Monday, December 31, 2012

Best Picture of 2012 on an Art Blog

The polls have closed, the votes have been counted and it's time to announce the FIVE awards for the Best Picture of the Year on an Art Blog in 2012 in this final post in the 7th Making A Mark Art Blog Awards.

I'd like to start by thanking some very important people.

First off, I'd like to thank all those art bloggers who came up with the nominations. Your assistance in identifying good work is certainly valued by me.  A special mention goes to Roger Brown who nominated in every category - and nominated a category winner! Can I ask you all to make a note of stunning pics you see on art blogs during the course of the year so you can highlight them at the end of 2013 when this all happens again - for the 8th time!  Details as to how at the end

Next I'd very much like to thank all those who who took time out over the festive season to come and view the nominations and vote in this seventh Making A Mark Awards Poll.  There were a lot more of you this year.  I think highlighting it on Facebook helped. I certainly saw a few of the art bloggers highlighting the fact they had been nominated in a perfectly proper way - for which also many thanks.

One of the things I experimented with this year was a reordering of the polls in the post during the course of the post - they all rotated daily - and the order of the pictures within the poll after the first day.  I have to say having logged the votes periodically during the voting period that I do think position makes a difference and, while I think I improved the fairness, I will be trying to think of an even fairer way of listing works next year.

So the way this works is that:
  • this post explains how works were selected for the poll - VOTE for the Best Artwork on an Art Blog in 2012
  • the awards are listed in the order of the number of votes received.
  • For each category I tell you who won in each category - and who was the runner up
  • Finally I announce who won Best Picture of the Year. This overall prize goes to the person with the most actual votes overall - as determined by you!
Do please click the images and open them in a new tab if you want to see a bigger version.

The MAM Award for Best Picture of the Year (Nature) on an Art Blog 2012

This poll received 254 votes.

The Nature Poll to date has only ever had animals as nominations.  This year three plant / botanical oriented pictures were nominated - all of which were very impressive.

However the bird won!  Sherrie York's linocut of a Magpie took a commanding early lead and maintained it throughout and won with 42% of the vote.

Winner of the Best Picture of the Year (Nature) on an Art Blog 2012
Magpie by Sherrie York
© Sherrie York
THE WINNER: Magpie by Sherrie York (Brush and Baren) Salida, CO, United States
(Nominated by: Katherine Tyrrell)

The runner-up: Arc of Flight by Sheila M Evans (Sheila M Evans) - Washington, USA
(Nominated by: Casey Klahn)

For those not in the know, I have to tell you winning against a bird is very difficult!  If you ever want to know what sells in the art world go take a look at the number of bird paintings, fine art prints and sculptures which get snapped up in exhibitions of wildlife art! :)

That said, Sherrie does consistently produce some outstanding original, hand-pulled relief prints in woodcut and linocut - all of which relate to nature - and I commend her website to you.

The MAM Award for Best Picture of the Year (Person) on an Art Blog 2012

This poll received 282 votes.  This poll traditionally has the most votes of all the polls - but this year after I rotated the order each day it came third.

There was never any doubt who the winner was going to be right from the off.  An early lead was established and maintained throughout the period of the poll.  Finnish painter Arto Isalo's painting of a child won with 43% of the vote,

Winner of the Best Picture of the Year (Person) on an Art Blog 2012
Red Bow by Arto Isotalo
Oil on canvas board
40.7 x 30.5 cm
© Arto Isotalo
THE WINNERRed Bow by Arto Isotalo (Arto's Art) - Espoo, Finland. 
(Nominated by: Roger Brown)

The runner-upUPS Delivers at Night by Jana Bouc (Jana's Journal) - San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA  
(Nominated by: Self)

Arto Isolato is a self-taught painter living in Espoo, Finland with his wife and two kids. You can see more of Arto's paintings - and paintings of art in Finnish museums - on his blog.  I don't have a website to refer you to.

The MAM Award for Best Picture of the Year (Still Life) on an Art Blog 2012

This poll received 287 votes.

I was totally intrigued by this poll which changed direction a number of times during the course of the four days.  I literally had no idea who was going to win.

In the end, last year's joint winner of the Person Category, Sophie Ploeg won with her painting of Folded Lace and 32% of the vote.

Winner of the Best Picture of the Year (Still Life) on an Art Blog 2012
Folded Lace by Sophie Ploeg
oil on canvas, 40x30cm
© Sophie Ploeg
THE WINNERFolded Lace by Sophie Ploeg (Sophie Ploeg) - Gloucestershire, UK
(Nominated by: Katherine Tyrrell)

The runner-upDelft reflections by Cecilia RossLee (Atelier Cecilia Rosslee) - Carmel, California 
(Nominated by: Self) 

Anybody who knows Sophie's paintings will know that she is totally besotted with fabrics and lace and lavishes the most enormous attention into bringing out all the textures and subtle coloration.

The MAM Award for Best Picture of the Year (Place) on an Art Blog 2012

This poll received 314 votes - with the winner, Barbara Benedetti Newton's pastel painting of light and shadow in a landscape, getting 41% of the vote.

I have to confess the winner's painting was my absolute favourite of all those up for the award this year and I had my fingers crossed for this one!  For me, it was one of those pastel paintings which did that thing every artist hopes for - it just stopped me in my tracks and I couldn't stop looking at it.  If you right click the image and open it in a new tab you can admire it at a larger size.

I was also particularly taken with the fact this pastel painting is not a size which Barbara normally paints at and was awarded two posts on her blog. The first was called know when to walk away and this is what she had to say.

At the end of this annual art competition it's salutary advice to take with us into the New Year!
This isn't the first time I've titled a blog post "know when to walk away." When I hear the lyrics of The Gambler begin to play in my head, I try to heed the advice and step away from the easel. I've been working slow and steady on this 25 x 25 inch painting with no major setbacks or wipe offs. I'm very happy with it but it is good to be finished and to be able to move on to the next one I have in mind that will be a very different palette.
THE WINNERHeartbreak Morning by Barbara Benedetti Newton (Barbara Benedetti Newton - Art Journal) - Washington State, USA (available)
(Nominated by: Katherine Tyrrell)   
The runner-upGalley Hill Allotments by Haidee-Jo Summers (Haidee-Jo Summers artist - ma vie en couleurs) - Lincolnshire, UK
(Nominated by: Katherine Tyrrell)  

The MAM Award for Best Picture of the Year on an Art Blog 2012
Winner of the Best Picture of the Year (Place) on an Art Blog 2012

Heartbreak Morning by Barbara Benedetti Newton
pastel on paper, 25" x 25"
© Barbara Benedetti Newton 
The MAM Award for Best Picture of the Year on an Art Blog 2012

You always decide who wins The MAM Award for Best Picture of the Year on an Art Blog.  The award always goes to the picture which got the most votes overall across all four polls.

This year the number of votes which split the two top paintings was tiny and for most of the poll there was literally less than 5 votes in it - until the winner began to pull away in 'the home straight'.  Unlike previous years, this year I had absolutely no idea who was going to win!  At the end there was only seven votes in it.

The placements were as follows:
  1. Heartbreak Morning by Barbara Benedetti Newton (Barbara Benedetti Newton - Art Journal) - Washington State, USA (available)
    (Nominated by: Katherine Tyrrell)   
  2. Red Bow by Arto Isotalo (Arto's Art) - Espoo, Finland. (Nominated by: Roger Brown)
  3. Magpie by Sherrie York (Brush and Baren) Salida, CO, United States (Nominated by: Katherine Tyrrell)
Thank you again for voting.

If any of those nominated would like to see the Polldaddy totals I'd be happy to show them

Making A Mark Awards 2012 - Summary

I hope you've enjoyed the Picture of the Year Competition and all the Making A Mark Awards.

You can see them all again within the context of past winners - with summaries for the reasons why people won the award - here on this blog on my static The Making A Mark Art Blog Awards page

The Making A Mark Awards 2013

I keep a running list of potential nominations for ANY of the Making A Mark Awards all year round.
So if you'd like to feature in next year's awards and/or want to nominate an art blog and/or an artwork by an art blogger that you spot in the course of the year all you have to do is:
  • write to me at any time (see side column for contact details) 
  • or leave a comment on the Making A Mark Awards page.  All nominations have to comply with the rules.
I'm now off to have a break and will return to this blog on 7th January.


  1. Thank for all the work these awards involve. I enjoy finding new artists and blogs. Enjoy your break.

    1. Thanks Carol - I'm planning on trying to get back to a normal sleep routine!

  2. Katherine, I can't thank you enough for your nomination! As you know, I began following your Making a Mark blog many years ago. Then I got busy and cut back on my internet time. I've seen others win this award over the years but didn't realize it was such a big deal until you nominated me. Now I'm back to receiving your blog and access to the abundant information you provide artists like myself. Thank you, thank you, thank you!Happy New Year

    1. My pleasure Barbara - it was my favourite painting of all of those up for the final vote and of course I had to sit and wait like everyone else to see what happened so I'm feeling very pleased this year that everybody agreed with my nomination and that you got both best landscape and best picture of the year. So nice to have a landscape win as well!

  3. Fantastic selection! Really love the winners. I'll keep this in mind when I'm looking at blogs in 2013.

    1. Many thanks Kaitlyn - getting nominations as people find the work really helps in terms of developing a nomination list for the end of the year

  4. Congratulations to all the winners.

    Happy New Year to all. May 2013 bring happiness and inspiration.

  5. Thank you Katherine for all your hard work. A well earned rest for sure.

    Not only was there a lot of great art to vote for but one of the winners, the Sherrie York Magpie, sparked a post on her and her art over at Charley Parkers 'Lines and Colors'.

    I know you mentioned maybe cutting back on the MAM Awards categories but I had a possible new category in mind...

    See you in 2013...

    1. Thanks David - part of the break involves visiting family so not all rest! :)

      Many thanks for the reference to Charley's post which I've found and forwarded to Sherrie.

      Do wrote and tell me what you had in mind for a new award! :)

  6. Katherine, on behalf of the silent majority who look forward to you MAM emails and appreciate the work you put in, but never comment: a great big thank you and a Happy New Year.

  7. Enjoy your week off, Katherine. I still apologize for not being able to choose any one piece on the two nominations I sent you. I'll try to be more decisive next time!

  8. Thank you, great pictures.
    Best wishes for 2013, happy year!

  9. I could have sworn I responded to this, but just to be sure:
    THANK YOU, thank you Katherine for doing the MaM awards, thank you for nominating and thank you everyone who voted. Really great way to start the new year.
    Congrats to all the winners, really love all of the paintings!

  10. Thank you for all the hard work - well worth it, Katherine; I thoroughly enjoyed it. Happy New Year!

  11. awesome artwork by all the winners!! Barbara Benedetti Newton work is especially wonderful...would love to see it in person!


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