Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What makes you leave an artist's website? POLL RESULTS

Does your art website make me people want to leave fast?  The Making A Mark Opinion Poll for January 2012 aimed to find out what were the aspects which generated an adverse first impression of an artist's website.

The results are in and you can now self-assess your own website and decide whether or not you are driving people away!

This poll allowed people to tick all that drove them dotty.  What's interesting is that virtually all the factors which are an issue were identified as options and only 9% highlighted yet more irritants.

Making A Mark Poll - January 2012
number of responses = 239

Your Top Three Pet Hates

Monday, January 30, 2012

The John Ruskin Prize - A New Look at Nature: Call for Entries

The new John Ruskin Prize will be awarded later this year to the best wall mounted artwork on the theme A New Look at Nature.  This new art competition is open to anyone over 18 working in painting, drawing, print-making or mixed media and resident or domiciled in the UK.

Fast sketch of withered oak
Fast sketch of withered oak (1879) by John Ruskin

Right click and open in new tab
to see larger version
The new award is being organised by the Campaign for Drawing, in collaboration with the Guild of St George.

The Guild of St George, a small charity founded by Ruskin in 1871, launched the Campaign for Drawing in 2000 to celebrate its founder’s belief in the value of drawing as a tool for understanding nature.

Subsequently the Campaign became an independent charity.

The two organisations are collaborating with a view to encouraging artists to take fresh inspiration from their natural environment.
During his lifetime,England’s manufacturing cities expanded and became wealthy, whilst their workforces lived in poverty and grime. Workers had little to inspire them. Ruskin wanted to counter this imbalance and set up the Guild of St George, a philanthropic society. Through the Guild, Ruskin founded a museum specifically for Sheffield’s workers. He filled it with a collection of artworks, illustrated books and minerals, all chosen to reflect his exploration of beauty.
The Ruskin Collection is based at the Millenium Gallery in Sheffield.  Not all of the collection is on display but it is possible to interrogate the collection online
For more about The John Ruskin Prize - see below

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Artists who refused Honours

In the UK, both the Government and the Monarch confer honours on various people for the contribution they've made to society.  David Hockney, for example, has very recently been created an OM by the Queen which is extremely prestigious as it's a personal award by the monarch, there are only 24 at any one time and it's one of the highest honours in the land.

If an honour is proposed, you are advised in advance and then have to keep quiet until it's announced.  However, you don't have to accept an honour and some people do refuse.  Up until now some people have chosen to indicate they've refused an honour while others have just kept their heads down and avoided all the fuss.

I came across a very interesting story this week which appears to indicate that there are some very illustrious names amongst those artists who have refused an honour.  Below is the table I've compiled of just the visual artists.

Friday, January 27, 2012

What are the priorities for an aspiring artist?

California Sunset by Albert Bierstadt
- a model for all aspiring painters of Californian landscapes?

What do you think are the priorities for an aspiring artist?

I received an email the other day which struck me as being from a "Mr Everyman".  That's because what he was saying is probably representative of a number of artists who have moved beyond being a beginner.

"Mr Everyman" has been painting landscapes in California for about three years.  He's sold art and would like to sell more but is in a quandary as to where to display that art online to get the best results.

I took a look at his website - with difficulty as it doesn't work properly.  I'd characterise his art as being not unlike a lot of other artists who are serious leisure painters who are both trying to improve and also aspire to being full time painters one day.  Also, as yet, there is nothing particularly distinctive about his art in terms of style or use of media.  Just like me, he's no Bierstadt as yet!  (Isn't that Bierstadt painting of a Californian Landscape at the top of the post a wonderful example of Luminism?)

Do have a read of the email from the artist - and then I've got some questions for you.
My name is *****, and I’m an artist living in California. I paint landscapes, and am wanting to find an online gallery to sell my ORIGINAL pieces of work. I basically will be selling my older gouache/oil landscapes, and gouache abstract/collage pieces. I’m an amateur, and my work does have issues with composition and design, and color harmony (things I’m getting much better at now!). However, I have sold some prints of my work and a few originals at coffee shops and other similar places, so I know my work is sellable.

That being said, I read your blog on online selling, and unfortunately maybe my mind has become poisoned because after reading numerous wetcanvas posts from various people, I’ve become very confused as where to sell. Etsy seems great, although many artists seem to think it’s not good for fine art and instead better for ‘crafts.’ Fine Art America seems good, although it appears as though that art is much higher quality than mine….so maybe Yessy, although I’ve read where their traffic is dwindling. UGH! This has lead me to become paralyzed in deciding where to sell.

If you were me, what would make the most sense? And to add to this, it would be great to list on ebay, and use one of these other sites to market my art but make the final purchase via ebay. Maybe that’s getting too complicated, lol!

Anyway – please help! I value your advice over anyone else because you seem more informed, and hence I’m leaning toward Etsy but wanted your viewpoint!
Now I'm a great believer in the wisdom of crowds so, having given him some advice, I asked whether it would be OK to post his letter online because of its generic questions - and he's fine about that.

What would YOU advise this artist to do and why?

For example: 
  • Should his focus be on developing his artistic skills or developing his marketing and sales - or both?
  • Is developing a good looking fully functioning website a priority for an artist wanting to sell art online?
  • Should an artist wanting to sell art online develop a blog?
  • Which, in your opinion, is the best online gallery for those wanting to sell original art - and why?
  • Are there some online sites which are better for original paintings while others do better if you're trying to sell giclee prints?

Note: I'm not linking to the artist or showing any of his work as my experience suggests this can create a distraction and/or people feel they can't comment.  Think of him as "Mr Everyman" - you will have seen a lot of artists like this gentleman on your travels around the internet.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

14th International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration - Intent to submit

The 14th International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation in Pennsylvania takes place in the Autumn / Fall of 2013.

However in order to submit work you need to submit an "Intent to submit" form by 31st January 2012.  Yes folks - that's by next Tuesday!

Catalogue of the Hunt Institute's 
13th International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration, 2010
Cover illustration: Fiona Strickland, 

watercolor on paper of Helianthus, Last sunflower, 2008
© 2008, Fiona Strickland, All Rights Reserved
Collection of Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation
Submission Guidelines

The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation is currently accepting submissions for the 14th International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration which will be held in the Autumn / Fall 2013 (exact dates have still to be determined).

How often is International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration held? 

This exhibition is held every three years.  The last one was in 2010.  The catalogue for that exhibition is still available

Who can enter?
The exhibition is open to all botanical fine artists and illustrators working in any medium on paper or vellum whose work has achieved a standard of excellence and who have not yet been represented in the Hunt Institute’s series of International Exhibitions.
  • top class botanical artists
  • ... who live anywhere in the world (this is an international exhibition)
  • ... who have NOT had artwork accepted and displayed in the Hunt Institute’s series of International Exhibitions
You can check out all the artists who have had work accepted and displayed in previous exhibitions in the Cumulative Index of Artists (pdf file)

What's the timeline?

The timeline for entering this exhibition is rather more extended than for other exhibitions - it's just over two years from beginning to end.

The submission process has also been changed this time around.  There are six stages
  1. Intent to submit - the notice of the intent to submit has to be received by 31st January 2012
  2. Submission of images - submit digital images, to be received by 15 June 2012
  3. Request for original artwork - submit original artwork, to be received by 26 October 2012
  4. Shipping 
  5. Acceptance - acceptance/rejection will be notified within a week of receipt
  6. Request for biographical information and portrait photo - accepted artists only
You can download:
1. Intent to Submit

Where can I find the Forms to submit work?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to become a member of the Society of Botanical Artists

This is a post about how to become a member of the Society of Botanical Artists (SBA).

"Membership" is a term used in this post to denote botanical artists who have achieved the status of member through the process of election to the SBA.  It should not be confused with the membership status related to any other organisation or anybody who pays to be a "friend" of a society.

This is the reference page on the SBA website for "how to become a member".  Anything stated which is not contained on that page or in the information sheet about how to exhibit/become a member (downloadable as a PDF file) are my own personal observations.

How to become an Associate Member of the Society of Botanical Artists

In order to become a member of the Society of Botanical Artists, botanical artists must first achieve the status of Associate Member.

Many Art Societies are now taking the step of introducing a two stage process in election to full membership.  Having an Associate Membership stage enables any Art Society to check out both capacity and commitment - over a period of time:
  • capacity to deliver at the quality of a signature member
  • commitment to become fully involved with the Society and to maintain that commitment 
An Associate Membership stage also prevents an art society becoming a victim of the signature membership junkie.  That's an artist who collects signature memberships from different art societies but fails to contribute on a regular basis.

The first step

Monday, January 23, 2012

Society of Botanical Artists Annual Exhibition 2012: Call for Entries

The Society of Botanical Artists is to be congratulated on having an informative and accessible "how to" webpage for those wanting to submit to artwork to its Annual Exhibition and/or become a member.  It's not something which I find on the website of every art society.

The purpose of this post is to remind me - and others - that the deadline for entries to the 2012 Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists is 27 February 2012 

Below I highlight the key points for those wanting to enter the Exhibition.  At the end I provide links to previous posts on this blog which include images so you can see the type and quality of work to aspire to.

Tomorrow I'll be summarising how botanical artists can become members of the Society of Botanical Artists

Society of Botanical Artists - Annual Exhibition 2012

How to enter the Exhibition

The exhibition information sheet for 2012 is downloadable as a PDF file here.

Who can submit work

Artists living all over the world submit work to this Exhibition - and are exhibited.  Many is the time I have taken a photo for somebody who lives thousands of miles away.  (If your work is accepted please do get in touch if you'd like your work photographed in the exhibition).

What sort of work can be entered?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

22nd January - Who's made a mark this week?

David Hockney 
The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) - 2 January 

iPad drawing printed on paper 
144.1 x 108 cm; one of a 52-part work 
Courtesy of the artist 
Copyright David Hockney
This post this week has rather a slant towards Hockney, digital art on an iPad and pastels - which pretty much reflects my week.

His iPad drawings and how he has reproduced them for the exhibition really stimulated me to investigate further

Art Blogs and Artists

Digital art

Sight of the iPad Sketches at the Hockney exhibition on Tuesday prompted a quest to find out how he prints them so big and the purchase of a second stylus for my iPad - having lost the previous one within the first 24 hours!
Drawing and Sketching

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Pastel" iPad sketch as a movie

I'm posting a video of the creation of a sketch using:
The aim was to see if could get the sketch to emulate soft pastels and be created more or less in the same way as I would work if using pastels for real.  Can I just stress I was playing and it was very basic!

[UPDATE: This was originally posted via YouTube but that produces a landscape format for a portrait format video - which was rather unsatisfactory. I've now reposted from Flickr. Both allow you to change the size of what you see on your blog. However the Flickr video format is much better than YouTubes!]

It took some time(!) to work out how to get it posted on the blog but I got there in the end!

To produce the video I had to:
  • download Brushes Viewer on to my iMac (this requires Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or higher) so that I could read the Brushes file - which is the animation of the sketch and shows the strokes I made in the order I made them
  • email the brushes file of the animated creation of the sketch to myself
    • by selecting "Mail Actions" from the Share menu at the bottom of the gallery view in Brushes
    • This creates an email titled "Brushes Painting Actions" and automatically includes the relevant file as a compressed file
  • save the file from the email I received on my iMac
  • open the compressed file and extract the brushes file and view using Brushes Viewer
  • export the movie as a .mov file.  Option included size, compression, quality and frame rate (but I haven't investigated how to vary those as yet)
  • view the .mov file in QuickTime Player
  • Upload .mov file to YouTube and Flickr
  • Upload the YouTube movie to Blogger

This is what comes of going to see the Hockney exhibition and watching videos of him sketching plein air using his iPad, the Brushes app and a stylus!

The video is called iPad sketching using Brushes and a Griffin Stylus and you can find it on Making A Mark - the Video Channel

I expect I might be doing a few more of these.........

Friday, January 20, 2012

National Exhibition of Wildlife Art Exhibition 2012: Call for Entries

In 2011, the National Exhibition of Wildlife Art had a record number of visitors, a record number of entries and record sales. Over 18,000 visitors came to see the exhibition at Gordale, Cheshire over 17 days - with 700 attending the Private View.  50% of the work sold - and I know few open art exhibitions that can boast figures like that.

A month ago I highlighted the two Wildlife Artist of the Year art competitions (see Wildlife Artist of the Year 2012 - Call for Entries (x2)).  Below you will find a summary of the Call for Entries for the NEWA Exhibition 2012.

Winner of the 
Daler Rowney Award 2011
for Best Watercolour
Bearded Dragon
by Tracy Hall

3.5" x 1.5"
National Exhibition of Wildlife Art 2012: Call For Entries 
The aims of the exhibition are to promote and display outstanding examples of wildlife art from both professional and amateur artists.
The NEWA Exhibition is an open annual competition which has a range of prizes and awards but its main claim to fame is that it sells the most wildlife  art of any exhibition.  All works in the exhibition are also displayed on the NEWA website (you can see the 2011 exhibition - sorted by artistkeyword and catalogue number)

It's certainly an open exhibition that any serious wildlife artist in the UK should be submitting work to.

The Call for Entries for 2012 has been published.  These are the Exhibition Rules and Conditions.

Who can enter?  There are no limits in the rules

Deadline for entries: Application forms must be completed by 6th June 2012 and artwork must be delivered 4-5th July.  Works must arrive at pick-up points before 2 July 2012.

Eligible artwork

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to produce a large 300dpi TiFF print of an iPad sketch

...is the question I've been asking ever since I saw the Hockney exhibition.

So far I have established:
  • he uses the Brushes app on his iPad
  • Hockney's people state that to avoid pixellation as the size of the print increases, they use a new piece of software which allows prints in a much larger format.
I've looked and looked on the Internet and I can find no mention of the name of the software.  So I asked the question the other way round - the search query was "software used by Hockney to prevent pixelation for large prints of ipad drawings"!

So what's the software?

I'm still not sure - but I've found a suggestion - by a chap called Russ Croop (towards the bottom of the page in the link) - who's a photographer who has been creating large prints from iPhone/Brushes. I've summarised his suggestion below

Brushes Viewer app website - also available as an Apple app
There is a Brushes viewer (the quote is from the Brushes app site)
    You can open your .brushes paintings in Brushes Viewer, a free application for Mac OS X. Brushes Viewer allows you to replay your paintings stroke for stroke, export them at very high resolutions (up to 1920 x 2880), and even export them as QuickTime movies.
    1. Use Brushes Viewer to export iPad sketch at 5X the native size (using the TIFF format) which produces a large file
    2. Import to Photoshop Elements and touch up imperfections (eg unpainted spots)
    3. Select Image/Resize/Image Size
    4. Unselect resample image box 
    5. Type 300 in the resolution box (which changes the file to a higher resolution ie 300dpi which is what is usually required for professional printing) but creates a much smaller image
    6. Select resample image box
    7. Check you have the units correct for the size of image you want (eg inches or cm)
    8. Type in the size of the image you require (eg 20 inches high) - and PS Elements resamples it to create a new large image @300 dpi and keeps the aspect ratio in proportion so long as you also have the "constrain proportions" box checked
    9. Also make sure that the Bicubic Smoother is selected (option just below the resample command) as this is the best option when enlarging images.
    I tried it - and I now have a very large digital sketch 20x16" in Tiff format sitting on my iMac - which was originally created on my iPad.

    I followed all the instructions except for the Brushes viewer bit at the beginning as I already had the digital sketch on my iMac.

    Now can anyone improve on that as a method of enlarging digital sketches created on an iPad?

    Any queries? Any suggestions?  Any recommendations? 

    PS  Two more posts today related to the Hockney Exhibition

    Tuesday, January 17, 2012

    Review: David Hockney RA - A Bigger Picture

    The new David Hockney exhibition of landscape paintings at the Royal Academy of Arts is like a breath of fresh Yorkshire air.

    David Hockney RA - The Bigger Picture is one of the most impressive exhibitions I've ever seen at the RA.

    It's also one of the most accessible and least intimidating exhibitions I've seen in a long time.  I think it's going to be very popular.
    David Hockney RA - The Bigger Picture
    Giant Exhibition Banner
    hanging above the main entrance to Burlington House

    Hockney has filled the main galleries at the RA with some 150 images.  There are sketches in sketchbooks, larger drawings on Arches watercolour paper, a large set of watercolour paintings, oil paintings of every size and very large (and some very, very large) framed colour prints of digital sketches from his iPad.  Plus iPads displaying sketches and a film from a novel grid of nine digital cameras displayed on eighteen LED screens.

    What's most impressive is that this is NOT a retrospective - despite the fact the artist is now in his seventies.

    Examples of his earlier landscapes are referenced in Gallery 2, however the remainder of the gallery comprises works completed in the last few years.  This exhibition is about his current work.  Almost all the art is paintings of the landscapes he's found in the East Yorkshire Wolds west of Bridlington where he now lives 'on location".

    The exhibition demonstrates a prodigious output for an artist of any age.  For an artist in his seventies it's quite remarkable.

    David Hockney
    The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011 (twenty eleven) - 2 January
    iPad drawing printed on paper
    144.1 x 108 cm; one of a 52-part work
    Courtesy of the artist
    Copyright David Hockney
    This review is going to be an overview - an account of my experience of the exhibition today.  Since I've got pages of notes(!), I propose to continue and review specific aspects of the exhibition on The Art of the Landscape - my landscape art blog (see end for more details).  That'll also give me time to absorb what I've seen and to reflect  on it further.

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    RA Summer Exhibition 2012: Call for Entries

    Entry forms for the 2012 Summer Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts are now available.
    This post is about the entry process for the world's largest open submission art competition.
    • for those who have not submitted before - and 
    • for those who have just forgotten how and need a reminder!
      The courtyard of Burlington House - Summer Exhibition 2010

      Sunday, January 15, 2012

      15th January 2012 - Who's made a mark this week?

      Woldgate Woods, 21, 23 & 29 November 2006, 2006 by David Hockney
      Oil on 6 canvases, 182 x 366 cm
      Courtesy of the Artist | Copyright David Hockney | Photo credit: Richard Schmidt
      The PR machine for the major exhibition David Hockney - A Bigger Picture at the Royal Academy of Arts is now in overdrive.  David Hockney is now all over the Television, radio and newspapers - which if, as I do, you happen to support people who paint landscapes plein air and think developing skills in drawing is very important is grand!

      Here are some links to recent items about Hockney and the exhibition
      Importantly for UK readers anybody planning to see this exhibition, the bookings for this exhibition are apparently currently exceeding those for the recent Van Gogh blockbuster exhibition.  Given the recent hiatus over at the National Gallery (see The Da Vinci Queue) if you'd like to view it I really would recommend booking

      I'm seeing the exhibition at the preview on Tuesday.  However my sister is paying a flying visit from Australia in early February and - despite the fact I'm a friend of the RA and can normally visit exhibitions without queuing or buying a ticket - I've had to book a slot to take her.  The idea is to avoid exhibitions being spoilt due to over-crowding.  I can confirm it's very easy to book online and print your tickets at home.

      The exhibition is organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London in collaboration with the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne

      Art and Art Blogs

      Saturday, January 14, 2012

      A 5 minute interview with Brian Sewell

      Brian Sewell seems to be becoming increasingly self-revelatory of late.  Maybe it's about getting to 80?  Maybe it's because he's recently published his autobiography - Outsider

      This is a BBC video of a five minute interview with Brian Sewell on 6 January 2012.

      For those outside the UK who don't know who Brian Sewell is, here's some "bits and bobs" about Brian
      • he's been the art critic for the Evening Standard since 1984 and has won several awards for his writing:
        • British Press Awards: 
        • Critic of the Year1988, 
        • Arts Journalist of the Year 1994; 
        • Hawthornden Prize for ArtCriticism 1995, 
        • Foreign Press Award (Arts) 2000
      • He's been described by some as Britain's most famous and controversial art critic
      • He's not fond of conceptual art - and consequently he's very popular with rather a lot of the ordinary public who consider he says what they think
      • He can always be relied upon for an interesting review - and his tendency to be acerbic means he'll never leave us in any doubt what he thinks about an artist (e.g. Stop it, Damien Hirst, you're embarrassing yourself).
      • Once heard never forgotten - his diction and received pronunciation are both memorable!  
      • Sewell is renowned for unsettling people due to both his personal views and his very forthright style.  There was something of a storm in the art world in 1994 when 35 art world signatories decided to write a letter to the Evening Standard attacking Sewell for "homophobia", "misogyny", "demagogy", "hypocrisy", "artistic prejudice", "formulaic insults and predictable scurrility".  Sewell responded with comments on each of his detractors.  A letter supporting Sewell from 20 other art world signatories accused the writers of attempted censorship to promote "a relentless programme of neo-conceptual art in all the main London venues". 
      • The voice plus what has been described as his is "pithily phrased disdain" and general contempt for the type of art which doesn't find popular support seem to me to be what has made him famous on television in the UK
      • I've got a very good portraiture video about Brian Sewell being painted by three different artists - but don't seem to be able to find it online.
      • he recently displayed his own taste in art (that doesn't include the Old Masters) for the first time at the ING Discerning Eye.  I was particularly struck by the lack of colour - until I found it! (see Review: ING Discerning Eye Exhibition 2011 12 Nov 2011 and in particular the 3rd photo below).  However he obviously also enjoys people who can draw and portray people in paint.

      Three pictures illustrating Brian Sewell's selection for the ING Discerning Eye
      • He doesn't have his own website.  I tend to think Brian probably uses a typewriter and hasn't yet heard of Twitter.  He does however have his very own fan website - probably not a good idea to enter it though!
      Things I never knew until writing this post
      I'm just about to finish the biography of Steve Jobs and I've got the recently published biographies of both Brian Sewell and David Hockney in the queue for the next bedtime read.  Should be interesting!

      Friday, January 13, 2012

      85% of you love "Color and Light"

      Top Art Books in 2011: Which is your personal favourite?

      Last Saturday I listed the books  - Makingamark's Top Five Art Books in 2011 - that I'd identified as being the top five books which were consistently listed as either best selling or top rated month after month in 2011.  These books had been listed on my website Makingamark's Top Ten Fine Art Books - which is updated and revised each month.

      At the end I asked you to vote for which of the five books is
      • either your favourite 
      • or the one you'd most like to have.
      After a week we have a runaway winner! I can't say I'm too surprised by the winner although the margin had even my jaw dropping - because 84.46% of you voted for Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter by: James Gurney (Gurney Journey)

      Top Art Books in 2011: Which is your personal favourite?
      Polldaddy Poll - Table of Results
      (148 votes)

      This only adds to the accolades this book has received since its publication in November 2010.

      You can also READ my detailed review of this book Book Review: Color and Light by James Gurney
      Summary review: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - This is a book for students and improvers and all those who want to know more about colour and how light and colour interact - in life and in a painting. Practical application of the lessons learned is made possible through a very accessible text coupled with excellent use of images and graphics. Coverage of this topic is comprehensive.

      Dear Art Book Publishers 
      please note what a good art book which everyone wants looks like!

      Wednesday, January 11, 2012

      Major Art Exhibitions in London in 2012

      For all those planning to visit London in 2012, this post tells you about the major art exhibitions in the main art galleries and museums.

      This is for all those - including me - who have ever missed an exhibition because you didn't realise it's on! This post gets printed out and tacked to my pin board!  It's good to share too.

      This list of major art exhibitions in London focuses on painting, drawing and sculpture and is organised according to the names of each of the major art galleries and museums and for each of these the listing is in date order.  The links in the names of the exhibitions are to their microsite pages (where available) on the relevant art gallery or museum's website where you can find out more about the exhibition, how to get tickets and what are the linked events.  The bigger galleries tend to have a number of events associated with each exhibition.

      Last year I correctly predicted that the the da Vinci exhibition at the National Gallery would be the blockbuster of the year.  This year I think there are a number of exhibitions which will draw the crowds.  These are:
      • the two exhibitions by the UK's greatest living painter
        • which up until July 2011 was Lucian Freud - see Lucian Freud Portraits
        • and since July 2011 is now David Hockney - see David Hockney - The Bigger Picture
      • Picasso and modern British Art - because it's Picasso!
      • The exhibition to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee at the National Portrait Gallery - just because British people are patriotic and this is only the second time ever we've managed to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee (Another three years, 7 months and 3 days and she's reigned for longer than Queen Victoria and becomes the longest-reigning British monarch EVER!)
      CLICK ON THE EXHIBITION TITLE to reach the website page for that exhibition

      Tuesday, January 10, 2012

      Consultation on Remedies for Copyright Small Claims (USA)

      Artists in both the USA and UK have been given the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes to copyright as part of the ongoing process to reform copyright which is occurring in different countries

      This is the first of two posts which look at some of current proposals to make changes to the law which affects those who own copyright of their original work and may be concerned about copyright infringement.

      USA - Remedies for Copyright Small Claims

      You may be aware that the photographers have been working very hard to protect their interests in relation to orphan works.  By default their work probably also protects the interests of artists.  

      Orphan works are those where it is alleged the copyright holder cannot be identified.  

      The importance of orphan works for photographers and artists is that digital images can easily become detached from their proper accreditation - and income can be lost and the asset value damaged as a result.

      Here's a summary of recent developments and where we've got to
      Photographers have evidence that the remedies available in law are in practice not available to those who (such as photographers) who have low incomes and who cannot afford to seek remedies in court

      In the USA you have got until 17th January to give written evidence in relation to Remedies for Small Copyright Claims

      In October 2011, the Copyright Office launched an Inquiry into how people have pursued small copyright claims.  These are typically the sort of claims which might be made by photographers or artists.
      Today the Copyright Office published a Federal Register notice requesting written comments on how copyright owners have handled small copyright claims. Specifically, the Office seeks comments on how copyright owners and defendants use the current legal system for small copyright claims; the obstacles and benefits of using federal district courts; potential alternatives for handling copyright claims that have a relatively small economic value; the logistics of potential alternatives; and the benefits and risks presented by different types of processes. Over the next two years, the Office expects to seek additional comments, conduct roundtables or hearings, and meet with stakeholders. The notice of inquiry is now available at www.copyright.gov/docs/smallclaims. The deadline for comments is January 16, 2012.
      READ THIS:  Remedies for Small Copyright Claims Statement of the United States Copyright Office before the Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property, Committee on the Judiciary (March 29, 2006)  

      It covers the matters which the Inquiry is considering - and in providing evidence it is always wise to address the scope of the issues under consideration.

      The deadline for response was subsequently changed to the 17th January

      This is the Submission Form (closes January 17, 2012)

      If you have ever investigated pursuing a copyright infringement and/or have tried to take action in relation to a copyright claim, you might want to think about submitting evidence.

      The more people who demonstrate that legal remedies are beyond the scope of most people the more likely it is that an appropriate remedy for small claims will be developed.

      If you know of any good articles or posts relating to this please leave a link in the comments.


      The next blog post will look at what's happening in the UK

      Monday, January 09, 2012

      Makingamark's Top Ten Art Books in December 2011

      This post is my normal monthly review of the top ten art books sold in the last month - December 2011.  You can see more about:
      First a preamble about identifying the top fine art books.

      Commentary the fine art book market

      I started doing this review because I'd become very familiar with just how poor the categorisation was on Amazon and how difficult it could be to identify good fine art books

      It doesn't get any easier!

      Sales in December seemed to correct some of the very odd results I got in November.  However "Music" and the "Performing Arts" are still unaccountably mixed up with what used to be the Art, Architecture and Photography category on Amazon.com.  They are nowhere to be seen on Amazon.co.uk which has a completely different system for categorising books - and a completely separate category for Music, Stage & Screen!)

      Does this mean sales of art books are way down in the USA?

      Or does the current algorithm leaves much to be desired?

      I lean towards the latter being the explanation having seen some quite ludicrous so-called art book entries in the top 100 of the Arts  (and that's other than items like the Thomas Kinkade Disney Collection: 2012 Wall Calendar - I kid you not!). 

      What it does mean is that the top 100 books in December / January are dominated by books about music and calendars!  Not at all helpful to those trying to find a decent fine art book!

      What's very interesting is that expensive books about art history have come to the fore of late with two books about understanding art history taking the top two slots for art books in the top 100 books about art.  Maybe they make great Christmas presents?  Or maybe they're so expensive they only ever get bought as presents?

      Also I've yet to understand the rationale for why an ebook is more expensive than a print book.  Yet I've now come across several examples of the ebook having the higher price tag.

      Another interesting aspect was seeing a book which purported to be the most popular book in one category - but was absolutely free in the Kindle version while the paperback was priced.  I can't help but think this is an edited "trailer" for the real thing.  I ignored it on the basis that it was not a new book and it had no other merits when published four years ago.

      I'm also beginning to see quite a few self-published books - some of which are a long way short of adequate.

      Also, while I was compiling the listings for December, I kept running into whole swathes of explicit adult p**n books in the "arts" section.  I'm assuming that Amazon has been caught napping and that if it has any sense it will realise it will lose a lot of customers if it continues to allow such books to be mixed up with books which children might want to access.  If it doesn't disappear I'll be telling Amazon exactly what I think of its new role of pimp!

      I can't help thinking that wading through the nonsense of some of the rankings on Amazon and elsewhere might just be about to get a lot more difficult in 2012.

      On to the results for December........

      Sunday, January 08, 2012

      8th January 2012 - Who's made a mark this week

      I'm starting the first "who's made a mark this week" of 2012 with a summary of your posts about reviews of 2011 and plans for 2012.  The main reason I do this is because I find it absolutely fascinating how people approach these popular tasks.  Take a look and you may find yourself revising what you do at the end of this year!

      Some of you combine posts (the "Janus post") and look backwards and forwards - and in that case I've included them in the first section below.

      A bust of the two faces of Janus
      - the Roman god associated with new beginnings and transitions
      Location: Vatican Museum

      The Janus Post - looking backwards and forwards

      Reviews of 2011

      Then we had the more straightforward reviews from (listed alphabetically):

      New Year Resolutions

      I spotted rather fewer plans for 2012

      For those who haven't yet made their plans try reading How to Have the Best Year of Your Life (without Setting a Single Goal)

      So much for my intention to write shorter posts - this one in draft had weeks of material in it - half of which I've had to move forward to next week!

      Here's the rest.......

      Artists and Art Blogs

      Saturday, January 07, 2012

      Makingamark's Top Five Art Books in 2011

      The five best selling art books of 2011 - by some distance - are listed below.

      I've identified these by going back over the listings I do for Makingamark's Top Ten Fine Art Books - which are revised each month. (The post about the Top Ten Art Books in December follows on Monday)

      Note that these books were best sellers in both the USA and UK.  Their relative position has varied over the course of the year hence I'm not attributing relative places per se and have listed them below alphabetically by title.

      Click the titles to see more.

      Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter by: James Gurney (Gurney Journey)
      Ranked #1 BEST SELLER in the Top 100 Painting Books - BEFORE it was published in November 2010 on the strength of pre-publication sales - it has now pretty much stayed at or very near the top ever since.
      HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Read my Book Review: Color and Light by James Gurney.

      This book was both the most popular book about painting and the top rated book about painting in 2011 for a few months.  It remained at the top of one or the other (as per my definitions of what's an art book!) for the whole of 2011.

      It's very rare for an art book to maintain an average rating of 5 stars on Amazon as the numbers of reviews increase and yet that's what this book did in 2011.

      It also got the The Best Book by an Art Blogger Blue Ribbon from me.

      One of the things I really like about this book is that it was conceived, written and designed by an artist who drove the production process.  It's not a publisher's book per se - it's an artist's book.  As such it is full of first-rate content and had been marketed well in advance of its publication through the very good use of content appearing on Gurney Journey

      Art book publishers please note!  I'm very sure there will be more from other artists.  Maybe it's time to review the nature of the publishing contract between artist and publisher?

      The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity [10th Anniversary Edition] by Julia Cameron 
      An international bestseller, millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living the artist's life.Publisher
      1950 days = nearly five and a half years in the top 100 arts books sold on Amazon - that's some achievement! Let's not forget that this book is also the second edition and there was another one before this!

      I guess quite a few of my readers have got this book on their shelves somewhere.

      The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance by: Edmund de Waal
      This book is not easily categorised as demonstrated by its rankings on Amazon.  I decided to keep it within art history although not a conventional art history book.  In September 2010, Amazon rated it as the Amazon Best Book of the Month - which may just have given it a little boost! ;)  It was the best selling art history book between September and December 2010 and March-October 2011.  It was top rated in November 2011.  It's also doing exceptionally well as an ebook (separately listed).

      It's also won
      Do also take a look at the Edmund de Waal Netsuke Gallery to see the real thing and the rest of the collection.

      The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by: Betty Edwards
      HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - see my book review.  A 4TH EDITION is to be published in April 2012

      Sometimes I think this book has been around forever and that it will go on forever.  It is republished with a new edition every few years and the big news is that a fourth edition is due out in April.  This book has been consistently in the top three books about drawing on Amazon.  It's also been the best selling book about drawing for a very long time.  The only time it drops out of the charts is when Amazon is messing with its formula.

      Latterly one gets the impression people are awaiting eagerly for the 4th edition - at which point it often gets rebought all over again!

      Wall and Piece by: Banksy
      • USA: (n/a) days in the top 100 arts books - Was consistently in the top 100 in the USA until the advent of music books and calendars at the end of 2011 made the top 100 for art completely meaningless! 
      • UK: 1828 days in the top 100 art books 
      • Amazon USA reviews: 4.8 out of 5 stars (102 customer reviews) | Like (105) 
      • Amazon UK reviews: 4.6 out of 5 stars (88 customer reviews) | Like (18) 
      Another very successful book by an artist who doesn't conform to "the rules". It has been both a best selling and/or top rated art book for a VERY VERY long time. I had to retire it from the charts before 2011 due to the way it swamped everything else about artists. This was the TOP RATED ARTIST/ART HISTORY BOOK JULY-DECEMBER 2011.

      Which is your favourite?

      I own four of these books and I'm guessing quite a few of you have got at least one.

      But which is your favourite or the one you'd most like to have?

      Friday, January 06, 2012

      Gerhard Richter: Panorama at Tate Modern - Review

      Gerhard Richter - entrance to Panorama Exhibition at Tate Modern
      (note the blurry lady!)
      Yesterday I went to see the Gerhard Richter Panorama Exhibition at Tate Modern before it closes on Sunday.

      Of the two exhibitions about painting I've seen this week I liked this one less than the Painting Canada exhibition at Dulwich.  I'll try and explain why.  I do know I loved the colour I saw at Dulwich and I saw an awful lot of monochrome at Tate Modern - but there's more to it than that.

      I guess the thing which threw me the most is the fact he hasn't maintained a consistent style.  It's not so much a Picasso progression through different styles over the period of his career so much as his ability to work in very different ways using very different tools at the same time!  The lack of commentary on technique of his paintings of "realism" was also somewhat frustrating.

      On the other hand it is refreshing to see somebody who enjoys an exploration of what painting is and means.
      Spanning nearly five decades, and coinciding with the artist’s 80th birthday, Gerhard Richter: Panorama is a major retrospective exhibition that groups together significant moments of his remarkable career.

      Since the 1960s, Gerhard Richter has immersed himself in a rich and varied exploration of painting. Gerhard Richter: Panorama highlights the full extent of the artist's work, which has encompassed a diverse range of techniques and ideas. It includes realist paintings based on photographs, colourful gestural abstractions such as the squeegee paintings, portraits, subtle landscapes and history paintings
      Two of the new CAGE Paintings by Gerhard Richter
      exhibited at Tate Modern
      - gives you a sense of size!

      I didn't buy the catalogue so this post is going to be observations about his paintings which won't necessarily reference them by name.  However I am going to create a bit of a mashup with commentary by linking you to:
      Do let me know what you think about this approach!