Wednesday, October 31, 2012

New structure for Arts Council & an Interactive Map

The result of the spending review at the Arts Council has been announced. The Government required the Arts Council England (ACE) to reduce its administrative costs by some 50% as part of the 2010 Spending Review.

The report and explanation of what is happening
available as a pdf file
It was a foregone conclusion that this could not be a death by a thousand cuts exercises.  Radical changes had to be made to the way the Arts Council worked.

Structural change

Art Council England - New areas and the offices that survived
The main points are:

  • changes come into effect from 1 July 2013
  • 21% reduction in numbers of staff
  • top jobs halved
  • property costs to be halved by 50%
  • offices to close and regions to be cut from 9 to 5 and merge.  
  • The new areas are London, the South East, the South West, the Midlands and the North
The explanation of their Final operating model and organisation structure is available as a pdf file
we will have to do things differently, through more streamlined investment processes and a more focused set of priorities - we will do less and do it differently

National Portfolio - interactive map

I took a look at the interactive map which seeks to explain where the funding is now going and what sort of level of funding goes on what type of activity

Two things you need to do to get the map to work properly
  • Tick the filters on the left in order to sort and highlight organisations by artform, region or funding amount and then click the search tab.  (Thus you can identify all visual arts organisations in London (or any other region) receiving funding of any amount (or a specific funding level)
  • Click the pink map pins to find out more about the visual arts organisations who are receiving funding.
I was wholly underwhelmed by the visual arts organisations in London getting in excess of £1million pa. You can also View these results as a list

At the end of the day this is an organisation which is going to be judged by the quality of organisation which it supports on the ground.

How is it for you in your area?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: 49th Annual Exhibition - Society of Wildlife Artists

This is a pictorial review of some of the 375 artworks in The Natural Eye - the 49th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists.  Names of the prizewinners and a video of the exhibition will be posted later this week.

Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists
West Gallery, Mall Galleries
Wildlife and natural history art is very popular with a number of artists so in this blog post I'm going to
  • emphasise the opportunities afforded by the exhibition - which opens to the public on Thursday 1st November
  • highlight why I think this exhibition sells so much art - and why wildlife artists should aspire to be selected for this exhibition
At the end you can also find links to my reviews of past exhibitions of the Society of Wildlife Artists.

First some photographs of some of the exhibition paintings, drawings, fine art prints and sculpture  selected for the exhibition. Interestingly there are absolutely no snow leopards and only one tiger which is a graphite drawing of the tiger in its habitat.  I must confess I really enjoy an exhibition which gives so much space to such a wide range of species.

Monday, October 29, 2012

RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition 2013 - Call for Entries

This post is for ALL watercolour painters - wherever you live - who are interested in submitting their watercolour paintings to the Annual Open Competition of the Royal Watercolour Society.

The RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition 2013 has issued its Call for Entries and the details are summarised below.

This post summarises the details of who can enter what and how which can be found in the 8 page application pack!

A post later this week will also indicate how people can apply for membership of the RWS

RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition 2012 - Exhibition
Bankside Gallery, London (home of the RWS)
(you can see more images in 
RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition 2012 Review )
    The aim of the Open Competition

    The definition of the aim of the competition has changed since last year.  This year there is more emphasis on practising artists and international entries.
    The RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition aims to encourage innovation and experimentation in water-based mediums and seeks practising artists at the forefront of watercolour painting.  Any artist (providing they are not a member of the RWS) working with water-based media can apply. We welcome international applications
    Note in particular that although the RWS is very flexible about the nature of the watercolour media that can be used in artwork submitted to the exhibition, it is insistent that:
    • all works must be on paper.  This year they are explicit that impasto acrylic works are not eligible
    • all works must initially be submitted online using a digital image and an online form. 
    • artists submitting work will need access to an email address to be able to enter - but it can, with their permission, be one belonging to a family member or friend! 

    Prizes will include Art materials, Purchase prizes, Cash awards from the RWS from £500 to £1000 and the opportunity to exhibit in the Royal Watercolour Society’s Spring and Autumn Exhibitions during 2013.

    Who can enter the competition?

    The RWS's guide proceeds straight to "how to enter' without starting with "who can enter".  I prefer to start with "who" as it avoids wasting people's time!

    However the covering letter indicates that this is a truly OPEN art competition. 
    Any artist (providing they are not a member of the RWS) working with water-based media can apply. We welcome international applications, but applicants must be aware that if their work is chosen for exhibition they will need to arrange a courier, as works will not be accepted by post.
    Thus it is OPEN to:
    • people who are NOT members of the Royal Watercolour Society - as indicated in the letter
    • people who do NOT live or work in the UK  - as indicated in the letter
    • artists of any age (not indicated - but no limit indicated either) 
    That means all the Americans and Europeans and Russians and Chinese and Japanese and whoever else can ALL APPLY to this competition.  I know I've seen entries by international artists in the exhibition for the open competition in the past and I believe the RWS is keen to expand the number of entries coming from artists from other countries.  There's certainly quite a few RWS members who are currently taking their art to other countries!

    What to submit

    Sunday, October 28, 2012

    28th October 2012 - Who's made a mark this week?

    Quilts by Kaffe Fassett
    I've been a huge fan of Kaffe Fassett for ages - I think his talent with colour and mixing patterns is absolutely phenomenal.
    In 1988 Kaffe became the first living textile artists to have a one man show at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The exhibition attracted such crowds that the Museum doubled attendance figures during the run and has since visited Finland, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, Canada, USA and Iceland (where 5% of the total population attended.)
    Back in the days before tenosynovitis set in, when I could still grip and  hold knitting needles, I loved to knit his designs.  If you are in any way interested in colour and/or textiles and/or patchwork/quilts then you should definitely take a peek at his website.

    Anyway - his quilts were my main reason for going to the RHS London Autumn Shades show at the RHS Halls in Westminster last week - as there were to be a number of Kaffe Fassett quilts on display.

    I walked in and was absolutely amazed to find they'd hung the quilts in mid-air so both sides could be seen and you could get a close look without there being any danger of them being damaged in any way.

    Kaffe Fassett Quilts hanging in mid air at the RHS London Autumn Shades Exhibition
    - also reproduced below as images in the rest of this post
    So quilts by Kaffe Fassett will punctuate this post as I think they're wonderful!

    Going to the exhibition also meant that I got to meet two more RHS Gold Medal winners - this time for botanical photography - see RHS Gold Medal winning Botanical Photography for the images of the photographs.

    Coming out of that is a post next week about Juan Sánchez Cotán (1560 - 1627) the artist whose style influenced Clay Perry's work when photographing heritage fruit and vegetables.

    I was intrigued to find when I got home that Clay Perry used to photograph the avant garde art scene in the 1960s - including Robert Rauschenberg and Yoko Ono - this is a link to Clay's photos of Yoko Ono and her Half-a-Room installation in 1967.  I also discovered that he also photographed R&B bands in the 1960s who subsequently became rather famous! Cue moody photos of Eric.

    So I dug a bit further and found out that he had been a pupil of Ifor Thomas who was a pioneer teacher of photography as fine art (from this interview).  That to me came over very clearly in the photographs in display at the exhibition.  I always say that I have no difficulty identifying Gold Medal work as it always stands out.

    Artists and Art Blogs

    Saturday, October 27, 2012

    RHS Gold Medal winning Botanical Photography

    Last week I went to the RHS London Shades of Autumn Show at the RHS Horticultural Halls, Westminster.  This show had an Exhibition of Botanical Photography.  This photography is very much leaning towards the aesthetic and artistic end of botanical photography as well as recording plants, flowers, fruit and vegetables and gardens.

    Below are photographs of the two Gold Medal Winners - Clay Perry (Norfolk) and Nigel Chapman (Hampshire).

    Clay Perry GM

    The first is professional photographer Clay Perry who apparently entered at the last minute after being told about the exhibition.

    Clay Perry - Gold Medal Winner
    Heritage Fruits and Vegetables

    © Clay Perry
    This was Clay's first RHS Show. However he has previously shown his portfolio of Heritage Fruits and Vegetables at RHS Wisley in connection with the publication of his book Heritage Fruits & Vegetables published by Thames and Hudson - with text written by Toby Musgrave.  He wanted to draw attention to the loss of traditional vegetable varieties and managed to get RHS Publications interested in the idea.  He then began the long process of sourcing and photographing all the different fruits and vegetables for the book.  He was helped enormously by the The Lost Gardens of Heligan which focuses on the traditional varieties.  They shipped the fruit and vegetables to his studio and then he set about finding the best way to photograph them.

    Friday, October 26, 2012

    Who painted this? #1

    Who Painted This? #1

    This is
    • a challenge for all those who like their art history and think they've looked at a few paintings in their time
    • the first in a series of occasional posts which bring paintings I like and/or some paintings by an unexpected artist to the front page of this blog.  
    I'm looking for:
    • the title
    • the name of the artist
    • the date - the more accurate the better
    • how you worked it out
    The last bit is key! Before I go on - participants in this guessing game are asked to refrain in the first 24 hours from using any available technology to search on the image.  Let's go back to using that old fashioned resource for recognising paintings - namely our "brains"!

    I have changed the title of the file for anybody who was thinking of checking that out!

    So - here's the first painting.  Feel free to hazard a guess while you're trying to work it out. I guarantee you've all heard of this artist and it's nobody obscure!

    You have until 6pm GMT on Saturday to guess it.  If nobody has got it by then you can 'have at it' and bring in the big digital brain to bear on the subject!

    I'll update this post when somebody has got it.

    Thursday, October 25, 2012

    Wildlife Artist of the Year 2013 - Call for Entries #2: BBC

    This is a summary for the Call for Entries for the second Wildlife Artist of the Year run by the BBC.

    Last year, this competition receieved well over 1,000 entries from all over the world - including entries from countries as diverse as Malaysia, Tasmania, Israel, Nepal and Canada.

    The Winner in 2012 was Heather Irvine for her picture The Last Winter which portrayed an old moose.

    BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year 2012
    The Last Winter by Heather Irvine

    oil on canvas, 20" x 24"
    © Heather Irvine
    The deadline is the end of February. The initial screening of entries takes place in March.  A shortlist of the best images in each category is compiled.  Artists on the shortlist are then invited to submit framed artwork and the final round of judging of this artwork takes place in May.  Those artists who have been successful get to find out the result by the end of April.

    Only the artwork which wins a category gets to be in an exhibition - but this exhibition is the prestigious annual exhibition of the Marwell International Wildlife Art Society which runs from Friday 30 Aug 2013 to Sunday 1 Sept 2013.

    In addition, the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year has his or her winning picture displayed at the Society of Wildlife Artists’ annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London, in autumn 2013.

    Call for Entries - Summary re. The BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year 2013

    Unless you're reading the BBC's Wildlife Magazine you may be a bit confused if you consult the website as not all the details and dates have been fully updated yet to reflect the 2013 competition.

    This link states it's the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year competition rules but it actually states these are for 2012! However, they're unlikely to have changed much and the main 'call for entries' competition page states the key dates in full

    Prizes: The Winner gets to go on a 10-day painting safari in Botswana (worth £3,450) courtesy of Elephant Trails Safari Company which takes place in October 2013.  There are more details about the prize on the website

    Deadlines for entries: The closing date is 28 February 2013

    Who can submit:

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

    Wildlife Artist of the Year 2013 - Call for Entries #1: David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

    There are TWO Wildlife Artist of the Year art competitions in the UK - the one run by the BBC and the one run by The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF).  Both have now issued their Calls for Entries for their 2013 competitions.

    The same but different!

    I'm going to run posts providing an overview of the respective Calls for Entries for these two competitions back to back on this blog for ease of reference
    Each post will use the same format to summarise the terms and conditions and how to enter the different art competitions for ease of reference of those wildlife artists who anticipate entering either or both of these competitions.  They will each spell out:
    • where you can find the rules of entry and any additional information about the competition
    • who can enter
    • what you can submit (and, as important, what is ineligible)
    • how to enter
    • the deadline
    • details of the exhibition and other ways in which artwork is displayed
    At the end of tomorrow's post I'll also be providing a summary of the similarities and the differences between the two competitions.

    Call for Entries - Summary re. The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Wildlife Artist of the Year 2013 

    2012 DSWAY Competition ExhibitionKaren Lawrence-Rowe accepted the £10,000 top prize from
    wildlife artist and conservationist, David Shepherd CBE
    and conservationist Mark Carwardine
    Last year the exhibition at the Mall Galleries raised over £60,000 for endangered wildlife and as always was both popular and enjoyed critical success.  This is a competition which is sits well on the CV of any wildlife artist whose work gets selected for exhibition!

    It's good to see this competition providing a very precise description for original art.  Those who copy photos taken by other people without any original input from the artist need not apply!

    This year the prize-giving and exhibition will be held in London between 2nd-8th June 2013.

    Below you'll find my summary and commentary on the Call for Entries - which highlights aspects you need to pay especial attention to

    Prizes: The Winner gets a very significant cash prize
    • Overall Winner £10,000 cash prize and title 'Wildlife Artist of the Year 2013' 
    • Overall Runner-Up £1,000 cash prize. 
    • Remaining Category Winners £500 each.
    Deadlines for entries: The closing date is 21st January 2013

    Who can submit:

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    Pumpkin Paintings

    Apparently record numbers are going to spend record amounts on Halloween this year.  While some may like to dress up in really weird costumes, others will want to decorate their home in themes relating to Halloween! ;)

    Two words promptly popped into my head - pumpkin paintings - and this is the post that was the result! ;)

    So who else is also painting pumpkins?

    Ujházy Still Life of Fruit
    Still Life of Fruit' by Ferenc Ujházy (1827-1921)[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    Bodegón de frutas y hortalizas (Van der Hamen)
    "Bodegón de frutas y hortalizas." Juan Van Der Hamen (1596-1631)  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    Jan Davidsz. de Heem - Fruit and a Vase of Flowers - WGA11279
    Fruit and a Vase of Flowers (1655) by Jan Davidsz. de Heem (1606–1683/1684) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    Still-Life with Fruit and Crystal Vase 1652 Willem van Aelst
    Still-Life with Fruit and Crystal Vase by Willem van Aelst (1627–1682) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    Albert Eckhout - Abóboras e Melões
    "Pumpkins and melons" by Albert Eckhout (c.1610-c.1666) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    Bartolomeo Bimbi - The Pumpkin - WGA02200
    The Pumpkin by Bartolomeo Bimbi (1648-1730) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    François Bonvin - Still life
    "Still life with a Pumpkin, Peaches and a Silver Goblet on a Table Top" by François Bonvin (1817-1887)[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    Théodule-Augustin Ribot - Still Life with Pumpkin, Plums, Cherries, Figs and Jug - Google Art Project
    Still Life with Pumpkin, Plums, Cherries, Figs and Jug (1860) by Théodule-Augustin Ribot [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    Carl Schuch, Stillleben mit Kürbis, Pfirsich und Weintrauben, um 1884
    Stillleben mit Kürbis, Pfirsich und Weintrauben  by Carl Schuch (1846-1903) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    Monday, October 22, 2012

    Exporting Art (Part 1): The Invoice

    This is a technical post about what you need to include on an invoice when exporting an artwork to another country.

    I've got two reasons for producing this post
    • First, to be honest, I'm writing it all down because I forget!  I've sent quite a few artworks overseas but I always have to spend time double-checking I've done everything correctly after referencing all the proper sources of information.
    • Second, I periodically hear about people whose artwork has got stuck at Customs.  I must confess I do speculate to myself about whether they've maybe missed out one of the essential tasks! (see Parts 1 AND 2 OF "Exporting Art")

    Below you will find
    • a checklist of information which should be supplied to enable artwork to clear customs quickly and without a problem
    • a link to where you can download a proforma invoice like the one I use (see below).  
    Proforma Export Invoice for Artwork
    Proforma Export Invoice for Artwork
    (right click to see a larger version in new tab)
    What to include on an invoice when exporting art

    The example proforma invoice referenced is for an artwork which had been commissioned and is to be exported to another country.

    You can find An Export Invoice for Art available as a Word document on my Making A Mark website - which you can download for FREE.

    Your Information

    Sunday, October 21, 2012

    21st October 2012 - Who's made a mark this week?

    I've spent part of last week reliving a very enjoyable Sunday afternoon in June 2011 when I had a wonderful lunch followed by a delightful afternoon sketching the view of Mont Ventoux from the terrace of a hill top hotel in Provence (see my Travels with a Sketchbook blog post written at the time The view of Mont Ventoux from Crillon Le Brave)

    Mont Ventoux from the Hotel Crillon Le Brave
    12" x 16", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils
    copyright Katherine Tyrrell
    I've been commissioned to produce a drawing after somebody saw my original sketch and wanted to buy it.  I never ever take sketches out of sketchbooks - but this was one I was very happy to reproduce as a drawing.  It will be wending its way to the USA tomorrow afternoon...

    If you ever want to commission a drawing or sketch see the side column for how to contact me.

    Artist and Art Blogs


    Saturday, October 20, 2012

    Review: 2012 Exhibition of the Royal Society of Marine Artists

    The 67th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Marine Painters is the exhibition to go to if you like painting the sea, tidal waters or anything living or inanimate connected to the sea.

    Viewing the paintings hanging in the Threadneedle Space
    It's got a good range of interests amongst its members and a variety of styles.  That said, I did notice this year that members' artwork leans heavily towards painting and there's not a lot of drawing or fine art prints unlike some other art societies.

    The exhibition is held every year at the Mall Galleries in central London, opened last Wednesday which is when I went to see it and continues until Sunday 28 October 2012, 10am to 5pm (closes 1pm on final day).

    Those thinking of entering their work for next year's exhibition might like to take a look at the award-winning works below and some of the prices being charged for paintings.

    The artwork is predominantly paintings with a few drawings and sculptures.  Interestingly there are very few fine art prints.  This year for the first time I spotted a couple of works in coloured pencil by Pamela Preller SAA UKCPS who seems to like cold climate animals.

    Plywood sails and paintings in the West Gallery
    Work I liked included:

    • a couple of paintings by Alan Sims produced by mounting small paintings in a 4 x 4 grid
    • the birth plywood sails produced by Bill Prickett
    • Naomi Tydeman's suite of related watercolour paintings - as always


    Thursday, October 18, 2012

    Review: 2012 Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters

    Elizabeth Meek has won the brand new Royal Award - The Prince of Wales Award for Outstanding Miniature Painting  - at the 2012 Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters Sculptors and Gravers.

    The exhibition is in the North Gallery of the Mall Galleries and continues until 28th October daily 10am to 5pm; (closing - at 1pm Sunday 28th October).

    Part of the Annual Exhibition 2012 of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters Sculptors and Gravers
    Below you will find the names of the prizewinners, images of some of their work and links to their websites where available

    The Exhibition also contains a special exhibition of "The War Years". This mini exhibition covers the four decades of between the First and Second World Wars and the miniatures painted during those times.  They chart the changes in the way people looked and the topical events of the day.

    I found the exhibition to be its usual high standard with many different UK and international artists submitting entries.

    Award Winners

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    Poll Results: The Best Method of Promoting Art Sales

    For some curious reason, The Making A Mark Poll for September which asked "What's the Best Method of Promotimg Art Sales" got a very low response rate.

    The only reason I can think of is that people maybe didn't appreciate the distinction in marketing that I was drawing between:
    • the best PLACE to sell art (covered in the August Poll); and
    • the best way to PROMOTE art.
    They're actually two different topics - within a model of marketing (The 5Ps of the Marketing Mix - see below) which suggests that there are a number of different considerations which need to be taken account of when marketing anything.

    Below I provide the results of the poll and then go on to highlight the distinctions between where you sell your art and how you promote that sale.

    Bottom line - artwork does not sell simply because it gets hung on the wall of a gallery or posted to your blog or an auction site.  First you have to get people to look at it and to find it attractive.

    Results of the Poll

    Only 22 responded to the September Making A Mark Poll.  The results are suggestive of good practices.

    The top three methods of promoting art sales lean towards the traditional (within the context of recent developments around social media):
    • via word of mouth (collectors and family/friends) used by over a third
    • on the Internet via their own blog or website - again used by over a third
    • around a third use cards to remind people about their art - either business cards or Christmas cards
    Both Twitter and Facebook were in the bottom half of the responses - as was advertising.  

    It was difficult to detect any difference between artists who sold via galleries and those who sold direct to their customers and clients.

    The 5Ps of the Marketing Mix

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Photography Competition

    125 years after Georgia O'Keeffe was born, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum is running a Photography Competition with a theme of "Flowers" - which naturally grabbed my attention right away!  I have any number of photographs of flowers - it's one of my favourite occupations for the reasons outlined by Georgia O'Keeffe many years ago
    “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.”
    Georgia O'Keeffe

    hollyhock macro copyright Katherine Tyrrell
    A long look at a favourite flower
    © Katherine Tyrrell
    The reason for highlighting it on my blog is that submission is electronic - which opens up the competition to international entries.

    All winning images will be published in the spring issue of O’Keeffe Magazine and on the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum web site (beginning February 1, 2013 – March 1, 2013) plus there are various awards to be won (see website for details).  The First Prize is $500 + Santa Fe Photographic Workshop Intensive, Annie Leibovitz signed edition of Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage; signed edition of Roxana Robinson’s biography, Georgia O’Keeffe; and a select item from the O’Keeffe Museum gift shop.

    Anybody care to guess what my flower is?

    The aim of the competition
    Georgia O’Keeffe was famous for her interpretation of flowers. Some realistic, some abstract...but always beautiful. In her spirit, please share with us photographs of your favorite flowers — those pictures that capture your heart and capture the beauty and magnificence that is nature.
    The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum invites anyone enthusiastic about photography and art to enter the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Photography Contest.

    Who can enter

    Monday, October 15, 2012

    Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2013: Call For Entries

    The Call for Entries for the 8th Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize has been published.

    The Prize encourages the very best creative representational painting and promotes the skill of draughtsmanship. The Exhibition of works selected by the Panel of Judges will be held at the Mall Galleries in February 2013.

    Cover of Lynn Painter Stainers Prize Call for Entries Leaflet
    Cover of Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2013 Call for Entries Leaflet
    I have to say I do very much like the brand new website which the Prize has this year.

    To download the Call for Entries leaflet, Entry Form and labels, please visit the Info for Artists page.

    Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2013


    The prizes total £25,000 in value - which means this ranks as one of the most prestigious art competitions in the UK.  This prize fund is allocated as follows:
    • First Prize : £15,000 and a Gold Medal
    • 5 Runner-Up Prizes each at: £1,500
    • Young Artist Award: £2,500 (The Young Artist Award is for an artist who is 25 years of age or under on 11 January 2013)

    The Judges will select approximately 100 works for the Annual Exhibition which will be held at the Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1 from 18th February to 2nd March 2013. Admission is free.

    The Exhibition will also be online.  Images of work selected for the 2012 Exhibition can be seen at

    What's happened in the past?

    You can see the artwork shortlisted for the Lynn Painter Stainers Prize on the website on the Past Winners page

    Panel of Judges

    The panel of judges for the 2013 Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize comprises:
    • Nina Murdoch - painter in egg tempera.  Nina has exhibited across the UK and won numerous awards including 1st Prize in the first Threadneedle Art Prize 2008.
    • Antony Williams RP, PS, NEAC - painter in egg tempera.  Antony won 1st Prize 2012 Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize with his painting Still life with electric fan
    • Andrew Lambirth - writer.  He's a regular contributor to The Spectator and has written books and essays on numerous contemporary artists. 
    • Ken Howard OBE, RA, PPNEAC, RWS ,  painter in oils and watercolour - Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Painter Stainers, Professor of Perspective at the RA Schools 2004-2012, Past President of NEAC and Judge in 2012
    • Andrew Wilton, Visiting Research Fellow at Tate - Member of the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers and Judge in 2012
    The judges will be looking at all the paintings submitted throughout the UK in mid January 2013. For further information about the judges Read More

    What are the chances of success?

    First things first - it helps to be realistic about the chances of success.

    In 2012, 1,150 entries from all over the UK were submitted and 98 were selected and hung in the exhibition.  That equates to 8.5% chance of a work being selected - which as major competitions go in the UK is actually pretty good!

    The other way of looking at this is that you have a 91.5% chance of spending money on framing, transporting and submitting your artwork for absolutely no return.  So if budgets are tight you need to make sure you are fully aware of what costs are involved and have confirmation in writing (see my Recommendation at the end re unselected and unsold works).

    How to Enter

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

    14th October 2012 - Who's made a mark this week?

    Killing Time by David Poxon
    watercolour, 18"x27"
    Finalist at the Shanghai Watercolour Biennial
    © David Poxon
    This week I'm starting with a watercolour competition which hasn't been mentioned on this blog before.

    Artists from 62 countries this year entered watercolour paintings for the The Shanghai Zhujiajiao International Watercolour Biennial Exhibition - the only international watercolour competition held in China.  The aim of the competition is to develop the art of watercolour painting in China by bringing them into contact with the finest watercolour artists from around the world - and their paintings!

    The artists who painted the 15 paintings with the most votes are awarded a cash prize of CNY30,000 (around US$4,700) plus a return economy class airfare to Shanghai to attend the opening accommodation and meals to enable them to attend the opening of the exhibition in November.  The winner of the competition gets a full set of 232 Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors Collection worth nearly $4k.

    David Poxon RI NWS this week sent me a list of award winners - and he's one of them. All except Charles Reid will be attending the opening celebration in November.
    • Anna Ivanova Russia
    • Andrew Kish III USA
    • Alexander Kryushyn Ukarine
    • Dean Mitchell USA check out the website - I've not seen one with a home page like that before!  You can watch a documentary about him and his art - I love his paintings of people - he reminds me of Wyeth
    • Ross Paterson Australia
    • David Poxon UK  David was elected as a signature member of the prestigious National Watercolor Society of America (NWS) in August
    • Charles Reid USA  I'm a long term big time fan of this fabulous painter
    • Joseph Zbukvic Australia - take a look at his studio!  If you look at the notes below his paintings you'll see he's providing tips on how to produce work like this.
    The links in the names above are to the websites of these master watercolourists - definitely worth taking a look at!

    Judging Experience in Shanghai 2012 is a report by Alvaro Castagnet about the judges and the judging process for this important competition.  He finishes with some interesting observations on the differences between Chinese and other watercolour artists.  In summary these are:

    • Chinese artists take a more calligraphic approach to handling brushes and making marks
    • Chinese watercolours focus more on the theme and meaning behind the subject. 
    • There is more personality in overseas watercolour paintings. Chinese watercolourists are more focused on showcasing techniques and expressing the deeper meaning behind the subject.
    • Most Chinese artists have a job in an art-related field and do not rely in sales to make a living.

    Artists and Art Blogs

    Botanical Art
    Coloured Pencils
    • Congrats to all those who won the top prizes for best in the Annual UKCPS Open International Exhibition - for both coloured pencils and mixed media respectively.  You can read the list - and my observations about the exhibition - in my Review - UKCPS 11th Annual Open International Exhibition 2012
    • Ester Roi (Ester Roi Fine Art) has started to produce oversized giclee prints from works in coloured pencil - see Introducing Oversized Limited Edition Giclees.  Ester for me is one of a few coloured pencil artists (and inventors) who have a proper appreciation of how to bring coloured pencil art (and inventions!) to the market in a way which gets it taken seriously.  It's one thing to produce it, it's quite another to get it sold!
    Drawing and Sketching

    Friday, October 12, 2012

    Review - UKCPS 11th Annual Open International Exhibition 2012

    David Sandall has won the top award for pure coloured pencil artwork at the UK Coloured Pencil Society's 11th Open International Exhibition 2012.  This opened last Saturday at the Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery.  The exhibition continues until 25th November 2012.

    UKCPS 11th Annual Open International Exhibition 2012 - Award Winners

    You can find the Award Winners on the UKCPS website.  I've also got them listed below along with links to their websites and artwork.

    What's noticeable this year is that many of the top award winners have not won a prize with the Society before.  Indeed I don't know a number of the names which suggests they've not exhibited with UKCPS before.

    I found it interesting - and very exciting - that the top prize went to a coloured pencil drawing of people.  All David Sandall's work on coloured paper are self-evidently drawings.  He chooses to refrain from filling all the background.  His work in no way attempts to masquerade as a painting.

    I note that the Awards have also moved on again and that there is now an award for still life which memorialises Peter Woof who died on September 27 2011, aged 55, just before the last annual exhibition.  Still life was an aspect of coloured pencil art which Peter made his own!

    David Sandell
    Derwent Award: Best in Show - Pure Coloured Pencil
    David PritchardFox and CubDerwent Award: Best in Show - Mixed Media
    Deborah Holman Black Vase (Self- Portrait)
    UKCPS Runner up, Best in Show - Coloured Pencil
    Chris Francis
    Rondavel KrugerUKCPS Runner Up Best in Show -
    Mixed Media
    Cathy Holtom
    (Down a Dusty Lane)
    Endymion and Aglaia
    Third Best in Show
    Morryce J MaddamsRed LionUKCPS President’s Award
    David SandellRevisingAnn James Massey Award for
    Excellence in Drawing
    Janie Pirie SBA GM UKCPSLife is just......Peter Woof Award for
    Best Still Life
    Jean Canter UKCPSSurrey Autumn - Ranmore Common from Polesden Lacey
    Peter Weatherill Award for Best Landscape/Building
    Beverley Courtney UKCPS
    Indoor CatFaber Castell Award for
    Best Animal / Bird
    Portrait of my Grandfather
    in Words and Colour
    Caran d'Ache Award
    Best Abstract/Fantasy
    Suzy Herbert UKCPS ASGFAFreedom
    SAA Award for Best Botanical
    Janie Pirie SBA GM UKCPSClare
    Kate Clarke Award for
    Best Human Portrait
    Jackie CoxThe Pool Jackson's Award for
    Creative Use of Colour
    Irina Garmashova-Cawton UKCPS StrawberryHighly Commended
    Chris Francis
    Profile Karin
    Highly Commended
    Denise Howard
    Better Days Behind
    Highly Commended
    Deborah Holman
    Ink Pots
    Highly Commended

    Artwork I liked

    Here's the artwork I liked - based on the Picasa slideshow which gives you an excellent view of all the artwork in the show.  I've included links to artists who have not been mentioned above.
    • Nicolson Brooks ~ Portrait of My Grandfather 30x25cm (mixed media) Good to see somebody telling a story; using text within a drawing and drawing a subject with emotional content
    • Chris Francis's two works - Profile Karin and Rondavel Kruger - At last some scribble makes its way into the UKCPS exhibition. Pencils are made for scribbling and some of the very best artists have used looser mark-making to create great drawings
    • Suzy Herbert ~ Freedom 22x20cm I'm always intrigued to see what visual joke Suzy will come up with this year. Humour most emphatically has a place in art.
    • Suzy Herbert ~ Mellow Fruitfulness 19x23cm I personally would have placed this work by Suzy higher in the running for the Best Botanical Art in the Show
    • Denise Howard ~ Better Days Behind 40x30cm I thought this piece was stunning. 
    • Karen Musgrave Hill ~ Dancing Chillies 34x25cm I really like the simplicity of different views of the same simple subject on a completely plain background. This artist has really looked at that chilli.
    • Kris Owen ~ Best Mates 37x29cmIt took a while a little while to work this one out. I like artists who don't spell it all out to those viewing - a conundrum draws you in and gets you involved with the work.  I also like the fact the foreground and background complemented rather than competed with the real subject of this drawing.  Plus there's character in there even though they both have their eyes closed!
    • Janie Pirie ~ Lilac Blossom 50x45cm Janie does stunning botanical works - simple as!  That lilac colour is the most difficult colour to get right.  Janie has captured all the nuances which exist in real life.
    • Pamela Preller ~ For Once There Was 37x46cm Different!
    • David Pritchard ~ all his animals are excellent!  I don't ever recall seeing his work before and wonder where he's been hiding!
    • David Sandell - again all his drawings are excellent - simplified and unified they must pack some punch
    • Ranjini Venkatachari ~ Epiphany 45x61cm (mixed media) - I liked the visual pun in this one.  It's certainly not a subject I've seen before.
    Observations about the exhibition - an alternative perspective

    I've not been to Nuneaton so these observations are done from the perspective of the online exhibition of all the work selected for the Exhibition.

    I have to say I found the works selected for the exhibition both pleased and disappointed me.  It's good to see some new and more professional artists getting involved with the society.  It's good to see some new styles and some excellent quality.

    At the same time it's disappointing to observe that the Society still has some way to go before there's a greater congruence between the artwork selected for this exhibition and the type of artwork I see at the exhibitions of other national art societies.  For example, as always there is a huge emphasis in the UKCPS exhibition on highly realistic artwork and very little painterly or impressionistic work.  Elsewhere I see a much greater range of styles - even by those relying on photos for references. Maybe some coloured pencils artists don't submit such work on the basis of what they see in the exhibition online?

    It's good to see some evidence this year of the beginnings of new styles and approaches to making art with coloured pencils.  However I see very little change in the subject matter.  At no other national society do I see more than 30% of the artwork in the exhibition portraying animals.  (Can I emphasise at this juncture that I like good wildlife art - however I also enjoy landscapes, botanical and still life). Elsewhere it's typical to very usual to see landscapes accounting for a significant proportion of an exhibition - however at UKCPS for some reason this year landscapes make up less than 10% of the works selected.

    Also while the standard at the top end is going up I personally feel that some of the work selected falls far short of the quality I've seen in previous exhibitions.

    My view for some time has been that UKCPS will only 'come of age' when it embraces more styles, more subjects and more different approaches to making art with coloured pencils.  Recent changes are encouraging but to my mind there's still quite a considerable way to go.  (Please bear in mind I see the annual exhibitions of virtually all the major art societies in the country - and have done for some years)

    A lot of people won't agree with what I've said.  Others may observe that it needed saying.  Now I've got my head above the parapet, I'd just observe there are lots of different ways of making art - as artists from other art societies have already shown us.  I'd just really like to see coloured pencil artists exploring their medium more.