Monday, December 26, 2011

VOTE for the Best Artwork on an Art Blog in 2011

You are invited to vote for
the Making A Mark Award
for the best artwork on a blog in 2011

Earlier this month, you were invited to nominate artwork for the Making A Mark Awards for Best Picture in different categories.  I posted the results in the four posts published on Christmas Eve (listed at the end of each category below).

You can now VOTE for what YOU think is the best picture in the FOUR polls for the best artwork for each category - based on the artwork shortlisted from the nominations and my own nominations

Before the display of images of the shortlist I've said a few words about why I chose the works that I did.

What YOU have to do now - VOTE!

DECIDE WHICH ARTWORK YOU LIKE THE BEST (see images below) in each of the FOUR different categories below and then vote in the poll relating to each category - but only one vote per category please! ;)
  • Make sure you get the result right first time as you'll be blocked from changing your vote 
  • The deadline for voting is 6.00am (GMT/London) on Friday 30th December 2011
  • I will then formally announce the winner of each category in the second part of the Making A Mark Awards in a post later on the 30th December.
  • You'll only be able to see the percentages of the vote which each piece attracts. However the work which attracts the most votes in total will also be declared Picture of the Year!
I suggest you click on the images before voting so you can see all the work properly. When you've voted you can then view the results by clicking on the 'view result' link in the bottom left hand corner (just above the polldaddy link).

You can also share a link to any of the polls on your own blog.  Just click the 'share this' link for the poll you'd like to share.

You now have four days to vote for which is the best artwork in each category (see below). There are FOUR polls below - please take your time and vote on each.

Please note: Lobbying is not allowed beyond a selected artist posting a link to this post on their own blog and explaining how to vote.  Others can feel free to share a link to this vote if you want to encourage people to look at the options generally.

The Making a Mark Prize for 
Best Artwork - Portrait / Figures 2011

aims to celebrate and highlight excellence in portraiture and/or artwork 
on an art blog predominantly involving figures 

(right click the image and open in new tab to see a larger image)

This category attracted the largest number of nominations and there are four paintings in the vote-off.

The Making A Mark Awards likes to highlight figurative paintings and drawings as well as conventional portrait paintings.  This year I had a surfeit of head portraits.  It's almost as if people identify the word portrait with the word "face".  (On the other hand when we see the Google images results for the word "portrait" you're in good company!)

I'd like to make it clear that paintings of the whole figure and figurative paintings of groups of people are also very welcome in this category.  (Also contrast the result of a search for Google images for the search "figurative painting"!).  I went searching for figurative paintings - but there's not a lot to be found despite the fact there is a huge tradition of creating paintings with several full length figures in art history.  I'd call that a niche ripe for exploiting!
  • My nomination is a painting - Sophie Ploeg (Sophie Ploeg)'s "Dream" which I've actually seen in real life as well as on an art blog - and I have to say it's even more impressive when you see the real thing.  That fact I've also got freckles could also be something to do with it - I think they're very difficult to paint!  (This is the idiosyncratic element of selection!)
  • I always like to try and include a drawing in the portrait section if possible and this year I had a choice of two.  For me "Black Sun" by Dirk Dzimirsky (Dirk Dzimirsky - Drawings) had the edge. He demonstrates an excellent mastery of the art of the pencil and the tonal range. However it was great to see a silverpoint drawing nominated for this award. I'm always very pleased to see the full range of traditional portrait media being nominated.  
  • I liked the fact that "Leah at Sea" by Taryn Day  (Awake and Painting) was painted by a big brush painter and although only small in size, she kept her "big brush" approach when dropping down to smaller size.  There was also something about the way the other elements of the portrait, the sea in the background and the anorak, acted both as explanations of who this person is and provided a foundation for key elements in the palette used to paint this portrait
  • Painting children is perhaps the most difficult thing a portrait painter ever has to do.  The proportions of the head are all completely different  when they're babies and the freshness of the skin complexion and surface texture is completely different to that of an adult.  Then the're the fact they sit, stand etc differently.  I really liked "Scarlet" by Zachary Proctor (Sketchbook), the fact that she "looked like" a child (the mouth is a joy!) and that the palette was complementary in a way which spoke of a childish time.  Lots of understatement in this very effective portrait.
"Dream" © Sophie Ploeg
oil, 30x40cm
Nominated by Katherine Tyrrell
"Black Sun" © Dirk Dzimirsky (Dirk Dzimirsky - Drawings)
Graphite on paper, heightened with white ink
25.6" x 20.5" (65 x 52 cm)
Nominated by Jessica Rosemary Shepherd
"Leah at Sea" © Taryn Day (Awake and Painting)
oil on panel
Nominated by Rose Welty
"Scarlet" © Zachary Proctor (Sketchbook)
24" x 24", oil
Nominated by Regula Scheifele

The Making a Mark Prize for 
Best Portrayal of a Place 2011
aims to celebrate and highlight excellence in creating pictures
about places in our environment
(right click the image and open in new tab to see a larger image)

Having started The Art of the Landscape blog I am now than a bit familiar with an awful lot of landscape art blogs. I could have filled all the nominations myself and still had some spare. Consequently I needed to look for aspects which had not been satisfied by the nominations which I selected for the shortlist.

  • I absolutely agree with both William Wray (William Wray) and Casey Klahn about this painting!
  • Too few people do paintings of Interiors - and yet this is a subject which attracts commissions.  Sarah Wimperis (The Red Shoes) added another string to her bow this year in paintings of aspects of domestic environments.
  • I've been watching Nigel Fletcher's (Painting Adventures in the Limousin) paintings since the summer and commend his blog to you
  • I love Robin Purcell's (Robin Purcell, watercolours in the Plein Air Tradition) masterly and unique approach to painting Californian landscapes.  It helps when she paints a scene I've had in mind to try and do for some time.  I reognised every single one of her Point Lobos series

Back Door © William Wray
Post: Backdoor 24x24
Nominated by Casey Klahn
"A Soft Light" © Sarah Wimperis
Nominated by: Maud Guilfoyle
Last Light © Nigel Fletcher
Nominated by: self nomination
Pacific Passage by Robin Purcell
14 x 14 watercolour
Nominated by Katherine Tyrrell

The Making a Mark Prize for 
Best Still Life 2011
aims to highlight and celebrate excellence in creating pictures
which help us to reflect on how the small and/or still can be beautiful
(right click the image and open in new tab to see a larger image)

The two nominated works I choose for the short list are both hyper realistic - albeit very different in their compositions and palettes.
  • I've admired Jelaine Faunce's work for a long while.  To me she very often meets that tricky challenge for the realistic artist - where one clementine looks pretty much like another clementine - of finding subject matter and design which lifts a painting out of the conventional and makes it "of the artist".  
  • I'm not at all familiar with Alex Zonis's work but can certainly vouch for the fact that the painting is indeed a painting!
  • I decided to find a contrast to the realistic images and nominate a work which was more impressionistic.  Lisa Daria was last year's winner of the Painting A Day Stickability Shield (which has a number of well known winners).  What I liked about the painting I chose was that it illustrated for me how a pretty light muted palette and good design can be used to create a painting which says "look at me".
  • I've also selected a contemporary still life  by Nicole Caulfield (Nicole Caulfield) with a narrative line within the image and one which is also part of a series.  Both features are very much associated with classical still life art and are all to often missing from a lot of the still life work I see online.  

'Glass & Floral II' © Jelaine Faunce
12"x12" - oil on canvas
Nominated by David Teter
BFFs © Alex Zonis
8"x8" (20x20cm), oil on gessobord
Nominated by: self-nomination
Bottles, Bottles, Bottles © Lisa Daria
Nominated by Katherine Tyrrell
Lemonade © Nicole Caulfield
6" x 18", Coloursofts on Pastelbord
Nominated by Katherine Tyrrell

The Making a Mark Prize for 
Best Portrayal of Nature 2011
values the natural world and its plants and animals
and celebrates excellence in portraying every aspect of nature

(right click the image and open in new tab to see a larger image)

This award got off to slow start last year and it's not been a lot better this year.  I'm going to give it one more year and a bigger dose of marketing in advance next year to see if I can generate more interest from the very many artists who paint nature, animals and botanical subjects.  They're a shy lot! :)
  • Australian artist Vicki Lee Johnston (Vicki Lee Johnston) explained that she couldn't get me a better image for the nominated painting as it's currently in the UK being assessed for the Diploma in Botanical Illustration which she's studying with the Society of Botanical Artists.  Those thinking of doing the Diploma should take a look at Vicki's blog.
  • I was very impressed with Suzanne Berry's other insects in the insect series on her blog (Suzanne Berry).
  • I've viewed Tracy Hall's paintings on her blog Watercolour Artist Diary and in exhibitions for a while now.  The miniature painting in watercolour of a Sanderling is an excellent example of the use of an unusual format and of giving environment context to a subject in nature.  Note also the size.

Alyogyne huegelii 'West Coast Gem'
© Vicki Lee Johnston
Ant © Suzanne Berry
16x16" oil on cradled hardboard SOLD

Sanderling © Tracy Hall 2011
4" x 1.75" Watercolour on rag board

Selection of work

There is, of course, no right or wrong answer to which pieces should be selected from those which were nominated.

If you're interested in why work gets chosen, read a couple of posts which provide context for making a selection - here are my thoughts on Selection, jurying and must-see lists and Juried art competitions - does size matter?.

For the record, one of the things I do before selecting each work is review other work on the artist's blog to see if it is representative of their work during the year.

Also, one of the reasons why I stop trying to review an artists work is when it's just too difficult.  I couldn't quite believe how many of the artists I like make it difficult to access work done in the past!  I'll be writing a post about this in the New Year.

Do you agree with the selection?  Which work would you have selected?  Do you have a piece you wish you'd nominated?

I'm now taking a short break and will be back on 29th December with the Making A Mark Art Blog Awards


  1. Katherine, wow! Thank you so much for nominating me. I am honoured.

  2. Hey Katherine,
    What happened to voting in other categories?

  3. I'm not quite sure what you mean David. Did you click the "read more" link?

    There's no voting for the other Making A Mark Awards - it's only ever been for the "best picture'.

    To do otherwise would be just too much work for me I'm afraid and "he must not be bored while I sketch" would not be at all impressed. I'm up to all hours just getting the voting for the "best picture" sorted! :)

  4. Katherine,
    Yes, I did mean the others beyond these Best Picture Awards.

    You already answered my question, thank you.

  5. Katherine,
    On another note, apparently I made a mistake for my nomination in Natural World category.

    Suzanne Berry informed me her painting of the ant was created using a photograph she did not take.

    This is my fault since I somehow missed the part about it is up to the nominator (me) to notify the nominee (Suzanne) of the award AND the rules/conditions.

    Even though I was sure I read it all I still missed that important little fact, otherwise I would have not gone forward with it.

    My sincere apologies to Suzanne, You, the other artists in this category, and all your readers.


  6. Whoops! I'll have to have a think about that one......


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