Friday, August 31, 2012

Portrait Society of America - 2012 award winners on Facebook

The Portrait Society of America has posted the images of the 2012 International Portrait Competition Winners into an album on its Facebook Page.

In total there are some 50 photographs of the winners of the top prizes and all other awards.  They photographs indicate that the standard of portraiture is extremely high - and refreshingly free of the academic and commissioned photographs of illustrious people (by and large!).  The portfolio of images reminds me much more of the BP Portrait Award rather than the Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.  Those who enter either or both only need to review the images on Facebook to see why I arrive at this conclusion.

National Portrait Society Awardwinners 2012 - on Facebook

The Exhibition was held May 24 – 27, 2012 in Philadelphia, PA so I'm not too sure why it has taken until today to post all the images to facebook.

The reason for this post is that the PSA website has only a small proportion of the images on the website page relating to the 2012 exhibition.  So this new Facebook album is the only place you can see all the artwork which won an award if you were unable to visit the exhibition.

I very often post links the websites of awardwinning British Artists. It occurred to me maybe I should also do the reverse and show British Artists what the websites of those who win prizes at the annual exhibition of a prestigious art society look like. Note folks that they all have websites and many also have blogs and/or Facebook pages!

The awardwinners include:
I must confess I'm very puzzled by how American Art Societies describe their prizes!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Tate's Pinterest Top Ten Pin List

Last week I discovered that the Tate has a Pinterest account (see ).  I looked a bit further and realised that it was actually just a way of the Tate Gallery shops bringing their products that they're retailing to people's attention.

The selection of Boards created by the Tate Gallery on Pinterest
So you click on Damien Hirst or Gerhard Richter and think you might get to see more of their recent exhibitions.  You do - but only to the extent that the Tate is selling a poster of the work or the exhibition poster or a catalogue.  The account has identified, organised and set up a number of Boards which all feature items for sale in the Tate Gallery shops.

This is strictly retail folks!

The Top Ten Tate Gallery Pin List

In a very curious way, it tells you what people think about art, artists and what art museums are for. Could it be that museums have now morphed into shops?

So today the top ten boards which have attracted pins are as follows:
  1. Greetings Cards 104 pins
  2. Art Reads 86 pins
  3. Children's Gifts 65 pins
  4. Artist Products 48 pins
  5. Picasso & Modern British Art 48 pins
  6. Exhibition catalogues 44 pins
  7. Damien Hirst 44 pins
  8. Pre-Raphaelites 43 pins
  9. Children's Books 37 pins
  10. Kusama 31 pins
I found it all rather depressing.

Is this really the way that the Tate wants to be identified on Pinterest?  Compare for example the Smithsonian's approach - with their Archives of American Art account.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Review: RE Open - contemporary printmaking at the Bankside Gallery

I'm extremely impressed by the quality of work in the brand new Printmaking Open Exhibition of the The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (RE) - the RE Open which continues at the Bankside Gallery in London until Sunday 2nd September.

RE Open at the Bankside Gallery - a variety of 2d and 3D work

I've found that printmaking - as practiced by the RE - is an art form which both stays in touch with its past and at the same time embraces innovation with open arms.  I remember seeing digital prints being exhibited in an RE exhbition a few years ago - when it was very clearly demonstrated that digital art was able to create an entirely new form of printmaking which also demonstrated excellence.

To this end the aim of this exhibition - and its associated open art competition - is to provide:
  • a showcase for excellence in printmaking
  • a fascinating forum for consideration of current trends and new directions
It would appear that those submitting work to this competition are even more contemporary than maybe the RE!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Nicole Caulfield and her Mobile Art Studio / Gallery

Have you ever fancied having a dedicated studio or gallery space - on wheels? 

My friend Nicole Caulfield decided her summer project was to create a mobile studio/gallery for art fairs and the like.
I am committed to have my camper gallery up and running before Columbus Day weekend for our Fall Foliage Art Studio Tour.
A lot has happened in the last two weeks!

The story of a Mobile Art Studio and Gallery

In the limelight - Nicole's Mobile Art Gallery (a work in progress)
Take a look at her blog Nicole Caulfield Fine Art It all started a month ago with......

Monday, August 27, 2012

Selected Artists - UKCPS 11th Open International Exhibition 2012

The artists whose work has been selected for the UKCPS 11th Open International Exhibition 2012  are as follows.
  • the link in an artist's name is to his or her website
  • links to a UKCPS gallery page or other related website are noted separately
  • I'm also including Facebook pages where these are evident
Exhibition: UKCPS 11th Open International Exhibition 2012
WhereNuneaton Museum & Art Gallery, Riversley Park, Coton Road, Nuneaton, CV11 5TU
When: 6th October to 25th November 2012 (opening times)
Principal Sponsor: Derwent

I'd like to thank American colored pencil artist Ranjini Venkatachari (blog) for her images of her work.  Ranjini is based in Washington State.  She is a signature member of CPSA(colored pencil society of America) and  a juried member of Women Painters of Washington.  She is currently the Vice-president of Seattle District chapter of CPSA.

a coloured pencil drawing by Ranjini Venkatachari CPSA
Selected Artists

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Feline art in London - two exhibitions

There are two exhibitions for lovers of feline art in London at the moment.  Links to the exhibitions in both gallery websites include the images of a number of the paintings, drawings and fine art prints on display.

The first is the Society of Feline Artists - Annual Exhibition 2012 at the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery, 124 -126 The Cut, Waterloo, London SE1 8LN UK ( across the Road from the Old Vic and Waterloo Station).

This is the annual exhibition which shows work by full and associate members of SOFA.  It opened on Thirsday, has its PV on Tuesday and continues until 14th September.  You can also see a lot of photos of the exhibition on Flickr - See the album on flickr and See them as a slide show.

My friend Gayle Mason (Fur in the Paint) has got two in the window - of which one is also on the front cover of the PV invite (below).  Gayle and I normally go to see the show together - but she's busy looking at wildlife in Yellowstone National park and Canada at the moment.  If you want to see the best you need to go early as people who buy paintings are allowed to take them away and they are then replaced with other paintings.

The second exhibition is Louis Wain and the Summer Cat Show at the Chris Beetles Gallery 8 & 10 Ryder Street, St James's, London SW1Y 6QB (facing the rear of Christies).

This opened on the 18th August and continues until 9th September.

This includes paintings by Lesley Fotherby (I like the multiple view studies), Geraldine Girvan (I love the watercolour paintings - I'd love to a mix of still life and cats)Susan Herbert (a very amusing take on both subjects and artists styles!) and Lesley Anne Ivory as well as work by the late great Louis Wain

You can see a video of art by Susan Herbert on YouTube

Both exhibitions are excellent shows for lovers of feline art - and two exhibitions makes a wonderful reason for a trip to London for those who are 'out of towners'!

Links:  You can see more links to feline art in my website Feline Art - Resources for Artists

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Hesketh Hubbard Art Society - Annual Show

The Hesketh Hubbard Art Society is based in the Mall Galleries and this week it's been exhibiting its annual show.

See Hesketh Hubbard Setting Up (March 2011)
16.5 x 11", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
About the Hesketh Hubbard Society
The Hesketh Hubbard Art Society offers both amateur and professional artists the opportunity to work from live models in untutored sessions. Membership is £215 a year, for which there are 48 drawing sessions and no cover charge. Prospective members are invited to attend one session free before deciding if they wish to apply for membership.Read more about the Hesketh Hubbard Society
Its key features are:
  • founded in 1930 by the Royal Society of British Artists as a drawing club
  • has about 150 members and is London's largest life drawing club
  • provides opportunities for life drawing from live models in untutored sessions
  • weekly session at Mall Galleries - on Monday or Friday
  • four models available: three ‘life’ providing 15 minute poses, 30 minute poses or a ‘long’ 2 hour pose and one clothed portrait.
  • annual fee: £215 a year, for which there are 48 drawing sessions and no cover charge.
  • no juried entry
The thing which deters me from joining this society is the fee which is steep if you don't go every week.

An alternative option are the various places which provide drop-in life drawing sessions for free (eg  Princes Drawing School - first Thursday of the month) or sessions which can be booked and paid for on a more ad hoc basis (eg at museums and art galleries) or on at least a termly basis (art schools).

Annual Exhibition

The Annual Exhibition can be found in the North Gallery.

This is not a Society which has juried entry for either the Society or its annual exhibition.   Artwork on display is by participating members and from what I can see this is not an open exhibition and hence there is no work by non-members.  Due to this way of operating, I found it unsurprising that the works on display reminded me very much of an ordinary art society.  The calibre of work on show is very definitely NOT the same calibre as artwork seen in exhibitions by the other FBA art societies based at the Mall Galleries.

However what did surprise me a lot was that very little of the artwork in the exhibition appeared to be life drawings or paintings done in one of the untutored live sessions of the Society.  Whenever I've seen an exhibition by a Life Drawing Club before it's always been of work done in one of the sessions.

I may of course have got this entirely wrong as I've never attended one of the sessions and hence have not seen the quality of the work produced.  However I have regularly attended life drawing classes over the years and am very familiar with the type and calibre of the work produced in such sessions.

I would have really enjoyed seeing more 'live' life drawings - it was certainly one of the reasons I visited - and I wish there were more.

What would have been good is if all exhibits were clearly marked as to whether they were live session work or studio work.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Exhibition: Federation of British Artists Presents London

FBA Presents London - The latest 'group' exhibition by members of the various national art societies that make up the Federation of British Artists finishes on Saturday.  I'm hoping to get to see it tomorrow.
To celebrate London 2012 the historic Federation of British Artists showcase their views of London at the Mall Galleries. Taking us on a tour through the city, the exhibition documents London’s landmarks, as well as its lesser known corners, through the eyes of its artists.
About the Exhibition
Here's a sample of the works on view in the exhibition - and online in the special exhibition microsite
Images from the Online Website for FBA Presents London
NEW: all paints for sale online as well as in the gallery
What's new with this exhibition is that all the images are for sale online - via the microsite as well as via the exhibition in the Mall Galleries.

The participating artists from the various art societies within the Federation of British Artists who are exhibiting work are listed below. CLICK the link in the name to see the work being exhibited by the artist:
The Exhibition is open until 25 August 2012 and closes at 3pm on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Two botanical art exhibitions - in the UK and USA

Today I have news of two upcoming exhibitions of Botanical Art in the UK and USA
Below you will find more details of the exhibitions and how you can see them.

Stachyurus praecox 1 [Stachyurus praecox Siebold & Zuccarini, Stachyuraceae (stachyurus family)],
colored pencil on paper by Wendy Hollender, 2008, 12 x 14 inches,
© 2008 Brooklyn Botanic Garden, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Threadneedle Prize 2012: names of selected artists

Below you can find the names of the artists selected for the 2012 exhibition of the £30,000 Threadneedle Prize.  Also included are links to their websites - just click the name (where I have been able to identify these)

The £30,000 is the most valuable prize for a single work of figurative art in the UK.

Threadneedle Prize 2012 - The Selection process
The Selectors: (Left to right) Nicholas Usherwood, Peter Randall-Page and Chris Riopelle

Back in June I announced that 153 works by 144 artists from the UK and continental Europe have been selected for the Threadneedle Prize Exhibition 2012 - see Threadneedle Prize 2012: Analysis of entries / selected artists

The total of 153 works is three times bigger than the number of works exhibited in previous Threadneedle Exhibitions.  After some criticisms of the selection last year, the selectors have apparently included a much broader cross-section of figurative painting and sculpture than that seen in any previous Threadneedle Prize exhibition.  37 of the works selected are sculptures.

The artists included also vary from past winners of major prizes - including this prize - and prominent figurative painters among the premier art societies to recent graduates and younger emerging artists.  This is also the first year that artists from Continental Europe have been able to submit work.

There are two benefits to the changes this year

  • Hopefully this broader approach will provide a better representation of the quality of contemporary figurative artwork in the Uk today
  • Plus - if these trends continue - it makes the Threadneedle Prize = a much more attractive competition to enter from the artist's perspective.

The Threadneedle Prize Exhibition 2012 is to be held at the Mall Galleries in central London, which is held between 26 September and 13 October 2012.

Threadneedle Prize 2012: Selected Artists

I saw a lot to like - and a lot of unique and/or original contemporary figurative art as I went through finding the websites. Right click on the link in their name and open in a new tab to see them.  

If you spot any errors and/or want to volunteer a link to a selected artwork (or an image of it) please leave a comment or email me - see the right hand column for how to contact me. I'm also happy to publish a small number of additional images of selected work in this post - just send me the file.
The 2012 exhibiting artists are:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

19th August 2012 - Who's made a mark this week?

I'm sitting writing this late at night on the basis I thought it might be cooler.  It's not - and I might just have to finish this tomorrow.

It's been three weeks since the last "who's made a mark this week" and I'm currently recovering from an excess of the Olympics and living in a weird limbo land before the Paralympics start up at the end of the month.  I live two miles from the Olympic Stadium and it was very odd watching all those fireworks in the opening and closing ceremonies both through the window behind my television at the same time as I aw them on the box.

I was amused by this post on the Etsy blog Noted: When Artists Competed at the Olympics.

Artists and Art Blogs

'The Day is Done" by David Poxon
26"x37", watercolour
appearing at OK Harris Gallery, New York, U.S.A.
September/October 2012
Congratulation to David Poxon RI (Art of the Real) and David J Teter (Avid Art), two regular readers of this blog who have both been elected to the National Watercolour Society.

David Teter's blog post Spot-Lighted is about the painting below which is in the 92nd Annual Exhibition of the National Watercolour Society

"PHL Sulfur Pile" (2012) by David J Teter
watercolor on illustration board, 18" x 27" (45.72cm 68.58x cm)
Currently in Annual Exhibition of the National Watercolor Society

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Review: Damien Hirst at Tate Modern

The Damien Hirst Exhibition is into its final month at Tate Modern - it closes on 9th September 2012.  So why am I now only just getting round to reviewing it? There are three reasons:
  1. I'm not a fan of Hirst - I'm in the Robert Hughes camp.
  2. I've seen his work before in the dedicated room at Tate Britain
  3. I was pretty sure this exhibition was going to draw huge numbers when it first opened and I really don't like viewing crowded exhibitions.
However this is one of the major exhibitions being shown this year as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

So on Tuesday I went to see the exhibition after my hospital appointment at Barts and some time spent sketching Tate Modern from across the River Thames (see Travels with my Sketchbook - Two views across the Millennium Bridge & 'Tales from the Bridge' Soundscape)

The exhibition is a retrospective of his work to date and one of the interesting aspects is to see how themes play out across the years - and also to realise how few themes there have been in total.

I haven't bought the catalogue which was heavy on pictures and light on words so what follows is pure reaction from me - filtered by a few days to see what stuck in my mind.

Monday, August 13, 2012

How to obtain free images from the National Portrait Gallery

Thomas Girtin by John Opie
oil on canvas, circa 1800 (NPG 882)
© National Portrait Gallery, London
Creative Commons License

Today the National Portrait Gallery in London has announced a change in its licensing arrangements for images needed for academic or non-commercial purposes.  In future it will be possible to download images, which are out of copyright, for free.

I've been campaigning behind the scenes for years to get the major museums to make their collections more accessible to those who want to study images and publish them for non-commercial purposes.  I've written more than a few emails in my time to explain why stated licensing arrangements were a nonsense - particularly in respect of publicly funded art galleries and museums which have educational objectives!  I've explained at length why the processes required for the commercial print exploitation of high resolution images are neither relevant nor appropriate for low resolution images needed for academic study or personal use.  It has felt rather like hitting one's head against a brick wall at times!

One of the institutions which has been open to the notion that the approach to licensing needed to change is the National Portrait Gallery in London.

There has been movement over time - and I'm delighted to announce a major change which will hopefully prompt other major collections in the UK (and elsewhere) to do something similar.

Today, the National Portrait Gallery announced that it now enables those who need images for academic or non-commercial purposes to download a wide range of images for free.
Over 53,000 low-resolution images will now be available free of charge to non-commercial users through a standard ‘Creative Commons’ licence and over 87,000 high-resolution images will also be available free of charge for academic use through the Gallery’s own licences.
This new provision only applies to those images which are out of copyright.  Those which are still subject to copyright still require permission to be sought from the artist or the artist's estate.

Below I explain how to access and download images using the new automated licensing process

Saturday, August 11, 2012

RWS 'Picturing Britain' at Bankside Gallery

The Olympics finish this weekend as does "Picturing Britain" - the special exhibition by the Royal Watercolour Society at the Bankside Gallery.
In this historic year the Royal Watercolour Society presents a celebration of all things British. Come and see how RWS artists have been inspired by the diverse events of 2012, from the Thames Jubilee Pageant to the London Olympic Games.
Sample of paintings in the Picturing Britain exhibition on Bankside website

I'd planned to see this exhibition when it opened however what I hadn't planned on was being side-swiped for the last two weeks by excruciating pain from a trapped nerve in my shoulder and arm.  (Medication and therapy is now making trips out possible again!)

Paintings in the exhibition

I know that websites can't always convey what a painting looks like in real life - but on the basis of the slideshow, the paintings which I liked best were by Richard Bawden, Peter Quinn and Mark Raggett.  I know all the Olympic sites painted by Mark from the Greenway, the paths by the rivers  and Stratford and he's caught the state they were in for a long time very well indeed.  149 Days to Go, Trafalgar Square is an excellent rendition by Peter Quinn of the atmosphere in Trafalgar Square on a winter's Evening.  Richard Bawden's painting of Gloriana Approaching Hungerford Bridge is one of the best of those executed to record the Jubilee Celebration.

What I find really very odd about the paintings on the website is the bias towards what appears to me to be a 'faux naive' style.  Why has Martin Leman suddenly decided to paint like Alfred Wallis? Very odd.  To my mind, there just seems to be rather too much in a naive style and rather too few paintings by artists demonstrating skills in draughtsmanship and the ability to utilise the full range of characteristics of watercolour paint.  I believe the latter is what prompts people make trips to see exhibitions at the Bankside Gallery.

The problem with 'faux naieve' is that it can tend to make a commercial gallery website look no better than one which hosts the amateur art of a provincial art society - and that in my experience of viewing numerous exhibitions is then always reflected in sales.

I'm hoping to see the exhibition later today and will report back with an update.  I'll be paying particular attention to the range of styles, the skills demonstrated and the quantity of red spots!  I'm also going to try and answer the questions 'Is this the best the RWS can do'?

Watch this space for an update.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

What computer skills do artists need?

Three questions for you:
  1. Can you be a successful self-employed artist in today's art market without computer skills?
  2. What computer skills does an artist need?
  3. Which of your computer skills do you value most as an artist? (Tell me your top three if you like!)
I've still not got quite got the hang of my Apple Magic Trackpad!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Robert Hughes (1938 - 2012) will be missed

The art world is really going to miss Australian art critic and "national living treasure" Robert Hughes who died yesterday in New York aged 74.

I'm in no way an expert on Robert Hughes however I do like a man who knows his own mind when it comes to art and is uncompromising in stating his views - and he was certainly that.  I loved all his art programmes on TV - it was art for those who don't want it "dumbed down"!

He wrote extremely well and is undoubtedly one of those people who made art more accessible to many people - notably through his book The Shock of the New which must rank as one of the most seminal books on the art of the twentieth century that has ever been written.  (His TV series of the same name is available as a DVD set).

Here he is speaking about the work of Anselm Kiefer

At the same time he was apt to criticise those he considered to be corrupting or devaluing art.
Slamming the dead shark and diamond skull as 'absurd', outspoken Australian Robert Hughes says such commercial pieces have made art meaningless - apart from its price tag

In 1987 he published The Fatal Shore, his best selling account British penal colonies and the early European settlement of Australia.

For those, like me, who valued Robert Hughes I am providing below something you won't find in any of the other obituaries - and that's a compendium of links to:
  • his articles about art and Australia and 
  • accounts of him as an individual who had a very significant impact on the art world

Monday, August 06, 2012

Advice on Shipping Art and Crafts

The recent Professional Development Seminar of the Society of North American Goldsmiths provides seven different presentations on different aspects of Shipping.
  • You can find a link to all the slideshow presentations on this page - which also includes links to all the downloads 
  • Much of the content - principles and practical advice - is also excellent advice for all artists who ship art both domestically and internationally.

If you ship art, I very much recommend you take a look.

Harriette Berman (Ask Harriette) is pivotal to the presentation of a lot of this information.  For more information about shipping art & craft check out ASK Harriete at:

I've also included links to this information in my "Resources for Artists" website - How to pack, post and ship art - where you can find a lot more information about packing, shipping and posting art

Below you can find a slideshow presentation of one of the presentations

This is a presentation by Harriete Estel Berman, artist and author of the Professionhal Guidelines, ASK Harriete and co-organizer of the SNAG Professional Development Seminar.

Professional development

The Society of North American Goldsmiths website

I have to say I'm very impressed to find an arts society which sees its role as:

  1. Extending way beyond an Annual Exhibition - by providing support for its members through guidance about 
    • being a self-employed entrepreneur who has to deal with a range of business matters
    • being an educator
  2. Educational - sharing its professional guidance online with the whole of the arts and crafts community

The Society of North American Goldsmiths has a specific section on its website devoted to professional development and the provision of guidance and support with respect to the art business as being a key part of its role.
SNAG produces the Professional Development Seminar every year during the annual conference. The Seminar delivers three hours of concrete information that will change the way you approach your work and the way you do business.
The Professional Guidelines have been developed as a reference to help everyone in the arts and crafts community learn how to handle common but important situations that may arise. These documents are basic tools for improved and equitable business practices, leading toward more standard professional practices.
The Education Dialogue, held each year during the SNAG conference, gives educators a place to discuss whatever current issues they’re facing in academia.
What's your best tip?

  • What's your best tip for shipping artwork?  
  • Do you have any online advice or guidance which you'd like to share and/or recommend?

Do leave a comment below.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Coloured Pencil Society of America Annual Exhibition 2012 - Awardwinners

Last night the awardwinners for the CPSA 20th Annual International Exhibition were announced at the Friday Night Awards banquet at the CPSA Convention in Cincinnati

CPSA 20th Annual International Exhibition - Awards
Below you will find the Award Winners.  Links in the name of the individual winner below is to their website if they have one.  Links in the title of the piece are to the image of the artwork on the awards site.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

ANNUAL POLL: What's the best place to sell art in the last year?

Every August I run a Poll in which I ask you to tell me what you, as an artist, have found to be the main ways that you sold art in the last year.  This year I'm running the poll for the fifth year with the aim of identifying:
  • The most (and least) effective places for selling art in the last year - in terms of which places generate the most revenue and turnover
  • The most (and least) profitable places for selling art in the last year - in terms of where did you generate the best profit
  • Trends in selling art in the last 5 years
Changes for 2012

This year the overall theme is about identifying the best place that you have found to sell art.  This month and next, the Making A Mark Opinion Polls will be looking at selling art from the perspective of flows - of money and potential collector traffic

This month I have:
  • generated TWO polls rather than one
    • the first focuses on income - which venue, place or channel generated the most revenue turnover in the last year
    • the second focuses on the profitability of different venues, places or sales channels - ie which of these has proved to be the best place to sell after you take related expenses into account
  • revised the categories to take account for last year's comments.  I'm also getting better at tweaking the descriptions to avoid confusion.
TELL YOUR FRIENDS: The more people who share and respond to the Poll the clearer the picture becomes as to what works best and what doesn't.  Please tell your friends!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Poll Results: Is Facebook replacing Forums for Artists?

The July Making A Mark Poll reveals that around 75% of respondents have a Facebook Account but only a third of artists actively market their art on facebook.

At the beginning of the month I wrote two posts:

  • Artists on Facebook - The Scope and The Rules - this looked at why people are confused about Facebook and the different ways of operating on Facebook.  This post attracted a LOT of comments following publication.  A number of artists shared their experience of using Facebook for their art - and their confusion as to how best to straighten out the way they operate on Facebook

    • the first asked about how you use Facebook for marketing your art
    • the second asks about where you post in facebook
Below you can see charts of the results for the two polls.