Monday, October 31, 2011

Do you sign and date your artwork? (Poll results)

Making A Mark Poll October 2011 - The Results
214 people responded to the October Making A Mark Poll which asked "Do you sign and date your artwork?".

The poll results can be seen below as numbers and above as a chart.

Yes - always sign all artwork
  65 (30%)
Yes - always sign and date all artwork
  51 (23%)
Yes - sign all artwork for sale
  25 (11%)
Yes - sign and date all artwork for sale
  15 (7%)
Yes - initial artwork
  12 (5%)
Yes - initial and date all artwork
  7 (3%)
Yes - but only when I remember!
  10 (4%)
No - I don't sign or date my artwork
  12 (5%)
No - my art's not good enough for a signature yet
  17 (7%)
Votes so far: 214

Key findings were:
  • over half of the respondents sign ALL artwork (53%)

30th October 2011 - Who's made a mark this week?

Amur Ambush by Stella Mays
Overall and Endangered Species Winner - BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year 2011

Today I seem to be running a temperature, am feeling 'under the weather' and generally having problems keeping my eyes open so this is a very short post as I can't do my normal "read round".  That requires my eyes to be open!

Reference to the image at the top of this post can be found below under Art Society Exhibitions.

Art Blogs and Artists

Drawing and Sketching
  • I now have a new Twitter account @drawingpencil for drawing and sketching related tweets ONLY - and more retweeting of your highlights.  @makingamark continues with the normal eclectic art-related tweets plus comment on the oddities of the day!
Art Business & Marketing
Art Competitions
Art Exhibitions

National Galleries
Other UK Galleries
Art Societies
Paintings in the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists
Art Bloggers
Art History and Museums

A new Art Gallery for regional art in the UK

William Morris: Story, Memory, Myth is the inaugural exhibition at Two Temple Place - in collaboration with the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow which is currently closed until July 2012.  It focuses on how Morris told stories through pattern and poetry.

I very much like the idea of being able to see art from the regional galleries and less well known galleries in London in a central London location.  The address is 2 Temple Place, London WC2R 3BD and it's very close to Temple tube station.
Two Temple Place is London’s first venue to specifically showcase publicly-owned art from UK regional collections. The building is one of London's hidden architectural gems, an extraordinary late Victorian mansion built by William Waldorf Astor on Embankment.
Art Education, Tips and Techniques

Art Education

Three recommended reads about art education - or the lack of it - this week
  • Robert Genn wrote an excellent post MFA or bust 
  • Joanne Mattera's Marketing Mondays post last week asks Who's Self-taught?  She has particularly pertinent comments for anybody who has been successful in their first career and is now thinking of switching to a late career as an artist.  The comments are a good read as well
Dealers didn’t go to “dealer school” and most critics didn’t go to “critic school.”
  • If you have problems managing your time you might find The Sillyness of Busyness to be thought-provoking.  I recognised one or two naughty habits of mine!
Art Materials
Internet, webware and blogging
and finally....

This is Etsy's Guide to Facebook - which now forms part of its Sellers Handbook.  As you would expect it contains lots of practical hints and tips.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Review: Society of Wildlife Artists - Annual Exhibition 2011

This week I attended the very well attended and informal Private View of the The Natural Eye - the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists.  Last week I revealed that this Society sells the most artwork of all the exhibitions at the Mall Galleries - and when you visit the exhibition it's not difficult to see why.

The standard of art in this exhibition is exceptionally good.  It is very good to see:
  • an exhibition which puts a very strong emphasis on the quality of the art and the creative process.  While there is a lot of representational art in the exhibition, very little of it is 'straight' realism and even less looks as if it has copied a photograph.  There is a strong painterly feel to the paintings, a masterly approach to the printmaking which as always was stunning and a high regard for the calligraphic mark-making of those who are creating drawings.  All in all there is an amazing range of styles and approaches to creating art via paintings, print-making, sculpture and drawing.  This blog post provides just a little slice of what can be seen in this very impressive exhibition of art
  • an exhibition which demonstrates how many of its artists paint from life in the field (see Out of the Frame)  This is art which is worked at.  The artist has a connection with the animals, birds and fish being observed.
  • an exhibition which places an emphasis on encouraging the younger artist.  So nice to see a society which is succession planning!
Some comment that there's a lot of bird art in the exhibition.  However it needs to be remembered that the Society originally started because a group of contemporary bird painters decided to exhibit their art.

Below is a selection of the art which can be seen in this exhibition covering:
  • some stills of groups of work in the exhibition - which I highly recommend people go and see.  The exhibition runs until Sunday 6 November 2011 at the Mall Galleries. (Click for exhibition details)
  • artists whose work I liked (there were a lot more but these deserve a mention)
  • the special display focusing on the creative process
  • the SWLA 2011 Award Winners
At the end I comment on how to submit work to this exhibition - and a few tips for those who might like to submit work for the 2012 Exhibition.

Click the links in people's names to see more of their art.

Artists whose work I particularly liked included the painters shown below.

Andrew Haslen - Andrew has an interesting technique of combining linocuts with painting - as can be seen in The Hare and the Curlew (below).  He was elected to be a member of the Society of Wildlife Artists in 1988.

The Hare and the Curlew by Andrew Haslen SWLA

Michael Warren - what I like about his paintings is the truth of the bird in its habitat and the confident painting in watercolour.

Woodcock by Michael Warren SWLA

Darren Woodhead - there's something very calligraphic about the way Darren paints birds in their habitats.  I like it a lot!

Fieldfare among Elder and Buckthorn by Darren Woodhead SWLA
The North Gallery - Out of the Frame

The end of the North Gallery has been given over to the display of sketches made in the field - which are pinned to the wall "out of the frame".

This is intended to help visitors to the Exhibition understand more about the creative journey which so very often lies behind the paintings in this Exhibition.  It very effectively demonstrates the way that artists collect information for their paintings.

I was very impressed by the work of:
  • Chris Rose - working in South Georgia and on a small boat in the Southern Ocean (click the link to read more about it and see the paintings produced as a result of the trip).  Below the photograph of his sketches is a description of his painting system for working in the field.
Field Paintings from the Sketchbook of Chris Rose - painting the Southern Atlantic
I have developed a painting system that uses small plastic posts with screw lids that clip on my palette. I fill these with acrylics straight from the tube and, with a damp felt pad stuck to the underside of the lid, the paint remains perfectly usable for weeks at a time within its moist microclimate.  When painting, the lids stick with velcro pads to the undersides of the posts so nothing is lying around loose to be pinched or blown away and it can all be rapidly put away.  This is also useful when painting on the rolling deck of a boat at sea.Chris Rose
Bruce Pearson - and his Troubled Waters Project - more sketches fresh from the South Atlantic.

Field paintings and sketches by Bruce Pearson while on board a fishing vessel
SWLA Awards 2011

The Awards this year went to the following artists
  • Birdwatch Artist of the Year - North Haven, Fair Isle; dark and intermediate phase by Tim Wootton (Tim Wootton Wildlife Art) - see below.  This work is in Charcoal.  
"North Haven, Fair Isle; dark and intermediate phase" by Tim Wootton  
  • RSPB Award - Territorial Fight - into abstraction by Alison Ingram 
Territorial Fight - into abstraction by Alison Ingram
Kudu by Greg Poole
  • BIRDscapes Gallery Printmakers Award - Kudu (above) by Greg Poole SWLA
  • BIRDscapes Gallery - Birdscape award - Flounder Channel, Arnside (below) by Fiona Clucas.  Fiona writes about how she works on her website
Out in the field I tend to sketch using graphite and water soluble pencils, water colour and or gouache on heavy watercolour paper. I work quickly to catch the fleeting wildlife and transient elements. In the studio I work up larger drawings with graphite pencils and powder. My paintings on canvas and board are created using a process of building up different surfaces and textures with impasto, sometimes printing and much overlayering of colour.
Flounder Channel, Arnside by Fiona Clucas
  • The Roger Clarke Award - Dan Cole SWLA
  • SWLA Sea Bird Drawing Bursary Award - Meg Buick 
  • The Wildlife Trusts Underwater Wildlife Art Award - Harriet Mead SWLA.  These are her latest sculptures - some of which are on display in the exhibition.
Awards for Young Artists

Poppy Hegninbotham and her Badger
It's very pleasing to see an Art Society which is encouraging art being made by children and young people.  The Society does this in one of two ways: 
  • SWLA Bursaries for artists aged 15 to 30 to enable them to develop their skills through mounting a special project, travel or education.
  • the RSPB Wildlife Explorers WildArt Awards.  Winners of the latter were all female - which augurs well for the continuing good standing of female artists in this field of artistic endeavour!
    • Under 8 - Poppy Heginbotham who did a very splendid drawing of a badger (I regaled her mother with tales of me winning a national art competition age 6 with a painting of a squirrel!  Her mother told me this is not her first prize - and that she'd not done a squirrel yet and thanks for the idea!)
    • 8-12 years - Rachel Walford
    • 13+ - Alice Flint
Submitting art to this exhibition

For 2012, there is a new process of digital submission and pre-selection which should have a major impact on the number of people applying - with many more living at a distance from London submitting work.

Wildlife artists may wish to note the following observations which were made to me about the nature of the wildlife art which is selected for the show.
  • there is a conviction behind the work - a connection between the artist and the wildlife being painted
  • the work is rooted in observation.  Reference photos may have helped with the artwork but the wildlife which is portrayed has been observed in the field.  The selectors can tell those who have watched the animal and know how it works.
  • selectors can tell work which has been copied from a photograph - as opposed to those who have used and interpreted a reference photo as just one element in the material they have collected.  This exhibition is very much not about copying photographs.
  • artwork frequently says something about the habitat - it's an important aspect of the story
  • Wildlife art does not need to be big - small pieces also work

Friday, October 28, 2011

Key Dates for UK National Art Society Exhibitions in 2012

Sunset outside the Mall Galleries
This post summarises key dates for the Annual Open Exhibitions by the Art Societies in the UK in 2012 - namely:
  • Submission deadlines for entries 
  • the Exhibition dates 
At present not all the dates are available - but the FBA exhibition dates are now certain and are detailed below - and given the big change in the arrangements for 2012 it seemed a good idea to publish this post some two months earlier than usual!

This listing:

The Call for Entries is highlighted in red where firm dates are available.

Please note that some of the dates of exhibitions at the Mall Galleries are VERY different to those which applied in 2011 - with a major change for The Pastel Society.

This is because the location of the Mall Galleries is very much affected by the activities in the nearby Olympic Zone during the Olympic period.  Exhibitions seem to be starting earlier BEFORE the Olympic and starting later AFTER the Olympics.  I'm not sure what's happening to the other national art societies which hire the Mall Galleries for their exhibitions during the summer months - but will try and find out.

Links in the left hand column are to the relevant page(s) on the society’s website or organising site.

See also my post this week about the NEW two-stage digital pre-selection process for FBA Exhibitions
  • Notification of pre-selection for the FBA Society Exhibitions is in general one week after the deadline for digital submission.  
  • Works that are pre-selected are not automatically accepted for exhibition.
  • Registration and Digital Submission opens up NEXT WEEK for four of the exhibitions.

Annual Exhibition 2012

Submission Deadline Dates

Exhibition Dates 2012

Pastel Society
Call for Entries
Making A Mark Call for Entries post
register/digital submission:
open 1 Nov 2011
close 21 Nov 2011
receiving days: 9-10 Dec 2011
Mall Galleries
PV: 13 Feb 2012
Open: 13 Feb - 25 Feb 2012
Royal Society of British Artists
Call for Entries
register/digital submission:
open 1 Nov 2011
close 15 Dec 2011
receiving days: 13-14 January 2012
Mall Galleries
PV: 28 Feb 2012
Open: 29 Feb - 10 March 2012
Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour
Call for Entries
mid-January 2012(?)
to be confirmed
early Feb - early March 2012 (?)
to be confirmed
Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour
Call for Entries
register/digital submission:
open 1 Nov 2011
close 5 Jan 2012
receiving days: 27-28 January 2012
Mall Galleries
PV: 13 March 2012
Open: 14-25 March 2012
RWS Open Competition
Call for Entries
to be confirmedBankside Gallery: to be confirmed
Society of Botanical Artists
Call for Entries
Receiving Day: 27 February 2012Westminster Central Hall
20 April -  29 April 2012
Royal Society of Portrait Painters
Call for Entries
register/digital submission:
open 1 Nov 2011
close 23 Feb 2012
receiving days: 16-17 March 2012
Mall Galleries
PV: 2 May 2012
Open: 3-18 May 2012
RSPP International Submissionsto be confirmed
Royal Academy of Art: Summer Exhibition

If you would like to submit work, you will be able to purchase an entry form from early January – 9 March 2012.

For all other enquiries, please email

Call for Entries
to be confirmed:
Sculpture Photo deadline: ?? March
Sculpture (invited: ??April
Transport agent deliveries: ?? March
Glazed works (watercolours, prints, drawings, etc): ?? March
Unglazed works (oils, acrylics, etc): ?? March
Architecture: ?? April
Royal Academy of Arts
?? June – ?? August
Society of Women Artists
Call for Entries
15 – 16 April 2012to be confirmed
Society of Feline Artists
Call for Entries
Llewellyn Alexander Gallery
PV: 28 August 2012
23 August - 14 September 2012
Society of Equestrian Artists
Call for Entries
to be confirmedto be confirmed
UK Coloured Pencil Society
Call for Entries
11 JuneNuneaton Art Gallery
6 October - 25 November 2012
Guild of Aviation Artists
Call for Entries
To be confirmedto be confirmed
Royal Society of Marine Artists
Call for Entries
register/digital submission:
open 2 April 2012
close 12 July 2012
receiving days: 17-18 August 2012
Mall Galleries
PV: 16 October 2012
Open: 17-28 October 2012
Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Engravers
Call for Entries
to be confirmedMall Galleries:
(probably) 17-28 October
Society of Feline Artists
Call for Entries
To be confirmedLlewellyn Alexander Gallery:
26 August - 16 September
Society of Graphic Fine Art
Call for Entries
To be confirmed - published December 2012Menier Gallery:
?? October 2012
Society of Wildlife Artists
Call for Entries - will update to 2012 dates
register/digital submission:
open 8 May 2012
close 16 August 2012
receiving days: 10-11 September 2012
Mall Galleries
PV: 31 October 2012
Open: 1-11 November 2012
New English Art Club
Call for Entries - will update to 2012 dates
register/digital submission:
open 11 June 2012
close 13 Sept. 2012
receiving days: 5-6 October 2012
Mall Galleries
PV: 29 November 2012
Open: 30 November - 9 December 2012
Royal Institute of Oil Painters
Call for Entries - will update to 2012 dates
register/digital submission:
open 2 July 2012
close 11 October 2012
receiving days: 2-3 November 2012
Mall Galleries
PV: 11 December 2012
Open: 12-23 December 2012
Royal Scottish Academy
Call for Entries
receiving days: ?? October 2012Royal Scottish Academy
?? November 2012

  1. Mall Galleries / Federation of British Artists – work to be submitted to regional pick-up points or to basement at FBA HQ at 17Carlton House Terrace.  
  2. LA Gallery:  Llewellyn Alexander Gallery 124 -126 The Cut, Waterloo, London SE1 8LN UK (opposite the Old Vic Theatre)
  3. Bankside:  Bankside Gallery, 48 Hopton Street, London, SE1 9JH 
Links: My "resources for artists" sites about art societies, art competitions and annual exhibitions