Sunday, November 20, 2011

20th November 2011 - Who's made a mark this week?

I can't quite believe that today I'm reporting the third artist to be burned out of their home this year.  After both Carol Marine and Jo Castillo got burned out of their homes which were totally devasted  in the Bastrop wildfires in Texas, I learned today that the home of Postcard from Provence painter Julian Merrow Smith and his wife Ruth Phillips and son Louis suffered a major fire on Friday night and is now uninhabitable - but will be repaired.

Les Couguieux - the Postcard from Provence House before the fire
In some sort of weird coincidence, Ruth shared photos of their home in Provence this week.  She'd put together a set of photographs for the New York Times - and I shared this slideshow on Les Couguieux on Four Go Painting In Provence which is the blog which recorded my painting holiday with Robyn, Sarah and Ronelle while staying in their home in June.

The really weird thing is that the slideshow image on the Flickr "stop frame" of the slideshow on the blog is of workmen getting ready to work on the Julian's studio which is attached to their home.......

Art blogs and Artists

Drawing and sketching
  • Charley Parker (Lines and Colors) wrote about Ingres at the Morgan and while I could have included this under art history or exhibitions I'm including it here because I want people to go look at the images of the drawings by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres on Charley's blog.  In fact if you are in any way interested in portraiture and drawing I highly recommend you take a look.  Ingres the high priest of realism draws in a really lyrical way.  He's a lot looser than many people might expect.  The line is painterly.  He uses lots of hatching. The underlying message is that you don't have to be tight, hyper-realistic and photographic to produce realism!  (NB  I discovered Ingre's drawings quite early on and developed my approach to drawing people based on his style. (see )
  • A lovely post by James Gurney (Gurney Journey) about what happened after he was Caught looking!
  • Debbi Kaspari (Drawing the Motmot) has been out sketching birds with the benefit of her watercolour pans - in an Altoids tin - see Binoculars…bugspray…sketchbook?.  (re artists losing homes - Debbi is another artist who has survived the loss of a home - she was a tornado victim - see Nature is a Moody Muse)
  • Laura (Laurelines) has been to Copenhagen - and has started posting her sketches - Copenhagen sketches - part 1
Conqueror Paper - celebrating a decade in the land of a million hues

Art Business and Marketing

E-commerce and spamming
  • How to avoid being labelled a spammer was prompted by an email from somebody who follows one of my blogs. It reminded me of all the other times I've been spammed by artists - and I decided it was time for a review of how easy it is to get labelled a spammer.  Thanks for all the positive and appreciative comments about this post.
  • I also revamped one of my information websites so that it more clearly highlighted the rules of ecommerce - see E-commerce for Artists.  I want to develop the sections related to shopping cart systems and payments systems and would be pleased to hear from artists who are happy with their set-up.
Pricing art
markets change -- and I'm starting to wonder if one rule of selling art needs to change now more than ever due to the economy. That rule being... "You should keep all of your original art listed at a close price range and never deviate from it other than to raise prices overall.".
  • Stapleton Kearns expressed Some rambling thoughts on inexpensive art last week.  His post discusses selling paintings to friend and family, the question of discounts and an artist's attitude towards how he values his work.

    If you are making paintings that sell at workingmans prices, say 300 dollars, I suggest you never give any of them away or discount them at all, except to the most impoverished of your close friends.  I think there is a lot to lose by not valuing your own paintings.  If you want others to value them, you should begin that yourself.
Art Economy and Art Collectors

  • Did you know that Andy Warhol accounted for one-sixth of contemporary art sales?  I guess they;re only counting the ones in the sale rooms?)  Anyway, this article A One Man Market discusses his role within the art market economy
Warhol is now the god of contemporary art. He is indeed, it is said, the “American Picasso” or, if you prefer, the art market’s one-man Dow Jones. In 2010 his work sold for a total of $313m and accounted for 17% of all contemporary auction sales.

Art Competitions
Art Exhibitions

Exhibitions in 2012

The announcements are starting to be made about the major art exhibitions in 2012.  I'll be doing a reference post about this but I'm going to start adding them into this post each week.  Not least as it provides me with a note of what I've found so far!
  • UK: Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude is the major exhibition at the National Gallery - in collboration with Tate Britain in Spring 2012. The exhibition will run from 14 March – 5 June 2012 in the Sainsbury Wing

    ‘Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude’ is the most in-depth examination to date of Turner’s experience of Claude’s art and includes oils, watercolours and sketchbooks. It also introduces visitors to the story of the Turner Bequest
National Galleries and Museums (and major auctions)
Art Societies

Regional Museums
The gifted, profound and ultimately enigmatic modern painter George Shaw, a candidate for this year's Turner prize , returns home and exhibits his paintings of Tile Hill Estate It seems a miracle that art of such compassion and simplicity and innate talent got made in a Britain besotted with the superficial.
Norman Rockwell
Rosie the Riveter (1943)
Oil on canvas, 52 x 40 in. (132.1 x 101.6 cm)
Image courtesy of The Saturday Evening Post
Photography by Dwight Primiano
Art Galleries and Museums
  • A new art museum opened on 11.11.11 (nothing like having a memorable date!)  in Arkansas - the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art - thanks to Wal-Mart.  It's the 'baby' of Alice Walton who is an art-enthusiast and who continues to serve as chair of the Board of Directors.  
  • see the section on Art Television to see a documentary about the Barnes Collection.
  • There are suggestions that The Pushkin Museum of the Fine Arts in Moscow is exhibiting a Modigliani painting that at least one Russian art collector concluded is a fake. (The Art Newspaper).  If you want to take a look at the rest of their paintings this is the link to their permanent collection of paintings.
  • Did you know that the Tate has a blog - called (wait for it!) Tate Blog?  No?  I'm not surprised - it's hardly ever used which for a museum receiving tax payers money is a bit of a sin in my book.  Blogs are excellent ways of publicising both the collection and the work of the museum to a wider public.  
  • By way of contrast The Tate Twitter team on @Tate are much more active and fun!  Congratulations to them on topping 500,000 followers!
  • The Tate Partnerships list on Tate's Twitter account is a good way of identifying what's going on in contemporary art at regional museums around the country.
Art History
"Why should it matter that the Tate Gallery in London (with its 23 Lowrys) has chosen not to display any of them for many years? His popularity needs no official endorsement from the Tate but it is a shame verging on the iniquitous that foreign visitors to London shouldn't have access to the painter English people like more than most others."
Sir Ian McKellen
Art Education

Tips and techniques
Art supplies
  • The London Graphic Centre has the same old URL but a brand new design for its website
  • Jackson's Art Blog - Materials to make your own Christmas Cards is highlighting the supplies they carry if you want to make Your Own Christmas Cards.  It's a very good overview of the sort of supplies you'd need.  However it struck me half way through that maybe you'd be doing this because you wanted to be creative or innovative about your marketing rather than because you wanted to save money!
  • I've taken advantage of the current Artists & Illustrators offer and ordered the 24 pan set of Talens Van Gogh Watercolours which are a bargain price.  However the customer experience is at risk of becoming a blog post - I'll wait and see how they respond to my email querying where is the confirmation of my order and payment!
Art on Television

Catch up on the BBC programmes about art on iPlayer
Plus don't miss Close Up: Jackson Pollock: Love and Death on Long Island which will be broadcast on Thursday 24th November, 23:00 on BBC Four - and then available via iPlayer
First transmitted in 1999, this documentary profiles American abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock, who died at the age of 44 in a car accident. At the time of his death in 1956, Jackson Pollock was the most celebrated artist in America.
[For American readers who have access to iPlayer - this the link to the BBC's current series of programmes about America - "A collection of programmes from the BBC archives exploring art, technology, politics and society in the United States of America" with links to all the programmes broadcast so far.  It includes repeats of classic programmes from the archives.]

London 2012: Arts Council England and the BBC create digital arts media service - there was an announcement this week that an experimental digital arts media service and commissioning programme runs from May to October 2012.  It will allow arts content on to the four main digital media platforms of personal computer, mobile, tablet and connected TV.  I think somewhere along the way somebody forgot to write the "plain english" version of this proposal.  What's going to happen that is different and how it will it affect the ordinary person?  Who knows!


For those thinking of writing a book, Unbound is another site for all aspiring authors to ponder on.  This time it's about testing the waters and generating the funding.  Here's how it works.  Seems like an excellent idea to me.  Those who are involved with what seems to be a "just out of beta" website have different approaches to pitching for funds.  The past master is Stephen Fry (in his alter ego).

Techies: Internet, webware, blogging etc
and finally........

It looks as if there is a new world record holder for the longest and largest surface area 3D painting.   Here's a picture of Joe Hill's work - and more 3D street art around the world - in pictures


  1. Oh, Katherine, I am so sorry to hear about Julian Merrow's home and loss. Thankfully they are OK. I can only advise them to look forward. I am trying to think of the new empty house as a blank canvas and have some joy in filling it with love, art and friends. Thanks for thinking of us.

  2. Its terrible news, very sad, thankfully they are all safe. we have been vicariously enjoying their home through Sarah's paintings.

  3. mmm Jackson's were nearly the subject of a blog post for me!

    The last 2 orders I had from them showed 'in stock'

    A week later when the order arrived (not impressively fast) there was a note enclosed that half the stuff I wanted (and was waiting for) was in fact out of stock.


    So I shop elsewhere.

    I have to say that thought they carry less lines, Ken Bromley phone if there is any delay or problem at all, giving you chance to cancel or accept the delay. Their orders arrive next day or the day after.


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