Sunday, December 30, 2012

Getting out of the Studio - Making A Mark Awards 2012

This second post in the Making A Mark Art Blog Awards is about the category of awards for all those people who draw and paint outside their studio - sometimes producing finished sketches or paintings plein air and sometimes producing material to develop further in the studio.

They are:
  • The Painting Plein Air Plus Prize
  • The Travels with a Sketchbook Trophy
  • The Going Greener Gong
They're also awards for people who place an emphasis on sharing.

The Painting Plein Air Plus Prize

The Painting Plein Air Plus Prize for excellence in plein air painting plus a strong commitment to sharing information

The past winners are:
I hasten to add that the prize is:
  • an award for people who do more than just paint plein air.  The winners are also people to share information - that's what the "plus" is all about; and is
  • NOT confined to those who produce finished paintings plein air
This year I want to award this prize to an artist and a blog which this year has reminded me of the sheer pleasure of painting plein air - in all circumstances and all weathers.  As she reminded me earlier this week
I've painted in four countries this year through wind, rain, snow, fog, drizzle and even sunshine - on occasion!
I first 'met' Haidee-Jo Summers online as she had been one of the artists invited to paint on the Millennium Bridge as the Queen's 60th Jubilee River Pageant passed along the Thames.  We corresponded in advance, she told me which dress she was going to wear - and then lo and behold we had one of the wettest summer days anybody had ever seen in London.  Throughout it all Haidee-Jo continued to paint in the rain and even smiled for the BBC camera as she did her TV interview!  (see BBC coverage of the Thames Pageant)
The rain was coming in sideways and underneath my umbrella and my palette was getting wetter and wetter! The canvas was getting a fine spraying, and water was swirling around my feet! Some of the artists started to leave as their work, anything on paper particularly, was suffering too much. Easels started to fall over. I held my umbrella as close and as low as I could! (see Paintings for the Diamond Jubilee)
Haidee-Jo Summers talking to Anneka Rice
- while being filmed for the BBC coverage!
Carol Lee Beckx (Art Matters) felt the same way as me and nominated Haidee-Jo for this award.
Her paintings are fresh, vibrant and of a very high standard.
The plus factor on Haidee's blog Haidee-Jo Summers artist - ma vie en couleurs is personality plus sharing what and how she paints when working plein air.  What I really like about Haidee's blog is that it's just like meeting her - sunny, chatty and confident.   You learn without realising that she's handing out useful snippets and tips. It makes you think you can take up your brushes and go outside and paint just like her - with exuberant colour in her extremely competent alla prima mode.  You can see a review of Haidee-Jo's year in a review on her blog - why not have a read and see what I mean!
The 2012 winner of
The Painting Plein Air Plus Prize is
Haidee Jo Summers (Haidee-Jo Summers artist - ma vie en couleurs)

The Travels with a Sketchbook Trophy
combined with the 'Get Off Your Blogging Bottom and Sketch' Brass Plate from 2007 
The Travels with a Sketchbook Trophy goes to the most intrepid and/or industrious artist travelling with a sketchbook.

Previous winners are
  • 2006 Laura Frankstone (Laurelines of North Carolina USA) 
  • 2007 Martha (Trumpetvine Travels of Berkeley California) 
  • 2008 Cindy Woods. (Learning Daily USA) This was a posthumous award 
  • 2009 Enrique Flores (Cuatro cosas Madrid, Spain) 
  • 2010 Liz Steel (Liz + Borromini Sydney Australia) 
  • 2011: The Urban Sketchers of the 2nd International Symposium in Lisbon
While many people carry a sketchbook, not everybody travels with one.  One of the characteristics of the people who have won this prize to date is that they have all travelled to other countries and made sketches of what they've seen on their travels.

This year I'm going to award this prize to somebody who routinely carries his sketchbook with him and sketches while travelling to work and his studio in Chelsea on the other side of..... London.  So no overseas trips - but lots of sketching!  Check out this post for an example of what gets posted - Sketches on the Bus, Train and Tube in October I. For those who have never tried drawing on public transport before, I have to tell you that form of sketching is a challenge! Bear in mind the transport does not provide for a smooth journey and you never ever know when your subject is going to get up and leave!

Adebanji Alade (Adebanji Alade: My art, my passion for sketching) is something of a role model for all those who want to get better at drawing and painting people.  He keeps his expenses on hiring models to a minimum.  Ever since I've known him - which is now quite some time - he's drawn the people he sees while travelling on public transport in London.  In doing so he has built up his skill level at the same time as developing a portfolio of sketches to use as a basis for his paintings.  His blog is full of sketches done on journeys across London.  The bonus is that he then also shows on the blog how he works when translating sketches typically drawn monochromatically in pencil or charcoal into portraits painted in oil.  

He also sketches homeless people in London as a basis for his formal portraiture work.  Adebanji worked at St Mungo's - a well regarded charity which works with homeless people - for 9 years and met many homeless people and in doing so gained an understanding of life on the streets.  His paintings of homeless people somehow elevate their personalities and their identities and enable them to travel from the pavement and on to the walls of galleries in central London.  Hence it gives me great pleasure to announce......

The 2012 winner of
 The Travels with a Sketchbook Trophy is 
Adebanji Alade(Adebanji Alade)

The Going Greener Gong

The Going Greener Gong is awarded to the art blog which I've found most stimulating in relation to getting us in touch with nature and the environment.

Past winners include:

This award includes all those who blog about animals, birds, flowers and plants. Blogs are not required in any way to limit themselves to just those topics but they do need to have a feel for being green and sustainable about them. They also get extra points for getting out and about and drawing from life!

This year I'm awarding this prize to a blog which is written as a resource rather than by an artist.
ArtPlantae is a resource provider whose aim is to encourage an interest in plants, to make botany a more palatable subject, and to accomplish both through the use of drawing as a learning tool.
Tania Maren's ArtPlantae Today is essential reading for all those interested in botanical art and drawing.  Regular posts are frequent and always 'on topic' and full of high quality information about all the sorts of things that botanical artists are interested in.  They include interviews with established botanical artists of some renown and news about workshops, exhibitions and new books.   I've been reading it for years and have the highest regard for its content and author.

The 2012 winner of
The Going Greener Gong is
Tania Maren's ArtPlantae Today

Tomorrow the Making A Mark Awards switch to:
  • Learning about Art & the Art Business 
  • The Home Front


  1. I seem to have missed a post! 'Course, I am having some computer issues but they will soon be fixed for awhile. New computer on the way. I love these blog posts of yours. They are always so informative and so eye-opening to see what is out there. Often artists that I've not seen before. You put an amazing amount of work into this blog and it shows!

  2. Congratulations to your winners. I knew Haidee-Jo's work already but not Adebanji. Exciting work.

  3. Thank you so much Katherine, and Carol, I am absolutely over the moon to win this award! I only discovered the online world of art blogging in September 2011, and can hardly believe I could win an award like this for my blog only fifteen months after starting it! It has been an incredible year for sure, and I look forward to many more plein air painting adventures in 2013!
    Congratulations to Adebanji!
    Happy New Year! :-)

  4. Thanks for this great AWARD! It's another one for my Trophy Cabinet!
    Congrats to Haidee too for another Award, she's bagged so many this year!

  5. When artists are recognized and rewarded like this, it makes it worth all the while... It is the best and most fulfilling payment an artist can hope to get for his/her talent, dedication, fortitude, resillience and perseverance. My BIG CONGRATS to all the winners, especially Adebanji Alade, who I know personally. Your best is still on the way !

  6. Katherine,

    I just now learned of this news. Thank you for awarding ArtPlantae with the "Going Greener Gong" and for bringing attention to the site and the wonderful guests who have taught us so much.

    With much appreciation for this and for Making a Mark,


    1. Tania - I sent emails out to everybody back at the beginning of January - maybe your email went to the wrong address or got buried?

  7. Katherine,

    I just now learned of this news. Thank you for awarding ArtPlantae with the "Going Greener Gong" and for bringing attention to the site and the wonderful guests who have taught us so much.

    With much appreciation for this and for Making a Mark,



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