Friday, December 31, 2010

Best Picture of 2010 on an Art Blog

You have voted - and the results are in (see Vote for the best artwork on an art blog in 2010) and today I can announce who has won Best Picture of 2010 on an Art Blog.

Many thanks to the hundreds of art bloggers who took time out over the festive season to come and view the nominations and vote in this Making A Mark Awards Poll.

I’d also like to extend my appreciation to all those art bloggers who came up with the nominations. Your assistance in identifying good work is certainly valued by me - and all the other art bloggers who have enjoyed seeing the work nominated for 2010. (You can see links to all the nomination threads at the end)

The MAM Award for Best Picture of the Year (Portrait/Figures) on an Art Blog

"Hands of Time"
by Karin Jurick A Painting Today,
8 x 11" oil on masonite
The winner of the Best Picture of the Year (Portrait/Figures) is "Hands of Time" an oil painting by Karin Jurick (A Painting Today). Nominated by me - Katherine Tyrrell!

Karin Jurick got over 43% of the vote and has repeated her win in this same category in 2009.

Margaret Dyer (Small Pastel Studies by Margaret Dyer) - also a previous winner of this category - edged second place from Derek Jones (Derek Jones Art) who came third

The MAM Award for Best Picture of the Year (Place) on an Art Blog

We have a dead heat for this category despite the hundreds of votes cast!

Canal Sunrise
by Loriann Signori (Loriann Signori's Painting-a-Day)
The joint winners of the Best Picture of the Year (Place), each with 34% of the vote, are:
    by Michelle Basic Hendry
    (Artscapes – Musings on Art & Life)
     Third place was taken by Terry Miura (Studio Notes).

    The MAM Award for Best Picture of the Year (Still Life) on an Art Blog
    Black Grapes #3
    by James Neil Hollingsworth
    (Paintings in Oil)
    The winner of the Best Picture of the Year (Still Life) is Black Grapes #3 by James Neil Hollingsworth (Paintings in Oil). Nominated by Belinda del Pesco.
    Neil attracted 35% of the vote and this was a category which was keenly contested with the lead changing many times during the course of the vote.

    Sadie J Valeri (Sadie J Valeri) and Julian Merrow-Smith (Postcard from Provence) tied for second place with their respective works

    The MAM Award for Best Picture of the Year (Natural World) on an Art Blog
    The Right Side
    by Gayle Mason (Fur in the Paint)
    10 x 8", coloured pencils and acrylic
    The winner of the Best Picture of the Year (Nature) is The Right Side a mixed media drawing by Gayle Mason (Fur in the Paint); Nominated by Katherine Tyrrell
    Jeanette Jobson (Illustrated Life) was second and Tracy Hall (Watercolour Artist) was third.

    The MAM Award for Best Picture of the Year on an Art Blog

    This is awarded to the picture which got the most votes cast in the poll.

    It’s always fascinating to see how the different categories fare in terms of the number of votes they attract and how art bloggers rate different work when they start acting as the jury rather than the artist whose work is being judged.

    This year the winning artist won by a significant margin.  In fact she repeated the type of lead she also generated last year when she also won this prize.  So regular readers will now know that......

    The MAM Award for Best Picture of the Year on an Art Blog goes to
    Karin Jurick for "Hands of Time"

    In second place - according to the number of votes cast - was The Right Side by Gayle Mason (Fur in the Paint)

    There was a tie for third place - with honours split between:
    Now as Karin won Best Picture on an Art Blog in 2009 as well, I’ve had a word with her and in order to give the rest of you a chance, she’s going to go the way of all the people who enter many of the big art competitions.  This means she will be sitting on the alumni bench next year and won’t be allowed to enter! :)

    However I’ve got a new idea for next year which I’m hoping will include Karin's astute eye for what makes a good painting - of which more in the New Year.

    Note:  Every year, the voting always tends to indicate pretty early on which painting is likely to win this award. This year I identified a problem with some significant fluctuations in the voting which was investigated and, after much analysis, was addressed through the elimination of one of the entries. I'll be reflecting on the lessons learned in the New Year and seeking your help in thinking through how best to conduct this competition next year.

    Links:  The Making A Mark Awards

    The Making A Mark Awards (Part 4 - The Home Front)

    Nominations were invited in this thread Making A Mark Nominations: The Home Front although unfortunately it only got one!  Which is OK as I already has some blogs in mind for these awards! :)

    “The Moose” - the award for the best animal in an illustrated blog
    Named after the first winner of this award. This award is for particularly noteworthy artwork about an animals or animals (wild or domestic) posted to an art or illustrated blog in 2010
    I recived one nomination for this award.   According to  Kimberly Santini Lisa Daria for the Moose Award and the Stickability one - Lisa Daria (Lisa Daria) was is a daily painter who tackles a variety of subjects, always accompanied by her studio assistant, Brie, a big fluff ball who gets into all sorts of troubles.
      Other animals which I had in mind for this award include
      Tripod seems to rule the roost and the turkeys at the Jobson home in Newfoundland despite only having three legs. Now of course he also has the added distraction of an artist in the family who's rather interested in fish!

      He's also featured in very many drawings and paintings over the years and has always come across as an animal with a strong male character.  He's become a bit fussy with age (don't they all?) and only occasionally now consents to model - for a fee!

      His owner made an unknowing bid to capture my attention with a rather fetching Christmas painting (see right) and I succumbed!

      The 2010 winner of
      "The Moose" award for best animal on an illustrated blog is

      The “Tales from the Frontline” Amusing Musings Trophy
      Originally two awards but combined into one for the last two years. 
      • "The Amusing Musings Trophy" is for keeping me amused. 
      • The “Tales from the Frontline - Mention in Despatches" - my favourite blog by somebody who lives with an artist.
      I'm not making this award this year as I'm currently stumped for a nomination.  This can be changed if there are late suggestions! :)

      The Most Gorgeous Mouthwatering (MGM) Studio of the Year
      The Most Gorgeous Mouthwatering (MGM) Studio of the Year
      For the Most Improved Studio of the Year - to reflect the continuous efforts of artists to improve our studio environments.
      This year the studio improvement I've kept going back to time and time again has been Cathy Johnson's shed studio blog which I think has been through a few name changes - it's currently called Shed of Reality: a place called sanity
      The 2010 Winner of  
      The Most Gorgeous Mouthwatering (MGM) Studio of the Year 
      belongs to Cathy Johnson

      The brilliant thing about this project was that Cathy set up a blog to track the whole process of creating a new studio in a shed.

      It not only provides a record of the various trials, tribulations and achievements, it's also a marvellous source of information with lots of links for anybody else trying to tackle a similar project.

      I'm sure Cathy would also want to make sure that I mention Joseph's part in bringing this project to fruition.

      I wonder if Cathy loans Joseph out...... ;)

      Links:  The Making A Mark Awards

      Thursday, December 30, 2010

      The Making A Mark Awards 2010 (Part 3 - Generating Art)

      Welcome to the second day of The Making A Mark Awards 2010 for blogging art on the Internet.  Today in Part 3, it's my pleasure to award prizes as follows:

      Generating Art
      • The Best Art Blog Project Virtual Challenge Cup
      • The Painting a Day Stickability Shield
      I'll start with one of the awards which a lot of bloggers have an involvement with.  Nominations were invited in this thread Making A Mark Nominations: Generating Art

      The Best Art Blog Project Virtual Challenge Cup
      Art can be quite a lonely activity and it's noticeable that people often like to have some sort of involvement in groups and projects related to art! This award is for:
      • EITHER a major and reputable new project which adds value and involves a large number of bloggers
      • OR a project which has grown over the course of the year in question or otherwise had some significant impact during the course of the year
      Nominations for this award were:
      The Virtual Paintout by Bill Guffey nominated by Charlene Brown  Seconded by Leslie Hawes
      My nomination for the Best Art Blog Project Virtual Challenge Cup is The Virtual Paintout by Bill Guffey.  Using Google Streetview as a source of inspiration for paintings provides just the right degree of unity around a shared theme, and diversity of subject – and lends itself to an incredible variety of interpretations. It’s hard to say which is more fun, finding your perfect location by navigating around the selected area on Google, or looking at all the great stuff other people have found!

      The "Creative Every Day Challenge" and the associated challenge, "Art Every Day Month" hosted by Leah Piken Kolidas Nominated by Peggy Stermer-Cox 
      To explain, the challenge runs all year long with a Monday check-in. Then, in November, check in is daily. Optional themes are given each month for exploring, or not.  What I think is special about this art blog is the vast array of artists who participate: fine art, fine craft, writers, dancers, photographers, etc. Leah started the challenge in 2008. I also like the wide range of experience in the participants.
      The Creative Every Day Challenge is an older and bigger site and obviously attracts a lot of participants.  It's also very laudable to be promoting creativity amongst art bloggers.  However in terms of accessibility I found it a bit difficult to navigate and I did notice you didn;t need to be an art blogger to participate - and these awards are about art blogging.

      By way of contrast, the joy of Bill Guffey's Virtual Paintout site is that it has a very simple concept which is the same every month - painting scenes from specific locations using Google Streetview.  The only thing which ever changes is the place and the map.  The participants get to choose the location they want to paint and then provide the link to the map and the image of what they've produced to Bill for posting to the blog. 

      Two paintings of County Clare, Ireland from the December thread

      Bill has succeeded in attracting a large number of participants every month - and the benefit is that you can see all the pictures on the blog and that makes it very easy for non-participants to understand the project and see its results. I also like the way that it shows people that they can find places to go and paint plein air using Google Street View and consequently its impact is not just limited to this blog!

      Finally to top it off, Bill managed to get himself on TV when Prince Edward Island in Canada discovered they were the chosen location of the month!  I like both the accessibility and the impact of this art blog project and so.....
      The 2010 winner of
      The Best Art Blog Project Virtual Challenge Cup is
      Bill Guffey for The Virtual Paintout

      The Painting a Day Stickability Shield
      The Painting a Day Stickability Shield is awarded to daily painters who maintain a consistently high output of consistently good quality paintings over the course of the year and set a good example to others
      This isn't just a prize for people who can produce good paintings.  This award applauds "stickability" which is a quality which not all blogging painters necessarily possess.  The first two artists to win it, Duane Keiser and Julian Merrow Smith both posted a new work every day for well over a year - all of which sold extremely well. Those that have followed have also produced a very large total of paintings every year.

      That's the sort of standard I'm looking for in terms of a daily painter who can follow in their footsteps.

      Some of the artists nominated simply did not qualify on the basis that they simply are not producing enough work. Hnece they have not been included in the list of nominees below.

      I've allowed the nominatins to stand where artists are producing on average in excess of 15 paintings a month although obviously I'm looking for more than this.

      Nominations for this award include the following.
      • Lisa Daria (Lisa Daria) Nominated by Kimberly Santini who said I'd like to nominate Lisa Daria for the Moose Award and the Stickability one - she is a daily painter who tackles a variety of subjects, always accompanied by her studio assistant, Brie, a big fluff ball who gets into all sorts of troubles.
      • Kimberly Santini (Painting A Dog a Day) I'd like to nominate myself for the stickability award - and there's some great company here! 2010 saw the creation of daily painting #1000, a wine issued with one of my daily paintings as it's label, an invitational solo exhibition comprised of my dailies, and my induction to the esteemed Daily Painters Group, among other accomplishments. 
      • Nithya Swaminathan (A Splash of Color) nominated by herself.  I have created over 300 pieces this year.  I took up a project titled "300 to 30" where I planned to complete 300 pieces before my 30th birthday, which was earlier this year. Not only did I go on to complete about 305, but stayed with the momentum to paint much much more than I did in all previous years put together. I have not literally produced a new painting everyday though, because I was on vacation for a month, and there have been other times too when I missed painting.
      • Leslie Hawes, "Leslie's Drawing A Day" Nominated by herself.  I hope I inspire artists to make art with a 'daily' intention
      Like I said - one if the key criteria I'm looking for is "stickability" - and on that basis there's just one artist that really qualifies to walk off with this award.

      Courage #541 by Lisa Daria

      I'm very grateful to Kimberley Santini for drawing my attention to Lisa Daria.  I've had a lovely time looking through her blog at her wonderful paintings this afternoon and was very nearly distracted and started to buy a painting!  Always a good sign of a very promising painter!  Her blog has gone straight into my list of blogs that I follow.

      Significantly, Lisa Daria is the only nominee to have produced a painting every day this year.

      She has good reason - as stated below
      After one year of painting every day (including Christmas) I've no intention of stopping. For me, daily painting is a daily appreciation for living via the canvas. I'm a young adult cancer survivor so I have a persistence to make sure every day matters. Daily painting has become a reminder every day can bring with it reason. My optimism and perception have become part of the process of creating each day without reservation or excuse. The finished painting represents a consistently positive and stabilizing presence of my view of my immediate surroundings.
      Lisa Daria
      No more words are necessary - this is a lady whose 'stickability' we can all admire.
      The 2010 Winner of
      The Painting a Day Stickability Shield
      is Lisa Daria

      Links:  Yesterday we had two posts:

      Part 1 covered: Getting Out of the Studio

      • The Painting Plein Air Plus Prize
      • The Travels with a Sketchbook Trophy
      • The Going Greener Gong
      Part 2 covered: Learning about Art and the Art Business
      • The FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal
      • The Make Me Think Gong
      • The Best Book by an Art Blogger Blue Ribbon
      The Making A Mark Awards - website details all previous winners and nominations

      Wednesday, December 29, 2010

      The Making A Mark Awards 2010 (Part 2 - Learning about Art & the Art Business)

      On to the next part of the Making A Mark Awards - this is the section related to Learning about Art and the Art Business.  There are three awards:
      • The FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal
      • The Make Me Think Gong
      • The Best Book by an Art Blogger Blue Ribbon
      This is the area which focuses on our personal development - whether that's via:
      • regular posts on a blog wholly focused on the development of artists
      • a really good series of posts on a particular topic of major relevance to artists
      • a new art instruction book
      • a new book about the artist and the art business
        The FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal
        This award value blogs which also aim to share good information - including what they have learned - with others.
        This is a particular favourite of mine as it's what an awful lot of this blog is about.  It's not limited to artists who are also teachers, it's also open to those who just love to share what they've found out (like me!).
        Paul Foxton (Learning to See) nominated by Shaun G. Day  The Make Me Think Gong I believe must go to Paul Foxton.  I don't think that I've ever come across a more helpful, educative and inspiringly well-written blog about learning how to paint.  (This was nominated in the Make Me Think category but more properly belongs over here)

        Stapleton Kearns (Stapleton Kearns) Nominated by S. M. Lacy Stapleton Kearns writes a blog for painters, and has posted almost every single day for 2 years. Every post is useful (similar to James Gurney's site). It's a huge resource. I have learned so much from reading.

        Noemí (Pintar a la acuarela) Nominated by Noemí.  This blog is about the practice of watercolor. Watercolor Painters of the World: interesting links to artists working with this technique. Events related to the watercolor competitions, contests, Meetups, exhibitions, symposia and festivals, national and international. Techniques: explained through videos, step-by-step. Materials: paper, brushes and pigment. Analysis and presentation of books and magazines in watercolor. Links to pages around the world related to watercolor. The problem (or not): spanish language
        Having excluded all previous award winners, to these I would add three artist/tutors
        Deborah Secor Landscape Painting in Pastels and Deborah Secor: Today's Art Class.  Deborah is an experienced artist/tutor who shares an exceptional amount of her knowledge and experience online - including the content of her classes.

        Richard McKinley (The Pastel Pointers Blog) is an experienced artist/tutor who contributes regular and thoughtful posts about the practice of painting landscapes with pastels.  These have now been published by North Light Books who also commission Richard to write his blog.

        Armand Cabrera (Art and Influence) is an artist/tutor who writes regular weekly articles about aspects of the painting process
        I read all these blogs on a regular basis apart from Noemi's - because I don't read Spanish!  However her blog looks fascinating and certainly looks like a blog which is worth reading if you can handle the language issue.  For those who prefer to read in Spanish she also has a whole bunch of Spanish watercolour blogs in her blogroll

        Paul's blog is a one-off.  It's a record of a journey in relation to classical techniques which occurs in fits and starts.  However Paul produces long and interesting posts when he's posting and has a significant fan base.  He also draws and paints rather well.

        Artist/tutor blogs, such as the ones written by Kearns, Secor, McKinley and Cabrera, are typically distinguished by the fact that they are often well written, often very practical, often very useful and produce regular content.  This content then varies according to the individual interests and preferences of the artist/tutor.  In some ways it seems invidious to try and choose between them as I know I read and enjoy them all and they all have their own particular pros and cons. 

        I'm trying to avoid doing split prizes this year.  I've also looked back at the previous winners of this prize and it strikes me I do like people who provide a good read! 

        Consequently I'm going to award the prize to the artist who most often tackles the spread of topics which most appeal to me.  He achieves a nice balance between art technique, art history and art business (although I think he needs to rationalise his two art business labels into one!).  If there's one thing I would change it's the black background which I find makes his posts more difficult to read.

        The 2010 winner of
        The FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal is
        Stapleton Kearns

        The Make Me Think Gong
        To be eligible for this award you must make me think and offer insights which are transferable to the activity and business of being an artist.
        This is the award which leans more towards matters pertaining to being an artist rather than artistic practice per se.  So less "how to paint" and more "how to avoid being a starving artist"

        Nominations received are:
        Elizabeth Barton (Art and Quilts, cogitations thereon Nominated by  She writes about her experiences making, observing, teaching, reading, and critiquing.  She is also very interactive with the people who comment, encouraging a real online dialog.
        Katherine A. Cartwright
        (Katharine A. Cartwright Studio) Nominated by Casey Klahn.  Seconded by Peggy Stermer-Cox  Kathy posts book reviews and hosts a discussion style format via her comments. A community has developed there, and I always look forward to the thoughtful interaction that takes place.  

        Peggy also added 'I'm glad to see Casey nominated Katherine A. Cartwright's Studio. I'll second the nomination. The discussions she leads are thought provoking, interesting and educational...besides being fun! And, she's a great art blog hostess.'

        Kirsty Hall  (Kirsty Hall) Nominated by riseart .  Seconded by S. M. Lacy
        For Learning about the art business the Rise Art Team would like to nominate blooger Kirsty M Hall for her work on encouraging and supporting artists in finding their way online.

        Corinna Spencer (Corinna Spencer) Nominated by riseart.  Additionally we enjoy Corinna Spencer's blog an artist who writes about other shows, own work, etc

        To these I'm adding Joanne Mattera - Joanne Mattera series on Marketing Mondays.  This is extremely wide-ranging in its coverage of very practical issues for artists.  The content is also very helpful and I invariably find myself highlighting them on Who's made a mark this week? 
        It's good to see artists being nominated by more than one blogger so congrats to Katharine A Cartwright and Kirsty Hall for that distinction.  I've always thought Kirsty wrote in a fresh and accessible way and lights on topics which might pass me by - which means she often makes me think.  Katharine is an artist and an art instrucor and her blog is less well known to me although I have visited before.  It looks like it's a good place to go when you want to give your brain cells a bit of exercise.  She also has the merit of writing blog posts on a regular basis.  Elizabeth's blog has got lots of good stuff to read but I find the stretched format and the big blocks of text a bit of a challenge to read - but I've got this 27" screen for a reason not unconnected with cataracts!  I'm finding narrower columns and short paras work really well for me.  I'm afraid Corinna's blog is one I don't know so well - so congrats on the nomination.
        The 2010 winner of
        The Make Me Think Gong is
        Joanne Mattera
        Joanne tackles the really routine issues relating to doing business and marketing your art which affect most artists.  Plus she also covers some aspects which are less routine but useful to know about none the less. I find that she almost always manages to bring a fresh perspective on what might be thought of as the "same old topics"and she often manages to add some small nugget of information which I've not heard before.  She certainly makes me think.  Many a time she's popped a thought into my head while I've been reading one of her Marketing Mondays posts which has then turned into a blog post on Making A Mark.  She's also consistent and reliable.  So much so that she is now one of my regular ports of call whenever I'm constructing my weekly blog posts - and by definition that puts such a blogger in the running for an end of year Making A Mark award!

        The Best Book by an Art Blogger Blue Ribbon
        This award is for the most helpful book written/produced by an art blogger and published in 2010
        There were some great new art books published this year - but this NEW award is limited to those written by artists with active art blogs which they write themselves! The author MUST be somebody who blogs about art - but they don't have to be an artist.  The book should be published in 2010 but this is not an absolute and some flexibility is permitted in relation to books published at the year end.

        I'm aware of four artists who have written significant books published this year. This is one of the most difficult decisions I've had to make this year.  I could make a very good argument for any of the contenders to win the award.  I've enjoyed all their contributions on their blog and have read two of the books in print, all of the third onscreen and most of the fourth onscreen.

        James Gurney's book Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter managed to go straight to the top of the charts on pre-publication sales.  I can only imagine that those who bought the last book and/or read James blog Gurney Journey were very happy to order the new book.  Of course a lot of the material had already been published via his blog as he wrote the book.  However there's nothing quite like having it in book format so you can read it through and/or dip into it for reference purposes.

        I've had a rule up until now that you can only win a prize once.

        To be honest if I didn't have that rule, then James would probably edge it as he has written a really excellent book (see my review Book Review: Color and Light by James Gurney).  This is because he's written a book which focuses on a very important topic about which very few good practical books have been written.  It has the distinction of being a valuable addition to my existing library of all the good books on the topic written so far!

        However on the basis you can only win the prize once the three contenders are:
        Richard McKinley (The Pastel Pointers Blog) for Pastel Pointers: Top 100 Secrets for Beautiful Paintings.  Richard is another artist who has written his book on his blog - and with the support of North Light Books, has then gone onto publish it.  It's now doing very well in terms of sales.  I haven't seen the book yet but I do read all his posts on his blog and they are excellent practical advice from an experienced artist and good tutor.

        Deborah Paris (Deborah Paris) for Studio and Business Practices.  Interestingly this was not written on her blog.  However Deborah does share all the lessons she's learned as a professional contemporary artist.  I think it's an excellent book and found myself nodding several times as I read it.  It has a small format and only 76 pages but while very slim the emphasis is on being succinct and making every word count.  It's packed full of advice about sound studio and business practices for artists. 

        Deborah Secor (Landscape Painting in Pastel) for Landscape Painting in Pastel - which has been published in full on her blog of the same name. The difference here is that the book is not going to be published in print.  Deborah's book is very thorough and I'm guessing might possibly be a tad too long for most publishers these days.  She's also thought of more subject matter she'd like to cover so there's more to come!
        I've pondered this one backwards and forwards.  I've read all the material on Richard and Deborah Secor's blogs and it's all very helpful.  I think Deborah Paris's book is simple but extremely useful and has the advantage of being written by an artist who has run a business and hence knows which way is up and how to manage the income stream.
        The 2010 winner of 
        the Best Book by an Art Blogger Blue Ribbon is 
        Deborah Secor
        In the end the one factor which differentiates these is that Deborah Secor has sought no financial reward for her book.  She has published it for the love of giving.  That's one of the best things about art blogging - we're sharing freely with one another.
        I contemplated selling this book, but in the final analysis I decided that it was better to give. Jesus tells us, "Freely you have received, freely give." So I will. I hope you enjoy and benefit from it.
        Deborah Secor
        That makes this a book for me which stands out - and it seems to me a prize in recognition of the quality of her book and that giving freely would be most appropriate.  Thank you Deborah!


        The Making A Mark Awards 2010 (Part 1 - Getting Out of the Studio)

        Welcome to the fifth year of the Making A Mark Awards.  This is Part 1 of the Making A Mark awards.  Part 2 relating to Learning About Art and the Art Business follows later today and Part 3 of the Awards will be posted tomorrow.  (That might be a Part 3 and a Part 4!)

        One of the purposes of Making A Mark is to celebrate the achievements of others.
        • Every Sunday I do this with my weekly post, 'who's made a mark this week?'.
        • At the end of each year the Making A Mark Awards are in effect the annual version of that post.
        This year I again opened the nominations for the awards up to regular art bloggers.  I'm pleased to see that a number that I had in mind for prizes have been nominated along with a number of other art bloggers who are new to me.  There were a few problems which I'll reflect on in a post in the New Year.

        Only the artwork of the year is open to voting.  All other awards are decided by me.  Your nominations have influenced by judgement either in term of confirming my initial view or by changing it!
        Making A Mark Picture of the Year - The voting:
        See Vote for the best artwork on an art blog in 2010 - you have until 6.00am GMT on 30th December to vote if you haven't done so to date. Remember it's only one vote per category per person/IP and this is NOT a popularity content.  There should be no canvassing outside your blog for votes!

        The results of the voting for the 'best picture' awards will be announced tomorrow in Part 3 (or possibly 4) of the Making A Mark awards
        To repeat what I said last year - there are, as you know, no absolutes when making judgements. It's only one person's opinion and if I really can't decide which person to give it to I usually opt for a joint award! The reasons for nominations can be read in earlier nomination posts (see end for links) and I've quoted a few of these in this post.

        This page on my website also references every award, everybody who has been nominated, all the nomination posts and all past winners.


        First we start with a category of awards which are all about people who draw and paint outside their studio.  You can see the nominations for 2010 and the previous prizewinners in Making A Mark Nominations: Getting Out of the Studio

        The Painting Plein Air Plus Prize
        This award is for excellence in plein air painting plus a strong commitment to sharing information
        The nominations this year were:
        Adebanji Alade (Adebanji Alade, South London) nominated by Sheona Hamilton Grant.  I would like to recommend Adebanji Alade for the Painting Plein Air Plus Award. His talent, enthusiasm and sustained sharing are brilliant. For these reasons, I really do believe he merits winning this award with flying colours.

        Rene Plein Air (Rene Plein Air, Netherlands) nominated by Sarah Wimperis  I want to nominate Rene Plein Air for getting out of the studio and doing it, rain or shine, sleet of snow he is out there painting away. 
        I can echo Sarah's perspective on Rene - his commitment to plein air painting almost every day is hugely impressive.  He's out and about in all weathers.

        Others who continue to impress with their commitment include:
        • Loriann Signori in Maryland who won last year.  Yet again she has produced c.30 blog posts EACH month in 2010 - and we all know how Loriann loves getting out and about with her kit!  What I've noticed much more this year is the ways she also shares lots of tips and bits of information in nice small dogestible chunks.  That's very much in the spirit of this prize.
        • Rob Ijbema, Painting Wales Diary is also one who paints plein air whatever the weather.
        However, my choice this year is informed by the way in which Adebanji Alade shared on his blog the whole experience of creating over 200 paintings of Bath in just 8 weeks. Adebanji has demonstrated that his work is also about sharing and helping others to get involved in plein air painting.  He also managed to generate a major exhibition of his work as a result of his Bath Challenge and that's no mean feat.

        The Painting Plein Air Plus Award this year goes to Adebanji Alade. 

        Adebanji Alade painting Bath - Panorama of the City from Alexander Park
        You can read more about Adebanji's recent adventures in Places to Paint: Adebanji Alade's Bath Painting Marathon

        The Travels with a Sketchbook Trophy
        This award goes to the most intrepid and/or industrious artist travelling with a sketchbook!
        As I indicated last year, the key words to keep in mind in choosing the recipient of this award are 'intrepid' and 'industrious'.  This is what has characterised the past award winners of this trophy from those of us who also carry a sketchbook from time to time!

        I received one nomination for this trophy from Robyn Sinclair (Have Dogs, Will Travel) and I'm absolutely sure that the connection is not just that Robyn and her nominee are both fellow Australians!

        Liz Steel's Sketching Kit

        There is something about meeting up with a fellow blogger which helps to put what you see onscreen into a whole new perspective.

        Luckily both Robyn and I were fortunate enough to meet up with Liz this year. (see Liz Steel and Borromini at Kew Palace on my sketchbook blog) although Robyn got to see rather more of her than I did when Liz visited Tuscany.
        Liz Steel (Liz + Borromini, Sydney Australia)  Nominated by Robyn Sinclair  I've had the privilege of following Liz's extraordinary travel sketchbooks since she began blogging but her achievement of sketching her way around the world for three months this year has been exceptional. It culminated in my getting to sketch with Liz here in Italy and that was inspiring.
        Frankly I never really expected there to be any serious competition for this award this year.  I knew prtty much who I wanted to give it to just on the basis of last year's efforts.

        Then just in case I had any doubts, Liz took herself off on a 12 week extended vacation to sketch her way round the USA, UK and Europe!  To top it off, she also sketches the most amazing complicated buildings in double quick time as well as sketching while eating and drinking tea.

        Liz sketches lunch - note the neat brush wiper!

        After she's finished travelling she then gets down to the serious business of scanning and proceeds to produce digital books of her sketchbooks - cover to cover.  This is the bit where I begin to be seriously in awe of her stamina as this is the bit where I always begin to wilt!  These are the links to:
        So inevitably the The Travels with a Sketchbook Trophy for 2010 goes to Liz Steel (Liz + Borromini)  - but not forgetting Borromini!

        The Going Greener Gong
        This award is for the art blog which I've found most stimulating in relation to getting us in touch with nature and the environment.
        This post really relates to the Botanical Art, Natural History & Wildlife section of my blogroll.  If your blog is compatible with the ones you can see in there then the chances are that you might be eligible for this award.  Its counterpart is the new award for Best Picture of the Year (Natural World) which people are voting on right now.

        I received one nomination by Robyn Sinclair and I had already identified one possible blogger for this award.  Others hovering in the wings are Gayle Mason (Fur in the Paint) who has also been showing this year how easy it is to start paying attention to the birds in our garden and nearby reserves and rural areas.  I also like the work on Martin Aveling's blog Aveling Artwork but would just like to see a bit more of it.

        The nominations for this award are:
        Debbie Drechsler (Just Around the Corner) nominated by Robyn I have been turned on to nature in all her wonderful and too often overlooked detail by Just Around the Corner by Debbie Drechsler.  Debbie's nature drawings are lively, beautiful and studious yet, at the same time, she is a great storyteller.

        For me, Debbie achieves a very nice balance between her obvious interest in the wildlife and botany and getting her observations down in a variety of media.

        Jeanette Jobson (Illustrated Life) continues to do sterling work alerting us to the potential to make art from fish - in more ways than one - while at the same time educating us about the changes to the fisheries around Newfoundland and the impact on the fish and the local economy

        Tim Wootton (Tim Wootton Wildlife Art) does the most delightful drawings of birds from life which I absolutely love.  The only problem is that there are too few blog posts but the ones that do exist are outstanding.
        I found this one very difficult to call as I could make a good case for all three.  At the end of the day I've focused on the sustainability issues associated with going greener.
        Salt Cod - Jeanette's blog explained the limits on fishing for cod

        My choice of Jeanette Jobson as the winner of the Going Greener Gong was in the end informed by:
        • the consistent high quality of her unique artwork in producing prints of fish using the gyotaku method,
        • the long path travelled by this artist in arriving at the art she now produces
        • the quality of her comment on the sustainability issues relating to the local fishing industry and the changes within her local environment in the seas around and about Newfoundland. 
        • the combination of the good quality art and informative comment about the changes in the life of the fish and the fishing industry is an unbeatable combination in terms of making art which relates in a very meaningful way to the place where Jeanette lives and the community she is part of
        Salt Cod 1 by Jeanette Jobson
        Stay tuned to find out later today who's won:
        • The FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal 
        • The Make Me Think Gong  
        • The Best Book by an Art Blogger Blue Ribbon

        Sunday, December 26, 2010

        Vote for the best artwork on an art blog in 2010

        You are invited to vote for
        the Making A Mark Award
        for the best artwork on a blog in 2010

        Readers of this blog were invited to nominate work (which can be seen in yesterday's posts - listed at the end). I've then selected a shortlist for each of the three categories.

        There is, of course, no right or wrong answer to which pieces should be selected from those which were nominated. 

        Before the display of images of the shortlist I've said a few words about why I chose the works that I did. You might also be interested in my comments in a couple of posts I did last year which provide some more context for making a selection - here are my thoughts on Selection, jurying and must-see lists and Juried art competitions - does size matter?

        What you have to do now

        DECIDE WHICH ARTWORK YOU LIKE THE BEST (see images below) in each of the FOUR different categories below and then vote in the poll relating to each category - but only one vote per category please! ;)
        • Make sure you get the result right first time as you'll be blocked from changing your vote 
        • The deadline for voting is 6.00am (Greenwich Mean Time) on Thursday 30th December 2010
        • I will then formally announce the winner of each category in the second part of the Making A Mark Awards in a post later on the 30th December.
        • You'll only be able to see the percentages of the vote which each piece attracts. However the work which attracts the most votes in total will also be declared Picture of the Year!
        I suggest you click on the images before voting so you can see all the work properly. When you've voted you can then view the results by clicking on the 'view result' link in the bottom left hand corner (just above the polldaddy link).

        You can also share a link to any of the polls on your own blog.  Just click the 'share this' link for the poll you'd like to share.

        You now have four days to vote for which is the best artwork in each category. There are FOUR polls below - please take your time and vote on each.

        The Making a Mark Prize for Best Artwork - Portrait / Figures 2010
        aims to celebrate and highlight excellence in portraiture and/or artwork 
        on an art blog predominantly involving figures

        The Making A Mark Awards likes to highlight drawings as well as paintings and Derek Jones' drawing made using a graphite watercolour pencil and a brush is one of the reasons why.  I've always liked figurative paintings of people in interiors and sketch them a lot myself so Margaret Dyer's painting of Dejeuner immediately appealed to me.  Belinda nails the reasons why it's also a good painting.  Unfortunately the delightful painting which was original nomination for a work by Anntii Rautiola proved to be a 209 painting posted to his blog in 2009 and was hence ineligible.  However I did like this artist's paintings of his children so I selected another one of the two children.  The 100 faces project of last year's MAM Award winner Karin Jurick's was nominated for this prize but I feel this is a great project whereits chief merit lies in the totality rather than one individual painting.  However while looking through through Karin's blog I came across Hands of Time which for me is a really great composition and portrait. 

        "Some Drawings (Cait)"
        by Derek Jones (Derek Jones Art)
        Nominated by Julie Broom

        by Margaret Dyer
        (Small Pastel Studies by Margaret Dyer)
        pastel 24 x 19"
        Nominated by Belinda Del Pesco
        by Antti Rautiola (Antti Rautiola)
        100 x 70cm, 2010
        Artist Nominated by René PleinAir | artwork selected by Katherine Tyrrell

        "Hands of Time"
        by Karin Jurick A Painting Today,
        8 x 11" oil on masonite
        Nominated by Katherine Tyrrell

        The Making a Mark Prize for Best Portrayal of a Place 2010
        aims to
        celebrate and highlight excellence in creating pictures
        about places in our environment

        As many will know by now, the reasons why paintings get selected for a shortlist can be as much to do with the juror as the artist.  I know the view of the Malverns painted by Antony Bridge and I've seen many paintings of it and it's always good to see another one.  Like Michelle Basic Hendry, it's my view that Interiors are also landscapes - and ones which are undervalued as a subject to paint.  Her painting is impressive.  I've admired Terry Miura's work for a long time.  His one was one of the first blogs I started following.  I'm more used to seeing him paint country roads rather than urban landscapes however this one is a stunner.   It also points up the townscape as a topic for landscape painting.  I've added in a painting by Loriann Signori because I've liked her watercolour and pastel paintings for a very long time.  She's also one of the very few art bloggers who posts on a daily basis and has a prodigious output.  This is one of my favourite paintings by Loriann in 2010 and it was featured on this blog earlier this year.

        Autumn Malvern Hills 
        by Antony Bridge (
        Nominated by: Antony Bridge (self)

        by Michelle Basic Hendry
        (Artscapes – Musings on Art & Life)
        Nominated by: Michelle Basic Hendry (self)

        Up to the Blue
        by Terry Miura
        (Studio Notes)
        Nominated by Belinda del Pesco

        Canal Sunrise
        by Loriann Signori (Loriann Signori's Painting-a-Day)
        Nominated by Katherine Tyrrell

        The Making a Mark Prize for Best Portrayal of a Still Life in 2010
        aims to highlight and celebrate excellence in creating pictures
        which help us to reflect on how the small and/or still can be beautiful

        Still life over the years has seemed to attract artists interested in developing a high degree of realism while at the same time sometimes telling a story with their artwork.  I've admired very many of the paintings Sadie J Valeri has produced this year and was pleased to see one nominated for this award.  I'm just one of the very many fans of Julian Merrow Smith's work so it was pleasing to see one of his small still lifes nominated.  James Neil Hollingsworth was shortlisted last year and thoroughly merits his inclusion again this year.  He produces a consistently high standard of still life paintings which while highly realistic are still emphatically paintings rather than trying to ape photographs.  I've added in a drawing by Andrea Joseph who has a unique style of drawing with a ballpoint pen (that's as in no scope for mistakes!).  I love looking out for what is her latest drawing of a collection of objects.  I spent a long time narrowing this down to just one drawing!

        Nominated by: eLIZabeth Floyd

        Roscoff Onion with Blue Background
        by Julian Merrow-Smith
        (Postcard from Provence)
        Nominated by Malcolm Cudmore

        Black Grapes #3
        by James Neil Hollingsworth
        (Paintings in Oil)
        Nominated by Belinda del Pesco

        Box of charms
        by Andrea Joseph (andrea joseph's sketchblog)
        Nominated by Katherine Tyrrell

        The Making a Mark Prize for Best Portrayal of Nature in 2010  
        values the natural world and its plants and animals 
        and celebrates excellence in portraying every aspect of nature.

        This is a NEW prize this year. All three artists are renowned for creating art about animals.  Gayle Mason has been producing her very popular macro drawings of cats for some years and this is one of her best.   Jeanette Jobson has fascinated me all year with her development of a series of paintings and fine art prints about fish.  She demonstrates on a regular basis how much creativity can be unleashed when the subject matter stays a constant.  Tracy Hall continues to win awards for her miniature paintings and having handled a Tracy Hall miniature I can tell you that photography simply does not do justice to these works.

        The Right Side
        by Gayle Mason (Fur in the Paint)
        10 x 8", coloured pencils and acrylic
        Nominated by Katherine Tyrrell

        A Tangle of Capelin 
        by Jeanette Jobson (Illustrated Life)
        Nominated by Katherine Tyrrell

        copyright Tracy Hall 2010 (Watercolour Artist)
        2.25" x 1.75" Watercolour on rag board ('ghost' penny shown for scale)
        Nominated by Katherine Tyrrell

        [EDIT 29th December 2010:  The statistical data for IPs visiting this blog provide very strong indications that votes have not been cast in the normal way in which this contest is conducted. There have been extraordinary levels of activity by a tiny number of IPs in one particular area.   As a result I have reluctantly eliminated an entry from the vote for one category.  This competition is about art on art blogs. It is not a contest to show me how many friends you have.  The intended audience for the vote are all those who normally read this blog, all votes should come from art bloggers and those who enjoy this blog. Excessive enthusiasm to generate votes for an entry is not welcome.]

        With my best wishes to you and yours in this festive season.
        I'll be back with the first instalment of the Making A Mark awards
        on Wednesday 29th December.

        The winner of the best artwork on an art blog in 2010 
        will be announced on Thursday 30th December

        Links:  You can also see: