Friday, August 30, 2013

Who Painted This? #42

Who painted this? #42
I've had to adjust the wikimedia commons version of this painting as it glares at you - it's terribly over-saturated! I've been using a couple of other images of it in a recent exhibition as a reference point - and that's as much as a clue as you're getting for now!

For those who've not risen to the challenge before please take a minute to read the rules - see below.

How to participate in "Who painted this? #41"

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

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Jerwood Drawing Prize 2013 - Selected Artists

The artists selected for the 19th Jerwood Drawing Prize (2013) have been announced.

76 drawings by 76 artists (see listing below) have been chosen from over 3,000 entries received for this Prize and associated exhibition. 24 of these were by those entering in the student category.

The Jerwood Drawing Prize is probably the most prestigious prize for drawing in the UK and awards the highest financial prize for drawing (£8,000).  It's certainly the country's largest and longest running annual open exhibition dedicated to drawing in the UK.

This is how the Jerwood Organisation describes it
Selected from original art works, and now in its 19th year in this format, the Jerwood Drawing Prize has established a reputation for its commitment to championing excellence and exploring the boundaries of contemporary drawing practice within the UK.

This competition is a platform for drawing practitioners to showcase their work alongside other leading contemporary artists in this field, and provides those selected with the opportunity to help define the concept of drawing for future generations.
'Experiments in black and white VII' by Neville Gabie
Video and chalk, 32 mins 47 secs
© Neville Gabie
The aims of the three jurors - Kate Brindley, Director of Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art mima; Michael Craig-Martin RA, artist; and Charlotte Mullins, art critic, writer, broadcaster, and Editor of Art Quarterly - was to create an exhibition that explores and celebrates the diversity, excellence and range of current drawing practice in the UK.

Lanugo by Antony Crossfield
Graphite, 51cm x 54.5cm
© Antony Crossfield
The prizes will be announced and awarded to the winning artists at a ceremony on Tuesday 10 September 2013. These include a First Prize of £8,000, Second Prize of £5,000 and two Student Awards of £2,000 each

Protest Crowd, Tokyo 2012 (No. 26, Version 3) by Joy Gerrard
Ink and pencil on paper, 43cm x 56cm
©  Joy Gerrard
The Jerwood Drawing Prize Exhibition will be displayed at Jerwood Space, 171 Union Street, London SE1 0LN from 11 September – 27 October 2013.  The exhibition is free to enter and is open from Monday to Friday from 10am–5pm, Saturday and Sunday from 10am–3pm. Nearest Tube: Southwark, London Bridge or Borough. Twitter: #JDP13 @JerwoodJVA

Jerwood Visual Arts will host a series of evening events to accompany the exhibition. Events are free but must be booked in advance, for more information please check the Jerwood Visual Arts website.

The London exhibition is included in the London Design Festival programme, taking place from 14–22 September 2013.

The exhibition will then tour to venues across the UK including

Artwork (including media and size) and artists selected for Jerwood Drawing Prize 2013

The exhibition this year reflects a great variety of different approaches to drawing from practitioners working across the creative disciplines; from pencil, charcoal and graphite on paper, to drawings on textile, sheet music and wood, in addition to etching, stitching, video work, installation, digitally generated drawing and animation.

See the range of media used to make drawings in the listing of selected artists below.  You can also check out the size of the works produced - and selected.

The selected artworks - and artists are as follows.

  • Click the links in their names to see their artwork on their websites or blogs.  
  • Links in the entry title are to works identified on the artist's site.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

David Forster wins Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2013

David Forster has won the £10,000 First Prize in the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2013.  David has previously exhibited in the competition and won 2nd Prize in the Singer and Friedlander Watercolour Competition in 2005. I've highlighted his work before on this blog in this post.

Owly Images
Sunday Times Watercolour Competition - FIRST PRIZE (£10,000)
Not long afterwards the country was overrun by war (Port Edgar, Scotland) by David Forster

acrylic on paper, 91 x 74 cm
His intensely wrought landscape paintings refer to the traditions of the 18th and 19th centuries. Though the scenes depicted are topographically correct, light and colour are altered to create a fictionalised reality.

Sunday Times Watercolour Competition

The competition celebrates all works produced in water‐based mediums, whether abstract or figurative, contemporary or traditional.
These are the details of all the winners in the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2013.
You can see the paintings which won the prizes below.  I'm still waiting for details as to media and sizes and will insert this when I have the information.

Owly Images
Sunday Times Watercolour Competition - SECOND PRIZE (£6,000)
Horses St Mark's by Gordon McDowall

Watercolour, 82 x 82 cm

Owly Images
Sunday Times Watercolour Competition -
Smith & Williamson Cityscape Prize (£1,500)
The Old and the New - Monument 2013 by Andrew Horrod

Watercolour, 96 x 75cm

Owly Images
Sunday Times Watercolour Competition - Vintage Classics Prize for Cover Art (£500)
Fire Marked the Land Like a Language IV by David Firmstone

Watercolour, 114 x 85 cm
The 2013 judging panel was
  • Julia Farrer, artist;
  • Danny Markeyartist; 
  • Dr Susan OwensCurator of Painting, Victoria & Albert Museum;
  • Desmond Shawe-Taylor CVOSurveyor of the Queen’s Pictures; and
  • Louis Wise, Assistant Editor, Culture, The Sunday Times

Sunday Times Watercolour Competition - The Exhibition

I'll be writing a review of the exhibition when it opens at the Mall Galleries in the Mall, London on 16th September until 21 September 2013.  The exhibition is open from 10am to 5pm each day and entry is free.

83 works by 79 artists have been selected by the jurors for the exhibition from a submission of 800+ entries.  This is significantly less than the 100 estimate at the time of the Call for Entries.

I understand a series of FREE workshops and demonstrations by past and current exhibitors will occur during the exhibition but I've got no details of those as yet.  I'll post them when I have them.

Smith & Williamson are generously supporting a tour of the exhibition in the UK.  A selection of the 2013 exhibition will be shown in their offices throughout the UK from September 2013 to January 2014.

Links to previous blog posts about this competition on Making A Mark


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

To all organisers of art competitions and open exhibitions

I've been writing about art competitions and open exhibitions for over seven years.  During that time I've learned a few things about what I need to know and what organisers need to provide if the input and the output are to mesh efficiently and effectively.

Everything that follows is based on items I have to ask for time and time again and/or issues which have an unhappy habit of recurring.  

Some of the information needed for those wanting to cover exhibitions is not routinely provided - although I have yet to come across an art competition or open exhibition which wouldn't relish more publicity.

Rather a lot of artists also hope that getting their art into a juried exhibition means that this will also enhance their profile.  It's not an unreasonable expectation and you can help them do this.

So - here's the checklist for how to increase your chances of getting good coverage for your art competition or open exhibition - and the artists who participate in them.

There's a lot already done that is good - and I do want to emphasise I get a lot of help from some PR people - but there's also quite a lot of scope for improvement.  Below I'm sharing the good practices which I know exist - and a few tips of my own!

How to get an art competition or open exhibition publicised on the Internet  

Monday, August 26, 2013

August 2013 - Who's made a mark this summer?

Summer is always a bit slow - so I awarded myself some time off for days out and weekends off! Plus I've started to start making "proper artwork" again with my pencils - although I've still got problems with respect to vision and have yet to work out the distances which work best.

Syon Vista Summer - a study
coloured pencils on Arches HP, 9" x 12" (23 x 31cm)
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
So here's a bumper version of "Who's made a mark......?"

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Use Google PageSpeed Insights Tool to check how fast your website loads

Do you know how well your website or blog renders on a mobile device or a normal computer?

This is a link to the updated Google Developers PageSpeed Insights Tool. You can use this to identify:
  • how fast your website or blog loads:
    • on a mobile device (using mobile software)
    • on a desktop (laptop or desktop machine using full versions of operating systems)
  • what areas to tackle to improve the speed of your load.
This is all about making smartphones load fast.  Google has introduced a new benchmark - and some new guidelines setting out its expectations about how fast websites and blogs render their above the fold content so people can start reading / browsing before the whole page has loaded.

They want to see the above the fold content on a smartphone in under a second
Research shows that users’ flow is interrupted if pages take longer than one second to load. To deliver the best experience and keep the visitor engaged, our guidelines focus on rendering some content, known as the above-the-fold content, to users in one second (or less!) while the rest of the page continues to load and render in the background. The above-the-fold HTML, CSS, and JS is known as the critical rendering path.
The new tool is really very accessible
  • it differentiates between mobile load and desktop (laptop or PC) load.  Essentially it's differentiating between full-on operating systems and their mobile versions.
  • it has new "traffic light" icon system to alert you to what's OK and what needs attention
  • It spells out precisely where the problems are - and then gives you the details to identify what to address.  
The good news is that Blogger's mobile version, if switched on, seems to respond pretty well.

This site which is huge and slow to load (7+ years old c. 2,500 posts etc) did rather better in the speed tests than I was expecting.

PageSpeed Insights result for Making A Mark
(rightclick pic and open in a new tab to see a larger version)

There are a couple of problems - which is Blogger script - which I'm assuming will be addressed by the Blogger people. If you click a line about a problem - it unfolds to, for example, identify the block scripts which are causing a problem for rendering.
Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold contentYour page has 2 blocking CSS resources. This causes a delay in rendering your page.
You can also find out more about the precise techie details of "good practices" and benchmarks for future standards of rendering on mobile devices in Mobile Analysis in PageSpeed Insights.

NOTE:  Here's the Blogger Buzz Post A more dynamic mobile reading experience which tells you how to make sure your Blogger blog is set up with a mobile template. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Who Painted This? #41

Who painted this? #41

This is not the painting I was proposing to use this week.  Unfortunately I couldn't find an image of that online - which would have been a bit unfair!

This one takes a bit of working out.  I think there's enough clues in the painting - but some might find it easier than others.  I think it might take you a while to work it out as at least two websites are NOT helpful in this context.  You'll understand what I mean if you find them.

For those who've not risen to the challenge before please take a minute to read the rules - see below.

How to participate in "Who painted this? #41"

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

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Best Guides to Colour Mixing

I've published a new website - The Best Guides to Colour Mixing.

Most artists at some point or another test out the different colours they can make with their paint or pastels or coloured pencils or whatever medium they're using.

Lots of us try developing charts - and many a happy hour can be spent filling in boxes with different mixes of colours.

An exercise in mixing neutrals from 12 complementary colours using coloured pencils
(from Stephen Quiller's book - Color Choices: Making Color Sense Out of Color Theory
Charts can be particularly useful as a reference - particularly if we've remembered to write down the colours and the proportions being used!  Lots even end up being pinned on studio walls - which is definitely the easiest way of remembering where you put your charts!

Thing is - you or I can make loads of charts - and still not be able to work out (or remember) how to make a particular colour!

The best answer is to just keep using paint until mixing becomes second nature and you don't need to think which colours you need to use.  This is, without fail, the best answer.

However I do subscribe to the view that sometimes you need your eyes opened to the range of colours which can be produced through mixing colours - either physically (on the pallet) or optically (on the paper or support).

A good way of finding out about colour mixes is to take a peek at some of the deecnt books about colour and some of the guides and references which are around.  These can be very informative as to just how many different shades you can create from a limited palette.  Not all are - but some are very good.

I found these chart books very useful when I was starting out for understanding a lot how two colours can make new colours I would never have guessed were possible.  I distinctly remember a phase where reading one of my chart books triggered me into testing out every combination of blues and browns to see what sort of coloured neutrals I could produce.

Even better were books by people like Jeanne Dobie and Stephen Quiller which really got me thinking a lot more about colour and about colour mixes which I might not have tried without having read their books.

This new site is essentially about looking at
  • different ways of mixing colours 
  • different books which help you understand more about mixing colour
  • different aids for learning more about mixing colours.
However it's brand new and I've got more work to do on it.

Let me know what you think.  Also, if you've written anything helpful about colour mixing do let me know and I'll see if it's suitable for adding in as a link within the tips and techniques for colour mixing section.

For more about Colour

For ease of access to all my blog posts from the Colour Project on this blog (in 2008) - and more about colour, colour theory and the best art books about colour please review my three other websites about colour.

Colour - Resources for Artists
Colour - Resources for Artists
What is colour? Do you know or do you want to learn more about colour and its use as an artist? This site provides links to information and advice about colour and how to understand and analyse it - and then use it as an artist.  

The Best Art Books - Colour
The Best Art Books - Colour
Read the best books for artists and painters about understanding colour, mixing colours and using colour in paintings. * Find out which are the leading art books about colour. * Read associated art book reviews. 

Colour Theory for Artists
Colour Theory for Artists
If you want to understand more about the science of colour, how it works and how people think (or thought) it works then this is the site for you. It covers: List of colours | Color Theory | Historical Theories of colour | Value - darkness and lightness of colour | Saturation or colorfulness etc.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The £5,000 Bristol Art Prize

The Bath Art Prize has morphed for 2013 into the Bristol Art Prize!

The Bath Art Prize has spent four years in Bath - with artists arriving from all over the UK to paint street scenes in Bath.  This year there is a change of scenery and a change of gallery for the exhibition.
The Bristol Art Prize is an open art competition, created to stimulate new work celebrating the glory of Bristol. Entrants are required paint their first work from an allocated location and can choose any Bristol location for additional entries. En plein air painting is also encouraged.
Bristol Art Prize - check out the views at the top of every page on the website
How the Bristol Prize Competition works

The Rules

Who is eligible

The competition is open to any artist submitting a painting or drawing related to the City of Bristol and produced in 2013 according to the rules of the Competition.

What can you paint 

  • LOCATION: You don't have a choice about your first work.  You MUST paint a scene based on an allocated viewpoint.  This ensures a good mix of scenes from around the city.  However if you don't like your allocated viewpoint you're stuffed!  Once you have entered you're notified about your viewpoint by email.  At least you can then decide whether or not to make the journey by using Google Streetmaps to check it out!  Once you've painted this scene you are then free to make a painting from a location of your choice.
  • TYPE OF WORK: Work must be the artist's own work - no borrowing other people's photos or copying allowed! All work entered must be an original composition produced in 2013 and must be the sole work of the entrant who must own the copyright of the work.

Deadline for entries

The closing date for entries and submission of work is Sunday September 8th 

Cost of entry

Non-refundable fees are £18 for the first work submitted online and £10 for every additional painting

How are paintings judged

There's a two stage process:
  • initial screening is online.  This will be completed by 11 September.  You can see work which has been screened and displayed on the website right now.
  • If you pass the initial screen you're then invited to present your work framed for exhibition (all the normal rules apply re. framing and packaging) and deliver it to Bristol no later than Sunday September 22nd.

What gets displayed

  • Artwork delivered to Bristol will be displayed on the Bristol Prize website - and may be sold via that website.  Sales are less 50% commission.
  • Artwork which goes on exhibition in Bristol is at the discretion of the competition organisers.  This is another way of saying they have a finite amount of space and don't know how many they can take until they've seen how big everything is.  They will then sort out the "must hang" and then hang as much of the rest of it as they can.  Hence - my advice would be if you want to paint big - you better paint a winner!
  • Prizewinners and other selected entries MAY be offered a publishing contract for artist-enhanced editions and signed limited editions of their work.


The exhibition for the Bristol Art Prize 2013 will be held at the Exhibition Centre: The Guildhall Arts Centre, Small Street, Bristol, BS1 2EP in September.
The Bristol Art Prize, the Plein Air Prize and other specified prizes are purchase prizes and accepting these prizes sells the prize-winning work and the right to reproduce it to the Competition organizers.


  • The Bristol Art Prize is £5,000. This a link to the Prizes page.  
  • This is what it says (see above).  Note that the price includes signing over the copyright for reproduction purposes - so remember to add in the value for this otherwise the competition becomes a cheap way of getting artwork for reproductions to sell to tourists!  (I think this is a new condition - I don't remember it being there before but doubtless one of the plein air artists will set me straight on that one if I've got it wrong!)

Art Materials in Bristol

Anybody participating in the competition is eligible to get a discount on art materials from Bristol Fine Art

You can read about the Bath Art Prize in this post Chris Dunn wins The Bath Prize 2011 and see the standard of some of the paintings submitted.

So - who's entering this prize this year?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

For fans of feline art

There are two exhibitions in London for fans of feline art next week.
Both have a virtual exhibition of a lot of the drawings, prints and paintings on display - click the links to view.

Big Red by Gayle Mason
to be displayed in the Society of Feline Artists 16th Annual Exhibition
I'm kicking myself because my friend Gayle Mason (Fur in the Paint | Gayle Mason Fine Art on Facebook) gave me a copy of the catalogue for the SOFA show when we met up recently and I now can't find it.

Here however is her very handsome chap who's in the SOFA show.

I think the last time she showed a ginger he sold before the show even opened!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Who painted this? #40

Who painted this? #40
I've been seriously considering buying myself a parasol this summer!

[UPDATE:  OK - this is the first time I have had everybody seriously stumped for an answer for two days - so clue coming up!! 

This is by a British painter who's not British born and who is not known for painting landscapes.]

For those who've not risen to the challenge before please take a minute to read the rules - see below.

How to participate in "Who painted this? #39"

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

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Threadneedle Prize 2013 - Shortlist announced

The artists shortlisted for the Threadneedle Prize - standing outside the Mall Galleries
left to right: Seamus Moran, Andrew Cranston, Clare McCormack (in front), Ilona Szalay and Lisa Wright
(Harriet White is not present)
Photo: © 2013 Sophia Schorr-Kon Photography
The artworks shortlisted for the £30,000 Threadneedle Prize 2013 are displayed below - along with their details and the name of the artist (and link to website where available). Plus a summary of what I've gleaned from their websites and the press release.

The winner will be announced before the Exhibition opens on Tuesday 24 September 2013.

I've included all the images of the artwork with the longest dimensions all the same length although in reality they are very different sizes.  I suggest you note the size of some of the artwork!  The longest dimension of some of these is the same as the same height of a very tall man!  (For those who still work in feet 100cm = 3 feet 3⅜ inches)

Art Everywhere - on billboards around the UK

The Art Everywhere Exhibition 2013 opened on 12 August and can be seen on billboards around the UK until 25 August 2013.

There are 57 works of art on 22,000 poster sites around the country - and people are snapping them and posting them to the Art Everywhere Facebook Page.

This is the longlist of artworks in alphabetical order by surname of the artist which the public voted on to determine The Top Ten British Masterpieces and the 57 featured artworks in the exhibition.

Art Everywhere is organised by the Tate and The Art Fund.  This video which marks the launch of the exhibition explains what it's about.

Here's some comments about the execution:
  • the use of billboards/poster sites to display publicly owned artwork to the nation is a brilliant idea.  The presentation - with a goodly amount of white space - means it should really get people noticing the art
  • The information pages for each featured artwork are just enough to get read AND be informative.  Judge for yourself - this is Blotter by Peter Doig.  However it's a real pity they didn't do this for each and every artwork in the long list too.
  • I like the fact that all the poster sites are interactive.  The information about every artwork can be accessed via an app - and you just need to hold up your app to the pic and it will tell you all about it.  To access the information you need to first download the free Blippr app - available from the iStore or Google Play.
  • the use of #ArtEverywhere to share thoughts and snaps on Twitter and Instagram should mean news of it gets around!
  • there's a further interactive opportunity through people posting snaps of posters found to the Facebook Page
  • the map on the website doesn't work - it's just a hotch potch of flags from far too high a level.  To work properly it needs a zoom facility.
The Guardian are running a competition for those who can spot all 57 works of art.

Promoting a nation of art collectors?

This initiative follows on from the one I wrote about an installation of new art on the London Underground - Labyrinth - Art on the Underground by Mark Wallinger

The idea of creating a large enough number of artworks which are all publicly accessible and then encouraging people to find them and snap them - as if playing a game - is an interesting one.

The question is will it switch people on to the idea of collecting art for real?

What do you think about this and similar initiatives?  Have you spotted a work of art near you?

More about art in the UK

My websites provide one bookmark for access to details about the top art galleries and museums in the UK

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pre-selected, selected, long listed, shortlisted, prizewinner - what's in a phrase?

There seems to be massive amount of confusion in people's minds about the difference between pre-selection, selection, shortlisting and winning. I can't see how most of this occurs, but I do my best to politely set them straight....
View of last year's Sunday Times Watercolour Competition at the Mall Galleries
This is a quote from a competition organiser and was their response to an email from me pointing out that somebody was claiming on a website to have WON a rather prestigious prize last year!  (The individual hadn't - and the reason I knew that for a fact was because I interviewed the winner who not only had a completely different name but was also of the other sex!)

Given the claim was actually on a gallery website it might have been a gallerista who was exercising rather too few brain cells.

However I've certainly have come across artists who really haven't got a clue when it comes to the technical terms relating to art competitions.

The main difficulty seems to be understanding the difference between "selected" and "shortlisted".

So here is.....

A glossary of art competition descriptions for the confused


You made it through the first (screening) stage and you are now officially on the long list.

Typically this is associated with a digital pre-screening. Your digital image worked. You now need to get your artwork to where it is being judged in person.

Selected artist

Your artwork has now been selected for the Exhibition.

Somehow or other we end up with a list of artists' names rather than a list of selected artworks. Hence why you are now referred to as a "selected artist"

This is the term most of the people who get into an exhibition SHOULD use.


There is an official and announced shortlist for the prize.  Your name is on it.  You get invited to the announcement of the prizewinners which may or may not also include dinner! (Suddenly you realise you need a new frock or suit!)

To qualify as a shortlist the list has to be short.  If it's got 80 names on it it's not a shortlist - it's a list of selected artists!

A lot of prizes don't do this but some do (e.g. BP Portrait, Threadneedle).


You won a prize. As in "A prize" not "THE prize".  You get the smaller cheque.


You won "THE prize"!  The one the competition is named after. You can now officially feel faint, revise your CV and website to make a big thing about it and generally wonder how on earth that happened.

You also get a big cheque and the problem of what to do with it!

Links: Major UK Art Competitions in the UK in 2013

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2013 - Selected Artists

The watercolour painters selected for this year's exhibition associated with the competition in The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2013 listed below.
the competition celebrates all works produced in water‐based mediums, whether abstract or figurative, contemporary or traditional.
You will be able to see all the artwork in The 26th Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition at the Mall Galleries between Monday 16th and Saturday 21st September

Selected for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition
Image: Courtesy of David Firmstone

Selected Artists

83 paintings by 79 artists have been selected from an entry of about 800 paintings.  

52 artists surnames come from the first half of the alphabet - making artists with a surname starting A-M 66% of the the total selected.  Which is very odd - and worth querying!  I'll be repeating this exercise with future posts about selected artists.

If the artist has a website the link is included in the name.  I also include sundry comments about artists - and their websites.  I see an awful lot of websites and some of the obvious comments begin to jump out at you.  You can tell the ones where I found information about the artist easily.  Could I easily create a one sentence summary of you as an artist from the information you provide on your website?

I found it amazing just how many artists do NOT appear to paint regularly in watercolour - much more so than usual.

  • Akash Bhatt - a consistent exhibitor with the Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition over the years. His website is good but hasn't been updated for some time.
  • Alexandra Blum - a fascinating website with images exploring how to represent urban space in space and through different media
  • Francis Bowyer PPRWS, NEAC - a Member and Past President of the Royal Watercolour Society and is a Member of the New English Art Club.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Botany for Botanical Artists

Cydonia oblonga (Quince) 
By Franz Eugen Köhler
Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen
I've been making a new website today - about Botany for Botanical Artists.

As I noted in my Interviews with RHS Botanical Art Gold Medal Winners at this year's RHS Botanical Art Exhibition - painting a nice painting is not enough!
Painting flowers nicely isn't enough. There's a clear and strong botanical science theme running through the stories of many of the new Gold Medal Winners. Dissection and the portrayal of the complete plant and life cycle should be high on the agenda of any aspiring Gold Medal winner

The botanical science theme for me essentially means telling the life story of a plant and demonstrating all its relevant parts - on one sheet of paper.

Following the exhibition, I'd noticed that there seems to be a lack of websites with a focus on the topic of botanical art for artists.  On the other hand there's quite a lot of information on the Internet and there are also very good books.

Botany for Botanical Artists covers books providing advice on
  • drawing the shapes and parts of plants correctly and so they demonstrate correct plant morphology
  • Botanical Latin and the correct terms for naming the different parts of plants
  • places where you can learn more about analytical botanical ans scientific illustration for artists (still developing this section)
  • lists of national botanical networks
  • lists of botanical gardens in different countries (I've still got to transfer the USA, Australasia and Asia)
  • lists of arboreta around the world

Most of the website involved transferring content from one website to another.  I started to develop content on my Botanical Art - Resources for Artists website and then realised it was getting a bit hefty.

Any suggestions as to useful additions will be much appreciated

Friday, August 09, 2013

Who painted this? #39

Who painted this? #39
I've been deep in the depths of consulting with neighbours and drafting my Residents' Association's response to a major planning application this week.  I've been longing to be outside and doing anything other than studying endless documentation and drafting "planning speak".

This was not helped by 'Word' going wonky and needing to be uninstalled and reinstalled.  Did you know there are 25,000 files in Microsoft Word 2011 and it takes hours to uninstall!

Anyway, here's this week's challenge.  This one was a complete and utter surprise to me.  It's a place I know well and yet I've never seen a painting of it before,  Nor did I know that this artist had painted this place (which he has and more than once) and it's certainly not the most obvious view.........

I've lightened the image I found because it seemed too dark and over-saturated and that simply isn't the style of this artist - and you needed to see the style because that's as much help as you're getting!

For those who've not risen to the challenge before please take a minute to read the rules - see below.

How to participate in "Who painted this? #39"

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

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Threadneedle Prize 2013 - Selected Artists

The artists selected for the 2013 Exhibition for the Threadneedle Prize for Painting and Sculpture at the Mall Galleries in September have been announced.

Preview night at last year's Exhibition
[UPDATE:  You can now also see the artworks selected on the website - but you cannot link to them]

  • Sarah Gillespie (Sarah Gillespie - Artist) is a printmaker who also draws in charcoal with a very fine eye and beautiful draughtsmanship. She exhibited in last year's Threadneedle and in the 2012 and 2013 RA Summer Exhibition.  I'm a fan - do take a look at her website!  This year she's got two pieces accepted and one of them is an engraving of  Hare 
  • Jonny Green
  • Hugo Grenville
  • Carla Groppi
  • Mark Layton Jameson
Last Year's exhibition - when there's nobody in the gallery!
The exhibition runs from 25 September - 12 October 2013 at the Mall Galleries

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Amazon launches its Amazon Fine Art Store

Amazon Fine Art was launched yesterday with over 150 'prestigious' galleries who deal online selling some 40,000 works of fine art by over 4,500 artists.  The new venture currently has beta status.

The basic message so far - re "how do I get my art on there?" is that to be an artist on the site you need to be an artist with a gallery that got an invite. Think of it like an Art Fair online.

Obviously I'm going to write more about this when I understand it better - so here's the information available so far.  It's been attracting a lot more attention from the techie side - and at the moment there's a bit of a deathly hush on the art journals side!

I'll add more good commentary as and when I find it.

Business sites


Art Magazines / Journals

UPDATE: Artists & Illustrators has risen to the challenge.  I wonder if they read my comment on this post published this morning?
UPDATE This is what you might call "the prequel"!

Techie type sites

Media sites

Key features of the new Amazon art store 

There's an awful lot of features in which will look very familiar to anybody who knows online art galleries well.
  • it features paintings, drawings, mixed media works, photography and art prints - although an initial review revealed some interesting classifications (why have "chalk drawings" and "pastel drawings"?)
  • the subject matter has an extensive classification
  • various styles and periods including Pop art, Abstract art, Modern art, Contemporary art, and much more.
  • as always with Amazon you get to buy by price range - and I can tell you there's an awful lot of art priced in excess of $1,000
  • artists range from new through to famous. The 'names' - past and present - that I've spotted so far include Henry Moore, Bob Rohm, Linda Lucas Hardy, Margaret Evans, Harley Brown, Fred Wessell, and finally Angus McEwan Artist ( has because he prompted me to look!
I'm hoping to encourage Angus - who is frequently featured on this blog - to pop over and tell us a bit more about how he got an invite!

...and here is his comment
Hi Katherine,
This is a brand new venture, and I have to say it looks like a huge undertaking for everyone involved. A small number of galleries have been asked to supply artwork for sale through the Amazon website. Each gallery obviously decides which artists they would like to represent. Each artist puts forward work which is available and can be put aside indefinitely incase of sales. I was kindly asked by Thompson's Galleries to take part, which I was thrilled about. You then have to provide quite a lot of information pertaining to each work along with good images. There are images of the painting, the frame and a detail of your signature.- each gallery must obviously collate all that info for each piece and provide that to Amazon. The Thompson's Gallery then collected the work to make sure it could be shipped immediately. All in all the gallery has to take responsibility for making sure everything is professional as it will reflect badly on Amazon. I can see why they went down this route rather than contacting artists individually. They are dealing with less people and every artist has their own idea of how business should be conducted- and maybe it doesn't align with Amazons approach. Time will tell how successful this will be, but I'm willing to give it a try.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Review: CPSA 21st International Exhibition 2013 in California

The Coloured Pencil Society of America's 21st Annual International Juried Exhibition at the Brea Art Gallery in California opened on Wednesday 31 July and runs until 13 September 2013.

This is a link to a set of photos about the CPSA Convention and CPSA Annual Exhibition 2013 by Gayle Uyehara a member of CPSA.  I'm not sure whether this is an "official" set or not but it's certainly been highlighted by CPSA on their official Facebook Page.

I think this is probably the best set of photos I've ever seen of a CPSA Convention and Exhibition.  A lot of people often devote their photos to the people who attended and who they met - but this one recognises:
  • the amazing sponsorship CPSA is able to generate from various "name" donors in the art supplies and art publishing worlds
  • the artwork!!  Yes folks - we actually get to see ALL the artwork selected for exhibition!
You can:
  • gasp in absolute awe at the great sponsorship and totally amazing haul of art materials and art books generated by those responsible for getting donations for exhibition prizes and raffle prizes.  (I saw this for myself when I attended the convention in Albuquerque in 2006. This society for me sets a benchmark for other art societies who are maybe not aware of what can be achieved if you work hard at generating sponsorship!  You only have to ask - the worst thing that can happen is that they say 'No').  I love the idea that the sponsors also get awards as to the level of sponsorship contributed!
  • see the mini masterpieces produced for their Silent Auction - which helps generate funds for the art society.  Another really brilliant idea and one which any art society can copy.  For those not aware of what this is, each artist contributes a small artwork for free and this is then auctioned through a silent auction process at the convention - bidders write down their bids on lists in front of the pictures.  The proceeds contribute financial support for CPSA activities. 
  • review the exhibition of artwork in coloured pencils in the 21st Annual Exhibition at the Brea Art Gallery in Brea, California.  I have to say I'm very impressed by the space and the hang is excellent.  Gayle is to be congratulated on having done a great job with her photos - I know just how difficult it is trying to get photographs of glazed artwork!

The value of exhibition photos

I cannot emphasise too much how much it means to artists to be able to see their artwork on the wall of an exhibition.

Not everybody is able to travel to an exhibition - even if they have submitted artwork which has been selected.  As every artist will know, the one thing on your mind is "What does my artwork look like in the exhibition?".  You want to know whether it holds its own alongside other artwork, whether it has been hung well - and what sort of frames everybody else is using this year!

I don't think many art societies appreciate how much value they generate by taking the time to photograph the exhibition and then putting those images online so all can see "what it looked like".  

It's seeing images like this which
  • allows artists who have never entered before identify what they need to do to make the grade
  • enables people to make decisions about how best to present their artwork for exhibition in future
  • provides inspiration for a decision by those whose artwork now makes the grade to enter their artwork next year - and maybe win a prize!
I can't tell you how many people have told me they have entered an exhibition or competition in the UK only after seeing photos of what it looks like on my blog.  

It's even better when they tell me they they won a prize as a result! :)

I'll be posting about the award winners and selected artists next week - and I will be linking to each artist's website, so long as it's on the CPSA listing of members' websites AND their blogs if they have one and I can find it.  Now is the time to tell me if your website has changed or you have a blog as well!  Leave a comment below.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Who painted this? #38

Who painted this? #38
(click the painting to see a larger version)
I've been thinking recently about the aspects of paintings which are not seen so often these days.  Last week I had a painting including a lot of people and this week I've chosen to focus on format.

For those who've not risen to the challenge before please take a minute to read the rules - see below.

How to participate in "Who painted this? #38"

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