Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"The Great War in Portraits" - a review

This morning I became a big fan of the Irish portrait painter and war artist William Orpen.  His work dominates "The Great War in Portraits" - the new exhibition which opens at the National Portrait Gallery tomorrow - with free admission. Below you will find a review of the exhibition - with more about Orpen tomorrow.

The aim of the exhibition is to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War and to show something of the human experience of war through the medium of portraiture. It features

  • 80 paintings, photographs, sculpture and drawings drawn from different perspectives and angles. It's benefited from some major loans - including significant ones from the Imperial War Museum. 
  • It also includes propaganda film about life at the frontline during the Battle of the Somme - from both British and German sources 
The exhibition runs until 15 June 2014. There is also a major programme of events for the public which explore the art, social and military histories of the First World War.

The NPG is also planning more events as part of the commemoration which will take place over the next four years.
Gallery view of the The Great War in Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery
The Curator of the exhibition is Paul Moorehouse, the Curator of 20th Century Portraits. He told me that all the portraits in the exhibition has been drawn or painted within the 1914-18 timeframe.

He started his presentation by blowing on a British Officer's Trench Whistle from the Battle of the Somme in 1916.  He went on to detail some of the staggering statistics associated with the war - such as the fact that

  • 70 million people were mobilised during the First World War. 
  • At the end of it, 9 million of them were dead.

Don't date your signature on your artwork!

I got this comment on my website How to sign a painting, drawing or fine art print
If you are not expecting to ever be a great artist don't date the front of your work because normal people who buy paintings just to make their room look nice prefer things that are fresh to the market.

From the shop keepers point of view knowing the date can stop you accepting works for sale that have been shopped from gallery to gallery and not sold. People who look at art can sometimes remember something the've seen in the shop up the road.
Eight signatures by Rembrandt
between 1626 and 1633

This file is licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 
3.0 Unported license.

What's your current practice - do you date your artwork or not?

On my website you can vote in and see the results of a differenPOLL: Do you date your artwork?
Do you include a date on your artwork?
  • Yes - on the artwork and somewhere where it's obvious 
  • Yes - on the artwork but somewhere not obvious
  • Yes - on the reverse of the drawing or painting / base of the sculpture 
  • No - I rarely date my artwork 
  • No - I never date my artwork 
Plus read more advice about Pros and Cons of Dating Artwork plus TIPS

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tips for repelling plagiarist bloggers

After 9+ years of repelling plagiarist bloggers and websites I now get straight to the point.  It's the only way to get the message across.

Below you can read the comment I've just written on a review by a very stupid blogger.  I recognised my photograph straight away. No credit, no nothing.

I'm afraid these days I don't just get annoyed with these very lazy people........ I get even.

If there is no action on the part of the blogger within a very tight time limit, I then report the blog to Google and their website host ISP for copyright infringement.

Quite often these days I don't even bother telling them what I'm going to do - I just do it. It saves time and having to deal with ignorant people who invariably whine. (I'm writing as somebody who has had to deal with very many plagiarists and I've learned about the character of those who infringe.)

If it's a blog that a number of people have reported for copyright infringement the result seems to be that it gets deindexed. Otherwise they seem to deindex the post. Depending on who the host is I've known blogs disappear completely. This most often seems to happen when you find the ISP and they pull the plug on the website. A lot of ISPs seems to take a dim view of plagiarists these days - ever since Google got strict about duplicate content. :)
Photograph of Spencer Murphy by Katherine Tyrrell
This is my photograph of Spencer Murphy
taken at the press preview and appearing in
Spencer Murphy wins
Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize 2013
"REMOVE MY PHOTOGRAPH of Spencer Murphy from your review immediately. If you want to review exhibitions, I suggest you get an invite to the press review, take a camera and take your own photos!

My blog clearly indicates all images are copyright protected.
This is the short version
“© Katherine Tyrrell 2005-13 Unauthorised use or duplication of ANY material on this blog without written permission is prohibited. Please respect copyright of all artists featured here. SEE NOTE AT BOTTOM”
I’m very practised in reporting plagiarists to Google. Should this photograph not be removed in the next 48 hours, I shall be reporting this blog to Google as a copyright infringement.

Be aware I’m doing you a kindness leaving this note. I’m so fed up with people who steal images that I normally go direct to Google and your blog host. Google is very keen to have reports of people who DUPLICATE CONTENT in their search engine.

Just to be clear – you stole this image from my blog post

I may not leave it as long as 48 hours before reporting you to Google…

A TIP - "Save Page as"!

Once your comment is on the blog (e.g. with the 'comment awaiting moderation' note), save the blog post to file in its entirety

To do this you Go to "File" and then "Save Page As". This creates a complete offline copy of the page as seen on the website.  

It's very useful for those who dispute what was on the website/blog.

MORE TIPS! Information for Artists about Copyright and Tackling Plagiarists

I have three websites which might help those who need to learn more about copyright, copyright infringement, how to find out if their artwork has been copied on to another website and how to tackle those who plagiarise

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tips for entering art competitions

View of the inaugural Derwent Art Prize Exhibition
for pencil art at the Mall Galleries
see The 2nd Derwent Art Prize - Call for Entries
Here's my blog post 20 tips for entering art competitions which I wrote three years ago.

However, in the last three years, art competitions have changed quite a bit in terms of:

  • NEW competitions - for example we now have a new competition for pencil art and the range of artwork submitted last year was amazing
  • an increase in prizes - top prizes seem to keep increasing. Even when shared, as happened last year with the Threadneedle Prize, they're still a significant sum
  • the nature of submissions - many more are now digital and depend on the quality of the image presented
  • the increase in submissions - more artists are beginning to realise that there are numerous art competitions which are open to international entries - and the international entry appears to be ever-increasing
  • the challenge of shipping artwork - to another part of the country or even another country. Communal courier arrangements have fluctuated within the UK. Elsewhere it's one thing to be able to enter a competition in another country.  It's still a major challenge to ship overseas especially if you've not done it before! However packaging is changing and improving all the time
What tips about entering art competitions have you learned in the last three years?
Pleas leave a comment below.

Below are links to blog posts and websites related to the above

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Packaging and posting artwork #2

Daffs #2
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
The front end of my 2008 post Packaging and posting artwork - relating to the mail and parcel people - has been updated for subsequent changes in their website links.

So mail and parcel links are now fresh (and Parcelforce which is very concerned about its backlinks will now get an email to this effect!  
[UPDATE 16th March 2015: They finally replied a year later!!!)

  • It's clear I need to do a bit more work on both this topic "post book".
  • if you review this VERY LONG post and find any of the extensive links about packaging are doolally, I'd very much appreciate it if could you let me know and I'll find the right one and update again.
Since the original post I also developed a website which has lots more information.  See How to pack, post and ship art - Resources for Artists

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ban kids from art museums vs. encourage learning opportunities

Following on from the recent "child climbs on very expensive sculpture" incident at the Tate, the Telegraph today published an article - Should children be banned from museums? - calling for a debate on whether or not children should be banned from museums.

Article in The Telegraph 18 February 2014
It stimulated quite a few comments on my Facebook Page when I posted the link to this article on Facebook

I also see that the article has today generated 208 Comments. (Somehow or other a sub-strand seems to have turned the debate into whether or not Tate Modern is really a museum!)

Are you persuaded by any of the pro or con arguments put forward for banning children from museums?

There's more than a few expressing a view - with which I very much concur - that parents should be taught how to behave when bringing their children to a museum. How about some classes for parents on how to visit a museum with children?

I also rather like the notion that parents should be liable for any damage their children cause.  Seems to me that could create quite an incentive to ensure that their children are properly supervised in all areas where artwork is not protected - or handed over to museum employees who might do the job of supervision rather better!

Learning Opportunities for Children and Families in London Museums

I do think it's a very great pity that more parents and families don't avail themselves of the wonderful education opportunities offered by most publicly funded art galleries and museums in London (ie you can't benefit from the tax exemptions unless you do actually educate!)

Below you will find links to the opportunities for children in the top art museums in London


Art Galleries and Museums

The original incident which led to the debate

Monday, February 17, 2014

Art recording 'The Deluge of 1607' and 'Winter Storms in 2014'

The recent flooding in the UK make a post I wrote three years ago about Portraying the Bristol Channel Floods 1607 on my Art of the Landscape blog relevant again.

Interestingly this also occurred in January.

Woodcut image from
"A true report of certaine wonderfull ouerflowings of Waters, now lately in Summerset-shire, Norfolke and other places of England...",
printed in London 1607

I wonder if the Winter Weather of 2014 will generate similar drawings, paintings and prints about the flooding around the UK and the amazing coastal storm waves in the months to come?

Or the amazing cold weather being experienced in North America?

Or does the omnipresent photographer recording events as they unfold eliminate the need to reproduce the impact of this winter's weather in art?

Does the artist have a place in telling the story of the Winter Storms of 2014?

Do you have any plans for any artwork?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Making A Mark - in January and February 2014

A visit to the Courtauld Gallery last week
I'm busier than usual at the moment due to trying to meet publisher's deadlines for my book which is due to be published in the UK and USA later this year.  I'm getting an occasional outing in - like a visit to the Courtauld Gallery last week.

Consequently "Who's made a mark this week" is currently suspended until after my publisher's deadline of 31 March.  Posts are also a bit more intermittent than usual and/or reference "golden oldies" from the last 8 years - there's two compendiums listed below! 

However I am also posting a lot more 'good art information' links on my Making A Mark Facebook Page.  :)

What follows are the my blog posts since the beginning of the year for any of you may have missed some or are accustomed to reading them once a week.

Art Business

Art Competitions

Call for Entries

Art Competitions

Chrys Allen with her winning entry re. the Inaugural Derwent Art Prize in 2013

Art Societies



Making A Mark

Top Lists

Who painted this?

Making A Mark Weekly Art Challenge: Identify a painting, who painted it & where it is now. Plus provide the best answer about the art & artist.  Includes the answer to the previous week. (Also listed in the page at the top of the blog)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Photorealism - artists, an exhibition, a video and 71 photos

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is the only place in the UK which is playing host to the first and largest European retrospective exhibition of Photorealism until 30 March 2014. You can see a set of 71 photographs of the exhibition on Flickr. It's a great pity that the photographs do not identify the artists by name.
Showcasing key photorealist artists from the 1960s to the present day, the exhibition explores the questions and debates raised by the movement on what makes an authentic image and the ways in which we perceive the world.

This is a video of the exhibition Hyperrealism 1967-2012 at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid from when the exhibition was on display at this famous museum in Madrid.

Photorealism At the Thyssen-Bornemisza from Leland James on Vimeo.
This is the first exhibition in Spain to trace Hyperrealism’s development from its beginnings to the present. When the movement made its appearance in the United States in the late 1960s, Louis K. Meisel dubbed it “Photorealism”, describing Photorealists as artists who used the camera unreservedly as an aid to painting and transferred their images to canvas by mechanical, semi-mechanical or technical methods in such detail that the high resolution gave their paintings the illusion of being photographs.
Hyperrealism Microsite
The video features both Louis K. Meisel talking about the meeting up of the painters - plus commentary by the artists featured in the exhibition who include:

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Great British Paint-Off: BBC1 searches for best amateur artists

The BBC is looking for the best of Britain's best amateur artists - with a passion for painting and drawing - for a competitive art series on BBC1 which I guess will be the art equivalent of the The Great British Bake-Off and The Great British Sewing Bee!

Let's guess - could this new competitive art series possibly be called The Great British Paint-Off?

BBC Arts & culture Page
I don't know who gets to stand in for Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood but it might be interesting to speculate as to who could fill those shoes - with expertise and cutting comment!

The BBC has had all sorts of success with different programmes involving amateurs competing in skills based series. I guess it's logical that this should be the next spin of the dice!

Painting programmes have enjoyed a great following on television - but haven't necessarily always been transmitted at the right time of day. Who can forget Watercolour Challenge?

So here's my summary of the call for artists.

Who can enter?

  • amateur painters from all over the UK - definitely NOT professional artists
  • people with "a passion for painting and drawing"
  • over 16 years of age
This is their definition of "amateur artist" as per their terms and conditions - I've highlighted in bold the relevant bits for those earning income from their art.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Do you think these are the sexiest works of art ever?

Jonathan Jones has very clearly forgotten that half of the population is female! 

In my opinion, his article The top 10 sexiest works of art ever in today's Guardian represents a very masculine oriented perspective and some gruesome choices from a female perspective!

Maybe he needs an education on what women think about his choice?  Or his definition of sexy?

Which work(s) of art would you not have included?

Would you have even found the need to create a list?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

British Pathé film of Stanley Spencer

Cover of Stanley Spencer 
- the Catalogue raisonné by Keith Bell
This is a British Pathé film of Sir Stanley Spencer going about his business in Cookham in 1950.

The topic is "Royal Academy Take Back Old Rebel" and concerns his return to exhibiting at the Royal Academy of Arts from which he has resigned as a member in 1935 after two of his paintings were rejected from the Summer Exhibition.

The paintings were:
I'm not surprised he resigned!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Compendium of Colour

This is the second in my compendium posts about Popular Art Topics from the Archives. This one is all about colour.  Feel free to bookmark it!

(ie I've got my head down writing my book about drawing and sketching!)

It's maybe worth mentioning that my blog posts about colour and colour theory also got the thumbs up from James Gurney in the Internet Resources about Colour identified in his book "Color and Light - A Guide for the Realist Painter" which I'm also very happy to recommend! - Various resources for artists, including summaries about colour theory with additional linksJames Gurney
Goethe Colour Diagramsin the first plate of Zür Farbenlehre (Theory of Colors) (1810)
courtesy WebExhibits - Colour Vision and Art
Curated by Michael Douma

What is Colour? (9th June 2008) 

Sets out the seven ways I've decided to try and answers the question "What is Colour?"

Colour - a scientific perspective (10 June 2008)

This post focuses on the science of colour – in simple terms:
  • The defining characteristics of colour
  • How colour is made
  • How we see and think about colour

Colour - a materials perspective #1 - pigments and dyes (25 June 2008) 

This post provides a materials perspective on colour for artists and a basic overview of pigments and dyes.

Colour - pigments and related colours (26 June 2008)

I want a table which tells me all about different colours - and relates pigment to colour names to chemical names and then explains what all that means. But can I find one on the internet? (Note: I was well advanced with this table but then lost if when a computer blew up and haven't had the heart to try and reinstate it!)
Every pigment has an international classification and standardised name but not every colour is what it says it is.

Hues - a systems perspective (8th July 2008) 

A detailed examination of systems which explain primary colours

Describing a colour space - there's more than one colour wheel! (10 July 2008) 

About a Matrix of Theories about Colour Space - which is the method I've adopted to categorise some of the people who have tried describe colour in terms of spatial relationships - to describe a colour space.

A Matrix of Colour Space Theories (pdf file) (2008) 

Table of colour theories organised by approach to colour theory - additive, subtractive and partitive
How to identify complementary colours in the context of different shapes which explain colour theory
This post is an attempt to redress the balance on the paucity of online information about analogous colours - but it also recommends other sources of even better advice and information!

Colour Schemes: Split Complementaries, Triads and Tetrads (18 July 2008) 

Discusses and explains three colour schemes used by professional artists:
  • Split Complementary - a colour plus the two colours either side of its complementary colour 
  • Triad - any three colours which are equidistant on the colour wheel
  • Tetrad - any four colours which are equidistant on the colour wheel

Symbolic Colour (24 July 2008) 

This post provides an overview of some of the meanings of different colours - and the origins of some of those meanings.

Why your colours onscreen don't look the same when printed (10 March 2011) 

Have you ever wondered why your images onscreen don't come out looking the same when printed? This post discusses: how the CMYK model works; why RGB files don't look like CMYK files and how to convert an RGB file to a CMYK file for printing purposes
Lots of photos of pigments and some links to websites which describe and record Artists' Colourmen.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The 2nd Derwent Art Prize - Call for Entries

Heads up - the call for entries for The 2nd Derwent Art Prize for works created in pencil has been published.

My usual summary of the information contained in the Call for Entries is below however since this is a new prize last year I thought I'd provide a recap of what happened in terms of selection, prizes and exhibition.  I wrote three posts about the Prize and the Exhibition which you can read here:
Announcement of the Prizes
at The inaugural Derwent Art prize Exhibition last September at the Mall Galleries

The Derwent Art Prize

Aim of the Competition

The aim of the Prize is to reward excellence through showcasing the very best international works created in pencil.

Second Exhibition

It's expected that some 80 works will be selected for the exhibition. These will then be displayed in London, Cumbria and online as follows
You can also expect that artwork will be published on The Derwent Art Prize Facebook Page


The prize fund for 2014 has been significantly increased and, in addition, there is a new prize for a Young Artist under the age of 25.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Who painted this? #60

Who painted this? #60
In the interests of exploring the avenues of art history we don't often get to, this week we have an artwork which is a rather different format and a bit more international than usual.

Plus - what's very special about this work?

How to participate in "Who painted this? #58"

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 - do not leave the answer on Facebook! 
  • if correct it will not be published until the next post - which provides the answer 
  • if wrong it will be published 
  • the winner - who gets a mention and a link on/from this blog - is NOT THIS WEEK the first person to give me a completely correct answer for ALL the things I want to know. It's the person who does all this AND provides the BEST answer (see above)

Who Painted This #59 - The Answer

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Hockney, Printmaker (Review #2) - The Etchings

At the end of my preview of Hockney Printmaker at Dulwich Picture Gallery, my conclusion was that it was likely to be one of the very best exhibitions I'll see in 2014.  

The last exhibition by Hockney in London was a blockbuster.  My guess is that this exhibition will also generate lots of visitors.  It includes over 100 works between 1954 and his more recent work with computers in 2009. (The links are to my reviews of his most recent exhibitions in London)

I'm going to do this review in more than one post, so I can include a lot of images, covering:
  • The Etchings (this post)
  • The Lithography (next post)
  • Recent prints using new technology (last post)
Entrance to the Hockney, Printmaker exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery

The exhibition is curated by Richard Lloyd, International Head of Prints & Multiples, Christies who gave an in-depth and very informative introduction to the exhibition.  He gave quite the best introductory talk by curators of recent exhibitions!  The Curator's Lecture was today and was sold out - and I'm not surprised!
This exhibition will provide an insight into an aspect of Hockney’s work which is often overlooked – that he is one of the most prolific, diverse and technically astute printmakers alive. He has been making prints since 1954 and throughout the subsequent 60 years he has continued to work and experiment. There’s a whole other side to Hockney, which he has devoted an enormous amount of energy and creativity to.
Richard Lloyd
I was very impressed to see that a number of the prints on show are the Artist Proof.

Hockney, Printmaker

Here are the key themes:
  • David Hockney, Artist and Model, 1973-74, 
    Etching, 29 1/2" x 22 1/2", 
    Edition: 100, © David Hockney
    the exhibition celebrates 60 years of Hockney as a printmaker - since his first print was made at Bradford College of Art.
  • printmaking is a medium which Hockney is passionate about 
  • he excels at printmaking which involves drawing and his two main print techniques are etching and lithography. He hates screen prints - because they're too flat
  • he's absolutely fascinated by creating novel ways of making prints 
  • He switches between mediums as this polymath's ideas of what he wants to do next develop
  • Hockney references other artists and their artwork all the time - but in a way which is wholly original to him. The exhibition offers the opportunity to play "spot the artistic reference".
  • He is diligent in doing his homework before he starts work. It's normal for him to do extensive research, visit places and produced lots of drawings before he gets going on the final artwork.
  • Hockney is a very prolific artist. This exhibition picks up on some of the main themes - but there's also a lot that's not there.
  • He's a very literate artist who obviously has a deep love of poetry
  • He typically works in series or themes - which are often multi-layered in their meaning. Lloyd described them as being light-hearted and even amusing on the surface, while underneath they can be an amalgam of Renaissance portraiture and 'Art Brut' or lavatorial art.
  • He creates far more than he releases. This exhibition is interesting because it also includes prints which didn't make the final cut.
  • Hockney has worked with some of the best contemporary Master Printmakers - including Picasso's Master Printer Aldo Crommelynk as well as Maurice Payne in the UK and Ken Tyler of Gemini in California. He has huge regard for them and has participated in novel developments in printmaking.
  • Hockney is an independent man, an independent thinker and, surprise surprise, rather likes the idea of being able to make prints without needing to be assisted by a Master Printer.  So he did.
  • the exhibition holds one or two surprises!

The Etchings

The Etchings are shown here in series. His activity in etching dominated the 1960s and 1990s.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Hockney, Printmaker - Preview (Part 1)

This is an excellent video by Dulwich Picture Gallery as a preamble to the new exhibition - Hockney Printmaker which opens at the Gallery tomorrow and runs until 11th May.

David Hockney is a fabulous printmaker! I'm off to see a preview of the exhibition this afternoon and am really looking forward to it. I'll be reporting back with a review later today or tomorrow.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Westminster consults on a Special Planning Policy to protect Art Galleries

The City of Westminster is currently consulting on proposals for a NEW Special Planning Policy designed to to protect the art galleries currently located in Mayfair & St James and particularly the remaining galleries in Cork Street. 

You have an opportunity to comment before 14th February - and do not need to be a resident of Westminster to do so.

The galleries include ones which have been pivotal in advancing the careers of many top artists in the UK

Cover of the Consultation Document

Below is the content of a letter I've received from Messums - one of the top dealers in the area - and a gallery who exhibits a number of artists who are mentioned on this blog from time to time (people like Daphne Todd, Pete Brown, William Bowyer, Tom Coates, Jane Corsellis, Saied Dai, Ruth Stage etc)

They are highlighting the consultation about the proposed new policy to protect art galleries in Mayfair and St. James - and the deadline for comments which is 14th February 2014.
I am writing to draw your attention to an exciting consultation paper recently issued by Westminster Council, proposing the creation of a new Special Policy Area (SPA) in Mayfair, London to protect the future of art dealers and in particular Cork Street as a centre for the arts. It builds on the existing SPAs in St James’s, in favour of art dealers and private clubs, and Savile Row, in favour of the tailors.

Our concern is that with out it, the extraordinary concentration of top class art dealers in Mayfair and St James’s, which contributes so significantly to the London art scene, will come under threat from new developments and rapidly rising rents, driven by the advance of the fashion industry and the influx of wealthy foreigners looking at property in the area as a safe place for their money.

The point we would make is that in may ways the art trade and streets like Cork Street have given Mayfair its richly hewn tapestry. It has helped to create the special character of the area and make it a desirable place to visit and live and if the art business is driven out, this character may be lost and some of the long term economic health and vitality of the area will go with it.

We are delighted that Westminster Council have accepted the possiblity of this loss, and that they are proposing an SPA policy, which aims, not to prevent the fashion trade or wealthy foreign residents from moving in, but to try and ensure that there is some balance and that this is not at the expense of the art trade.

However they do need to hear peoples views on this recommendation, and in particular from those who value and enjoy Cork Street and this part of Mayfair as an important centre for Art.

Whether you are resident in the UK or overseas, I do hope that you will consider adding your weight to what Westminster Council are trying to do and that you will write to the Council in support of their plans.
The address to write to is set out on the last page of the proposal paper which can be accessed in full via this link, and the consultation period ends on 14 February, so it is important to act within time. 

Relevant documents are:
All comments on the proposals should be directed to the City Planning Department of Westminster City Council - details of how to do this are on page 18 of the pdf file - BEFORE 14 February. Comments should focus on

  • whether or not you support the proposed plans and 
  • any planning considerations relevant to the need to make special provision to protect specialist niche economic uses which are NOT currently protected under current planning policy.

Other relevant context includes: