Saturday, March 31, 2012

Review: Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2012 Exhibition

I went to see the 2012 Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize Exhibition yesterday at the Mall Galleries which is on display until Thursday 5th April.  I very much recommend this as an exhibition to go and see if you want to see good figurative art currently being produced in the UK.

Melissa Scott-Miller won a prize for Islington back gardens - Autumn (on right)
If you can't get to the exhibition, you can see the 2012 exhibition images online on the Painter-Stainers website.

I'm not going to identify all the images in the captions - and I'm afraid that the website doesn't attribute any title or artist to any of the images they're displaying either.  However if you have a query about any let me know and I'll tell you who it's by.

You can also see the exhibition at W.H. Patterson Gallery between 23-27 April 2012

Lynn Painter-Stainers Exhibition in the West Gallery of the Mall Galleries
I do wish the selectors would tell the hangers which paintings have won prizes - BEFORE the paintings are hung.  Not all the paintings which won prizes were in the best of positions and I can't believe this would have been the case if they knew which works won prizes.

About the exhibition
The Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2012 is a competition designed to encourage creative representational painting and promote the skill of draughtsmanship.
My observations on the exhibition which I scribbled down while in the gallery are as follows:

Friday, March 30, 2012

What aspects of your art and art business do you insure? POLL RESULTS

There's one overwhelming conclusion to be drawn from my poll which asked "What aspects of your art and art business do you insure?"

In general, the majority of artists do not tend to insure their artwork or their studios.

However, this poll had a very low response despite the fact that one of the responses was 'no insurance' - which was the option picked by 42% of the respondents.  Hence it's probably too low to be reliable.

An explanation for the low response might be that this reflects a bade case of 'head in sand'.  I'll expand on that.

Below is the chart for the poll results - right click the image and open in another tab to see it more clearly

Poll: What aspects of your art and art business do you insure?
March 2012 Poll: What aspects of your art and art business do you insure?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Antony Williams wins Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2012

Antony Williams RP PS NEAC has been awarded the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2012 for his egg tempera painting Still life with electric fan. He receives £15,000 and an engraved gold medal.

"Still life with electric fan" by Antony Williams
egg tempera, 74 x 120cm
The Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2012 is a competition designed to encourage creative representational painting and promote the skill of draughtsmanship. 
An exhibition of 98 selected works is on display at the Mall Galleries, London until 5 April.  The exhibition will then tour to W.H. Patterson Gallery, London W1 from 23 - 27 April 2012.

I'm planning to go and see it on Friday (which is my Drawing Group day) and will post a review either Friday or Saturday.  [Update:  See also Review: Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2012 Exhibition]

Other prizes were as follows
As I indicated in my earlier post, in 2012, the selectors seem to have rather more artists than I recall having in the past. They are:
  • Andrew Wilton, Visiting Research Fellow at Tate Britain (past selector)
  • Ken Howard RA NEAC, Artist - winner of numerous prizes and a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Painter Stainers
  • Chris Orr RA, Artist - used to be Professor and Head of Department of the Printmaking Department at the Royal College of Art London
  • James Hart Dyke, Artist - paints MI6 and the Himalayas
  • William Packer, Art critic and artist


The Lynn Painter-Stainers Competition is sponsored by The Painter-Stainer's Company, The Lynn Foundation, Minerva, Linklaters LLP and Champagne Bollinger.

Links to previous Making A Mark posts about the Lynn Painter Stainer Prize and Exhibition

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Royal Watercolour Society Spring Exhibition 2012 - a review

I went to the Private View of the Royal Watercolour Society's Spring Exhibition 2012 last week.  The exhibition continues until 21 April at the Bankside Gallery on the South Bank next to Tate Modern.

Below you'll find my observations on the exhibitions and artists whose paintings I liked and the name of the artist who won the Turner Watercolour Prize - plus images of the exhibition.

The Wall next to the Entrance

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Buying a new camera - Update

I had a both a frustrating and productive time yesterday trying to track down cameras I wanted to try.

The good news - I think I've found the camera I want to buy - the Canon Powershot SX40 HS.  I'm in the process of testing out how strong my feelings are towards it - and finding the best price.

Canon Powershot SX40 HS

The bad news - This conclusion was not without some considerable frustration which almost made me give up looking!  Plus an extra bit of bad news I could have done without.

Frustrating: John Lewis @ Stratford Westfield

Call me old fashioned but I thought that the point of having cameras in a store is that you're trying to sell them.  However after three visits to John Lewis at Stratford Westfield I've still to come across a working camera.

If it happens once, I just think it's one of those things, twice I begin to get irritated and three times I ask to speak to the manager.

Yesterday I learned the store has a set-up which is basically malfunctioning badly and none of the cameras appear to be charging.  All of the ones I pick up have discharged their batteries and are not charging - hence nothing actually works and it's impossible to test a camera.  What's more I gather that this is a new system that John Lewis was hoping to implement in all their stores.

I can't buy from B&M stores which don't get the basics right.  If I don't want to try before I buy I'll go to Amazon!

What John Lewis needs to do is install the system used by both Jessops and Currys which works fine!

Good news: The very well informed man in Jessops

I like to buy from stores where the staff are well informed and helpful.  People who know about cameras and can explain the techie bits I don't understand - and don't guess when they don't know!

Yesterday I was fortunate in encountering a nice chap called William in Jessops at Stratford Westfield.

He was able to tell me all about the camera I decided I wanted to look at - the Canon Powershot SX40 HS.  In particular was able to demonstrate how the macro worked with an object at zero distance.

Good news:  Canon Powershot SX40 HS

I'm seriously contemplating buying a Canon Powershot SX40 HS.  This is the complete specification.

Canon SX40 HS - from the rear
Just got to work out what those new buttons are top right....
Here's some of the reasons why I like this camera.  Plus this is a Trusted Reviews review of the Canon SX40 HS
  • Most of the controls are the ones I know and have been using for years - only a few new ones to learn!  Chances are I know how most of it works already.
  • The big new addition is the 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor.  This gives improved photography in low light conditions - which for taking photographs in exhibitions will be a boon.
  • It's got a 35x optical zoom with image stablisation which is much better than my current S5-S1 12x optical zoom AND it can take macro shots very close to the subject - which is essential (see Trusted Reviews Review of the SX40 HS for photos which demonstrate what is possible).  I discovered, thanks to William, that the trick is to do all such photographs on the wideangle lens with no zoom.  Hence why the camera can take images when there is zero distance between camera and object.  It also focused fantastically fast using this method.  The only issue for me is going to be my mobility in getting close to the objects.  see Zoom, Image Stablisation and Macro
Canon Powershot SX40 HS
showing off the 36 optical zoom 24-840mm
  • It's got the great Canon Image Stabilisation I like and trust - this is what keeps me wedded to Canon 
  • Fantastically comfortable hand grip built into the camera.  This is again for me a real clinching factor for me.  If it feels like an extension of my hand and is very safe and secure when in use I'm a lot happier.  See Design and Comfort
  • It also has the standard very flexible vari-angle monitor which I've now been using for years and which everyone else now seems to have copied
  • Plus the Dioptre correction which is now essential for me.
  • Plus it can record video at 1080p full HD resolution, at 24fps - which is nice but not essential.
Incidentally, one of the things I realised while idly looking at some of the Digital SLRs is that I can't use them as they are too heavy for my hand which has permanent tenosynovitis.  Plus handling them felt uncomfortable for me and may leave me seriously off balance and hence prone to fall.

So I'm definitely sticking to a bridge camera - and saving some money as well!

Bad news:  the Battery

I sometimes take huge numbers of photos and hence want a battery which can cope with this.  However I tend to have back-ups for when I've forgotten to charge the battery.  I was expecting a switch from AA batteries.  What I wasn't expecting was the difficulty in locating genuine Canon batteries, the prices quoted for the genuine articles (I've been quoted £69 for a proper Canon battery!) and the fact that both these factors contribute to a market for counterfeit batteries which might damage the camera.

It really concerns me that a genuine battery is difficult to get hold of and the production of counterfeit batteries means it's difficult to know whether you're getting the genuine article or not.  I'm waiting for an answer from Canon on that one.

So that's where I've got to so far.  I'm now trying to suss out this battery situation and work out what the best combined deal is.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2012 - Selected artists & artwork

These are the artists selected for the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize.

The exhibition opens to the public at the Mall Galleries on 28th March and continues until Thursday 5th April.
The purpose of the Prize is to encourage creative representational painting and promote the skill of draughtsmanship. This annual exhibition is open to all UK artists with prize money totalling £25,000 and an engraved gold medal for the winner.
Many of the names of the artists below are familiar to me.  Many more artists from the art societies based at the Mall Galleries have submitted entries this year and been selected.

This could be because the Prize gets more well known every year (this is its 7th year) or it could be because of the change of venue from the Painter-Stainers Hall to the much larger Mall Galleries.

It certainly seems to be a bigger exhibition.  There are 98 artworks in total.  In the last exhibition in 2010, there were 68 artworks by 65 artists.

If you click the link in the artist's name, it takes you to their website or a gallery website they are associated with. It may go to the artist's CV/bio page, in which case you will then need to click another page on the website to see images of more of their work.

Michael Stewart Attwell Thames estuary at Southend
Julian Bailey Students' break
Sasha Bowles Things would never be the same again
Peter Brown NEAC Studio mantlepiece
Peter Brown NEAC The Udaipur Sunset Painting
Nick Bush The long walk to Glynde
John Cahill Snow in the Cych Valley
David Caldwell Faces
Harry T. Chrystall Bronze in the breath
Peter Clossick Studio corner
Peter Clossick Lyds
Tom Coates A day's wages
Austin Cole RBA North Pembrokeshire headland
Austin Cole RBA T5 is working
Anthony Connolly Mock lemon
Phoebe Cope Modinagar
Jane Corsellis NEAC RWS Rock face, Salzburg
PJ Crook Nocturne
Patrick Cullen NEAC Calanchi, Italy
Paul Curtis NEAC Dried flowers and thoughts of Spring
Saied Dai RP Muse
Mick Davies RBA The Battle of Maerdy Bridge
George Devlin RBA ROI RWS  Lunch at La Guinguette
Jill Eastland Our land: sample square of common land grass
Claire Edwards Still life in orange with lobster
Mark Entwisle Saturday sun
Peter Fleming Gilded memories
Paul R. Gildea Pennies
Carolyn Gowdy In a topsy turvy world
Naomi Grant Self portrait
Christopher Green The Shard from King William Street
Paul Green Front room curtain
Tom Hammick Gas station 
Alex Hanna Shampoo
Charlotte Harris Dice jar
Emma Haworth A garden in the east
Emma Hopkins Lucy
Marguerite Horner Void
Peter R. Hunt A Tuscan arcadia
F.M. Kennett Bottles
Yuichiro Kikuma No entry
Jessica Kirkpatrick Night of the nightingale
Darius Lambert Isthmus
Selwyn Leamy The violet hour (Mr Peter)
John Lines RBSA RMSA The return
Caroline McAdam Clark RWS Sweet oblivion
Caroline McAdam Clark RWS My bed, Bamako
Mary Mabbutt Red studio
Sargy Mann Bathers in black and red
Dean Marsh Rose bud
Sonia Martin The doll
Wladyslaw Mirecki Holme Valley, Yorkshire
Juliette Palmer RBA In the farm outhouse
Shanti Panchal The Riverbank, Maldon
Rod Pearce St. Pancras Station
Terence Pearce Black Buddha and nasturtiums
Morgan Penn Julie does it while burning her knickers
David Piddock On Heron Quay
Scott Pohlschmidt Britain's greatest pork export playing hide and seek in my studio
Stephen Read The collectors
Rachel Ross Silver spoons
Malcolm Ryan Billowing clouds
Paul Savage The Harlequin
Melissa Scott-Miller RP NEAC Islington back gardens - Autumn
Anna Jung Seo The artist with his dog
Daniel Shadbolt Nicholas
Kath Shaw Falling from grace
Rob Shaw Breakwater, Staithes, heavy seas, October - rising tide
Yasunobu Shidami Cow 1
Helen Simmonds December shadow
Barbara Skingle ....i dream of monsters
Helen Slater Seawall, Tewkes creek - in memory of Bob McAnulty
David Statter Canary Wharf escalators
Laurie Steen Landstill 41-11
Laurie Steen Familiar Field V, 40-11
David Stevenson Abandon hope
A. Lincoln Taber Walter Potter's Village School
Hocktee Tan Grey nude six panels
Bonita Tandy Reflected flowers
Michael Taylor Piano pieces
Lex Thomas Future proof
Simon Turvey Cinema
Simon Turvey Derelict house - Languedoc
Deborah Walker RI Evening sun: Old Harry
Hannah Webb Winter weekend warmer
Graham Webber Flooded footpath, Dedham
Tony Wells At Freshfield Woods
David Vincent Wheeler Cuore di Firenze (view from Duomo looking towards S M Novella, Florence)
John Whitehill Red plane
Antony Williams Still life with electric fan
Charles Williams I know that Nelli loves me 3
Nicholas Charles Williams Still life with IED
Kate Wilson Blue sky over Weir Road
Susan Wilson Exterior W10 (after Watteau)
Michael J. Woodford Of Pembrokeshire
Neale Worley NEAC RP Family
Peter Wylie Goldfinger seven (with Le Corbusier flaking paint from apartment studio)
Dawei Zhang Bitter yellow

As always I do the best job I can to find these links and any errors are all mine. Please feel to identify any amendments required

There are a number of events during the exhibition
  • Figure Drawing workshop with David Caldwell Wednesday 28 March 1.00pm–3.00pm
  • Still Life Drawing workshop with David Caldwell Monday 2 April 1.00pm–3.00pm
  • Figure Drawing workshop with Tom Coates Wednesday 4 April 1.00pm–3.00pm
For further information and bookings please contact:Tel. 01372 462190

    Sunday, March 25, 2012

    25th March 2012 - Who's made a mark this week?

    Spring (1570) by Pieter van der Heyden after Pieter Bruegel the Elder
    Spring (published 1570) by Pieter van der Heyden after Pieter Bruegel the Elder
    Engraving - Print
    Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington
    Spring began this week - and the clocks went back last night in the UK.  We are now officially enjoying British Summer Time!

    This week's post has a bit of a "Spring" theme

    The above image is in a number of collections. It's a print of an engraving by Pieter van der Heyden after a painting of Spring by Pieter Brueghal the Elder and made shortly after his death.

    Over on the Guardian, Jonathan Jones has decided to create a new series of posts about My favourite spring artworks.  To date he's had
    Plus The Guardian has another new initiative - Share your art with us - and has asked people to submit their artwork on the theme of Spring
    This is a new series dedicated to your art. It was inspired by the extraordinary response we got when we invited you to share your picturescreated using mobile apps.
    Here's part of that response - The art of the app: works made on iPads and iPhones - a slideshow of art sent into the Guardian by people who've all been busy creating digital art

    This is Share Your Art - Your Pictures so far in relation to the Spring theme.  I'm inclined to side with one person who commented that they didn't think some of them looked much like Spring!  There's also a few "Hockney wannabes" in there.  The gallery uses LiveShare.

    I'm also continuing the theme of seasonal landscapes on The Art of the Landscape (I was doing it before Jonathan!) and have kicked off a mix of Spring Landscapes and landscapes associated with the month of March.  There will be a few more this week
    I also did my first "Spring" sketch recently - see Travels with a SketchbookThe Thames at Kew - in March sunshine.

    So - over to you.  Do you sketch or paint with a view to making a record of the Season or maybe what the landscape looks like this month?

    Travels with a sketchbook - The Thames at Kew - looking towards Richmond
    The Thames at Kew - looking towards Richmond 12 and 15 March 2012
    pen and inck and coloured pencils in Moleskine sketchbook, 11" x 16"
    © Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved
    Now for the rest of this week's post


    Saturday, March 24, 2012

    Pinterest revises TOS and addresses copyright issues: a Primer

    The Pinterest team has decided to try and address the very real copyright concerns of visual artists, photographers and others.  

    NEW Terms of Service are to be implemented as from 6th April 2012.  

    This post highlights the changes and what it means for artists and photographers and other designers who have been at risk of losing income streams due to the previous TOS and member behaviour.

    Here's a summary of what it covers
    • What Pinterest has changed
      • Terms of service to be revised as from 6 April 2012
      • The definition of user content - including what the Acceptable Use Policy says
      • a New definition of Intellectual Property Rights 
      • Access to more information about copyright - a smart move on Pinterest's part to provide access to resources which are a resource for those who know nothing or very little about copyright
      • Easier to report copyright infringements - ways in which Pinterest now makes this easier
      • Penalties for repeat offenders (re. copyright infringement - in terms of inability to pin or loss of membership
      • How to file a notice re copyright infringement - this discusses perjury and what the penalties for perjury are
    • New Developments which have been signalled
      • A Pinterest API
      • Private Pin Boards
      • different Pinterest accounts
    • What hasn't changed
      • Size of images

    It's probably necessary for me to say that I'm not a lawyer and you should not rely on anything I say as legal advice.  I'm just an experienced internet user who, like you, is trying to make sense of what Pinterest is saying.

    Friday, March 23, 2012

    The Threadneedle Space opens at Mall Galleries

    For the last few months, those of us who regularly visit the Mall Galleries have been aware that a major refurbishment of the East Gallery was being undertaken.  This week it reopened as the Threadneedle Space - and it's stunning.

    The new styling creates a much more contemporary alternative to the main gallery.  The wall panels have been stripped back - which has helped to create a space which is one third larger than the previous gallery.  At the same time the old ceiling has been removed allowing the gallery to go back to its original height - and gaining over one metre of height in the process.  The windows have been uncovered as a result and these now allow natural daylight to penetrate the gallery space for the first time.  The wood floor has gone and in its place is what I think is polished concrete.  The new lighting systems are excellent.  In particular because they're higher the light is more diffuse so that everything is well lit without reminders of spotlights all the time.

    Below you'll find some photographs from my visit this afternoon.

    The Stairs are in the same place - but everything has changed!
    The first thing you notice is that the stairs are different...
    • and the floors completely different....
    • and the name of the galleries is on the floor....
    • and the ceiling height has changed and the gallery is now much higher
    The Space now seems much bigger
    Over to left there is a space to exhibit sculpture as well as paintings.

    The height of the 'state of the art' lighting casts a much more diffused light over the paintings - and they look much better for it.  Plus the natural light from the galleries in wall along The Mall side help to make the space seem much bigger and more airy.

    The windows along the Mall wall give the light a completely different quality
    Looking back to the new Gallery Reception area
    The Threadneedle Space now provides an opportunity for exhibitions which can be a bit more distinctive. I can well imagine it may prove popular with artists or small groups of artists who want
    to have an exhibition in a central London location.

    The launch exhibition comprises a work by a selection of invited artists who have either won or been shortlisted for The Threadneedle Prize. I have to say it looked very good in the space.

    Overall it's a huge improvement - however I can see one problem with it.

    It's the age old problem of what happens when you give a room a makeover at home. You then need to "do the rest of the house"!

    I think it's going to provide a huge incentive to do the same thing in the large West Gallery.
    The entire project is a result of further generous funding from Threadneedle Investments, whose commitment towards the Mall Galleries and the work of this charity has already played a fundamental role in making The Threadneedle Prize one of the UK's most significant prizes for contemporary painting and sculpture.

    Animal Beauty at the Grand Palais in Paris

    One of the most popular forms of art is that which portrays the animal.  Animal Beauty, a new exhibition which opened yesterday at the Galeries Nationale due Grand Palais in Paris is bound to draw big crowds between now and the summer (it closes on 16 July).

    I've not seen it - however I have managed to get hold of some of the images of work in the show and it looks as if it's stunning.  I must confess a particular liking for the older works!

    Deux chiens de chasse liés à une souche 1548-1549 by Jacopo Bassano
    Deux chiens de chasse liés à une souche (1548-1549)
    by Jacopo da Ponte, known as Jacopo BASSANO (1515-1592)
    oil on canvas, 61 x 80 cm
    Department of Paintings, Louvre Museum, Paris
    © Service presse Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais / Stéphane Maréchalle
    Animal Beauty
    The exhibition looks at the artwork which has resulted from the relationship that artists have developed with animals.  It includes 130 artworks from the Renaissance to the present day - everything from Albrecht Durer to Jeff Koons.

    The artwork covers all aspects of the animal kingdom - with wildlife mingling with more domestic animals, and the strange with the more familiar.

    Les Oiseaux (1619) by an anonymous German Painter
    Les Oiseaux (1619) by an anonymous German Painter
    oil on canvas, 141 x 96 cm
    Strasbourg, musée des Beaux-Arts
    © Musée des Beaux-Arts, Strasbourg, photo M. Bertola
    There are paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, and photographs.  They demonstrate the enormous diversity in which animals are portrayed.  At the same time they share a commonality - every artwork is about the animal alone - with no human presence

    Cheval caracolant (1881-1890) by Edgar DEGAS (1834-1917)
    Cheval caracolant (1881-1890) by Edgar DEGAS (1834-1917)
    Paris, musée d’Orsay
    © Service presse Réunion des musées nationaux - Grand Palais / Hervé Lewandowsk

    Sections of the exhibition

    I. Looking at Animals

    In the Renaissance the emphasis was on observation and learning about animals - what they looked like and how they moved.  Animals were studied closely and described in minute detail.  At the time, new lands and new animals and birds were being discovered.  In time new breeds were developed.

    The artwork shows us both the new discoveries and the new breeds and the breeds which have subsequently been lost or gone out of fashion.

    Rhinocéros (1515) by Albrecht DURER (1471-1528)
    Rhinocéros (1515) by Albrecht DURER (1471-1528)
    wood engraving, 21.2 x 30 cm
    Paris, BnF, département des Estampes et de la photographie
    © Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France
    This very famous woodcut by Durer records the arrival in Lisbon of an Indian rhinoceros on 20 May 1515.
    The ruler of Gujarat, Sultan Muzafar II (1511-26) had presented it to Alfonso d'Albuquerque, the governor of Portuguese India. Albuquerque passed the gift on to Dom Manuel I, the king of Portugal. The rhinoceros travelled in a ship full of spices.

    On arrival in Lisbon, Dom Manuel arranged for the rhinoceros to fight one of his elephants (according to Pliny the Elder's Historia Naturalis ('Natural History') (AD 77), the elephant and rhinoceros are bitter enemies). The elephant apparently turned and fled.

    A description of the rhinoceros soon reached Nuremberg, presumably with sketches, from which Dürer prepared this drawing and woodcut.

    No rhinoceros had been seen in Europe for over 1000 years, so Dürer had to work solely from these reports. He has covered the creature's legs with scales and the body with hard, patterned plates.

    British Museum - Albrecht Dürer's Rhinoceros, a drawing and woodcut

    II. Aesthetic and Moral Prejudices

    What I didn't know is that France had Buffon (Comte de Buffon, Georg Louis LeClerc (1707-1788),) who was a gentleman who was hugely influential in the development of a Natural History of animals.  His book, published shortly before the French Revolution contains some beautiful plates of animals
    His great work is the Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière; and it can undoubtedly claim the merit of having been the first work to present the previously isolated and apparently disconnected facts of natural history in a popular and generally intelligible form......

    The edition most highly prized by collectors, on account of the beauty of its plates, is the first, which was published in Paris (1749-1804) in forty-four quarto volumes, the publication extending over more than fifty years. In the preparation of the first fifteen volumes of this edition (1749-1767) Buffon was assisted by Daubenton, and subsequently by P. Guéneau de Montbéliard, the abbé G.L.C.A. Bexon, and C.N.S. Sonnini de Manoncourt. The following seven volumes form a supplement to the preceding, and appeared in 1774-1789, the famous Époques de la nature (1779) being the fifth of them. They were succeeded by nine volumes on the birds (1770-1783), and these again by five volumes on minerals (1783-1788). The remaining eight volumes, which complete this edition, appeared after Buffon's death, and comprise reptiles, fishes and cetaceans.

    1911 Encyclopædia Britannica - Buffon, George Louis Leclerc
    The exhibition suggests that Buffon's distinction between noble and ignoble animals led to phenomena such as phobias about insects.  As a result, some species were neglected by scientists and artists alike. Art these days overturns these values and artists look at animals that have long been denigrated. César’s Bat and Louise Bourgeois’s Spider are good examples.

    Insectes et araignée (1660) by Jan I VAN KESSEL (1626-1679)
    oil on canvas, 17 x 23 cm
    Strasbourg, musée des Beaux-Arts
    © Musée des Beaux-Arts, Strasbourg, photo M. Bertola

    III. Monkeys and Men 

    This section deals with the notion that monkeys were related to man - and how they were subsequently portrayed in artwork.  This followed the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species in 1959 was a shock for Judeo-Christian civilisation.

    IV. New Sensitivity 

    This section traces the ethics and morality of the relationship between animals and man from tales from the bible and the mythology relating to Noah’s Ark - through to discussions of the suffering of animals and whether animals have a soul.  Latterly the emphasis has been on the development of associations protecting animal rights
    Artworks demonstrated animal sensitivity and the whole range of their irresistible expressions.
    V. Otherness : Exotic Animals

    Exotic animals have been a status symbol and sought after by Kings and Popes.  They were  collected in menageries to which some artists had privileged access.
    In 1793, the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes sparked a craze for zoos and their popularity has never waned. France thus enabled artists to come close to animals: this was the beginning of animal painting with major figures such as Barye and Delacroix. The artist found an increasingly varied range of models in the menagerie.
    Head of a Lion (vers 1819) by Théodore GERICAULT (1791-1824)
    oil on canvas, 55 x 65 cm
    Paris, musée du Louvre, département des peintures
    © Service presse Réunion des musées nationaux -
    Grand Palais / Christian Jean

    Exhibition details

    I'd very much recommend buying a ticket in advance if this exhibition is popular.  I vividly remember queuing at the Galeries Nationale to see an exhibition!

    View this diagram to find the right entrance - written by one who knows how confusing it is.  You need the Clemenceau entrance

    Dates: Wednesday 21 March to Monday 16 July 2012  (Closed: 1 May): - Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 20:00. Wednesday and Friday from 10:00 to 22:00
    Admission prices : Full price : 12 €; Reduced price : 8 € (13-25 years old, unemployed). Free for under 13 years old or RSA beneficiaries and basic pensioners.
    You can buy tickets online.
    Location: Galeries nationales (Grand palais, Champs-Elysées) - Clemenceau Entrance
    3, avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 Paris
    Information Tel: +33 (0)1 44 13 17 17
    Reception for groups
    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 13 17 64
    Fax (groups): +33 (0)1 44 13 17 60
    Access: Metro: Champs-Elysées Clémenceau or Franklin-D. Roosevelt.
    Bus: lines 28, 32, 42, 72, 73, 80, 83, 93. Vélib’ stations 8029 and 8001

    Links: Wildlife Art - Resources for Artists

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    I think I need a new camera - what do you think?

    I'm in a right quandary.  My beloved camera which has taken great pics in the past is beginning to take not quite so great pics and I've got to start thinking about what next.

    I think I may have fallen over with it round my neck once too often.  (I should add for those who don't know me that I have a balance problem due to damaged feet which don't function as they should).

    I've always had a policy of working out what the next camera is before I need it as I tend to buy a new one every 2-3 years and cameras change so fast these days that I like to know what I'm going to buy before I have to.

    Now the problem I have is I don't know which way to go.  You were all such a help ( see PC vs Mac for artists) last time when I had to decide what to do about my next computer (for which my iMac and I would like to thank you for two extremely happy problem-free years) that I decided the best thing to do is to ask for your help again.

    OK - so here's the problem.  I've been working my way through the Canon Powershot S series Super Zoom (bridge/prosumer series)  for some years now.  I currently own and have flogged to death a Canon Powershot S5 1S.  (Here's the detailed specification)

    My beloved Canon S5 1S

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    Finalists for The Archibald Prize 2012 + The Packing Room Prize

    This year there have been significant increases in the number of entries for Australia's top painting prizes - and in the value of the prizes of offer.  There were:
    • 839 entries for The Archibald Prize ($75,000) - now in its 91st year -  for the Best Portrait Painting preferably of some man or woman distinguished in Art, Letters, Science or Politics. (2011: 708 entries)
    • 783 entries for The Wynne Prize ($35,000) for Best Landscape Painting of Australian scenery, or figure sculpture (2011: 712 entries)
    • 654 entries for The Sulman Prize  $30,000  for Best Subject Painting, Genre Painting or Mural Project by an Australian artist in oil, acrylic, watercolour or mixed media. (2011: 561 entries)
    The announcement of who has won the prizes comes at the end of the month - when the exhibition also opens.  You can see all the finalists and the winners at the Art Gallery of New South Wales between 31st March and 3 June 2012

    The Archibald Prize Finalists

    Thumbnail images of the first 12 finalists
    I gather from this Sydney Morning Herald article - Wood simply chuffed as Archibald targeted by graffiti artists that this year the Archibald Prize includes finalists involved with street art and digital art.  It includes a really excellent video of Luke Cornish meeting up with Father Bob Maguire to produce a stencil art portrait.  I've got to say it's an amazing process and I think it might stands a pretty good chance of winning!

    Below you'll also find another excellent video of last year's Archibald Prize winner painting a portrait - and I anticipate a few of you may find your jaws dropping if you watch it!

    I learn such a lot from looking artists' websites that I thought all of us non-Australians might like to see the work of the artists chosen as finalists for the Archibald Prize.

    The experience was slightly weird.  Every time I came across somebody I thought I might identify as a possible winner - I then discovered they'd already won the Archibald!

    Monday, March 19, 2012

    Diana Armfield RA, RWS - an appreciation

    I'm an enormous fan of the work of figurative artist Diana Armfield RA, RWS, RWE, PS, NEAC - for all sorts of reasons.
    • First off, she draws wonderfully well - with a very sensitive line.
    • Next she's a big user of pastels but uses them with very few strokes and a light touch...
    • ...she produces stunning pastel drawings in a sketchy sort of way - which of course is another reason I like her work
    Lambing Time, North Wales by Diana Armfield
    • She's the inspiration behind my sketches of interiors with people - often in the middle of a nice meal!
    • She's not wedded to one media. I love her painting as well in oils, watercolour and gouache.  I like her dabs and dashes and beautiful modulations of colour.
    • She draws and paints the bits of Venice that nobody else seems to paint
    • I always find her people very believable and love her drawings of women talking.  They speak of quiet observation of real people.
    In my art, I’m always trying to express something which I’m admiring. The last thing I’m thinking about is expressing myself.Diana Armfield
    This post was prompted by stumbling across a video of her which I found on the RWS website.  It's a video created by the RWS to celebrate her 90th year - and below you can see her in her studio talking about her work with David Paskett, President of the Royal Watercolour Society

    After that you can find a summary of how she likes to work followed by a synopis of her career to date - she's now in her ninety second year - plus where you can see her work.

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    18th March 2012: Who's made a mark this week?

    It's very interesting to see how art is beginning to get a higher profile in the newsmedia in the UK ever since the Duchess of Cambridge embarked on her Royal duties of visiting good causes.  Her degree in art history should come in handy!

    Last week she was at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in South London with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall to see children drawing images of the Queen to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.  The Prince was there in his capacity of founder and President of The Prince's Foundation for Children & the Arts (Children & the Arts)

    Here's a video from the Telegraph of The Royals get arty at Dulwich Picture Gallery.

    In addition, in January, she became the patron of two art organisations:
    • The Art Room which is a charity which helps 5 - 16 year olds who are experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties.  The aim is to offer art as a therapy to increase children’s self-esteem, self-confidence and independence.
    • The National Portrait Gallery - her patronage is likely to encourage more young people to engage with the Collection.  Her first public visit to the Gallery related to the opening of the Lucian Freud Portraits exhibition.
    So nice to see that the person who designed the emblem for Diamond Jubilee (above right) was not an ad man.  Instead it was created by Katherine Dewar, aged 10, from Chester.  She met The Queen at Buckingham Palace after winning a competition run by BBC TV's Blue Peter programme

    Art Blogs

    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    7 Gold Medal Winners at RHS Botanical Art 2012

    On Friday afternoon I met four of the seven gold medal winners at the RHS Botanical Art Show which was held in the Lindley Hall in London on 16-17th March.

    Julia Trickey GM and her display of 'Fading Flowers observed"© Julia Trickey
    The RHS Botanical Art Show is very much an international event in the botanical art world - and it's a real coup just to get permission to exhibit!

    These are the artists exhibiting this year categorised by the country they now line in.

    Award Winners

    The two premier awards were won by two of the Gold Medal Winners
    • Best Exhibit in the RHS Botanical Art Show 2012:  Native Ferns of the Peak District by Louise Lane
    • Best Botanical Painting in the RHS Botanical Art Show 2012: Astrophytum by Annie Hughes

    Gold Medal Winners

    Gold Medals are only awarded to exhibits of outstanding and consistent excellence.
    Seven Gold Medals were awarded to exhibiting artists.  This year the Gold Medals were won by:
    1. Gulnur Eksi  - Plants from the woods and forests of Chile
    2. Annie Hughes - Astrophytums
    3. Heeyoung Kim - American Prairie Plants
    4. Kumiko Kosuda - Tricytis
    5. Louise Lane - Native Ferns of the Peak District
    6. Julia Trickey - Fading Flowers Observed
    7. Christiana Webb - Winter Oaks
    I got to speak to four of the gold medal winners and you can read their interviews below.

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    200th Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours

    On Tuesday I went to the Private View for the 200th Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours which opened to the public today at the Mall Galleries and runs until 25th March.  I attended the Private View yesterday and saw a lot of excellent paintings in watercolour and acrylics.

    This review looks at the exhibition in general and highlights
    • the artists whose work I liked
    • the artists who won the awards - and there's a very positive message for all those coming through the Open Submission
    See also my separate posts about the RI on the occasion of its 200th exhibition:

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Watch artists who paint in watercolours

    One of the best aspects of an annual exhibition by an art society is the opportunity it presents to view very experienced artists working on their art.

    Between now and 24th March members of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours will be demonstrating between 11am and 4pm at the Mall Galleries - as part of their 200th Exhibition.  They're also happy to answer your questions.
    • TODAY Wednesday 14 March:
      • A demonstration of painting in watercolours by Bob Rudd 
      • a chance to chat to Greek watercolour artist George Politis.
    Paintings in watercolours by Bob Rudd
    Winner of the Winsor & Newton Prize
    Paintings by Andy Wood
    • Monday 19 March
    • Tuesday 20 March
    • Wednesday 21 March
      • A demonstration of painting in watercolours by Paul Banning
        • Rosa Sepple on hand to answer questions - her website is quite like any other I've seen! :)
    • Thursday 22 March - Robin Hazlewood will be painting live in the gallery.
    • Saturday 24 March - A demonstration of painting in watercolours by Roger Dellar
    I wonder if anybody will video their demonstrations?