Sunday, August 21, 2011

21st August 2011 - Who's made a mark this week?

After all the hoohah last week with the riots in London,  I was especially pleased this week when I spotted Derwent's (Lovepencils) drawing variation of the Keep Calm poster on Facebook.

I think it's excellent and needs to be made into a real poster!  More to the point I'd love to know how the great team at Derwent did that!

I'm having major problems this week.

I've mislaid my "about to fall apart" computer glasses.  Which makes this the second pair of computer glasses which my desk has swallowed whole with no trace.  Anyway, I spent half of yesterday trying to find them and the rest trying to see the screen as my Varifocals are not the best glasses to use with a computer.  Lots of use of the zoom function later I'm just about coping now.

However this afternoon I'm off to to Vision Express to get myself a new pair of computer glasses and to test out their one hour service.

If you know a way of getting your glasses to beep their whereabouts can somebody please tell me about it!

Now for the action last week on the art blogs.....

Artists and Art Blogs

Suzanne Clark, a painter and printmaker living in Toronto Canada has a new blog (No Naked Walls) and asks a pertinent question "Artist Blogs - Are They Written For The Wrong People?".  My own personal view is that both artists and art collectors love hearing about the process of producing artwork and getting close to the creative process.

How about you?  Have a read of her post and tell Suzanne or me what you think.

Drawing and sketching

I came across this quote this week - attributed to Banksy.
"All artists are willing to suffer for their work. But why are so few prepared to learn to draw?"
  • Cathy Johnson alerted me to Brenda Swenson's (Brenda Swenson) 75 day Sketch Challenge - which means 75 sketches in 75 days.  Here are the guidelines if you want to join in.
  • In LA they seem to be having some sort of equivalent of the Big Draw which happens in the UK each October.  Here's the LA version The Big Draw LA
  • Getting a little ahead of myself, here's my post on my sketchbook blog Victoria Park - beached and neglected - which I warn you contains a rant about the impact of the Olympics on my local area and London generally!  The main image also appears on A beach in London! as my contribution to A Postcard from my Walk
Botanical art
  • I suggest you check out Hemlata Pradhan's website. Hemlata is one of a number of overseas artists who have completed Diploma in Botanical Illustration from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  She achieved a distinction. Hemlata is also the founder and moving spirit behind the Himalayan Institute of Natural History Art in Kalimpong, District Darjeeling, West Bengal, and getting Natural History Illustration recognition as a Fine Art subject in India.  Thanks to the Botanical  Art & Naturalist Illustration Yahoo Group for highlighting this artist.  Take a look at her
  • Some of you will be avid watchers of Relocation Relocation may remember Episode 1 of the first series and Tom and Fiona Butcher, the couple from Hackney who relocated to Scotland and bought a large house near Loch Lomond so that Tom could live the dream and become a potter. Watching a catch-up programme last week I finally nailed the gallery - Mansefield Studios - for Tom Butcher Ceramics which now emerge from his new pottery studio.  So it is possible to love the dream - it just takes a bit of a gamble and a bit of time.  (Note:  I always particularly identified with this one as the local area is one I know extremely well from childhood visits to relatives in Scotland!)
Coloured pencils and pastels
Juice Cups by Nicole Caulfield (three separate works conceived as a suite)
  • I love Nicole Caulfield's (Nicole Caulfield Fine Art) new series this month - based around a set of Juice glasses.  She really makes that panorama format work for her.  Look out also for Nicole's drawings of fruit which feature on her blog
  • I absolutely hate the new format for Richard McKinley’s Pastel Pointers Blog.  
    • Now I can hardly complain about the fact that I have to click a link to read a post (since I'm asking people to do the same on this blog) however I do think there could be a few more words before his posts cut off.  I use a manual jump break in these posts rather than the feed which is severely constrained due to the people who nick my content for their websites! I think they must be using the feed for the blog.
    • My main gripe is that from a practical perspective it's now totally impossible to find any of his past posts as there are no date archives and no relevant labels/categories listed for his blog.  Just macro level ones relating to Artists network. Which means that all his past posts have disappeared into the ether.  Could this be to do with the publication of the book based on his blog posts?  I do wish Artists Network would get to grips with and use decent blogging software rather than trying to get the blogs to fit in with the rest of the site.  Also taking a look at how James Gurney publishes his posts in full AND creates two best selling art books based on them is an education for those aiming to do the same sort of thing.
  • Two pastel artists using pastels in a more abstract and less realistic way
    • Contemporary Abstract Pastels - It's really good to see somebody painting abstracts using pastels - and in this blog Debora L. Stewart shares her process of creating abstract pastel paintings.  
    • Another pastel blog which I found this week - Anita Stoll Pastels Sublime.  It's great to see pastels being used for more abstract and impressionist work.
  • what's nice about Small Pastel Studies by Margaret Dyer is that Margaret Dyer posts the work of her students on her blog - scroll through her archive for June and see posts of the work of her students done during a recent workshop in France

Here are some artists who like painting in watercolour
Devizes Market Place 31 x 45cm, watercolour
copyright Chris Dunn
  • A couple of blogs by printmakers which I spotted this week 
Street art
Art Business and Marketing
  • Gayle Mason (Fur in the Paint) has started a series of posts about Income Tax and the Artist - a topic in which she has a wealth of experience.  The first one is Basic Income Tax and the Artist - Part I - Deadlines.  Although she's writing about tax from a UK perspective there's bound to be lots of information which is universally relevant eg Her next post is on record-keeping!  So if you want to make sure you don't miss it make sure you subscribe to her blog.  (The next few posts are going to be about her upcoming trip to Canada - she leaves Wednesday!)
  • Joanne Mattera's latest Marketing Monday posts are about
  • Beware of Degree-Art.  Here's what their terms of business state re any artist submitting art to them.  Thanks to Cathedral of Shit for the alert in Oh Amy Amy Amy
Submission of material
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Art Economy

For those who don't read the financial pages, the stock markets continued to drop very significantly last week due to worries about how various countries are managing their debt repayments (we've gone well beyond the homeowner mortgage issue) and the very real prospect of a double dip recession.  This is serious and is very likely to impact on the art economy other than at the highest levels.
Art Exhibitions

This is about exhibitions I've noticed are coming up as well as one which are happening right now.  Major art society exhibitions are listed in

Art Society Exhibitions in September

I'm getting my calendar sorted for visits as the art society year gets underway again. The major ones in September are listed in Art Exhibitions in London & Art Trails - September 2011 - and include the Society of Feline Artists and the UKCPS exhibitions.
Paintings by Denise Laurent accepted for the Society of Feline Artists Annual Exhibition
Exhibitions in London
Evening Stillness by Deborah Paris
Other Exhibitions around the UK
  • Manchester:  I found out this week the the Manchester Art Gallery is having a major retrospective of the works of Ford Madox Brown - Pre-Raphaeilie pioneer.  I'll be doing a more detailed post about this nearer the time.  In the meantime, dates for diaries are 24 September 2011 - Sunday 29 January 2012
  • Ludlow:  One of my favourite printmakers - Colin See-Payton is having an exhibition in Ludlow.  'The Nature of Black and White', opens at The Silk Top Hat Gallery in Ludlow on Saturday 27 August.  He will be at the gallery between 11-4pm next Saturday 27th August signing copies of my book 'Of a Feather'
  • Open Studios / artists trails coming up this month and next are also listed in Art Exhibitions in London & Art Trails - September 2011.  Do let me know if your local area is having an art trail
    Art education 

    Tips and technqiues
      Art Supplies
      • Blogger Buzz (the official Blogger blog about Blogger updates) had an interesting post at the end of July which I missed - see New tools for handling copyright on Blogger which explains the details of how it all works. There are two significant improvements to Blogger’s copyright handling toolkit:
        • streamlined submission for rightsholders
        • streamlined counter notice user tools for users
      • Something seems to have happened to "You thought we wouldn't notice.  Anybody got any knowledge of why it's not updating - apart from the possibility somebody forgot to post the "going on vacation" post?

      Webware and Internet
      • I learned this week that Firefox 6.0 cannot retain a zoom setting for a specific application - which when you having to use zoom for everything you look at means that I am now back using Chrome again!
      and finally......

      This weekend Bristol played host to street artists from around the world and one of the biggest ever legitimate parties to create street art in rundown areas of Bristol.

      This is all official, it's "posh" graffiti as in these are artists who really know what they're doing and it's all over the place - even at the rear of the police station and court buildings!

      Here are some links to what's going on


      1. Thanks so much for the mention Katherine. Hope you found your specs or got some new ones!

      2. Regarding ''artists blogs - are they written for the wrong people?''. I had a bollocking from a friend/artist last week for posting a painting I wasn't happy with (apricots) and the reasons, with a view to posting it again finished. I understand her reasoning that one shouldn't be self-critical if you want to sell work, but I thought it was an honest approach and served as a less prescriptive lesson. What do you think - am fairly new to this blogging lark!?

      3. Speaking personally I think it's OK if you're OK about it and have explained why you're doing it.

        It's naive to think everything always goes well. One of the things we most need to develop is a critical faculty around how good our own work is.

      4. Katherine,
        Tie a string from your computer glasses to your computer. 8)

        @ Penny, on above comment... I agree with Katherine, I've done it, see all the time many highly successful and fabulous artists do the same. I see it as filed under 'problem solving', as long as your'e not self deprecating being constructively critical is good. My view; the point of a blog (over a website) is a place for the artists thoughts, critical or not, otherwise where else? It also helps others. Plus it does not always have to be about selling.

        Winslow Homer was a recluse, apparently never discussing his own work (that I know of). So all we know of his work is from other peoples interpretations in their words, their opinions, not his.

        He's long gone and so are his thoughts and ideas, that is sad. I would love to know.

        On Degree-Art... beware indeed! Interesting on their website it says at the top "Invest in the Artists of the Future". invest for who?
        Always read the fine print.
        On a similar note I ran across this a couple months back on Greg Newbold's blog "LIFE NEEDS ART".

        A lawsuit regarding artist royalties...

      5. Thanks Katherine for mentioning my blog post " Are Artist Blogs Written For The Wrong People". I had lots of people visit my page due to your mention and lots of very interesting comments.

      6. Thank you for the mention Katherine, I wasn`t aware of it until now. I need to get here more often!


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