award 2010 attracted 2,177 registered entries - an increase of 276 compared to last year.  681 (30%) of these were international entries and 2 of the five prizewinners artists who come from the USA. Of these 58 portraits were selected for the exhibition which is now running at the National Portrait Gallery until September.

I visited on Tuesday evening and Wednesday prior to its opening to the publicand these are my posts this week as a result - more talk about approach and art materials this year.
Articles from the national news tended to place a heavy emphasis on the deathbed aspect rather than who won.  Examples included the BBC - Deathbed portrait wins BP award while I preferred Jonathan Jones who commented on The deathbed portrait's unique tribute.

 Daphne Todd on Wednesday morning at the NPG
    The BP connection:  For those who are very concerned, as I am, about what's going on along the Gulf coast right now and the connection with BP, I felt that Daphne Todd who won the Award this year made a very salient point at the Awards ceremony on Tiesday night.  She very rightly pointed out that art has always depended to a very large extent on patronage and art insitutions are always very appreciative of the support they get.  Art competitions are a prime example.  They are very important feature of the art scene as they have incredible potential to make very positive contributions to artists' careers.  However the major awards absolutely will not happen without patronage and sponsorship and that inevitably means going where the money is - and if it's not BP then it's the Banks!

    At the moment, BP is danger of going bust having had £67 billion wiped off its share values.  If it does then there will be a lot of very major art institutions which will lose massive sums by way of patronage/sponsorship as well as very many pensions funds both here and in the USA and all those people, animals and environment affected by the oil spill disaster.  I don't quite see how anybody benefits by that.

    This is the link to enter next year's award.  If it's still being sponsored by BP, I'd venture to suggest portraits of those who have dedicated their lives to wildlife might be very acceptable.


    Art Blogs

    Drawing and Sketching
    So, this feels very weird. I feel like this is the first time I've ever blogged. In my whole life. What do I do? What should I say? Firstly, big thanks for all the messages, orders and concerns for my computer.
    Coloured Pencils and Pastels
    Painters and Painting
    • Sarah Wimperis is, in my opinion, on a roll with her garden watercolours- see Shade House on her sketchbook blog Muddy Red Sketchbook
    • Small Works is a blog about small scale paintings and prints by Scott Bennett
    Wildlife art
    • Artists and Ripple have raised over $5,500 to help clean the animals and birds caught by the oil spill

    Art Business and Marketing

    • Tracy Helgeson (Works by Tracy Helgeson) outlines her policy on donating paintings to charity - and has a few tips for what to watch out for for those who've not done so before. (I also like the idea of copying a painting by a master in your own style)
    • The Independent commented on how art can help the regeneration of the economies of seaside communities in New wave art: Britain's coast revitalised (Can't you just see the smile on the face of whoever came up with that headline?)
    • The Huffington Post reminds us that Artists Are Not Above the Law

    Art Competitions and Art Societies

    Summer Exhibition:  I visited the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy this week - nice and quiet as England was playing a World Cup Match!  I have to say I found it very disappointing and will be writing more about this next week.

    Threadneedle Prize:  The numbers of the artwork selected for the Threadneedle Prize exhibition are now public on the website. I'm trying to find out the names of the artists

      Art Exhibitions, Galleries and Museums

      Art Education / workshops / Tips and techniques

      workshops - going greener

      One option for my Going Greener Gong this year is an environmentally conscious workshop for artists

      tips and techniques
      • I shouldn't really be telling you this - on the other hand it's interesting to see how photoshop can mimic artwork.  So here's Photo to Pencil Sketch

      Art Festivals

      Please do not allow your jaw to drop or your eyeballs to bug out when you inquire about prices.  Spitting out your lemonade is also unnecessary.  Simply take a slow, deep breath and back away from the booth without bumping into anything with a price tag on it.

      Art Supplies

      Opinion Poll

      • This month's opinion poll about art magazines (see right hand column) closes very early on 30th June and results will be posted later the same day. There will be a new poll on Thursday 1st July 2010

      Websites, webware and blogging

      Slow page rendering today is typically caused by server delays or overly fancy page widgets, not by big images. Users still hate slow sites and don't hesitate telling us.

      and finally........

      The Times and Sunday Times are now behind a pay wall. It's £1 for a day or £2 for a week's access - so there will be no more references to those newspapers on this blog.

      There's a lot of people commenting - for example:
      Google searches will no longer turn up Times stories, and links posted on social networks will only take you to the papers' sign-in page. News International has opted for the most extreme form of paywall - others let search engines crawl their sites, or offer non-paying visitors a few free articles to entice them in..........This is more than just an experiment in whether people will pay for news, it's a strike against the prevailing philosophy of online journalism, which says that the most important thing is to make your material shareable to the widest possible audience.
      According to his biographer Michael Wolff, Murdoch has not used the internet, let alone Google (he only recently discovered email) and so he cannot possibly understand the dynamics, demands and opportunities of our post-industrial, now-digital media economy.
      Speaking personally, I've never understood what the point is of having paywalls for news.  It's not as if you have an exclusive good or service - unless your output is way better than everybody else's (eg Wall Street Journal and financial news) - so why would people pay?

      As you might be able to guess from the tenor of this post, I'm all for promoting sites which are happy to participate in the global community and share online for free.

      While it may not have a significant impact on the conglomerate which is the Murdoch empire,  I suspect this development might have the potential to decimate  Times Newspapers Ltd. especially as the two newspapers last year made a loss of £87million.  Others will be watching with interest.

      In the meantime, never a slouch, the Huffington Post announced its Welcome  to the New Huffington Post Arts Page.  which is at It's not actually new so much as revamped - and, of course, it might well be trying to fill a new gap in the market!


      René PleinAir said...

      Thanks for pointing my video out Katherine. You are how ever wrong about Nijmegen being "The bridge too far" that is Arnhem, ... after the Market garden operation the whole city centre of Arnhem was destroyed by the Germans to avoid a second attempt, ... that's why Arnhem hasn't got an historic centre anymore and Nijmegen does.

      Sarah said...

      and thanks from me too. Interstting link about the photo to sketch program. I was so incenced the other day by someone on a flicker group passing off a digital watercolour as a real one, and I think you can tell, he had even denied it when asked, that I left the group! Huge shock waves, not! But it is something that I then thought about a lot and came to the conclusion that the actual process of painting, the craft if you like, is a very important part of the whole thing, therefore the finished object is almost secondary to the artist... and then the viewer has to play his or her part, which is important too. I think I might do a post about this very subject...or better still you could!

      Making A Mark said...

      Thanks for correcting me Rene - I've always been confused about that bridge - even after watching the film about four times!

      Making A Mark said...

      Sarah - I'm coming round to thinking that there is craft involved in both
      - in wielding a brush and colour on paper when watercolour painting
      - and in manipulating images on a computer when creating the digital version

      Both have their place

      What has no place whatsoever in the art world is the deceipt and fraud practiced by some artists who create digital art on the computer and then make out that it's all their own work and "real watercolour painting"

      But we all know what happens to people who do that. See
      * Art competitions and copyright - the AWS Gold Medal debate and
      * Statement on AWS gold medal controversy from president

      René PleinAir said...


      Why's that?

      andrea joseph's sketchblog said...

      Thank you so much, Katherine. I am so happy to be back in the blogging world, finally. The month, or so, without a computer was a bit of a shock to the system, but after a couple of days it became quite refreshing. I love blogging so much, and love sharing my work with the world, but I am considering taking a month a year off in the future, just to recharge the batteries. Have you ever taken time out? To me your brilliant informative blog looks like a huge amount of work. Where as I just draw and type some nonsense - which comes naturally! But your blog looks much much more involved. How much time, per week say, goes into creating your blog?

      Thanks again.

      Post a Comment

      COMMENTS HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED AGAIN due to very silly ignorant people who leave spam comments without realising they have no benefit for them.

      Please feel free to comment on my Facebook Page as my blog posts are always posted there (but please note anonymous comments are not published and I block and report spammers to Google and on Facebook)

      Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.