Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2015 - Call for entries

Yet another art competition on television!  This time it's Sky Arts' Landscape Artist of the Year 2015.

It's very definitely worth a look for the career minded and/or aspiring landscape artist who doesn't mind painting in public or even on television!

Home Page on the competition's website
Here's what you need to do if you fancy painting landscapes on television. The information has been pulled together from a number of sites online. Comments from me about the process are in italics

Deadline for entries 

We'll start with the important fact in their call for entries!

  • 12pm (midday) on Friday 20th March 2015


The prize is a £10,000 commission for The National Trust. This makes this competition definitely worth a second look!

Who can enter

People who are
  • resident in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man or Channel Islands for one year or longer on 2nd February 2015?
  • landscape painters - that's because you have to submit two landscape paintings with your application!
  • a minimum of 16 years of age. If you are aged under 18, parental consent is required.

You are NOT eligible to apply if you won a heat or the overall competition for the Portrait Artist of the Year run by Sky Arts.

Note that if you have previously applied for Portrait Artist of the Year I'd guess that it's very likely that they will review what their decision was about you last time you applied.

Note also that this is a competition with a significant prize and I'd expect there to be stiff competition from professional landscape artists. There again, it's potentially high stakes for professional artists if they're not seen to be good enough to progress. I'd expect there to be a lot of entries from those artists making their own breaks into professional art. This one is too good an opportunity to miss.

What sort of landscape art is allowed?

  • any drawing or painting media. All of these media get a tick box on the form - Watercolour, Oil Paints, Pencil, Charcoal, Pastel, Acrylic, Alkyds, Mixed Media (including collage) "Other"
  • digital media is NOT allowed - hence photography, video, sculpture or any form of digital media are NOT eligible for entry

How to enter

  • Read the terms and conditions (LOTS of small print). Then read them again. Then read them again before you upload your entry.  I cannot emphasise too much how easy it is to miss or misunderstand an important point - and you'll be kicking yourself if you do!
  • Read the Frequently Asked Questions about the application process. This is a very helpful document - do read twice!
  • Complete and submit the online application form. Applications by post are not accepted.
  • Upload a passport style photo of yourself (maximum size of 500 kb).
  • Upload photographs of your art. Images should be in a jpeg format and as close to 1MB as possible with a minimum file size of 800KB. My advice would be to find the balance between pixel size and resolution used which provides the best presentation of your landscape art on screen.  Bear in mind the screening is very likely to be done using a digital screen (I'm checking this). I don't expect that they will be printing these out.
    1. A low resolution jpeg image of a complete landscape painting produced in the last five years. The artwork must not exceed 48"x 36" (1220 x 914 mm)
    2. Low resolution jpegs of up to two further works of art by yourself (one photo per artwork). At least one MUST be a landscape. 
    3. You do need to ensure that these are images where you can also provide a high resolution image if asked for one. My recommendation would be to start with the high resolution image in TIFF and then save it into a NEW jpeg FILE and ONLY after that adjust for pixel size and dimensions until you've got the best possible image of the artwork. In other words do not mess with the high res image! Also don't digitally 'enhance' your artwork or you'll find you're one of the ones going home early or marked down as a 'chancer'!
Note that the website provides advice on how to photograph your artwork - although I think I can improve on their advice for how to shrink a photo!

Only one entry can be submitted per person - by the individual artist. Entries on behalf of another person will NOT be accepted. (It just wastes their time if entries come on behalf of people who simply don't want to be televised.)

What does it cost to enter?

There is no entry fee - however....

In the event you are selected, you will be expected to pay for getting yourself and your landscapes to and from the location of your heat, and for any hotel and subsistence costs. The semi-finalists and finalists will have necessary travel, hotel and subsistence costs paid during their subsequent landscape tasks and at the final.

Locations and dates for painting heats

The locations and dates for this painting competition are listed below. The Links in the dates are to the Facebook Pages for these events. Looks like the artists are going to have an audience!

There is no guarantee which heat you will be allocated to.

Artists invited to a heat will be asked to produce an artwork depicting a landscape view within six hours.
you will be given up to six hours to complete your work of art, and all landscapes will be judged at the end of one day, whether they are considered complete or not by the artist. However, the landscape you submitted in the application process will also be taken into consideration during the judging process at the end of the day.
I've been talking to the producers and I'm going to try and get to one of the heats to report on the process.

The current plan is that:
  • The semi-final will be held on Wednesday 10th June
  • the second artwork to be produced for the Final will be created and filmed at the world famous landscape garden at Stourhead, near Mere, Wiltshire, BA12 6QF on Sunday 12th July 2015


The expert judges returning for this series are:
  • Tai Shan Schierenberg painter. I'd always thought of Tai Shan as being a portrait artist but his website indicates he's painted more than a few landscapes too.
  • Kathleen Soriano, former Director of Exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts and now an Independent Curator and Art Historian Twitter @KclSoriano
  • Kate Bryan, a former Director of The Fine Art Society and now Director of the London art fair Art15 Twitter @KateJBryan
Personally speaking I think I prefer the bias of the BBC Painting Challenge towards having judges who are primarily well known for being painters as well as curators and teachers.

How does the judging process work?

Landscapes will be judged on technical ability, originality and potential.

The shortlist of artists for the heats works as follows
The judges view the digital images on a screen on a high res screen by number - so they have no knowledge of whom the entry is from. To date we have filmed the process so it is completely transparent.
You'll find out whether or joy made the shortlist by or shortly after Thursday 2nd April.

At the end of each heat the Judges listed above will choose who goes forward into the next round as a semi-finalist. The semi-finalists will then compete for one of three places in the final.

Those reaching the final will produce two artworks and have 6 hours to produce one of their final landscapes.

One overall winner, the Landscape Artist of the Year, will be announced at a date and location to be confirmed in September.
If You are chosen as the Winner, You must be available between the Final Date and 30th September 2015 to produce the Winner's Prize Artwork on exact dates to be determined by the Producer.


Joan Bakewell and Frank Skinner continue to be the presenters.

Joan appears to be a tad bothered by the new competition from the BBC! I didn't have her down as somebody who would mind a bit of healthy competition. :)

Links to relevant websites

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

So what did you think of The Big Painting Challenge?

So who watched the BBC's The Big Painting Challenge and what did you think? 

Did you guess who would be going home?  I must confess I did!

This post provides
  • a few comments on the Landscape episode shown last Sunday 
  • PLUS more information about what is coming up in future weeks - and what the challenges are each week
  • PLUS a link to the "How to guide" for each week's episode
  • images from the programme

Also just to let you know I've been invited by WH Smith to write a supportive tips post for their blog as they intend to support the series by posting helpful articles for those inspired to draw, sketch and paint by the programme!

The group of painters lined up to paint Alnwick Castle 'plein air

What do we think of the challenges?

Each of the challenges was exactly that - a very real challenge. Each had a strict time limit and some imposed the art medium which had to be used. In my opinion, they very definitely need to be a challenge otherwise you might as well have a routine art competition and choose the best artist to give a prize to on the basis of the artwork presented for scrutiny - with the artist having total control over media, style and time used for the artwork.

They're following the classic format:
  • "Signature Challenge - show us what you can do" (3 hours painting time) - painting in acrylics using reference photos and sketches). I felt sorry for those who had never painted in acrylics before. Although I think if I was selected for a programme like this I think I might have given the media I wasn't familiar with a whirl before the cameras started!
  • "Quick draw technical challenge" (drawing a spire of delphiniums in 30 minutes using coloured pencils). I was surprised how many people had never drawn a flower. Here the "tips" clip about "how to draw flowers". It was an exercise which rapidly revealed who could draw and who couldn't.  Some participants didn't rate coloured pencils however my personal take on it was that the exercise revealed just how versatile they are in terms of people having different styles. 
Let's not mince words, this is horrendous! (Anthea - contestant)
  • "the showstopper" - all the artists had 3 hours to paint 'Hogwarts' (Alnwick Castle in Northumberland) from across the river. Again I found it surprising how many people had never ever been outside to paint a view before.  I was half expecting a repeat of 'Watercolour Challenge' and in some ways it was very similar.
Lining up for the big picture challenge

What do we think of the contestants?

I admire any amateur artist prepared to put themselves in front of several million armchair critics - good luck to all of them Facebook commentator
Probably one of the things that most people felt when watching the episode is how brave the participants must be to put their painting up for scrutiny. In particular, when it became very clear that some of the subjects, media and settings were very unfamiliar to at least some of the contestants.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

116th Annual Exhibition of The Pastel Society

The 2015 Annual Exhibition of The Pastel Society opens to the public today at the Mall Galleries where it continues - with demonstrations, events and workshops - on a daily basis (10am -5pm) until 7 March (closes 3pm on the final day)

President Cheryl Culver and a strong wall of pastels 
by Sarah Bee, Norma Stephenson. Cheryl Culver and Roger Dellar
You can view an online catalogue - which includes work by members of the society.

Below you will find:
  • a record of the prizewinners
  • my commentary on the exhibition - and the hang
  • a note of the various events - demonstrations, workshops and an art event evening - taking place in the Galleries during the exhibition.


The Pastel Society are to be congratulated on having so many sponsors of their exhibition and their prizes.

You can see a list of the prizewinners on the website. However that will disappear in time and I'm reproducing the names of prizewinners - with links to their websites (in their names) - below together with photos of the artwork and the artists taken at yesterday's Private View.

I was particularly struck by how many of the prizes went to people coming through the Open Entry rather than by senior members of the Society. I don't think it was a reflection on the differences in the work between those who are established members and those who are aspiring artists. However if it was a strategic decision by the PA Council then I welcome it. Prizes are so much more important for those starting out and trying to become more established as an artist.

Alfred Teddy Smith and Zsuzsi Roboz Award for a Young Artist

Oh to be under 35 again!

The £5,000 Zsuzsi Roboz Prize - for artists aged 35 and under - is new for 2015. The award is a bequest in memory of Zsuzsi Roboz, who was a distinguished member of the Pastel Society and is in the name of her and husband.

The size of the Prize attracted a number of entries which were selected for the exhibition. In general these entries were much more diverse than work submitted by members - which is a point which members might want to ponder on....

The inaugural prize of £5,000 was won by a portrait - unsurprising given the practice of Zsuzsi Roboz. Mike Clapton specialises in charcoal photo-realistic large scale portraiture (see his winning portrait below). This was his very first exhibition!  (His day job involves working in marketing). You can see from studying his other charcoal drawings on his website that this charcoal drawing is far from being a 'one-off'.  I'm not a huge fan of "big heads" drawings but this is a very good one - I noticed it straight away when entering the North Gallery.

Winner of the Inaugural £5,000 Alfred Teddy Smith and Zsuzsi Roboz Award for Young Artists
Mike Clapton with his compressed charcoal drawing 'Take Care'

Another "Young Artist" who did well was Jenny Smith who won the £1,000 Arts Club Charitable Trust Award  with her charcoal drawing of Sequoia

Winner of the £1,000 Arts Club Charitable Trust Award
Sequioa by Jenny Smith charcoal £890

The Caran d'Ache Award

Caran d'Ache are sponsors of the exhibition and this year celebrate their 100th Anniversary.
Michael Norman won their award for Dusk at Turf Locks. My personal preference was for the artwork top left which captures the greens associated with heathland and conifers very well.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Who's made a mark on art #263

The major news this week for me is that I've been invited by Sally Bulgin, Editor of The Artist, to become one of their regular correspondents for the magazine and write articles from time to time. The invitation to discuss the possibility came out of the blue and was a very pleasant surprise. Last week I met with Sally and we're now discussing possible topics.

This is your chance to make suggestions about things you'd like to see me writing about!

For those who don't live in the UK, 'The Artist' is the longest established art magazine in the UK - and one of the most popular, it's stocked by all the major newsagents.  It's been around for a very long time and is both practical in content and informative about what's going on the art world. (Not to be confused with 'The Artist's Magazine' in the USA - but they are similar!)

The new website and another new website!

Botanical Art and Artists

The first of my new websites for my information sites continues to progress. My aim is to have it launched in time for the RHS Botanical Art Show at the end of this week.  The domain address, when it's published will be

Art Business - for Artists

I've also started a second one!  This one will include content from my 'resources for artists' art business information sites. These have been well and truly clobbered by HubPages due to their "no more than two links to one domain" rule.

It's tentative title is 'Art Business - for Artists'. This one is probably going to launch incomplete and I'll add in one new topic a week.  That's because there's an awful lot to add and I do want to edit, restructure and reorganise as I add content in.  So please excuse me if I have give regular updates as new topics are added week by week.

I'm organising topics under the headings which run across the top of the screen: art business, communication, copyright, sell art and money & tax.  Here's a provisional screenshot of the home page for 'How to write an Artist Statement'.

Art Basics


  • Have you come across the Da Vinci Initiative? If not you should definitely take a look - especially if you are an art teacher. More about this in a post coming up.
The Da Vinci Initiative, part of a 501C3, nonprofit, educational foundation, is a mission for visual literacy in our contemporary world. With a focus on K-12 public and private schools, the goal of this project is to provide skill-based learning in art education in order to deepen the understanding and applications of the visual language that surrounds us.
  • If you've ever fancied an intensive course in life drawing at a first rate school of art take a look at the two 4 day courses which the Ruskin School of Art are offering this Easter.  The Ruskin Art School is part of Oxford University.
  • Jeanette Barnes won one of the runner-up prizes at  Lynn Painter-Stainers this week with a large drawing in conte crayon. It's always really nice to see one of your old tutors win a prize in a prestigious art competition! I used to take Jeanette Barnes's 'Drawing the Bigger Inner Space' class at what is (now) the Royal Drawing School. She's a great tutor - super enthusiastic about drawing and what people can achieve. I really love her drawings and she also contributed a number of them to my book! I very much recommend you take a look if you want to explore how to develop your drawing - or just like looking at exciting drawings!
Jeanette Barnes and her prize-winning drawing
Canary Wharf Cross Rail Station nearing completion © Jeanette Barnes
Conte Crayon, 100cm x 130cm, £3,500


  • Deborah Paris's blog Field Notes - the blog of The Landscape Atelier has lots of excellent posts which provide a taster for the tuition in her classes. Chroma Trumps Value provides a very nice illustration of an important point.  I much prefer this approach to tempting students to enroll for online classes to those who say they have something available for you to view and you get a link to a subscription page and that's it. I, for one, am much more likely to sign up to learn about something with an artist who shares her expertise for free as well as delivering classes for a subscription.
  • The Pleasure of Sharing provides eight great tips for botanical artists, especially those who use watercolour, being passed on by Jarnie Godwin - and nice to see credits being given to the sources! 
  • If you've got a round-up of "best tips" you'd like to share do please drop a line.

Art Business & Marketing 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Big Painting Challenge starts 22nd February on BBC1

The Big Painting Challenge starts on Sunday at 6pm on BBC1. It's part of the BBC's new initiative to get creative. You will also be able to view it via iPlayer.

What's The Big Painting Challenge?

Ostensibly it's about a nationwide search for the best amateur artist. I wrote about the initial search for participants a year ago in February 2014 - The Great British Paint-Off: BBC1 searches for best amateur artists

It seemed to me at the time that essentially this was going to be
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!
In other words, three challenges per programme and somebody voted off each week by the two judges who are experts in their field.

It would appear I guessed about right!

Interestingly the search for people threw up a definition of an amateur artist in the terms and conditions
The competition is not open to anyone who is currently a professional artist, or artists who have already won professionally recognised prizes or awards for their work.4. To qualify as an amateur, individuals should not earn more than 50% of their annual income from their artworks, or be represented by an established gallery. 
The Amateur Artists and Una Stubbs and Richard Bacon (the Mel and Sue of Painting!)
at Alnwick castle

In general, this type of programme seems to be a tad confused as to whether it's a competition to find the best amateur whatever or whether its aims is to make "good television" because it has people with interesting back stories with the programmes then going on to show "the journey" for the individuals. Are they expert amateurs or are we going to see them develop their skills as the series progresses? I'm all for it being a journey so long as nobody actually goes around saying the winner is the best amateur painter in the UK!

After all, not everybody wants to appear on television!

The Episodes

There are six episodes and the first two episodes have been announced. The first - at 6pm on BBC1 on Sunday night - is about Landscape

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Exhibition Review: Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2015

Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2015 - paintings by prizewinners
see my prizewinners post for details
Yesterday I went back to the Mall Galleries to see the Lynn Painter-Stainers Exhibition 2015 without the benefit of the very many bodies who packed the gallery on Monday night for the PV.

This year's exhibition has an additional feature at the entrance level to mark the 10th anniversary of this Prize. There's a mini-exhibit within the exhibition of paintings by all of the previous winners of the Prize.

Paintings by the winners of first 10 years of the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize

So - what did I think of the paintings selected and the exhibition as a whole?

Well, this is always one of my favourite exhibitions to visit because of its emphasis on draughtsmanship and representational art.
  • It always offers a great range in styles and approaches to these two criteria for the work selected. 
  • It's an exhibition which includes drawings as well as paintings and the contrast between monochrome and colour is also very pleasing. 
  • Plus the standard of artwork included is high
  • even if it inevitably has the odd work where you really do wonder what the judges were about!
One thing I did notice was a certain element of "me too"ism creeping in e.g. a small painting which looked a lot like a smaller version of last year's winner, a drawing which did the same thing re. an earlier winner and a drawing of the "motif of the moment" which is being done repeatedly by many different artists. The thing is it's perfectly natural for artists to think "Well if they liked that maybe I should do something similar". However what I want to see is absolute originality. I don't think I've made this type of comment before about this competition. So maybe one for next year's judges to ponder on.....

The end wall in the gallery
I took a number of photos and as I was going round noticed that the hang was rather well done. This post is going to be quite a visual commentary of groupings I liked.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Wapping Group of Artists - Annual Exhibition 2015

It's been a little while since I last saw the Annual Exhibition of The Wapping Group of Artists. The names of some of the members have changed however their emphasis on representation and the places they paint have not.

Paintings in the Annual Exhibition of the Wapping Group of Artists
Paintings in the Annual Exhibition of the Wapping Group of Artists
- at the Mall Galleries (North Gallery)
The Group was formed in 1946 as a group of plein air painters. They meet once a week in summer - in all weathers - to paint along the banks of the River Thames from Henley out to the estuary and the Kent and Essex coastlines.

This year is their 12th annual exhibition to be held at the Mall Galleries. They're in the North Gallery which suits the size of their paintings well. Below you can see a sample of the paintings in the show.

Paintings by Alan Runagall RSMA
Paintings by Roy Hammond
These are watercolours - although I thought I detected a tad of pastel
Pastel drawings by Rick Holmes
I do admire a good plein air painting. I'm never quite sure whether all the paintings in the exhibition are plein air. While some evidently are there are others which seem to have been worked up from plein air studies. It would be nice to know which is which.

Paintings by John Stillman ARSMA
One aspect which I find stimulating about the exhibition is that it provides inspiration for new places to visit and sketch!

Watercolour paintings by Paul Banning RI RSMA
Paintings by Trevor Chamberlain
Although I've always had this group mentally 'tagged' as a group ring-fenced to male painters I note that in fact this year there are two female candidates for membership!

The exhibition continues at the Mall Galleries until 4pm on Saturday 21st February.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lynn Painter-Stainers 2015 - Prizewinners

Wladyslaw Mirecki with his prize-winning painting
Last night Wladyslaw Mirecki won the 2015 Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize worth £15,000 and an engraved gold medal - for Viaduct and tank traps. This is large and detailed watercolour of his constant motif.

This is a Prize which aims
to encourage the very best creative representational painting and promote the skill of draftsmanship
This post is about the prizewinners and I'll be doing another post reviewing the exhibition tomorrow.

I found out later that Mr Mirecki is not a big fan of Previews or Award ceremonies (he's in good company - a lot of artists feel the same and Lucian Freud never went to his!) Last night must therefore not been the most relaxing evening he's ever had as there was an extremely impressive turnout for the Private view at the Mall Galleries. Hopefully the prize more than made up for this!

The exhibition is in the West Gallery. This was absolutely packed with artists and their friends and family plus members of the Lynn Foundation and the Painter-Stainers Guild and other livery companies of the City of London and their guests.

In fact, there were an awful lot of official elaborate chains around necks on show last night!

The Private View at the Lynn Painter-Stainer Prize
Ken Howard OBE RA NEAC introduced the Awards Ceremony and announced the prizes - starting in reverse order and leading up to the main prize.

I loved the fact that each announcement got shouts from the crowd asking for the location of the painting to be identified.  These were people who wanted to know which painting won what prize!

The Lynn Painter Stainer Prize 2015

The Judges were apparently all agreed on who was the winner of the top prize.

The viaduct in the painting is a perennial motif of Mr Mirecki - I've seen it in his paintings in more than a few exhibitions over the years. However I do think this is the best painting of this view that I've seen him do. It had layers of interest from a strong composition and draughtsmanship through to an entrancing and complicated foreground and exquisite control over the watercolour painting.

Winner of the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2015 Viaduct and tank traps by Wladyslaw Mirecki
Winner of the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2015
Viaduct and tank traps by Wladyslaw Mirecki
watercolour, 155 x 155cm

Runners Up

Five Runner-up prizes of £1,500 each were awarded to Peter Archer, Jeanette Barnes, Daisy Cook, Patrick Cullen and Danny Markey. These then are the images of the runners up.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Who's made a mark on art #262

I've been trying to think of a way of continuing with "who's made a mark" without it being weekly. Frankly I'm enjoying having my Sundays back as the posts used to take all day to do!

So here's a new model, I counted up all the ones which had gone before and that makes this one #262.

Plus it'll pick up on stuff which I've already posted online but in various places so you probably haven't seen it all, if any!

A brand new website

I'm not posting as much at the moment as I'm currently totally engrossed in building a mobile-compatible website for all my botanical art sites which are being merged into one. In fact it's difficult to tear myself away!

Keep an eye out for - it's coming soon!  After that I'm building some more sites on big topics and have already snaffled the domain names for them!

My new website in "build' mode
I have to say I'm extremely impressed with Weebly which is proving very easy to use as I zoom around the site adding in bits here, there and everywhere. It's also super easy to move stuff between ages which is a huge boon!

I'll be doing a review of it when I've finished.

Art Basics


Thursday, February 12, 2015

10 great reasons to see 'Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends' at the NPG

Book now to see the Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery - it's going to be a blockbuster! It opens today and continues until 25 May 2015

In my view this is up there with the very top exhibitions I've ever seen at the National Portrait Gallery.

Importantly for American readers, this is also an exhibition which will be seen in the USA.

The exhibition has been developed in a major collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum in New York together with prominent museums all over the world.

Consequently the Sargent exhibition travels to New York and opens at the Met. Museum on 30th June and continues until 4th October 2015. It's evident from the catalogue that the paintings won't be exactly the same - but a lot of them will be.

I viewed the exhibition twice yesterday - and much preferred the beginning and end of the morning preview when there were not a lot of people around compared to the afternoon preview for Friends which was absolutely heaving with people!

My main recommendations are:
  • Do go and see it - you won't regret it if you enjoy painting and portraiture
  • Book a ticket fast if you want a choice of dates - this one is going to be very popular and I understand admissions will be time slotted to maintain some control over numbers in the gallery.
  • if you live in London try and visit on a Monday morning (the least busy) or at least in the morning just after the gallery opens
  • if you live outside London try and avoid weekends which I expect will be the time the exhibition will get the most visitors.
Sargent self-portrait plus paintings of fellow artists and friends
left to right
Dennis Miller Bunker painting at Calcot (1888)
- with Sargent's younger sister Violet sitting sketching on the river bank
Claude Monet, painting at the edge of a wood (c.1885) - Monet and Sargent became good friends
An Out of Doors Study (1889) Sargent's friend Paul Hellau and his young wife Alice
Self Portrait (1886) - part of the Alexander MacDonald collection at Aberdeen art Gallery

Reasons to see this exhibition

Links in the paintings below are to where the painting can be seen online.

Here are some reasons to go and see the Sargent exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lynn Painter-Stainer Prize 2015: Selected Artists & Events

The list of artists - with links to their websites - selected for the 2015 Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 10th anniversary exhibition at the Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1 from 16 to 21 February 2015 can be found below

Together with links to where you can:
  • see images of the artwork selected for the exhibition
  • find out about the events to be held during the course of the exhibition

Selected Artists

The selected artists are as follows.  Links to their websites are embedded in their names.


Monday, February 09, 2015

How to draw and sketch in an art gallery or museum #1

This is the first in a series of posts about drawing and sketching in art galleries and museums.

There are rules which are generally applicable for what you can and cannot do when wanting to draw or sketch and, below, I highlight what these are.

I've also reviewed all the public (ie on the website) statements about rules relating to drawing and sketching in the major art galleries and other museums in London.

These have enabled me to highlight a number of interesting conclusions - not least that a number of them have no public statement about what's allowed re. drawing and sketching inside the gallery or museum.  Lots about copyright, lots about photography and zilch about sketching!

Drawing and Sketching in Art Galleries and Museums

Below are the general principles observed by most art galleries and museums.
So if you want a quick checklist of what rules are most likely to be applicable read on!

They're interspersed by sketches I've done in London.

The PLUS Points

  • In general, art activities are encouraged and supported by art galleries and museums.
    • It's a traditional activity of students wanting to learn.
    • Many art galleries and museums encourage people to draw from paintings
    • However that support for drawing and sketching is expressed in different ways
  • Many art galleries and museums provide free sketching stools. These aren't always obvious and sometimes you have to ask where they are. At weekends and other busy times it's not unusual for them to go very fast!

Wallace Collection - Judy and the horses
11.5" x 17", pen and sepia ink in Daler Rowney Sketchbook

The MAJOR Concerns

  • Artworks MUST be protected. Hence here are some of the usual rules:
    • Dry media only - pencils and coloured pencils are fine (but charcoals and pastels can be messy and some galleries don't like then)
    • Liquid/wet media is very often banned. Hence paints, marker pens and bottles of ink are very often not allowed in museums - mainly because these have more scope to cause permanent damage very fast if used/thrown on a painting or sculpture
    • Do not lean on the artwork
    • Some museums won't allow backpacks
  • Health and safety of ALL visitors is very important
    • It's essential to be considerate of others and advisable to be polite to the security people
    • Keep the floors clear of obstructions which people might fall over
    • If you're in a high traffic area (such as a popular temporary exhibition) you might well be prohibited from sketching or get moved on

TIPS for safe sketching

I've been sketching in art galleries and museums for years and years. I've learned a few things in that time about how to sketch effectively and without comment and not get thrown out!

Friday, February 06, 2015

RHS Botanical Art Show 2015 - Selected Artists

One of the exhibitions I cover extensively every year is the RHS Botanical Art Show.

Part of the 2014 RHS Botanical art Exhibition

Selected Artists 2015

These are the artists who have been selected by the RHS to exhibit at this show (which is not the only RHS Show at which botanical art is exhibited - but it is the main one). 

We seem to have more artists overall but fewer artists from the USA, Australia, South Africa and Korea.

Note: Any international artists planning to sell their artwork at the exhibition need to be aware of the new EU rules about VAT which started on 1 January 2015 (of which more anon - but the bottom line is you need to be registered for VAT in the UK)


  • Deirdre Bean GM (2012) - Australia's mangroves: living on the edge The mangroves are the subject of Deirdre's post graduate studies in Natural History Illustration. Deirdre has paintings in public collections at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh, USA, and in the Florilegium collection at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.


  • Vanda Adamson - French hedgerow flowers and fruit


  • Lucilla Carcano GM - Autumn Walks: the patterns of leaf colour during the season Lucilla has been painting botanical art since 1994. In 2006 she won both an RHS Gold Medal and the Best in Show Award at the exhibition in Birmingham.


Japan has a major contingent of artists exhibiting this year.
    Kimiyo Maruyama’s Pinus palustris is a feat of attention to detail; a painstakingly painted watercolour which leaves you enraptured at her patience and skill.


  • Sansanee Deekrajang - Tropical Climate Plants  Sansanee was born in Thailand but now lives in West Lothian. She won a Silver Gilt at BISCOT 2014.  She has also exhibited at the Margaret Flockton Award in Australia in 2013.
  • Waree Sawangarom - The Magnificent Garden Tree Waree is from Amphoe Muang Nonthaburi, Thailand. You can also find her work on Etsy.


Gulnar Eksi at the RHS Botanical Art Exhibition 2013


  • Kate Barling - Six varieties of apples, grown in a Devon garden
  • Pearl Bostock - Bedgebury National Pinetum Signatory trees Pearl is the founder member and Chairman of the Florilegium Society at Bedgebury National Pinetum, Goudhurst, Kent which has the most complete collection of temperate conifers. I was wondering when I was going to see some botanical artwork connected to Bedgebury!  She's also a member of the group of botanical artists called Amicus Botanicus who invite me to their exhibitions.
  • Jessie Carr - In Depth Seed Studies  According to her Facebook Page, Jessie's exhibit is now titled 'Exposing the Nature of Nurture'. She lives in Cornwall.
  • Guy William Eves - The Black and White of Colour. Guy is a fellow of The Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society and has had work exhibited at The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation in Pittsburgh, USA
  • Leigh Ann Gale - The Diversity of Clematis Leigh Ann completed her completed her diploma in botanical illustration at the English Gardening School, Chelsea Physic Garden and is a member of the Hampton Court Palace Florilegium Society
  • Nicola Macartney - All Glory is Fleeting - Papaver Flowering Nicola is a graduate of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh's Diploma in Botanical Illustration - a course that has a lot of RHS Gold Medals associated with it. She started her studies in 2008 and completed the Diploma - with Distinction - in 2012.
  • Jill Mayhew - Inside the Fruit Cage - a Collection of Soft Fruits Jill is a member of the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society and has a painting included in the Highgrove Florilegium.
  • Claire McDermott - Michaelmas Claire studied RHS Horticulture - Plant Morphology /microscopic work at Harrow College and then Botanical Illustration at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • Francesca Ross - Crab Apple Varieties from RHS Garden Hyde Hall.   Born in Devon and currently lives in Essex - hence the Hyde Hall connection.
  • Fran Thomas - Plants of the Coast and Islands of the Firth of Forth - Fran is from Scotland and did her Diploma at RGBG. She won a Silvery Gilt at this show in 2014
  • Kathy Pickles GM - Fritillaria and Helleborus. Kathy has exhibited five times and an RHS Gold Medal on each occasion. She won her first Gold Medal in 1991. Her artwork has been acquired by and is in the collections of The Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew and Edinburgh, the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation in Pittsburgh and the Shirley Sherwood Collection.
  • Peta Stockton GM - Acacia Plants – Bark and Thorns. Peta won her RHS Gold Medal in 2006. Originally from South Africa, Peta now lives in Sevenoaks in Kent.  She has work in the collections of Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, the Lindley Library of the Royal Horticultural Society in London, the Hunt Institute of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and the Shirley Sherwood Collection.
  • Margaret Walty - Orchid Hybrids Maraget lives in the south of Scotland and is a professional painter
  • Jenny Webster - Going to Seed Jenny was awarded a Diploma with distinction from the Society of Botanical Artists in 2009 and won an RHS Silver Gilt medal in 2012. She's a member of the London Chelsea Physic Garden group of painters. She's a member of the Leicestershire Society of Botanical Illustrators.
  • Amanda Willoughby Heavy metal-tolerant plants of abandoned lead mines in the North Pennines and the Peak District.  Amanda has won two previous RHS Medals for "Rare and Endangered Cornfield Flowers" and "Plants of the Urban Wasteland"

More Exhibits and Demonstrations

In addition the show will include exhibits and demonstrations from the following artists and societies


  • Susan Christopher-Coulson - Susan is the Vice President of the Society of Botanical Artists and has won many awards. She works in coloured pencils and will be demonstrating techniques for drawing suitable objects for botanical art and how to create special effects.
  • Hannah McVicar - Hannah is an illustrator and printmaker. She is bringing her Portable Artist Printmaking Studio to the show to demonstrate how she works. 
  • Julia Trickey - I normally see Julia at these shows winning Gold Medals for her artwork (see this post and this post). This time she be a range of botanical art techniques in her capacity as a botanical art tutor. Her instructional DVDs and other merchandise will be available to purchase. 

Florilegium Societies

Two of the Florilegium Societies in the South East are exhibiting paintings in their collection together with information and advice from artist members
  • Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society - 2015 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Society and their exhibit will include paintings from the Chelsea Physic Garden collection, information about their upcoming book and a chance to purchase prints, cards and post cards of their work.  
  • Hampton Court Palace Florilegium Society - The Society’s aim is to record plants grown in the gardens at Hampton Court Palace, with particular emphasis on the Palace’s unique plant collections such as the Queen Mary Exoticks. A selection of original pieces will be shown, plus artists will demonstrate the skills required to paint for the Florilegium. 

Note: If you're not familiar with florilegium you might find this post interesting as it defines what is a florilegium and describes their history - Volume 1 of The Highgrove Florilegium is published

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Plagiarism on Facebook

This is about people who claim other people's artwork as their own - and highlights a case study of an example on Facebook.

A couple of days ago I was sent this message.
This is probably a strange/annoying message, but anyway here goes. I have a friend on Facebook who has set up an artists page, no harm there, however, I have a really good visual memory and I noticed that some of the images she was claiming as her work were from other artists. I reverse searched some more of her images and it turns out loads of them are lifted from other places. It seems an odd thing to do, and I should probably unfriend her, have you come across this kind of thing?
I've heard about this before but not actually seen it so I asked for more details and was sent some links to several examples of the copying

Here's just one of the posts by the "Facebook friend" (whose name I have removed) who's purporting to be 'playing about with watercolour in the garden'

A post by a plagiarist on Facebook
However she is actually "busted" because.....'s the original watercolour painted by Paul Wang, in Singapore, and posted to Flickr. I was pretty sure it was one of Paul's before I found his page as he has a very distinctive and attractive style of painting in watercolour.

Paul Wang - Sketching Georgetown Penang
2nd sketch for the day. So glad to be attending this sketching event organized by the USK Penang sketchers
Copyright Paul Wang - all rights reserved
One of the problems with Flickr is it makes your images available to others unless you adjust your settings. On the whole, if you're minded to be sociable with your images - and share them - the chances are that they may well be stolen.

Although not everybody who steals claims to have painted them!

I also found the image again on Tumblr and on what I think is a spanish site (twice) with different "motivational" messages  in Spanish - one translates as
spotted with colors and scratches, what our mind is without color and shape

Why do people copy other people's images?

I have no idea what makes people claim other people's art as their own and think they can get away with it.

I can only guess the inclination to steal and dissemble is related to:

Monday, February 02, 2015

Top tips for art competitions - a precis

My article 8 Tips for Entering Art Competitions is featured in Ann Kullberg's Colored Pencil Magazine for February 2015.

You can buy a digital version via
  • Ann Kullberg's website - which also gives you access to back copies of her popular magazine
  • or MagCloud - I'm very impressed with MagCloud in terms of accessibility.
So that means:
  • last month I was in a top UK art magazine (see My Favourite Things)
  • this month I've got an article in a popular USA art magazine; and 
  • later this month I'm meeting up with the Editor of a top art magazine in the UK to discuss options around writing articles in the future for that magazine.  
I like writing! :)

Top tips for art competitions

I've written many blog posts about art competitions over the years. Here are links to some of them.

What's your top tip for entering art competitions or open exhibitions of art societies?

For art competition organisers

International entries

For art competition novices

You've passed the first hurdle - what next?

RHS Botanical Art Exhibitions - for those wanting a Gold Medal