Sunday, October 31, 2010

31st October 2010 - Who's made a mark this week?

This week:
The Top 25 UK Arts & Culture Blogs.  Online now: the October edition of the Top 25 UK Arts & Culture Blogs. Guardian favourites and a slew of independent bloggers racing up the charts – it’s all here.

Wet evening at Burlington House
sketched from the leather sofas of the Friends Room, 
Royal Academy of Arts
Brushes iPad app and iPad

copyright Katherine Tyrrell
  • I bought an iPad on Wednesday (does this mean I now qualify as a confirmed Apple fan?).  On Friday I drew my very first ever digital sketch using the Brushes iPad app on Friday while sat in the Friends Room at the Royal Academy.  When I started this post there was just the small business of now needing to work out how to get it off the iPad!  I'd not yet got that far in The Missing Manual!  However in wanting to post it to my sketchbook blog - see Wet evening at Burlington House- I worked out I could get it off by sending it to Flickr.  I hope to be reviewing the iPad Brushes App when I've used it more (bear in mind I got this far with no manual whatsoever!)  - and would be interested to know what else other people are using for their digital sketching.
  • I stepped down today (see A Birthday and a Goodbye) from two years of being the blogmaster for UKCPS News, the blog of the UK Coloured Pencil Society.  I'm currently nurturing a new and related development which I'm hoping to say more about in the near future.
Art Blogs and Artists

Drawing and sketching
  • Drawing as an End, Not a Means is about an exhibition by veteran abstract painter Thomas Nozkowski.  It's also about Drawing to Cool Down. However it's interesting because it focuses on drawing as a means of resolving emotional entanglements with paintings - and relates to drawing at the end rather than the beginning. What's especially interesting is that Nozkowski, having been taught by Abstract Expressionists, believes in the principle of avoiding the preparatory sketch and any preconception of where to go with a painting and the act of painting as a 'hot' activity.  He has started to use drawing as a cool-down exercise rather than a warm-up. The show features 19 pairs of works, each one a painting and a smaller, corresponding work on paper in ink, pencil and gouache.  I guess this may perplex those who think anything done with a brush is a painting rather than a drawing?
  • Paul (Learning to See) is back posting again - see Sargent Portrait Copy, Part 4: Light, Value and Form
Painters and Painting
Coloured Pencils and Pastels
  • I took a look this week at the websites of the jurors for the recent exhibition by the International Association of Pastel Societues and you can see the results in Contemporary Pastel Landscape Artists
Wildlife Art

Round about now the wildife and bird artists in the UK are totally absorbed by the migrant birds arriving for winter
Art Business and Marketing
Remember, the goal isn’t to be good at Facebook. The goal is to be good at business because of Facebook. And on that front, we’ve totally overvalued “likes”.
The country has the biggest e-commerce market in the world when measured by the amount spent per capita, BCG found.
Art and the Economy, Art Fairs and Art Collectors
 Art Fairs
Art Competitions and Art Societies

It's a busy time for calls for entries, deadline reminders and listings of who's got into what and my blog has been very biased towards open exhibitions and art competitions this week
Sunday Times Watercolour Competition: Visiting Clovelly by Juliette Palmer
The exhibition for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition opens tomorrow at the Mall Galleries for one week only - Monday 1st - Sunday 7th November 2010, 10am - 5pm
    Art Exhibitions and Art Fairs
    • On Friday I had intended to go and see a Japanese Botanical Artist at Kew Gardens but the weather dictated otherwise and I went to see the preview of “Pioneering Painters: The Glasgow Boys, 1880-1900” which opened at the Royal Academy of Art yesterday.  Prior to this it has been the most popular art exhibition ever held at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow - where it generated and unprecedented £1 million in income!  Not a lot of reviews as yet - and I'm thinking this might possibly be because critics like me could do with being a bit more knwledgeable about the Glasgow Boys!  For me it is recommended exhibition as it includes some absolutely stunning paintings.  I'll have a blog post about the exhibition later this week and I also intend to do some posts about their art and in particular their paintings of rural life and urban realism - in the meantime here are the comments so far.
    The Glasgow Boys' achievement was to be the most significant non-metropolitan movement in Britain's visual arts in the past 200 years (not forgetting the now more fashionable Scottish colourists who came soon after). Their best pictures are pleasing and tender and use colour beautifully.
    Upcoming exhibitions
    Art Education / workshops / Tips and techniques

    Classes and Workshops
    Tips and techniques
    when that uncommon spirit of encouragement and generosity happen with a group of artists, sparks fly, courage grows, art expands!
    Art History & Art Museums
    Art Studios
    • Bridget Hunter (Bridget Hunter Paintings) is Painting in the attic! 
    • Do let me know if you post a picture of your studio or where you work
    Art Supplies
    Book Reviews
    Grant Wood - Self-Portrait 
    • It also includes another book which I KNOW will be included in a lot of people's seasonal wishlists.
    • In the meantime I've got to confess that my intended aim this month of reviewing art books about drawing and painting people got totally side-swiped this month by a rather disagreeable incident.  However, moving on, I shall be returning to this project as soon as possible.
    • Never Satisfied is a great post by Robert Genn about the four main types of creative dissatisfaction and their antidotes.
    Websites, webware and blogging 
    • Have you tried flexing the size of your images on Blogger?  See the impact it's had on Ohla Pryymak's work on her blog Olechko.  See Making a Mark post featuring the Blue Chairs
    • For those using Google Groups for marketing purposes, you should note the big red notice about how Google Groups will no longer be supporting Files! 
    Google Groups will no longer be supporting the Pages and Files features. Starting January 13, you won't be able to upload new content, but you will still be able to view and download existing content. See this announcement for more information and other options for storing your content.
    and finally........

    Last night the clocks went back. So we're now back to Greenwich Mean Time here in London. I think this is the bit of the year where were are out of synch on normal time differences for a short while.

    Meanwhile Art Spoofs: American Gothic is an amazing film on YouTube documenting all the various types of creativity sparked by Grant Wood's American Gothic painting.  Who knew?

    Saturday, October 30, 2010

    CPSA Explore This 7! call for entries

    The Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA) issued a call for entries for the seventh Annual Online Exhibition - Explore This! back in September.

    If you're thinking of entering, there are now just over two weeks left to organise your submission.

    The purpose of the Explore This! Exhibition is to:
    • enable artists to display their work to a broader audience. 
    • increase the number of artists exploring the possibilities of coloured pencils (and how they might be combined with new materials)
    • encourage the participation of artists who are not primarily colored pencil artists.
    This is a Juried and Open Exhibition and the juror (an experienced Museum Director) is independent of CPSA.

    Key features of the Explore This! exhibition are as follows:
    • Acceptance into three Explore This! shows within a 10 year period enables an artist to have a new signature designation - CPX. 
    • The winners of the top three awards are invited to send their pieces for display in the CPSA International Exhibition that year and 
    • Works can be available for sale and entries selected for the exhibition are displayed at for a full year. 
    • In addition, a full-color issue of the CPSA newsletter To The Point will showcase the accepted entries.  
    Overview Image of Works accepted for CPSA Explore This! 6

    Who can submit work?

    You can enter this art competition if you are a living artist, aged 18 years or older, living anywhere in the world regardless of geographic location.  You do not have to live in the USA or be a member of the CPSA.

    What work is eligible for the exhibition?

    You can enter two works but only one piece per artist may be accepted into the show.

    Guidelines for the exhibition stipulate what is eligible.  Perhaps the most important aspects are that it must be solely the artist's own work and the work must be ineligible for normal exhibitions eg it is not 100% coloured pencil or has been created on a surface which is not normally eligible for exhibition.
    Artwork not meeting these specifications will removed from the show, the acceptance will not count toward CPX Signature status, and any awards will be forfeited.
    Note that CPSA last year eliminated from exhibition pieces after it was put online - so they are serious about this point!  These are pieces that were eliminated due to non compliance with the exhibition rules - so read the following (and the rest of the guidance) very carefully.
    • Artwork must have been executed after November 15, 2007 and not previously hung in any national CPSA exhibition (International OR Explore This!)
    • Concept, design and execution of the artwork shall be solely that of the artist. No work copied from copyrighted or published materials. No collaborations.
    • Artwork must include some element that makes it ineligible for the CPSA International Exhibition. For example, 3-dimensional works, works with media other than colored pencil, collages, etc. The media used must be predominantly colored pencil pigment and that should be listed first when entering the media.
    • Information on submitted entry regarding size and price cannot be changed. Artwork cannot be altered after submission of entry. Price of artwork can be changed to NFS (not for sale) anytime during the exhibition.
    • CPSA reserves the right to disallow a work if it fails to meet the specified criteria.
    Submission Process and Key Dates

    The Prospectus and Entry Information can be downloaded from the CPS website.

    Artists may submit
    • one digital image for each 2-dimensional work and 
    • two digital images for each 3-dimensional work (sculpture).
    Entry for this online exhibition is by way of a digital file uploaded to the Call For Entry organisation (CaFÉTM).  Guidance is also available on Image Preparation - how to create and submit a suitable image of the right size and resolution.

    The deadline for entries approaches with the important dates being as follows
    • November 15, 2010 – Deadline for entries at CaFÉTM
    • January 3-10, 2011 – Entry and awards selection
    • January 15, 2011 – Acceptance list posted online at 
    • February 1, 2011 to January 31, 2012 – Artwork posted online at 
    The process for submission is quite complicated (as opposed to diifficult) and prospective entrants are recommended to read the guidance about to submit entries online very carefully - and sooner rather than later!

      Friday, October 29, 2010

      International Association of Pastel Societies - 17th Juried Exhibition 2010

      This year for the first time, you can now see online the Seventeenth Juried Web Exhibition 2010 of the International Association of Pastel Societies.

      The International Jurors who selected works for this 2010 Web Exhibition were Lorenzo Chavez, (Colorado, USA) Margaret Evans (Scotland)  and Bill Hosner (Michigan, USA).
      First, Second and Third Place Winners, IAPS 17th Web Exhibition 2010

      The Awards Judge was still life artist Claudia Seymour whose honours include President, Salmagundi Club, New York, New York, Master Circle Medal, International Association of Pastel Societies, Signature Membership, Pastel Society of America, Signature Membership, Connecticut Pastel Society and Signature Membership, Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod.

      The award winners were:
      • First Place: Deborah Bays (Pastel Society of America)
      • Second Place: Brian Bailey (Pastel Society of America)
      • Third Place:  Marla Baggetta (Pastel Society of America)
      • Fourth Place: Jane Christie (Pastel Society of Colorado)
      • Fifth Place:  Sally Strand (Pastel Society of America)
      Fourth and Fifth Place, IAPS 17th Juried Exhibition 2010
      You can see all of these - plus click to see larger images - and also see the images by the rest of the selected artists by visiting The 2010 Web Exhibition website.

      Pastel News - an excellent blogs about pastel matters - is listing some statistics which I can't find on the IAPS website but have no reason to suppose are not true.  To give you a sense of the size and nature of the entry, the statistics for the web show read as follows
      • a total of 850 paintings were entered in the show
      • of which 72 were selected for the exhibition.  Works selected included: 22 Landscapes, 20 portraits and figures, 19 still life and florals, 10 animals and one abstract work
      • Of these 66 are by pastel artists living in the USA. The remaining six works come from Canada (4) Sweden (1) and Australia (1). 
      • from 27 pastel societies which are members of the International Association of Pastel Societies (out of a total of 70 societies which are members)
      • Of these the Society with the most 'placed' members is, unsurprisingly, the Pastel Society of America; its artist members had 21 pastel works selected for  exhibition 
      • of which 7 works by PSA members are in the top 9 works
      • 12 pastel societies have more than one member in the show.  These are:  West Coast PSWC (6), Southeastern (5), Canada (4), Colorado (3), Connecticut (3), Maryland (3), Great Lakes (2), New Mexico (2), Maine (2), Adirondack (2), San Diego (2), Mid America (2)
      It would be interesting to know what the geographical analysis is of the works entered. 

      Pastel artists around the world will also doubtless be interested to see the prices of work on show!

      This initiative by IAPS is very much to be welcomed and I hope they continue to do this for all future shows.

      Thursday, October 28, 2010

      65 Artists selected for Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2010

      The judges have selected 68 works by 65 artists for the prestigious Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2010 Exhibition at Painters’ Hall in November.  This is an exhibition I always enjoy as it focuses on representational drawings and paintings with a bias towards the well drawn.
      Created in 2005 with the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers and the Lynn Foundation. The purpose of the Prize is to encourage creative representational painting and promote the skill of draughtsmanship. This annual exhibition is open to all UK artists with prize money totalling £22,500 and an engraved gold medal for the winner.
      The winner of the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize will be announced at the Private View.  You can see all 68 works in a slideshow on the Painter-Stainers website (scroll down) - although it's unclear which painting belongs to which artist as there are no credits on show.

      Dennis Severs' House - Blue Chair by Ohla Pryymak (Olechko)
      The selected artists are as follows.  I recognise a number of names of artists previously selected for various prestigious art competitions in London which I have covered for this blog.

      Jaqueline Abel - Dark Flint
      Roger Allen - Dew pond above Ballidon quarry
      Lauren Archer - The chase
      Matthew Baker - Semi detached
      John Bartlett - Reconnaissance
      Robert Bates - A memory of a time and place
      Nicola Bealing - A Monkey Eating Stolen Noodles
      Rebeca Byrne - Untitled
      Rebecca Cains - Scrapped van on piled up tyres
      David Caldwell - Self-portrait (painting)
      Christopher Campbell - Fear for the days ahead (my mother's pain. 1946-2010)
      Phillippa Clayden - The tale o'patrick cotter
      Rosalind Davis - 8000 souls part II
      Jeffrey Dennis - While I work
      Gary Denny - Hegels happy hour
      Thomas Doran - Party shop window; Goal and cone
      Clara Drummond - Rose
      Alicia Dubnyckyj - Manhattan III
      David Dodsworth - Home
      Wendy Elia - The Music Lesson
      Peter Fleming - Proofing
      Denzil Forrester - Family living
      Leigh Glover - Flying high
      Carolyn Gowdy - Shelves (follow your dream)
      Judith Green - Living under blue skies IIIm Highgate
      Paul Green - Living room and kitchen
      Michael Greene - A willow
      Alice Hall - Snow in London
      Julia Hamilton - Girl on sofa
      Stephen Harper - Ether
      Emma Haworth - Wood keepers cottage
      Malcolm K Hopper - Terraces
      Marguerite Horner - Into the wilderness
      Peiyuan Jiang - Byc
      Hero Johnson - Effie's horse
      Nicholas Jolly - The divine lightning conductor (annunciation)
      Janet Kenyon - Reflected glory
      Rachel Levitas - Urban fox III
      A Lincoln Taber - Sir John Soanes museum, Greeting from Snowdon's summit
      James Lloyd - Minotaur
      Andrew Mackenzie - Building, trees 6
      Dean Marsh - Little thing
      Pete Marsh - Spring evening no2
      Hynek Martinac - The same time London
      Jennifer Merrell - Prom night
      Malcolm Mitton - Bridge on the river Chater: autumn
      Ishbel Myerscough - Fraser
      Jay Oliver - Untitled 1
      Morgan Penn - The critics
      Daniel Preece - Interior
      Olha Pryymak - Dennis Severs' house great bedroom; Dennis Severs' house blue chair
      Stephen Read - Evening walk
      Marie Robinson - Head dress
      Patricia Rorie - Boreas, after Waterhouse
      Melissa Scott-Miller - Back gardens, Islington
      Donald Sholt - Americam Diorama
      Renee Spierdijk - Daniella, 12 years old
      Ann Spencer - The boiler room
      Kitty Stirling - Allotment III
      Sonia Stanyard - Violet Lodge
      David Webb - Grey butterfly
      David V Wheeler - Tiberis, quo vadis (view over the River Tiber, Rome)
      Lisa Wright - Sunset girl
      Peter Wylie - Goldfinger four (Le Corbusier flaking paint from villa La Roche)

      The exhibition is at Painters Hall, 9 Little Trinity Lane, London EC4V 2AD between 15 November – 26 November 2010 (Open Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm; Admission free).  Therre are a number of events - of which more later.  It's organised by Parker Harris.

      The exhibition will then tour to W. H. Patterson Gallery, 19 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BB (29 November – 3 December 2010)

      Links to previous posts about the Lynn Painter Stainer Prize and Exhibition
      [Note:  I continue to refine my process for finding artists' website.  I'm now very strongly of the opinion that if an artist wants to be found online they will have made sure their website gets listed on the forst page of Google for a search on "artist (name of artist)". ]

        Wednesday, October 27, 2010

        Call for Entries: Royal Watercolour Society Open Competition 2011

        The Royal Watercolour Society has issued its Call for Entries for the Royal Watercolour Society Open Competition 2011 which is its major Annual Open Competition. It has previously been known as the 21st Century Watercolours competition or 21C.
        The aim of the Royal Watercolour Society’s Open Competition is to encourage innovation in the use of water-based media on paper and to stimulate fresh approaches to what are considered to be watercolour’s traditional strengths. Successful submissions will be exhibited at Bankside Gallery, London, from 18th February - 10th March 2011.
        Works in the 21st Century Watercolour Exhibition 2009
        photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell
        Who can submit watercolour artwork?
        • The competition is open to non-members of the Royal Watercolour Society.
        What to submit
        • The aim of the competition is to encourage innovation in the use of water-based media on paper and to stimulate fresh approaches to what are considered to be watercolour’s traditional strengths.  
        • Work in all water-based media on paper is eligible, though acrylic or gouache should not be impasto
        • The works should have been painted within four years of submission 
        • The work must be the original work of the artist named on the entry form. The work must be for sale and copyright must be vested in the named artist. [I recommend that any artist who is unclear about the meaning of original work and copyright see Art competitions and copyright - the AWS Gold Medal debate 08.09.08. and AWS gold medal controversy - the final word 17.08.10]
        • There is no restriction on style or subject matter.
        • Artists are invited to submit up to three framed, glazed water-based paintings on paper.
        You can review my blog posts about previous exhibitions below.  These include gallery shots of works in the exhibition and links to the websites of prizewinning artists.
        • Numerous prizes worth in excess of £10,000 have been kindly donated by various individuals and organisations.
        Entry Costs
        • The fee for each work submitted is £12.
        • Submission is free to full-time students of recognised art schools and Watercolour Artist Friends on completion of the relevant section of the entry form
        How to submit
        • EITHER download an Entry Form and Information for Artists leaflet from the link on this page (or the website page about the competition)
        • Notice to Artists:  click here to download the Notice to Artists which provides more information
        • Entry Form:  click here to download the Entry Form  
        • OR send a SAE to Bankside Gallery, 48 Hopton Street, London SE1 9JH
        • Labels are sent to on receipt of your entry form and payment. Each work must be labelled prior to submission on the front and back.
        • You can submit EITHER direct to the gallery (see dates below) or via Regional Collection Points (dates and times and places detailed on the Notice to Artists).  Note that the dates for collection from regional collection points in England and Scotland start from 22nd January and not all dates are at the weekend.
        • Works must be handed in unwrapped and labelled at Bankside Gallery on Saturday 12th February or Sunday 13th February, 11am and 6pm.
        • Work will not be received before or after the send in days and cannot be accepted by post. Please ensure that you have arranged for the collection, packing and return of your work.
        • All sales and payment for exhibited work will be handled by Bankside Gallery.
        • A commission of 40% plus VAT will be charged.
        • Selling prices quoted on the form must include commission, VAT + framing costs.
        Important Dates

        These are the important dates to remember.
        • Deadline for entry form/fee payment:  Wednesday 12th January 2011 
        • Send in work (to the gallery): Saturday 12th February (11am-6pm) and Sunday 12th February (11am - 6pm)
        • Judging: 14th February
        • Collection of unaccepted work: Tuesday 15th February (11am - 7pm)
        • Exhibition dates: 18th February – 10th March 2011
        • Collection of unsold works: Friday 11th March (11am-7pm)
        Please note that the days for collecting unaccepted or unsold works are weekdays and you need to make sure either you or somebody else can collect from the Bankside Gallery on the days in question.  However the gallery is open until 7pm for people coming in after work.  Uncollected works are taken to Art Moves and a storage fee charged.

        If you've got a query please ask the Bankside Gallery if they can help (020 7928 7521).  The email address relating to the competition is on the Notice to Artists.

        Alternatively you can try posting as a comment below and see if anybody with experience of the competition can answer. 

        Good luck - and I hope to see your entry on the wall when I go to visit the exhibition in February next year!  

        Do let me know if you are successful and get a work or works accepted.

          Tuesday, October 26, 2010

          Exhibition Review: Thomas Lawrence at National Portrait Gallery

          Thomas Lawrence at the National Portrait Gallery until January 2011
          Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830) was the greatest English portrait painter of his generation.  He worked in the late 17th and early 18th centuries and was much acclaimed in his lifetime, but of late has lacked the sort of appreciation which is rightly his due. The new exhibition at the National Potrait Gallery - Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power And Brilliance - exhibition will doubtless help to remedy this.

          This is the first exhibition of his work in the UK for over thirty years.  It includes 54 works of very good quality which were drawn from a number of collections including the Royal Collection. the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Palace of Versailles and the Art Institute of Chicago.

          The exhibition has been organised by the National Portrait Gallery in London and the Yale Centre for British Art in New Haven.  It transfers to the Yale Centre in Connecticut in the New Year and the exhibition will run there between 24 February and 5 June 2011

          I RECOMMEND this exhibition to all those interested in portraiture - of both adults and children, eighteenth and nineteenth century oil painting and drawing with dry media.

          The notion that he was one of the most celebrated artists in Europe is unsurprising when you see the portraits in this exhibition.  Not only are they very fine portraits but they also look incredibly fresh - almost as if they were painted yesterday.

          Clearly he had a technique which created portraits with both impact and longevity - of which more later.

          I was unsurprised to find out that he had been a child prodigy - and had helped to support his family from an early age through his talent for portrait drawing.  He started his professional career drawing portraits in pastel.

          His meteoric rise through the art world began when he was just 21 and exhibited at the Summer Ehibition for the first time.

          This is the summary of him which you can find on the National Portrait Gallery website
          Artist associated with 641 portraits
          Beginning as a child prodigy working in pastels, the gifted Lawrence eventually succeeded Reynolds as Britain's greatest portrait painter, With the temperament and flair to capture the glamour of the age, Lawrence created the image of Regency high-society with dazzling brushwork and an innovative use of colour. His international reputation was ensured when the Prince Regent commissioned portraits of all the foreign leaders involved in the downfall of Napoleon. Lawrence was appointed President of the Royal Academy in 1820.
          NPG website: Sir Thomas Lawrence
          His portraits were and are notable for a number of things
          • he's completely self-taught.  His approach was informed by his study of and regard for old master drawings - which he also collected. 
          • as a result Lawrence is a superb draughtsman
          • the portrait paintings he submitted to his firste ever Summer exhibition at the Royal Academy succeeded in making Joshua Reynolds's (the President of the RA) 'portraits seem old fashioned.  One of these is the portrait of Elizabeth Farren which you can see at the top of this post. 
          • his particular talent as a portrait painter appears to be for putting his subjects completely at ease so that they appear completely natural and themselves - even those who were not enamoured of portrait painting (such as Queen Charlotte and Wellington)
          • as a result he was patronised by the great and the good
          • he was exceptionally effective as a painter of small children
          • his use of colour is absolutely stunning - he uses vivid colours and in particular a deep red to exceptional effect
          • he's an innovator and experiments constantly - trying different formats and also new approaches to pastel drawing and portrait painting
          • his work is very painterly and he obviously loves the viscosity of oil paint - and includes "great gobs of paint" in the clothes of his sitters
          Detail of Queen Charlotte 1744-1818 by Thomas Lawrence (oil on canvas 1789-90)
          In his later career he became well known on the continent and exhibited in Paris and travelled across Europe painting those sovereigns, generals and others who were allied to GB in the defeat of Napaolean.  You can see examples below of portraits which normally hang in the very grand Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle. 

          Windsor Castle - Waterloo Chamber Portraits by Thomas Lawrence
          (L to R) Pope Pius VII 1742-1823; Charles, Archdule of Austria (1771-18547)
          and Field Marsgall Gebhardt von Blucher (1742-1819)
          Royal Collection
          His portrait of the Pope is generally recognised to be the best he ever painted.

          Section of Pope Pius VII by Thomas Lawrence (oil on canvas 1820)
          Another portrait which is of great interest is one of Wellington (see below) - which has not been seen in public for over 60 years.  the significance of this portrait is two-fold.  First it shows Wellington in civilian dress - this is Wellington embarking on a caeer in politics after his retired as a soldier.  His dress shows just a hint of his status as the victor at the Battle of Trafalgar and Britain's greatest military hero - with the red ribbon of the Order of the Golden Fleece.

          It is also the portrait which Wellington liked the best.  He sent engravings of it to his friends.

          (section of) Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, 1769-1852
          by Thomas Lawrence
          Private Collection of Sir Robert Ogden CBE
          The drawings in the exhibition are really outstanding and a huge joy to somebody like me who loves looking at well executed drawings.  They deserve a separate post just about the drawings.  Suffice to say at this stage that they will thrill those like me who like to work in dry media.  

           Countess Therese Czernin 1798-1896
          by Thomas Lawreence 1819
          black, red, brown and white chlak on prepared canvas
          Private Collection

          Another feature of Lawrence is that he was very innovative - and this exhibition provided me with the first opportunity to see a classic pastel chalk drawing on gessoed canvas and framed like an oil painting.

          As you progress through the exhibition you gradually begin to appreciate his use of red for creating very "look at me" portraits and a tremendous coherence to an exhibition of this sort. I would imagine exhibitions including his portraits might very well have had the same impact at the time.

          Thomas Lawrence Exhibition - Court, Academy and Society the 1820s
          I was puzzled by this and wondered why his paintings look so fresh and which sort of red he has used which continues to look good some 300 years later.  The curator I spoke to confirmed that these these are some of the best looking portraits they've ever had on display and yet there's no or very little evidence of restoration or cleaning.

          Also that red was a very popular colour to use at the time - but that undoubtedly it was Lawrence who set the trend.

          I'm curious about the red pigment and am trying to get an appointment to see one of the scientists at the NPG to see if it's possible to find out more why these paintings look so good!

          Lawrence eventually followed that other great portrait painter Joshua Reynolds in being elected to President of the Royal Academy in 1820.  He helped to establish the status of the artist in nineteenth century England.

          The exhibition continues at the National Portrait Gallery until 23rd January 2011 prior to its transfer to the USA.  There are a number of events during the course of the exhibition most of which must be booked.

          This is a link to the catalogue for the exhibition Thomas Lawrence: Regency Brilliance and Power (Yale Center for British Art)

          Other reviews of this exhibition

          The reviews are unanimous - it's worth you making an effort to see this exhibition.  You can read some of them by clicking on the links below.

          Monday, October 25, 2010

          How to use an iPad as your artist's portfolio

          Last week Sarah Wimperis (The Red Shoes) showed me how she was now using her Apple iPad as an artist's portfolio of available artwork.  Here's my interview with her plus photos I took last week.

          Sarah Wimperis showing me her iPad portfolio
          What made you think of using an iPad as a portfolio?

          Sarah:  I think a big part of selling your work and yourself as an artist is presentation.  Any painting will look infinitely better when the framing is carefully considered.  Compare something that you have done stuffed in a clip frame to the same piece in a beautiful frame for example. 

          Visiting galleries or commissioning clients with a large cumbersome portfolio also fills me with dread, everything gets muddled, I get flustered and I hate it.  So I wanted something smart and easy to use. 

          Anyway after making a kind of scrap book catalogue of all my paintings in an attempt to bring some order to my presentation Big Dave (her husband) suggested an ipad (I had secretly wished for one but it did feel like a self indulgent extravagance!).  He said "Why not try one out, after all you wouldn't paint with inferior paints so why present yourself in a scrap book kind of way".  He had a point. 

          So we visited a shop and I played with one.

          The advantages are numerous - the work looks great, the resolution is fantastic and you can zoom in on a painting without loss of detail.  It is easy to find a particular piece that you might want to show.  You can also tip the pad up so that the person sitting opposite can see and the image swivels around.  It's wonderfully slick and sleek.  It fits in my bag like a dream, no more sweating and lugging huge portfolios around.

          Sarah turns the iPad towards me
          and an image swivels 180 degrees 
          to be the correct vertical format for me to see it

          In the future I will take two smallish framed pieces, to see and hold and the rest in the ipad.

          Tell me how it works.  What do you do to create a portfolio on your iPad?  How did you get the images of your work on to the iPad and into galleries?

          Sarah:  It is very easy to use, I simply make a folder on my computer of images that I want.  For example:
          • if I was to visit someone who wanted to commission a painting of their house or garden I would make a folder of garden paintings. 
          • If I was then going to see a gallery that dealt in marine paintings I would also make a folder to hold paintings of boats and another with water paintings, I might further separate out the watercolours and the oils. 
          When you have done that you just plug in your ipad.  It will open in iTunes and you click on it, then click on photos and add whatever you want from your computer, press apply and it dutifully copies what you want onto the iPad via your home network. 

          It is very simple and as I have all my images on my computer anyway because I blog and use Flickr it was extremely easy to do.

          You can further customise it by adding your own wallpapers and screen savers.  As with any apple product it seems to be very easy to use.  "Intuitive" I think is the word.

          The iPad provides large format images which fit the screen whatever the format
          plus you can zoom in on any part of the image

          I know how impressive it was when you showed me last week, but for those who have not seen the demo:
          • what are the advantages for you in using an iPad as a portfolio?  
          • what can the iPad do for you in terms of displaying your work?
          Sarah:  I would say the advantages are that it is smart, it shows that you take yourself and your work seriously, it displays a lot of work, more than you could or would be advised to carry and so when you get into a work displaying situation you can go with the flow

          For example say your client suddenly said "I love your flower paintings but what I really have a secret passion for is cats, you don't do cats do you"  you could respond with a "Voila! Why are some extraordinarily expensive but beautiful cat paintings that I have done" and bobs your uncle, you have clinched the deal!!

          You can also find work very quickly if you organise it well and you can zoom in easily on any part of any image.

          Which iPad did you buy - and do you think you made the right choice?

          Sarah:  I brought the least expensive, the 16 GB, which is fine, more than adequate as far as capacity goes. 

          However I was totally unprepared for how user friendly it is, how easy browsing the internet would be with it and while I can use the internet at home or in a wifi free place, I think now that the £100 extra to get the 16GB one with 3G and Wi-Fi would have been money well spent. [Making A Mark Note:  That would have also involved the cost of access to a broadband supplier - which is the bit I'm stuck on at the moment.  To 3G or not to 3G - that is the question!]

          The apps that you can get are fantastic as well, I have got sketchbook pro, and spent the journey back from London happily drawing the motorway with my finger, it won't replace my sketchbooks but is fantastic  fun and, well, the more drawing, in whatever shape or form, the better!

          Would a netpad do the same thing?

          Sarah:  I am not sure, I don't think the net pads are as sleek, thin and easy to hold.  I haven't tried one.  I do know that Apple is very user friendly and I can't find much wrong with my ipad.  Actually I can't fault it!

          How does it work tax-wise as a business expense?

          Sarah:  I haven't checked it through with my accountant but I think it would be very legit as a business expense, I have it totally for my business.  I wouldn't have brought one if I wasn't doing what I do, but I am jolly glad that I had to!

          [Making A Mark Note: My understanding is that if used for business then it is tax deductible.  However it is unlikely that you can claim relief as a lump sum in one year.  It's very likely that relief would apply in the same way as for any business related capital expenditure on fixed assets such as the method approved for you claiming tax relief for the essential business expense of a computer]

          Which people do you think would stand to benefit most from using an iPad as a portfolio?

          Sarah:  Anyone making presentations of images - a photographer, illustrator or artist. It shows films hugely well so animators and filmmakers will love it. Storyboarding would be fabulous on it. 

          It also has very good calendar and notebook apps so anyone wanting to organise, it is like a 21st century filofax.

          I am currently trying to work out how to make my own apps, I want to have apps for artists, like little workshops or demos that you could have for sale on your blog or web site, or even collections of paintings that people could collect and enjoy! I totally love it.


          I did a bit more research as a result of Sarah's news that the iPad works well as a portable portfolio. 

          This is a photographer talking about its potential as a portfolio and how it works in practice
          I did have to make new versions of all the images I wanted on the iPad since most of my “web ready” images were at a lower resolution.  I made them about twice as large as the iPad’s resolution so a viewer can zoom in and still see a sharp image.
          Here's the video Jeff made of how it works
          Here are some more links to more resources for using an iPad as a portfolio:
          The general consensus seems to be that iPhotos provides most of what you need but doubtless this will change over time.