Sunday, May 08, 2011

8th May 2011 - Who's made a mark this week?

Richmond, North Yorkshire Heads by Sally Cutler
I smiled when I saw this linoprint by Sally Cutler at the Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters this week.  First because it's a print not a painting and then because I loved the heads.  You can't see - but underneath they all have their occupation or distinguishing characteristic written out - everything from former Olympic bobsleigher to euphonium player.  It reminded me of the work Rose Frantzen did in portraying her home town.  Sally is a member of the Southbank Printmakers

I changed the look of Making A Mark this week.  Do you like it?  I'm trying to be a bit more "with it" in terms of the way design for websites seems to be going these days ie lots of white backgrounds, a fair bit of different shades of grey, not a lot of borders plus a more restrained use of colour.  I didn't quite manage it on the last one!  It struck me a while ago that everybody was trying to make their website look like Apple's.  Is there a checklist for "how to look like you design for Apple" anywhere?  Or a 2011 best practice for websites?  If so do let us all know by sharing it in a comment.

I had a few problems getting the new template to work in Internet Explorer.  For those who want to know a good web tool for checking out sites in other browsers (ie IE has never touched my iMac!) see the last section where I keep all the techie stuff!

I'm also celebrating the fact that Making A Mark also seems to have acquired site links beneath the blog when it appears in Google search results on (for the search terms "making a mark").  This is is a fairly big deal, brings in extra traffic and not something you see very often where blogspot URLs are concerned.
Sitelinks are hyperlinks to website subpages that appear under certain Google listings in order to help users navigate the site. The site owner cannot add any sitelinks; Google adds them through its own secret automated algorithms. 
Art Blogs and Artists

Drawing and sketching
The first of the Alaska-bound cruise ships arrive in Victoria by Charlene Brown
  • Sonya Chasey's blog Artwork from Hendaye doesn't have a lot of paintings - but the ones it does have are really excellent.  There's something of Eric Gill about them which is probably due to her training in the graphic side of art.  Hendaye is a coastal town in the French Basque Country where Sonya has been living since 1992.
  • Mitchell Albala (Essential Concepts of Landscape Painting) recently highlighted an excerpt of an article by Matt Smith on the Synergy Between Plein Air and Studio Painting
  • The Guardian had an article on saturday about Tracey Emin: 'What you see is what I am'.  The notion of Tracy Emin as a poet is not one I have a problem with.  Her art is something else.
  • I don't know how I can have missed Art and the Aesthete before now - but I have (and thanks to Robyn Sinclair's blogroll for highlighting it.  Clive Christy has a blog much like Charley parker but focusing on fine art printmakers and other aspects of his art collection.   I always enjoy the blogs of serious collectors as so many have really researched the artists they are buying.
  • Charles Clarke has a similar blog called Modern Printmakers - however I have a hard time looking at it because of the very strong background which competes with the prints
  • I really liked The Linosaurus which is described as "mainly concerning the lesser Gods of woodblock and linoleumcut printing. And all things beautiful and interesting worth sharing." 
  • Apparently it was International Print Day yesterday and people are sharing their work on the Print Day in May blog - sharing in this case seems to be comments rather than images but you can click the links back to their websites and blogs.  How about a Flickr group or similar next time?
Art Business & marketing
  • On the topic of Facebook pages:
  • Sales Tax - there's a lot of discussion going on at the present about the collection of sales tax in the USA - see Collecting Sales Tax Is Not Easy for Marketplace Sellers
  • ArtsyShark posted a detailed Guide to Pricing Your Artwork this week
Art Economy and Collectors
  • There have been major auction sales recently - but there seems to be a bit of a disagreement as to how they went.  I find it fascinating that two journalists writing for the same paper seem to have reached different conclusions as to the state of the market
Art Competitions

  • The Turner Prize shortlist has been announced.  I have to say I am yet again deeply unimpressed with the selection - apart from the painter George Shaw who gives a delightful interview as he talks about his work and his Humbrol Enamel paint.  He's a breath of fresh air. 
    • This is the expert view on the artists and their work
    • The Turner prize: artists kiss goodbye to London is Charlotte Higgins article espousing the hope that with the latest shortlist contemporary art is maturing beyond "the few square miles around east London".  I'd venture to suggest that there was never an issue about contemporary art flourishing outside London.  However there has been a problem with people judging and writing about art not travelling too far outside London to see for themselves.  London-centric views affect art quite as much as they do every other aspect of the arts.
    • Surprise surprise - The Turner Prize exhibition this year will be held at the Baltic. That must be what generated a shortlist of artists from outside London!
The Turner Prize 2011 exhibition will be held at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.
Art Exhibitions
 section of Girl by Tai-Shen Schierenberg
Art Societies
The Big Envelope means your work has been accepted. The Big Envelope is full of instructions for shipping and catalog photography and loan agreements.
Art Education / Tips and Techniques
  • Alyson B Stanfield asked are there downsides to teaching art - do you run the risk of creating copyists?  She got 49 replies - so it's obviously a topic which many of you have thought about
Art Forums
  • Sites like this - The Paint Basket Art Community - make me cringe (sorry if that offends anybody - but it's the truth).  The reason why is they have a distinct tendency to dumb down art for those who want their art on a step-by-step basis rather than tuition in knowledge and skills which require a rather different approach.  Check out How to Compose a Still Life for an example of what I mean.  However credit to them for creating what I think will be the way a lot of art tuition is delivered in the future - a place to book online sessions with a tutor
Art Galleries and Museums
They also serve, who only stand and paint
Books and ebooks
  • Potential authors of art books need to be aware that digital publishing is growing at an impressive rate.  Apparently UK sales were way up in 2010 and that's before the increase in 2011.  I've forgotten where I found this data and have lost the link!  
The Publishers Association found the total value of digital sales from data supplied by members for its annual yearbook was £120m last year, 38% higher than in 2009.
Last week the New York State Supreme Court, New York County, dismissed all claims in a million dollar lawsuit brought by the Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) against the Illustrators' Partnership of America (IPA) and five named individuals.
Facebook doesn't verify the identity of those filing the claim, and more importantly, it doesn't verify the claim is from a legitimate email address.
Appropriation art
The recent Cariou v Prince District Court decision has brought to the fore, once and for all, the elephant in the art world and courtroom, Fair Use, which had, until now, managed to avoid close scrutiny in the popular press
Opinion Poll
  • Tuesday saw the new Making A Mark poll for May - which this time is addressing how we tell potential customers about the price of an artwork. POLL: Do you price your art on your website / blog?  You can find it just above the module about Bloggers who follow this blog.
Websites, webware and blogging

Website development
  • If you've ever wanted to check out what your new website design looks like on different browswers try out GEOTEK's Net Renderer.  It helps me this tweak the new template so that the tabs line wasn't a mess in IE.  IE appears to be incapable of moving text to a new line when it doesn't fit - instead it makes the row as big as possible to get all the text in.
  • Google has two developments worth noting
    • The Plus 1 button works on only at the moment. It's a quick way to create recommendations - a but like liking something on Facebook - however think about privacy issues before you sign up.  You might want to like something but not share that fact with everybody!
Click +1 to publicly give something your stamp of approval. Your +1's can help friends, contacts, and others on the web find the best stuff when they search.

and finally......

This is absolutely nothing to do with art and everything to do with the age of quite a few of the people who read this blog.  I came across a couple of photojournalism pieces on Life Magazine which I just had to share! 

So here are:


  1. Congratulations on the Google fame of MAM. Very well deserved and tremendous fun.

    My new iPhone needs all the white space it can get, because my fat fingers always link where they don't wish to. Good job with the new look. I tested my blog on the iPhone and it works well enough - but the cautionary statement is there. I went to apple, to see what you were comparing, and the white space is dramatic.

    Of course, to me, "apple" is still a record label first and foremost.

  2. Great post, thanks for all the interesting links. It will take me the rest of the day to visit them all...and I do like the new layout as well.


    Roger Gregory-the bird artist

  3. Your new blog design looks fantastic, Katherine and best of all I can now read it easily on my iPod Touch - it got a little difficult for a while there. Very streamlined and crisp.

    Now I just need time to read the post. Many thanks for highlighting our EDiM efforts.

  4. I have just discovered your blog which looks both very interesting & useful, thanks to the link you have kindly put here to mine.
    I shall add yours to my site so that I can come back to explore more.

  5. I second Robyn's compliment; the site looks great and it reads better now on smaller screens like an iPhone and an iPad.
    So glad you've discovered Clive's Art and the Aesthete blog... I ooo and ahhh every time I visit. So many wonderful printmakers I'm not familiar with. There's another blog you might like too, by Neil Philip:


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