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 

Copyright & Plagiarism

  • Georgina Adam has written in The Financial Times about The Art Market: The imitation game and comments on the increase in lawsuits relating to appropriation and plagiarism. 

Art Exhibitions

National Galleries

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union at the National Gallery in London will walk out on Sunday for five days, following a five-day stoppage earlier this month.

  • Meanwhile Jonathan Jones writes in The Guardian about Fewer Brits are visiting our top galleries – should we be worried?  I think the headline might have been more balanced if it had got the numbers correct and reflected on the fact that attendance at the major galleries has been on a rising trend for some time and that the big galleries in London are magnet for tourists ( see my website The Top Ten Museums in London ).  The problem if anything is that its' well nigh impossible to have a "calm encounter with art - because of all the visitors!!

Art Competitions

The wall of Lynn Painter-Stainers 2015 Prizewinners at the Mall Galleries
  • My blog posts about the Lynn Painter-Stainers prize 2015 this week:
This is a prize which gets a lot of people at the Private View!
Not so many sales though - I always think of this exhibition as a very definite bonus for the CV and marketing!

Art Societies

Other Exhibitions

Upcoming Exhibitions and events

Art on Television 

The Big Painting Challenge

The Big Painting Challenge starts 22nd February on BBC1 - Check out the many and various aspects to the Big Painting Challenge which starts tomorrow night on BBC1 at 6pm. Daphne Todd - Past President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters - is one of the Judges.

I've added in links to the clips from the programmes to the original post. These include a number of "how to" items as well as short clips from the first episode - including one in which Daphne Todd makes a remark about whether an artist will finish which echoes Mary Berry and Bake-off! Love it!!

BBC gets creative

It appears The Big Painting Challenge is all part of a new season (emphasis) on people getting creative which is being promoted by the BBC alongside other partners well known in the field of creativity. This is the link to the BBC Get Creative Site

Art Materials and Equipment

  • Page 76 of my book has a text box describing how to create a shadow (or light) box. Due to pressure on space I ended up removing the diagrams for how to make one - however there's any number of videos around on YouTube about how to create a lightbox - all of which have slightly different methodologies. This particular one by the Da Vinci Initiative - aimed at art teachers - is worth highlighting because the method is very simple and clear - and cheap way of creating a lightbox (also known as a shadow box). PLUS it makes it a lot easier to store that an equivalent sized cardboard box which is the standard solution used by many people AND being in two parts, it makes it much easier to clip different coloured papers to the interior if you want to change the interior colour of the box. My only criticism is that in western art it's conventional for light to come from top left - and she clipped her small light to the wrong side!

Websites and Techie Stuff

Have you made the move to a responsive website yet?

  • I've not been doing Who's made a mark on a regular basis for quite a while. What I am noticing is that a number of artists I've been following for years have upgraded their websites and blogs so they are mobile compatible. This particularly applies to those with, shall we say, a more professional approach and/or interactive sites. It's difficult to find a bunch of information about responsive websites and why artists need them and I'll be aiming to do that in building the new art business website. In the meantime here's an article 3 Reasons Artist Websites Must Use Responsive Design by Pierre Kuhn which sums up the situation pretty well 

Facebook comments

  • In 2013 facebook introduced new functionality within comments such that people could reply to a specific comment - see Improving Conversations on Facebook with Replies. This week I noticed that when you are commenting Facebook now apparently deems that your comment is now NOT worth counting if your have REPLIED to a comment (ie hit the arrow) as opposed to just writing a new comment. So conversations about a point in relation to a post are now submerged - unless you happen to click the comments and note that some comments are now noted as having e.g. 7 replies!  Can I recommend that people do their friends a favour and start a new comment every time!

Hacked websites
  • Google published a useful page Case Studies: Fixing Hacked Sites detailing some case studies about what's involved in addressing a website which has been hacked. My attitude is action should start with prevention! I prefer to be with a site which can help me if I'm hacked rather than being all on my own. I wouldn't have a clue where to start - and this article persuaded me of the benefits of being with a decent host.
Sketching 365 in the WH Smith's branch
at Westfield at Stratford City

and finally......

I'm ecstatic - my book has gone mainstream!  I found a copy on Friday in WH Smith's which is the largest high street newsagents and stationers in the UK. They also stock books - and they're now stocking mine.

My other half had to calm me down - I let out a small shrieky noise when we found it!


shevaun said...

Oh you are funny!! I can just imagine you squealing in WH Smith. Interesting about the facebook comments. I will take note.

Valerie Gardiner said...

Congratulations Katherine on your good news, I've subscribed to the Artist for 20 years and I would love to see more articles about coloured pencil drawing and sketching. You are just the person for this job! It's thanks to your inspiration that I have fallen in love with the medium and discovered a whole new world of pencil artists.

Deborah Paris said...

Congrats Katherine on the new writing gig as well as the continued success of your book! And thanks much for the mention this week. Much appreciated!

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