Saturday, April 30, 2011

How much do you spend on exhibition frames on average? (Poll results)

Yet again for two months running, the Making A Mark Poll reveals diverse practices by artists in the UK and USA.  In POLL: Exhibition frames: How much do you spend per frame on average? I asked the identical question and then provided two different polls in the appropriate currency. 

I chose exhibition frames for a reason.  I guessed that the chances are that artists are more consistent about the level of spend on an exhibition frame
The reason I've chosen exhibition frames is because when we are framing for ourselves we can either put up with something very cheap or spend a lot of money.  Neither of which are probably typical of the average cost of an exhibition frame.
Here are the results - as charts - below with a suggested analysis below this.  Rather than ordering the responses in terms of the most popular, they are in order of expenditure so the four categories of spedn in each chart are more or less equivalent to one another.  As you can see the profiles are very different!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Jerwood Drawing Prize 2011 - Call for Entries

The call for entries has been made for the prestigious Jerwood Drawing Prize 2011.  Online registration opened at the beginning of April and the deadline for entries is 20 June 2011.
The Jerwood Drawing Prize exhibition represents and celebrates the diversity, excellence, and range of current drawing practice in the UK. 
Key facts
  • The Jerwood Drawing Prize is the country’s leading award in drawing
  • This is the largest and longest running annual open exhibition dedicated to drawing in the UK. 
  • Entries can be submitted by established or emerging artists who are resident or domiciled within the UK.
  • More than 2,000 entries will be submitted.  
  • 50 - 70 drawings from around 60-70 artists will be selected for an exhibition at JVA at Jerwood Space, London from 14 September – 30 October 2011. The exhibition will then tour nationally.
  • Prizes are:
    • a first prize of £6,000, 
    • a second prize of £3,000, and 
    • two student awards of £1,000 each.
Read on to find out more about the prize and how to enter the 2011 competition.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Top 10 Art Exhibitions in the UK in 2010

Which were the top ten art exhibitions in the UK in 2010?  If the Art Newspaper’s 17th annual survey of attendance figures (pdf file) and London Top Ten list (see end) is correct then some of the major London Art Galleries and Museums will need to answer some difficult questions from the Arts Council and their exhibition sponsors. 

I started off thinking that the major London galleries and museums were doing rather well. (See Top 30 art galleries and museums in 2010)

I started off thinking that the problem lay in the way the Art Newspaper counts the numbers and assesses which are the top exhibitions.

For example, the process they use is fine (see below), the question lies in whether or not it's the "right" methodology to use to assess the top attendance figures
All figures were calculated automatically by our database, which computes the number of days an exhibition was open using the following formula: total number of days between start date and end date, divided by seven, multiplied by the number of days per week the institution is open, minus exceptional closures.
The thing is for me, the top exhibitions are those that generate the top attendance numbers.  It's really not about how many did they average each day - that's purely a function of how long the exhibition is and that might be a function of how long lenders will allow works to be in another place.

I agree that in terms of cost-effectiveness, the figures might be better judged by visitors per day - but only if we also know something about whether they recovered their costs and that's a difficult issue to factor in.

However the fact is that I managed to establish that there is in fact a broad correlation between the way the Arts Newspaper counts and the way I count (once exhibitions have been allocated to the right year!) - see the listings at the end for an illustration of this.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Threadneedle Prize 2011 - a new selection process

This is a reminder about the Call For Entries for the Threadneedle Prize 2011 - for painting and sculpture - plus it also highlights and comments on the changes in the entry and selection process this year and another change which I've long lobbied for!  This year is also a good year for artists who are computer 'savvy'.
The prime competition for figurative art in the UK
The Times
As I reported recently, the Call for Entries for the prestigious £25,000 Threadneedle Prize 2011 was published in March and the registration process is now open.  The deadline for entries is 1st June 2011. 

This is a reminder of what you need to do if you want to enter this prestigious figurative art competition.

Although a major art competition in the UK, the Threadneedle Prize is still relatively new.  As such the entry conditions continue to be refined each year and the conditions of entry although getting longer are actually becoming much clearer and more helpful as to who is eligible and what sort of artwork can be entered - as explained below and in the Information for Artists section on the website

The emphasis this year is on making the entry process much more accessible and cost-effective for all artists.  Plus a significant clarification and one more major change - both of which are explained below!  To say I'm sitting here with a big smile on my face would be an understatement!

The changes are explained below along with the rest of the entry process.
An "alternative to the Turner Prize"
Daily Telegraph

Monday, April 25, 2011

Review: The Pastel Society's Annual Exhibition - Colour 2011 (updated)

This is a review of Colour 2011 - the 112th Annual Exhibition of The Pastel Society.  It includes images of some of the artists' work included in the exhibition.

The 112th Annual Exhibition of The Pastel Society has changed its name.  Rather than being called "Pastels Today" - which has been its name for as long as I can remember it's now called Colour 2011.

I totally understand that this now gives the exhibition the benefit of a unique title for every exhibition but I'm left wondering what it says about the media of this media-based society.  After all, this is a title which is hardly unique and could justifiably be claimed by the oil painters, the watercolourists, the painters in acrylic and the coloured pencil artists to name just a few.

Coupled with the change in name of the society (see end) - as now represented on the website and catalogue - I'm leaning very much towards the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" camp.

Mind you The Pastel Society website which badly needed updating has been improved so that's something.  This now includes
  • a much improved news page and 
  • a slideshow display of various works by members.  However navigation is not easy and this can only be reached through quite a bit of scrolling down the exhibition page.  In my view this really needs to be on a completely separate web page so no scrolling is required.  After all the most important thing about the exhibition are the works - not who opened the exhibition!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Making A Mark notches up 1 million visits

One million visits to Making A Mark - on 24th April 2011
Little did I realise when I published this blog back in 2006, that some five and bit years later this blog would notch up ONE MILLION visits.

As you can see visits have climbed steadily over the years - helped along by what is now a vast archive of posts which continue to attract a lot of interest from people.

Here are ten of the most popular posts those million visits have been to:
  1. 10 Tips for How to Sketch People 
  2. Van Gogh: Drawing media and techniques   
  3. Composition - Principles of Design 
  4. Composition - The Elements of Design
  5. Colour Schemes: Split Complementaries, Triads and Tetrads   
  6. What is a still life?   
  7. The influence of Japanese Art 
  8. Which sketchbook? 
  9. Flowers in Art... and Charles Rennie Mackintosh  
  10. Major Art Competitions in the UK 2011 - a timetable
Tip - If you think you're going to have a successful blog, get Google Analytics up and running early!  I didn't do this until 2008 hence don't have a complete stats profile for content.

I've got a much better record of the numbers.  Except the interesting thing I discovered this morning is that I've got a lag of about 20 or so visits between my dashboard on my Statcounter account and the Statcounter counter on the blog.  However the chart up above was created at 7.37am this morning when the millionth person visited and it actually counts 1,00,002 visits!

Those visits have also generated over 1.5 million pageloads.

Statcounter has a specific time which has to elapse between visits for any pageload to count as a completely new visit.

Were you the millionth visitor?

I had a little count back on my stats and I can't tell who the visitor was but I do know that he or she came from Toni Kelly's A Spattering.  I'll be writing to Toni and sending her a voucher to spend on Amazon for 'making a mark' and generating the millionth visitor to Making A Mark!  I toyed with the idea of announcing a competition but decided to stick with not saying anything at all and just being around to see if I could work out which blog was the nearest to the millionth visitor!  

PS  There will be no "Who's made a mark this week" as I've been 'out and about' this week with himself and not really looking at blogs.  However later today I will finally get round to the review of the Pastel Society exhibition at the Mall Galleries which continues all next week.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ben Quilty's portrait of Margaret Olley wins 2011 Archibald Prize

Ben Quilty's portrait of his friend, the highly esteemed painter Margaret Olley has won the Archibald Prize worth AUS$50,000.

I think it's an absolutely stunning portrait and a well deserved winner.  Apparently the striking colours of his palette were influenced by her home which is also her studio.

Ben Quilty Margaret Olley, Archibald Prize 2011 winner

The prize is Australia's oldest and most important prize for portraiture.  It was inaugurated in 1921 after a bequest from J. F. Archibald, the editor of The Bulletin which was an influential Australian magazine (1880-2008).

This is its 90th year and there were a total of 798 entries from which 41 finalists were selected for the exhibition.

Below is a video about the Prize.  It includes images of some of the portraits which became finalists and an interview with Ben Quilty talking about how he came to do the portrait.  It includes a great comment which I've observed myself again and again when looking at portraiture by various artists.  (I'll elaborate more when I get my review done of Martin gayford's book on Lucian Freud).
It really stands out when somebody does know the sitter.  If it's only about a one-off meeting to do a portrait then all it is is a likeness, there's nothing more.

This is a quote about Quilty's work from this essay Is The Truth Of Portraiture Vested Exclusively In Likeness?, Michael Desmond, 2006.
Quilty lays down meaty abstract slabs of paint, yet the individuality of his sitters, be they a friend or his infant son, emerges through characteristic pose or recognizable gesture.

Monday, April 18, 2011

BP Portrait Award 2011 Shortlist

The four artists shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award 2011 at the National Portrait Gallery are:
  • Ian Cumberland (County Down, Northern Ireland) for "Just to Feel Normal"
  • Wim Heldens (Amsterdam, Netherlands) for "Distracted"
  • Sertan Saltan (Connecticut, USA) for "Mrs. Cerna" and 
  • Louis Smith (Manchester) for "Holly".
More about each artist can be found below. 55 portraits in total have been selected for the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, which runs from 16 June until 18 September 2011 prior to touring the UK.
The Portrait Award, now in its 32nd year at the National Portrait Gallery and 22nd year of sponsorship by BP, is a highly successful annual event aimed at encouraging artists to focus upon, and develop, the theme of painted portraiture within their work.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

17th April 2011 - Who's made a mark this week?

I've been away for a week visiting gardens and pruning and planting and haven't had access to the Internet for nearly a week - which has been rather nice! :)  Hence the post below is a bit lop-sided and partial compared to normal.  I'm not sure how this week is going to pan out either as "he who must not be bored while I sketch" is on holiday and we should be out and about this next week.

In the meantime - here's one sketch I did last week which will be posted soon on my sketchbook blog.

Spring Garden (Cosmo meets the white cat)
11" x 16", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Folio Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrell
Art Blogs

I had one of those horrible experiences of loading an image (not mine!) and corrupting the post and I lost a load of stuff for this section so I'm not sure I've remembered everything!

Tyler Green (Modern Art Notes) recently highlighted Five art-related websites you could be enjoying

Drawing and Sketching
Trees at Tate Modern
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils on ivory coloured mountboard
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
Chee has mastered and developed many techniques including the traditional watercolor approach, Chinese brush painting and saturated wet process, and his unique splash color, crinkling, marbleizing and mono-printing techniques. 
    Art Business and Marketing
    Art Competitions & Art Societies
    Art Exhibitions & Art Fairs

    Major Art Galleries and Museums
    Art Society exhibitions
    Other Art Galleries

    The einvite to the the Realism Show in Atlanta (featuring work by Jelaine Faunce)
    LOOP artists all demonstrate a devotion to the fine art print medium, from time-honoured traditional printmaking methods to the latest digital developments, from the simple yet elegant woodcut print to incorporating print as an element within a mixed-media sculptural work. 
        Art Galleries and Museums / Art History
        Art Education / Workshops / Tips and techniques

        Tips and Techniques
        Art Supplies
        Book reviews and ebooks
        Opinion Poll
        The headlines are:

        • USA artists spend much more on art materials/equipment & technology when compared to UK artists
        • USA artists claim more of their expenditure on art materials against tax
        Websites, webware and blogging 

        iPad Apps

        To date I've counted a few iPad apps by artists and art tutors (although I'll refrain from highlighting here those that I've tried that don't work!)  I've still to try out:
        and finally......

        This blog will notch up ONE MILLION VISITORS in the next few days.  I'm still trying to work out how long I've got to work out how to celebrate this achievement! ;)

        Any suggestions?

        Saturday, April 16, 2011

        Certificates of Botanical Merit at SBA Exhibition 2011

        Every year the Society of Botanical Artists. awards a number of Certificates of Botanical Merit to entries in the Annual Exhibition.  These works set a very standard of excellence in botanical art.  All you get is the Certificate and the entitlement to letters after your name - but they are very prized!
        The  certificate is for works of strictly botanical value and is judged each year by an expert in the botanical field.  The achievement if recognised by the letters CBM after the artist's name, with the date.
        The expert judget for 2011 was Maureen Lazarus from the Department of Biodiversity and Systematic Biology at the National Museum Wales.  According to SBA President Vickie Marsh's speech,  Ms Lazarus spent some two days surveying all the works submitted before selecting those worthy of the award of a Certificate of Botanical Merit.

        Papaver June Poppy by Fiona Strickland DA SBA GM CBM '09
        (62 x 43cm / 24 x 17in, watercolour)
        You don't have to be a member of the Society of Botanical Artists to win one of these coveted certificates.

        My particular favourite of those winning CBMs this year was the June Poppy painted in watercolour by Fiona Strickland.  If you've never seen Fiona's work, it's worth a trip to London just to see the quality of her painting and what she can achieve.  As somebody commented to me, there's an immense number of meticulous watercolour washes used to achieve the intense saturation and luminosity found in her work. 

        In 2011, Certificates of Botanical Merit were awarded to

        Monday, April 11, 2011

        How do you share what you do as a painter?

        Beware - if you continue to read this post it may change your life.  I'm not kidding.

        First a little explanation about how I came to find and post this totally amazing video about Rose Frantzen talking at the Smithsonian Museum about Portrait of Maquoketa  - her project to paint the residents of the town in Iowa where she lives.

        Rose Frantzen talking about Portrait of Maquoketa at the Snithsonian Museum

        Friday, April 08, 2011

        Review: Society of Botanical Artists Exhibition 2011

        Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Private View of the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists. "The World of Plants" exhibition continues until 17th April and I'm planning a return visit before it closes.

        The World of Plants is an exhibition within the exhibition
        - note how large some of the work is!
        all artwork copyright the artists
        all photos copyright Katherine Tyrrell - with the kind permission of the SBA
        More of "The World of Plants"
        Here's my impressions - and then a lot of photos of the exhibition.

        Thursday, April 07, 2011

        Botanical Art under fire

        Never let it be said that I'm not tempted by a good post title! In this case it happens to be true.

        This is a post about Shevaun Doherty who started her latest study for her assignment for her Society of Botanical Artists Distance Learning Diploma Course while under fire during the revolution in Egypt.

        Daucua Carota - an SBA Diploma assignment by Shevaun Doherty
        Dear Katherine,

        It's been a turbulent few months here to say the least!

        We were here for the revolution in Egypt which was really quite frightening. I had an assignment to prepare for the SBA Distance Learning Course and so tried to keep myself calm by concentrating on the colours, form and textures of Egyptian Red carrots.  It was quite surreal - there were tanks all around the compound where I live, helicopters overhead, men with machetes, steel bars and guns standing on the street outside my house (neighbourhood watch!) and daily reports of violence and death.... whilst I sat indoors painting my carrots, not even sure just how I would send my work to my tutor!

        Anyway, the president was toppled and I DID manage to get the assignment done and posted (and got 91.4%!). 
        Egyptian red carrots - the assignment preparatory work
        completed during the Egyptian revolution and under fire
        We all hoped that life would return to some kind of normality. 

        Unfortunately it hasn't. There has been a massive security vacuum here- the police have disappeared almost completely and the army seems unsure as to what to do. Every day we now face riots, sectarian violence, armed robberies, kidnappings and protests. There are wars erupting on all of our borders. Just today there was a shooting outside my daughters' school and a bomb at the pyramids. I am shocked every time I open the newspapers. Egypt is far from safe at the moment particularly for foreigners. Even Egyptian antiquities are under constant attack from looters and there are reports of widespread damage.  Here's a link that describes the situation

        The youth groups are now calling on the people to begin protests once again this Friday in Tahrir, to save the revolution.

        I love living in Egypt but with two young daughters, I just don't think that it's worth the risk any more. So we have decided to move back to Ireland for the time being - we leave next week.

        Shevaun goes on to ask me to take a photograph for her of her assignment work which is on display in the SBA Diploma part of the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists which opens tomorrow.  She can't make it to the Exhibition due to the fact she's in the midst of a move back to Ireland - which is such a pity as it's the first time her work has ever been in an exhibition.

        You can read how I came to know Shevaun in Why be an art blogger?

        I'm now off to the Private View at Central Hall and tomorrow, on this blog, I'll have news and photos from the SBA exhibition - The World of Plants.

        Does anybody else have curious tales of how they got their artwork done on time?  Do write and let me know and I'll feature it on the blog if it's a good story (and good artwork of course!)

        Tuesday, April 05, 2011

        Top 30 art galleries and museums in 2010

        The Art Newspaper recently published its annual review of visitor numbers to art exhibitions and art galleries and museums in 2010.  I'm going to provide my digest and commentary on this information in this and tomorrow's post.

        I incline towards the view that the total museum numbers are probably more accurate than the exhibition numbers since there are so very many different ways tickets are sold and visitors are counted for exhibitions.  Hence commentary on exhibitions comes later.

        The top 30 art galleries and museums in 2010

        The top 30 art galleries and museums in 2010, based on their annual visitor numbers are as follows.  The list below includes the ranked position (which I added in!), the number of visitors, the name of the museum, and the city that the museum is located in.

        Monday, April 04, 2011

        POLL: Exhibition frames: How much do you spend per frame on average?

        The Making A Mark Poll for April is all about how much we spend on exhibition frames.  It was prompted by a comment by Tina Mammoser on the results of the March Poll - see Poll Results: Annual Spend on Art Materials

        The reason I've chosen exhibition frames is because when we are framing for ourselves we can either put up with something very cheap or spend a lot of money.  Neither of which are probably typical of the average cost of an exhibition frame.
        The Best Ever Diagram of Picture Frame Mouldings
        courtesy of FW Holroyd Framing Supplies Ltd
         - a leading UK supplier
        It's always struck me that getting the framing cost right for your market is the key to making a profit when exhibiting artwork in frames

        The Best Art Books in March

        I've updated my two Squidoo sites for the best art books in March
        • Makingamark's Top 10 Fine Art Books now lists both the best selling and the top rated art books in March
        • The Best NEW Art Books lists all the fine art books in the top 100 books in the Amazon Arts and Photography category in March.  (You'd be surprised how many of these are nothing to do with art!)
        As many of you know the reason why I produce these is because Amazon is so utterly awful at categorising art books!   Or maybe it's the people who do the listings?  Whatever the reason it's difficult to wade through the irrelevant books to get to the ones relevant to art (excluding books for kids, comics and commercial artists).

        Main changes this month

          Saturday, April 02, 2011

          Review: 199th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour

          The 199th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours is currently on display at the Mall Galleries in London.  The exhibition continues until Sunday 10th April and I highly recommend a visit if you are a lover of traditional watercolour.  This post is a review of the exhibition and it highlights artists who won awards and other artists whose work I liked.

          You can preview some of the members' images in the exhibition on the RI website.

          RI 199th Annual Open Exhibition - West Gallery

          I went to the Private View with my blogging friend and soon to be painting buddie on holiday Sarah Wimperis (The Red Shoes).  Her painting of a London Garden was hung in one of "the" places in the gallery - in line with the view through to the North gallery which always seems to be used for really strong paintings which can carry across a room. I have to say having seen Sarah's painting I am persuaded that bigger is better - so long as it's also good!

          Friday, April 01, 2011

          Poll Results: Annual Spend on Art Materials

          The Making A Mark Poll for March examined annual expenditure on art materials (including art equipment and technology).  It asked how much do you spend per annum and how much do you claim against tax due.   

          Rather less artists than usual responded to the two polls (plus a poll within a poll about treatment of expenses for tax), however the results have been fascinating.
          This month the Making A Mark Poll is asking you to 'fess up!!!

          How much do you spend on art materials, art equipment and technology to support your art habit in a year?
          The headlines are:
          • USA artists spend much more on art materials/equipment & technology when compared to UK artists
          • USA artists claim more of their expenditure on art materials against tax