Sunday, March 31, 2013

31st March 2013 - Who's made a mark this week?

Meet MakingAMark!

She's an Easter lamb (literally) being born at 21.20 on Easter Sunday in the Netherlands.

Her breed is a very old and rare Dutch Native Sheep Breed called 'Drenthen Moor Sheep' and her colour type is known as 'spotted blue fox'.

You can read more about Lamb #12 MakingAMark  on Titia Geertman's website about her Lambing Season 2013.

I have to say I've known that a lamb might possibly be named after my online name for a while - but I've still got a big beaming smile all over my face as I type!

Nothing to do with art I know - but I'd wanted a lamb for the feature pic for this post but hadn't quite reckoned on it being one called MakingAMark!!

Variations on a theme of "Who's made a mark this week?"

I've been experimenting during March with different ways of doing a "round-up" post on Sunday.  Thanks for all your feedback which was very helpful. I'll probably continue to experiment for a bit until I find the right balance.

So we had
  • 10 things about art this week #1 - which was promising BUT supposed to be short! Hah! FAILED!  I like the idea but need to work on the execution!
  • Last Sunday, I wrote the first of a NEW series of monthly posts highlighting Art Exhibitions in London: March - May 2013.  If you know someone coming to London you might want to share it with them.  I think this is a 'keeper' as a "once a month" post - but in order to reduce the effort I think I may well in future create a page and then update this as exhibitions change - with the post being a one liner with some highlights of exhibitions to watch out for.

Artists and Art Blogs

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Review: RWS Spring Exhibition 2013

I enjoyed my visit to the Spring Exhibition of the Royal Watercolour Society this week.  

The RWS Spring Exhibition at the Bankside Gallery
- with a Tribute Wall to Leslie Worth PPRWS (1923-2009)
Having a whole wall of paintings by Leslie Worth OBE PPRWS RBA NEAC Hon.RI (1923-2009) at one end of the gallery is enough to raise anybody's game in the world of watercolour.

A tribute to Leslie Worth, Past President of the Royal Watercolor Society
A tribute to Leslie Worth, Past President of the Royal Watercolor Society 
Dorset Beach, Ebb Tide, watercolour by the late Leslie Worth  PPRWS
(this one is behind the reception desk)
Worth's spontaneous effects with wash were the work of a visionary. He captured beautifully the transient qualities of English weather – storms, showers, hazy sunlight and mists.
Leslie Worth - Obituary by Hannah Hawksworth
It was absolutely wonderful to see again the absolutely amazing things he used to do with atmospheric washes.  I know of no other watercolour artist who has come so close to emulating Turner in his work.  He set the bar to which I hope other painters aspire. His death in 2009 was such a tragic loss to the world of watercolour.

That said, his work did point up the difference between the type of watercolours which used to hang on the wall of the gallery some 20 years ago when he was President and what hangs there now.  It was particularly good this year to see many more of the members using pure watercolour for their artwork.

I think few have come close to emulating him in terms of mastery of watercolour painting.  Those who have are members who have won the Turner Watercolour Medal.  (eg Michael Chaplin - in 2011 and Paul Newland - in 2008).  This year the Medal has been awarded to Past President David Firmstone.   See David Firmstone wins Turner Watercolour Award 2013.

The entrance to the exhibition is hung with paintings by the current and past Presidents - Thomas Plunkett PWS, David Paskett PPRWS and John Doyle PPRWS.  It was really interesting to see their different style in painting next to one another.

Round by the print boxes next to the bookshop were paintings by two artists who have a very unique style who I admire - Richard Bawden RWS RE and Jenny Wheatley RWS

Watercolour paintings by Richard Bawden

Watercolour paintings by Jenny Wheatley
I was particularly impressed by very small paintings of gardens by Liz Butler.

Glorious Cabbages (Bromyard Avenue Allotments) SOLD
by Liz Butler RWS
a painting of rust by Angus McEwen RWS - and I loved the floated deckle edge and the frame which really enhanced the painting

Child's Play by Angus McEwan RWS

Small paintings of people
on Dorset beaches
by Richard Pikesley
I also very much liked the silhoetted people on the beaches at Lyme Regis and Charmouth - as painted by Richard Pikesley RWS

At the bottom of this post you can see a video of Richard Pikesley discussing influences on his work - where he focuses on the work of Andrew Wyeth - and the processes of painting.

This exhibition of paintings created using water based paints is at the Bankside Gallery until 21 April 2013 so you have plenty of time to see it.

Links for watercolour artists:

Friday, March 29, 2013

Who painted this? #22

On an Easter theme, I had a choice of possible paintings - but surprisingly rather fewer than I expected.  In the end I decided to vary the format slightly and to ask you.....

....In which painting can you see this lamb - and, in addition to the normal questions, what is it a symbol of?

Who painted this? #22

How to participate in "Who painted this? #22"

PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.

Click this link to read THE RULES for participating in this challenge (this saves having to copy them out for each post!).

In short:
  • use your brains not software to find the answer
  • search using words only on a database of images
  • leave your answer as a comment on this blog
  • if correct it will not be published until the next post - which provides the answer
  • if wrong it will be published
  • do not leave the answer on Facebook!
  • the winner - who gets a mention and a link on/from this blog - is the first person to give me a completely correct answer for ALL the things I want to know

The Artist's Studio by Thomas Rowlandson
Who Painted This #21 - The Answer
Thomas Rowlandson (1756 – 1827) was a caricaturist as well as an English artist.  

I'm afraid I wasn't aware that that he had produced quite so many engravings which were described as "lewd" by one of the the people who guessed correctly. Having briefly reviewed them that's maybe an understatement.  My apologies to anybody whose sensibilities were offended!

The correct answers

This wasn't easy as it was possible to take a long diversion via Hogarth et all before arriving at the right artist - as some did!

The first correct answer was submitted by Alyson Champ (The Chronicle of Wasted Time)

In addition the following people also got the correct answer:
Well done all of you!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lichenstein at Tate Modern

Tate Modern Shop
- and the Lichenstein Retrospective Memorabilia
I had a quick canter around Lichenstein: A Retrospective at Tate Modern yesterday before going to see the Spring Exhibition of the Royal Watercolour Society.

I intend to go back and visit the exhibition again when I have more time and when it's a bit quieter. (Apparently it's quieter on Saturday and Sunday evenings after 7pm!)

I'd RECOMMEND this exhibition to anyone wanting to understand a little bit more about how he came to develop his style.

Halfway round I was reminded of how much more satisfying it is when an artist works in series - it makes for a great retrospective!

The early work comes very late in the exhibition - presumably to avoid interfering with the telling of the story of how his particular stye came about.

It was interesting to see how the work became progressively more sophisticated over time - I particularly enjoyed the two series on "art on art" and "the artists studio"

The landscapes were also very interesting - particularly those that borrowed from nineteenth century Japanese woodcuts.
Lichtenstein is renowned for his works based on comic strips and advertising imagery, coloured with his signature hand-painted Benday dots. The exhibition showcases such key paintings as Look Mickey 1961 lent from the National Gallery Art, Washington and his monumental Artist’s Studio series of 1973–4. Other noteworthy highlights include Whaam! 1963 – a signature work in Tate’s collection – and Drowning Girl 1963 on loan from the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

The artist’s rich and expansive practice is represented by a wide range of materials, including paintings on Rowlux and steel, as well sculptures in ceramic and brass and a selection of previously unseen drawings, collages and works on paper.
I also noted from the working drawings and sketchbooks which he kept to develop a new work that he often worked using coloured pencils - or "graphite with colour" as the Tate has labelled the drawings!

Here's  a video about the Roy Lichenstein.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

David Firmstone wins Turner Watercolour Award 2013

David Firmstone MBE RWS has won the Turner Watercolour Award 2013.  This is an award which honours the most distinguished work in watercolour which can include pen and ink or gouache on paper.

This is a prize which used to be awarded at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, but the Presidents of the two Watercolour Societies managed to wrest it away and each year it is now awarded to two watercolour painters - from the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour.  This year's judges were: Rosalind Turner (a relative of Turner's), Ronald Maddox President of the RI and Andy Wood RI.

I'm afraid the photograph below of his two paintings in the RWS Spring Exhibition at the Bankside Gallery are fighting with lights and reflections - but I tried my best.  They look much better in the gallery!

Winner of the Turner Watercolour Award 2013
David Firmstone

(top) Penna - watercolour (Sold)
(Bottom) Honed - watercolour watercolour (£3,000)
Unsurprisingly the work displayed in this year's Spring Exhibition of the Royal Watercolour Society is in watercolour.  I'm more used to seeing David paint in acrylic or tempera and have to say I very much like the effects he achieves when painting in watercolour.

Below is a video of David talking about his work and how he started out in art.  It's not the usual sort of story.  Nor is the manner of his painting - this video reveals some of his techniques for creating paintings.   It reminded me that Turner used to do all sorts of things to his paintings that nobody else ever did.

At Work: David Firmstone
a film by Harry Brayne
Technique is critical to my aesthetic. I constantly search for new technologies to make paintings: I use tempera, watercolour, oils and gesso to create wall-like textures with a sanding machine, I scratch and gouge out the paint until the surface reflects the way the land has been layered through time, and some of the final compositions are the result of pouring paint, allowing it to run across and stain the surface. And I can never quite remember my previous approach, so each painting is an act of learning to paint again.
David Firmstone
David has won many other prizes in his career including the International Painting Prize, Sunday Times Watercolour Prize and the Hunting Prize. His work can also be found in several prestigious collections - including the British Museum.

Incidentally, I see from his biography that David was a winner of one of the categories of the National Exhibition of Children's Art in 1956.  Which sparked memories for me as I was a winner of the youngest age category while in Top Class Infants just a few years later!

Tomorrow I'll be posting my review of the Spring Exhibition of the Royal Watercolour Society - which I recommend.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Second Archibald Prize for Del Kathryn Barton

Del Kathryn Barton has won the $75,000  Archibald Prize 2013 with her portrait of Australian actor Hugo Weaving.  This is the second time she has won the prize and the fourth time she has been selected for the exhibition.  She also won the 2008 Archibald Prize with a self-portrait with her two children.
hugo by Del Kathryn Barton
watercolour, gouache and acrylic on canvas, 200 x 180 cm
This decision totally reinforces my regard for Australian art competitions!  Here's some of my reasons why
  • It's good to see a major prize being won by a woman who has painted a portrait which reflects contemporary painting
  • In the UK a portrait such as this might well be dismissed as "merely decorative" or "illustrative" by some judges for whom proper portraits should look as if they could have been produced by past masters - preferably male!  My view is a good portrait is one which  (1) reflects the individual and (2) has an aesthetic appeal at some level or other.
  • in the UK a painting which used watercolour and gouache cannot win the UK's premier portrait competition - the BP Portrait Prize.  My personal view is that a review of the acceptable art media for that competition is long overdue
  • it sticks to the rules and awards the prize to somebody who has painted a portrait of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia’.  Why don't we have a competition like this in the UK? I'd like to see more people creating paintings of distinguished people that don't look like photographs!
Her portrait reflects Hugo Weaving's personality, his background and her preferred style of working.
‘Hugo Weaving is an Australian cultural treasure, an artist in every sense of the word. For many years I have admired his work both on screen and stage. Initially I had considered a very simple pictorial approach for Hugo, a bearded man in a black suit. But when we sat down to discuss the portrait I was enchanted by the rich content in his stories and felt moved to interpret and assemble a kind of personalised symbology within his portrait. More than anything I hoped to portray a sincere, deep, generous and creative soul.’
Del Kathryn Barton
So far as this painting is concerned - I love the overall effect.  The dense patterning reminiscent of aboriginal art in the background provides interest and stimulates the eye but doesn't overpower. The colour palette is quirky and is obviously a signature style for this artist judging by her artwork (e.g. a recent exhibition). Of course the calligraphic mark-making holds an especial appeal for me.

Del Kathryn Barton was born in Sydney in 1972.  She graduated in 1993 with a degree in Fine Arts from the College of Fine Arts of the University of New South Wales. The College later employed her as a lecturer.  Galleries in Sydney have held regular exhibitions of her work in the last 20 years.  Between 2006 and 2011 she was identified every year as one of '50 of Australia's most collectable artists by the magazine Australian Art Collector.

Note: Hugo Weaving is an acclaimed actor in Australia. He is best known internationally for his roles in The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings trilogies. He is also well known in Australia for appearances in smaller Australian films, television series and plays for the Sydney Theatre Company.

Links to my previous posts about the Archibald Prize

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Art Exhibitions in London: March - May 2013

I've decided to create a monthly blog post about Exhibitions - ones on now and ones coming up - broadly covering a three month period.

My posts which review exhibitions I see will continue to be posted in "Who's made a mark this week" and will also be referenced in this post as well.

One of the advantages is that it also allows me to signal in advance those exhibitions which have events, talks and demonstrations.  While they normally happen with the major galleries events at art society exhibitions are a bit more ad hoc.

George Catlin - American Indian Portraits the entrance into a Facsimile of
Catlin's Gallery of Portraits of North American Indians
at the Egyptian Gallery in Piccadilly
Exhibitions highlighted will include:
  • major exhibitions in major art galleries and museums in LONDON.  (Plus other places if I have the time).  The reason I highlight these is because they very often have a good micro-site about the exhibition which enables people to understand more about the subject of the exhibition even if they can't get to see it
  • major art competition exhibitions - typically those which are listed in my page on Major UK Art Competitions in 2013
  • major art society exhibitions - again on a global basis - as and when I become aware of them!  Typically these are national level art societies rather than local ones.  For the UK, these include Major UK Art Society Exhibitions in 2013
ARTISTS & ART BLOGGERS (Solo or Group Exhibitions)
Major Art Galleries and Museums in the UK

I should explain that "the bug" and then "the cough" followed by post viral fatigue has severely limited exhibition visiting since the beginning of the year.  I was fine so long as I didn't move from home! I'm now trying to catch up on all those I missed when they opened.

Courtauld Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery
Two major exhibitions coming up later in the year which I will definitely want to see - A Crisis of Brilliance and Whistler in London

National Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

Royal Academy of Arts
Whoopee!  I've just noticed what's the major exhibition this Autumn - see Australia!  I get to see an Arthur Streeton!

Saatchi Gallery

Tate Britain
  • Until 12 May 2013 - Schwitters in Britain - I'm umming and erring on this one between thinking I ought to go and see it and not finding it very appealing based on what I've seen to date. 
  • Until 2 June 2013 Looking at the View - a thematic display which looks at continuities in the way artists have framed our vision of the landscape over the last 300 years
  • Opens 25 March 2013 Basic Design - about the history and development of Basic Design teaching in art school education.
The big one later this year is Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life 26 June – 20 October 2013. I predict major crowds for this one - they'll be coming in from all over the UK!

Tate Modern

Wallace Collection

Art Society Exhibitions
Sample artwork from the exhibition - as exhibited on the Bankside Gallery website

Bankside Gallery (Open daily 11am - 6pm during exhibitions)

Mall Galleries (10:00 to 17:00 daily)

Central Hall, Westminster
Red Poppies by Ann Swan SBA
RHS Lindley Hall, Royal Horticultural Halls, Victoria

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Norman Ackroyd on iPlayer

This week the first episode of "What do artists do all day?" was devoted to artist and printmaker Norman Ackroyd RA.  I was particularly keen to see this as he is one of my favourite contemporary printmakers and I always enjoy seeing his enormously atmospheric etchings of the coastline of the UK

iPlayer programme available until 1:00am on 29th March
It was a sheer utter delight to watch a hugely competent printmaker create an etching and talk intelligently and in depth about the process of how he makes art - in this instance a view of the cliffs of Muckle Flugga in the Shetland Islands

We follow the process all the way from the boat off the Scottish coastline all the way through his habitual processes and the specific ones required for this etching - all the way through to the creation of an artist's proof of in his old warehouse studio in Bermondsey in South London.
From delicate work on the copper plate, through preparation of the aquatint resin that brings shade and texture to the image and the application of the acid which etches the final picture from the copper, the film captures each stage of the process behind his craft.
At the same time he talks about how the son of a butcher in Leeds came to go to the Royal College of Art in the early 1960s.

If this is going to be the standard for the series, then I think this is going to be a MUST WATCH programme.

You can see the episode on iPlayer until 1.00am on Friday 29th March

Overview of the career of Norman Ackroyd (as per his website)
  • 1938: Born Leeds
  • 1956-61: Leeds College of Art
  • 1961-64: Royal College of Art, London
  • 1988: Elected Royal Academician
  • 1994: Appointed Professor of Etching, University of the Arts
  • 2000: Elected Senior Fellow, Royal College of Art
  • 2007: Awarded a C.B.E. for Services to Engraving and printing
He has produced work for many significant commissions and has work in prestigious collections all over the world.  It also sells pretty fast at the RA Summer Exhibition

Friday, March 22, 2013

Who painted this? #21

Who painted this? #21
I really like looking at this artist's genre paintings.  They always seem to have an element of humour - although I'm not always sure I understand the humour.

How to participate in "Who painted this? #19"

PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.

Click this link to read THE RULES for participating in this challenge (this saves having to copy them out for each post!).

In short:
  • use your brains not software to find the answer
  • search using words only on a database of images
  • leave your answer as a comment on this blog
  • if correct it will not be published until the next post - which provides the answer
  • if wrong it will be published
  • do not leave the answer on Facebook!
  • the winner - who gets a mention and a link on/from this blog - is the first person to give me a completely correct answer for ALL the things I want to know

Who Painted This #20 - The Answer

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review: Royal Society of British Artists - 296th Annual Exhibition

To my mind, the 296th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of British Artists is an improvement on last year's exhibition (see RBA 2012: An exhibition of Middle England? ).   Which is shorthand for saying I saw more paintings I liked and saw fewer paintings that didn't seem to me to be up to standard for an exhibition of this sort.  It also includes some stunning sculpture

The catalogue lists 537 artworks - both paintings in all media and sculpture. You can see:
View of Lake Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
by RBA President James Horton PRBA
Below you can see some photos of the exhibition, the images of (some of) the paintings and names of the artists who won awards and further comments on the exhibition.

While the website shows you an image, there is no sense of the relative size of the different artworks.  What my photographs below demonstrate is the size of artwork and the nature of the framing used for artwork submitted to this exhibition

The post viral fatigue is still limiting the number of outings I can manage to do in a week so I'm afraid this review is very much later than I'd originally planned.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Labyrinth - Art on the Underground by Mark Wallinger

My very first Labyrinth - #63 at Embankment Tube
I bagged my very first Labyrinth yesterday.

Labyrinth is the name of the series of 270 artworks which are being hung in every underground station in London as a permanent art exhibition to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the London Underground.

The artist responsible for them is British artist and Turner prizewinner Mark Wallinger. His work is often noted for its social commentary.

I gather there are only ten of them installed in stations so far - however there will be one in all 270 stations when the project is complete.

I was immediately gripped by a feeling that we all have a bit of transpotter in us and I'll end up searching them out in all the stations I visit on a regular basis.  I'm very sure I won't go so far as to find all 270 however I'm also very sure someone will.

I mean, let's face it Scotland has its Munros (hills under 3,000 feet) and London has the Underground system instead.  Instead of bagging Munros, we can all get our trainers on and run up and down escalators and stairs as in order to bag a Labyrinth.

Next will come the Guinness World Record for the fastest time that it takes one person to get him or herself  photographed next to all 270  Labyrinths.

Plus don't forget the Guide to the Labyrinths of London - a book which is doubtless starting its way in the world on 100 odd computers around London as I type!

Labyrinth - an Art on the Undergound project

The labyrinths are black graphic designs on a white background.  A red cross marks the entrance.  The concept of the labyrinth relates to the notion that the Underground is a bit of a puzzle to navigate - people lose themselves in the underground.  However it's also about the fact that many a Londoner holds the map of the underground system in his or her head and never in the pocket.

There are other echoes of the Underground system:
  • The graphic motifs are all round.  This is intended to be reflective of the iconic roundel used in the sign for every tube station and the to and fro of the daily journey to work which is so much part of people's everyday life in London.
  • They're made of vitreous enamel which also echoes the various signs around the underground system.  
Taken together it's very odd that the sign, when you encounter one, looks as if it's mean to be there. I was walking into Embankment station when I suddenly realised I was walking right past one!

You can see a film about Labyrinth below in which Mark Wallinger explains why and how he got involved with the project, how it evolved and how the 270 different designs work and are made.

Art on the Underground - Video

More websites and articles about this installation:

Please note subscriptions only become live after you have verified the link in the email you will receive

Monday, March 18, 2013

Introducing The Pencil Art Society

A new art society has been formed to promote pencil art and pencil artists.

The Pencil Art Society arrives complete with:
All they need now is a blog!  They say they have one - but I can't find a link to it - so if anybody comes across it do please let me know.

Title and strapline of the Pencil Art Society
I'm definitely not a fan of the colour scheme - I find it gloomy.
I have to say I'm not surprised that a new society for pencil artists should be created for the following reasons:
  • there was no art society purely dedicated to pencil art in all its forms
  • there's a big overlap between those who create art in graphite and those who create art in coloured pencils
  • many pencil artists are dedicated to art created using dry media but are less enamoured with increasingly narrow definitions about what's eligible media for exhibitions.
This society has a distinctly Canadian - and female - feel to it plus the membership fee is in Canadian dollars.
  • Alexandra Bastien, Founder Member, President and Exhibition Director comes from and lives in Quebec
  • Erica Walker, Founder Member, Vice President and Education Director lives in Ontario
  • Lissa Rachelle Robillard Founder Membe, Secretary and Web Services Director lives in Ontario
All but two of the members to date (as listed on the website) are women.

Purpose of the Pencil Art Society
The Pencil Art Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the recognition of pencil media, specifically graphite pencil and coloured pencil, as fine art.
I've reworked their phrasing of their purpose to highlight what i see as the key aspects of its proposed focus and activities - as follows

Sunday, March 17, 2013

10 things about art this week #1

1. A change for my Sunday posts

"10 things about art" is a bit of an experiment - to see if I can write a briefer post about art on alternate Sundays.  The idea is to write about fewer things but maybe say a bit more.  It's looking pretty lengthy at the moment but I'm enjoying focusing in more depth on fewer subjects.

There are no posts from art blogs identified this week - see item 2 as to why!

Thanks for all your comments which have been reaching me via a number of channels.  I've loved everything you said about what you liked the best.

2. It's going to be more difficult to follow Art Blogs via a Feed Reader from July (or is it?)

Google announced this week that it is closing down Google Reader - which is something of a concern for me as a very large number of my subscribers use Google Reader to follow this blog.

Here's the facts
  • Google Reader will be retired on 1st July 2013
  • You can export existing data and subscriptions via Google Takeout
  • a petition has been started - and has collected 10,000 signatures - to keep Google Reader.  To say that a lot of people are furious is probably an understatement!
  • there are LOTS of articles examining the alternatives eg Lifehacker
  • plus others are looking at the implications for life without Google Reader and how it alters the landscape of social media - see, for example What the Death of Google Reader Means for Your Feeds by Jonathan Bailey (Plagiarism Today)
I'm currently experimenting with alternative feedreaders for 
  • broadcasting the publication of a post on my blog(s)
  • reading art blogs without having to visit each blog individually
I'm very much biased towards webware accessible via different platforms in different places.
  • I'm continuing to manually post blog posts to my Facebook page - with a brief comment.  (Don't use Networked Blogs for automated posting - Facebook will bury the post)
  • I tried Bloglines (which is what I originally used) - however it's a complete waste of time.  I do NOT recommend switching to Bloglines
  • I'm currently trying Newsblur - for which I had to fork out $24p.a. for the premium service because I needed to transfer 554 feeds (!) most of which are to do with art.  
Screenshot of what Newsblur looks like
Left pane: List of feeds in a folder
Middle pane: List of blog posts on one blog
Right pane: Text and images from the blog (with different options for what it looks like)
  • So far, I've discovered:

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Finalists for The Archibald Prize 2013 + The Packing Room Prize

The names of the artists selected for the Archibald, Wynne & Sulman Prizes have been announced and you can now see images of the artwork selected for exhibition on the website of the Art Gallery of New South Wales
  • Archibald finalists 2013 - There were 868 entries for The Archibald Prize 2013 ($75,000) - now in its 92nd year - for the Best Portrait Painting preferably of some man or woman distinguished in Art, Letters, Science or Politics. (2012: 839 entries; 2011: 708 entries)
  • Wynne Finalists 2013 - There were 773 entries for The Wynne Prize ($35,000) for Best Landscape Painting of Australian scenery, or figure sculpture - marginally down on last year (2012: 783 entries; 2011: 712 entries) I'll be covering this in more detail on The Art of the Landscape blog
  • Sulman Finalists 2013 - There were 626 entries for The Sulman Prize $30,000 for Best Subject Painting, Genre Painting or Mural Project by an Australian artist in oil, acrylic, watercolour or mixed media.  Entries were somewhat down on last year (2012: 654 entries 2011: 561 entries).   
Selected finalists for Archibald Prize 2013

There are 39 finalists for the Prize - who are all listed below. The winner of the $75,000 prize will be announced next Friday, March 22.
  • click the link in the name to see their artwork on their personal website or at their gallery
  • click the link in the title of their selected artwork to see the page devoted to that artwork
  • Where I spot a blog this is listed as the third link
One of the things I like about this portrait competition is it doesn't have the very limiting criteria  associated with the BP Portrait as to permissable art media.  Also I always note that this competition seems to produce more imaginative responses to the requirement to create a portrait.  It's always a pleasure reviewing the exhibition - which you can do below)

Archibald Prize Finalists 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Who painted this? #20

This week it's not a painting.  First you need to work out what it is.

Who painted this? #20
(except it's not a painting!)
I have a nice set of clues lined up for you all if there's no progress in identifying the scene and the artist.

How to participate in "Who painted this? #20"

PLEASE make sure you read the rules before posting a comment - and ONLY POST ON THIS BLOG what you think is the answer.

Click this link to read THE RULES for participating in this challenge (this saves having to copy them out for each post!).

In short:
  • use your brains not software to find the answer
  • search using words only on a database of images
  • leave your answer as a comment on this blog
  • if correct it will not be published until the next post - which provides the answer
  • if wrong it will be published
  • do not leave the answer on Facebook!
  • the winner - who gets a mention and a link on/from this blog - is the first person to give me a completely correct answer for ALL the things I want to know
Who Painted This #19 - The Answer

Not such an easy one last week - as a number of people found out.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

POLL: Which are the best artist-quality oil paints?

This month the Making A Mark Poll asks the question "Which are the best artist-quality oil paints?".  These are oil paints which would be suitable for use by professional artists aiming to produce work of archival quality.

Back in November, the same question was asked about watercolour paints (see POLL: Which are the best artist-quality watercolour paints?) and I got the impression people found the poll very useful - notwithstanding it had a major hiccup!

At the end of the month I will also publish a new website which will contain:

  • links to all the identified brands of artists' oil paints, 
  • an analysis of the brands 
  • views about the best brands of artist quality oil paints and 
  • links to relevant information about oil paint for artists (eg lightfastness and fugitive colours)

Oil Paints - by Schminke, Charvin and Blockx - in Green & Stone in Chelsea, London
Which are the best artist-quality oil paints?

The brands I've identified as suitable for the poll are listed below - in alphabetical order.

I thought I knew most of them but kept searching and found a number of smaller operations of the 'artists colourmen' variety which are worth bringing to your attention.  To this end I've also included the link to the manufacturer's brand site in the name of the paint in case any of you are unfamiliar with the brand.

As per usual, the Opinion Poll will run until the beginning of the 31st March - with a report of the results being provided shortly thereafter.

You can find it in the right hand column - it's probably true to say that this month it's very hard to miss it!

Do please share your views on the oil paint you prefer and say why in a comment on this post.
Please note subscriptions only become live after you have verified the link in the email you will receive

Monday, March 11, 2013

11th March - Who's made a mark this week?

I'm finding Who's made a mark this week? more and more difficult to do.  It's my own fault because these posts have just grown and grown - and they now take hours and hours to compile....and I'm afraid procrastination sets in.

They started out as a way of highlighting things I read on other people's blogs and items which were interesting but weren't going to make it into a blog post.  Thus they were assembled over the course of the week.  However I now find I do more reading when writing the piece which in part accounts for why it takes so long to do.

I'm thinking along the lines of:
  • making them short and weekly OR longer and fortnightly
  • cutting the topics (but what to cut?)
So tell me which bits you like the best and what you would miss most if it went or were to be revised / reduced.

Art Blogs and Artists

  • This post is about Artists overcoming disabilities - it starts with a discussion of the challenges which many famous artists have overcome and concludes with an update on when and how I'm having surgery to get brand new eyes!  (In May!)
  • Videos: Bankside and Roy Lichtenstein provides you with three videos - two of which give give you an insight into Roy Lichenstein and the third shows you what it's like outside Tate Modern on a Sunday afternoon - on the way to see the RWS open exhibition!
Drawing and Sketching
Lower Manhattan from the Empire State Building by Patrick Vale
You can see a larger image here.
  • Do take a look at this video of Patrick Vale Empire State Of Pen - which is how the above drawing of lower Manhattan came into being and is described as follows
One week. Five pens. One pencil. A million cups of tea. One iPhone and one repetitive strain injury.
Patrick Vale gives you... lower Manhattan from the Empire State Building
His time lapse film“Empire State of Pen” captured five days of intensive drawing and brought critical acclaim across the design and architectural worlds, it clocked up 700,000 plays in a few weeks. 
    Celebrating all things graphite, Tiny Pencil is an anthology zine and forum devoted to the lead arts
    Figures and Portraiture