Saturday, September 30, 2017

Case Study (RSMA): How to promote an annual exhibition and art for sale online

The Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Marine Artists opens at the Mall Galleries on 5th October and continues until 14th October (open 10am - 5pm each day).

398 paintings and drawings will be on display various media. This is an open exhibition so works are by both members of the RSMA and those selected via the open entry.
You can view ALL the artwork in advance online 

Other art societies would do well to see how the RSMA and the Mall Galleries combined collaborate to:
  • increase the profile of the art society - RSMA 
  • promote their annual exhibition in various ways
  • promote and increase sales of the artwork online in advance of the exhibition
For example, the RSMA 2017 Annual Exhibition Catalogue has been published on Issuu
  • It includes a selection on members artwork.  
  • This catalogue is organised by the Mall Galleries marketing team.
  • The option to make it available for view on Issuu is available to all the member art societies of the Federation of British Artists who exhibit at the Mall Galleries.
However it's also something that any art society can do (more details of "how to publish" on Issuu)

Cover of the Catalogue for the RSMA Annual Exhibition 2017
A double page spread of a selection of members artwork.
The Royal Society of Marine Artists are also very organised with their own website:
  • the website has a page dedicated to the exhibition
  • On this page you can also see a sample of the paintings which will be on display - which includes the title, media and price as well as the artists name.

A sample of the paintings on display on the RSMA's dedicated 2017 exhibition page

Finally, the Mall Galleries website has images of ALL the artworks in the exhibition - because of course submission is now digital so artists need to produce images!

You just need to scroll down the "RSMA What's On" page and you can see the images across several pages.  These are:
  • in alphabetical order (surname)
  • include BOTH paintings by members and those selected from the open entry which will also be on display

A sample of the drawings and paintings selected from the Open Entry
for the 2017 Annual Exhibition of the Royal Society of Marine Artists
What's more you can also buy them in advance of the exhibition opening!  If you click the title this will bring up an image of the painting and provide all of the detailed information about the media.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Lachlan Goudie on "Sargent: The Watercolours"

Guess where I am this afternoon?

Down at Dulwich Picture Gallery viewing Sargent: The Watercolours. It's one of those exhibitions where I've been thinking I've got ages left and then woke up to the fact I haven't. (I bought the book months before it opened!)

So, despite a very painful foot, I'm driving down to Dulwich (the joys of parking in Gallery Road!)

Here's Lachlan Goudie's take on Sargent as a watercolourist - painting for himself - and the exhibition - plus ratings by various newspapers popping up from time to time

If you want to see it you've not got much time left - just over a week in fact. It finishes on 8th October (and is closed on 2nd October). Plus lots of time slots are already sold out.

Choose your date and time and book tickets and print them off once you've received your email.

The "tickets" were shambolic on my iMac and better on my iPhone! I gather they;re getting a new ticketing app. Let's hope it's one which allows me to store tickets on my iPhone Wallet!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Old Flo has left Yorkshire and is on her way back to East End

Henry Moore’s bronze sculpture Draped Seated Woman - known in the East End as "Old Flo" - has been lifted from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and is on her way back to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets from whence she came.

Still from BBC video A Henry Moore statue loaned to sculpture park starts journey
Below I've set out the details of when's she expected home and the display that is being held in her honour

I've been following this story over the last five years in a number of blog posts (see below). This will be the fifth!

Leaving Yorkshire

This is the BBC video of Old Flo being lifted from her plinth where she's lived for the last 20 years inside the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Old Flo "opens" at Canary Wharf

Every time I go to Canary Wharf in the car I keep glancing into Cabot Square which is where she is supposed to end up - just in case she had turned up without any hoohah!

However it looks like we're getting the hoohah! So here are all the facts:
  • She returns to the East End on 22 October 2017.
  • She will be located in Cabot Square, overlooking Middle Dock and accessible to all who pass by.
  • A programme of celebrations, education and outreach will be rolled out while Old Flo is at Canary Wharf. 
  • Anyone who would like to receive updates on these activities is invited to contact Canary Wharf at


There will be a display in the Community Gallery in Canada Place from 20 October to 2 January.  This will:
  • celebrate the return of ‘Old Flo’ to Tower Hamlets 
  • tell the story of how Henry Moore’s sculpture came to reside on the Stifford Estate is shown 

Canary Wharf Twitter @yourcanarywharf  needs to get its act together for welcoming her back to Tower Hamlets - not a tweet as yet. Meanwhile the politicians are all claiming they did it!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Britain's Lost Masterpieces - Series 2 starts tonight

The second series of Britain's Lost Masterpieces starts on BBC4 tonight at 9pm.

If you've been wondering why the BBC1 Fake or Fortune team seem to have lost Dr Bendor Grosvenor (Art History Now), it's apparently because there has been a "spat" between him and Philip Gould which "have not been denied by either party"

I gather Bendor sees a clear difference between the programmes and that view might not be shared by Philip Gould.

For the record:
  • Britain's Lost Masterpieces deals with artwork in PUBLIC collections
  • Fake or Fortune? looks at art in PRIVATE ownership (i.e. no role for a private art dealer such as Philip Gould)
This means they now front and present seperate programmes!

In the second series Bendor teams up with social historian Emma Dabiri (who tweets as the @TheDiasporaDiva)

Jacky Klein (left) and Bendor Grosvenor with the painting which is the subject of Episode 1

The series has four episodes - as follows:
You can get a sense of what the series is like using the clips from Series 1

Episode 1: Glasgow

As already reported in the press, the first episode is about the holy grail - a lost masterpiece by a past master.

The programme follows
  • the review of a painting thought to be a copy of a Rubens portrait of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham (constant companion and closest advisor to James I of England / James VI of Scotland in the 17th century). Apparently the subject is regarded as one of the most famous gay men in history!
  • the investigation of the painting under layers of subsequent painting and the discovery that it is in fact the rare and original 17th century portrait regarded as lost by art historians for almost 400 years; and 
  • its attribution to Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), a famous painter in the early 17th century!
The portrait shows the Duke of Buckingham, James I’s lover. The King referred to Buckingham as his husband, and their relationship scandalised the court. Rubens’ portrait of Buckingham was painted in about 1625, but had been regarded as lost by art historians for almost 400 years.
The painting is discovered at Pollok House, Glasgow set in the scenic surroundings of Pollok Country Park on the outskirts of Glasgow. The painting belongs to Glasgow Museums.  Pollok House with its fine collection of paintings - and 360 acres of Pollok Estate - was gifted to the City of Glasgow in 1967. The house and its collection of paintings are now managed by the National Trust for Scotland and the grounds also provide a home for the Burrell Collection.

Initially thought to be a copy, the Britain’s Lost Masterpieces team reveal new evidence which enables it to be attributed as an original by influential Flemish painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens
Previously thought to be a mere copy of a lost original, the picture’s attribution was doubted in part to layers of dirt and overpaint. The background and other areas of the portrait were entirely overpainted by a later hand, obscuring many of Rubens’ trademark techniques. Conservation work carried out for Britain’s Lost Masterpieces by the restorer Simon Gillespie has now returned the painting, which belongs to Glasgow Museums, to its original state, allowing for a new assessment of the attribution to Rubens, considered one of history’s most influential painters and a pioneer of the Flemish Baroque tradition whose work is now worth millions.

Overwhelming evidence including technical analysis of the panel on which the portrait was painted proved that it was prepared in the manner used in Rubens’ studio. Dendrochronology (examining the tree rings of wood to date it) showed that the panel was likely created in the early 1620s, and a number of alterations revealed by cleaning and X-ray analysis in areas such as the hair and costume, demonstrated that the painting could not be a copy, but was Rubens’ lost masterpiece.
Ben van Beneden, director of the Rubenshuis and a member of the Rubenianum, the Antwerp centre for Rubens scholarship, confirmed the attribution to Rubens.
"The Head Study of the Duke of Buckingham is a rare addition to Rubens's portrait oeuvre showing how he approached the genre."

Until now, only one British sitter painted by Rubens has been on display in Britain, the Earl of Arundel. The newly discovered portrait will now go on display at Pollok House, and is only the second portrait by Rubens in a public collection in Scotland.

Britain's Lost Masterpieces (W/T) (3x60') was commissioned by Mark Bell for BBC Four and the BBC executive producer is Emma Cahusac. It is produced and directed by Spike Geilinger and executive produced by Brendan Hughes and Harry Bell for Tern TV. In partnership with Art UK.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Lynn Painter Stainers 2018 - Call for Entries

The Call for Entries for the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2019 has been published. It describes itself as
...the UK’s leading prize for representational and figurative art – art that seeks to capture the real world
The definition of figurative art seems to be a bit of a moving target these days so it's nice to have a definition of what they mean. Its specific aims are to:
  • encourage the very best creative representational painting and 
  • promote the skill of draughtsmanship
“The Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize celebrates the very best of British representational art and acts as a show case to the rest of the world. It’s all about the way in which our artists see the real world and capture it." Daphne Todd - one of this year's Judges
I've got a lot of time for this competition - mainly because I think they pick good judges who tend to stick to the brief.  It's also a competition which tends to select artists who go on to become selected for more art prizes - and winners of them - in the future.

Bottom line - in career terms this is a really good art competition - with great prizes - for those who are sound and talented figurative artists.

This is its 13th year - and you can see what sort of art gets picked in my archive of past blog posts posts about past competitions at the end of this post. This post covers:
  • About the 2017 Prize
    • the prizes
    • the judges
  • How to Enter
    • eligible work
    • how to enter

About the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2018

  • Approximately 200 artists are invited to deliver their actual works after initial selection from digital entries. 
  • Approximately 100 works will then be selected for exhibition in March 2018at the Mall Galleries, London.
Work selected for Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2017


In terms of prizes it's certainly one of the more prestigious art prizes in the UK - particularly for younger artists who are eligible for two worthwhile prizes in addition to the others.

The total pot for prize money is £30,000 split as follows:
  • the Lynn Painter-Stainers First Prize (£15,000)
  • a second prize (£4,000)
  • a newly introduced People’s Prize (£2,000)
  • the Young Artist Award (£4,000) for young artists aged 25 or under. The aim is to promote and support fresh new talent. 
  • the Brian Botting Prize (£5,000) for an outstanding representation of the human figure by an artist aged 30 or under 

Prizewinners in 2017
(see Christopher Green wins Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2017)

Past prizewinners are fans of the competition.
Do enter the competition, it’s really something to work towards. I entered many times before I won.“Winning the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize has been the high point of my work so far. I’ve been very busy since the announcement.” Christopher Green, winner of the 2017 Lynn Painter-Stainers prize
After winning the prize, my painting View from Tate Modern was accepted for the Bath Society of Artists annual exhibition and was featured in the media. I also gained many more connections in the art world.” 2017’s People’s Prize winner, 22-year-old Kieran Nash 
Kieran's prize-winning work is the small painting in the centre


It should be interesting this year. The Judges are
  • Artist and Educator - Robin Mason - Head of Fine Art at the City & Guilds London Art School
  • Art Gallery Owner - Johnny Messum - Founder and Director of Messums, Wiltshire
  • Artist and prizewinner - Benjamin Sullivan RP NEAC - Artist and Winner of the 2017 BP Portrait Award and winner of the Lynn Painter-Stainer Prize in 2007
  • Artists, prizewinner and experienced Judge - Daphne Todd OBE PPRP NEAC - Past President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, BP Portrait Award winner in 2010 (and second prize winner in 1983) and latterly a television celebrity as a judge in the BBC's The Big Painting Challenge. She also exhibits at Messums and is an .Honorary Liveryman, Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers.

How to Enter

Not all the works selected are big


Who can enter

  • Living artists over the age of 18, who are resident in the British Isles - irrespective of whether or not they are a British citizen. 
  • You can be professional or amateur artists
  • British citizens living abroad cannot enter.
Two of the prizes are age-related. Despite highlighting this issue last year, it is still IMPOSSIBLE to tell from the website what the date is for determining age - which is extremely odd to say the least!  Not good practice as it leads to scope for ambiguity and mistakes. The "normal rule" is that the determining date is the deadline for entry.

Eligible artwork

  • Original - which (although they don't say) means in art competition terms that you can assert copyright for your work. What the law says is that your work is derivative and not eligible to claim copyright if you have copied another original artwork done by somebody else - and that includes photographs.
  • two-dimensional works in any painting or drawing media.
  • completed in the last three years (assume the date ends on the deadline for entry)
  • not previously exhibited. (Presumably within the three years which ends with the deadline for entry - again no date is specified)
  • All works must be for sale, except for commissioned portraits (which must be marked NFS on rear).
  • available for exhibition

Number and size of artworks

  • You can submit up to 4 works
  • Longest dimension - including frame - must not exceed 60 inches (152 cms).


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Annual Exhibition by the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers

The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers was founded in 1896. and its Patron is HRH The Prince of Wales.

The 2017 Annual Exhibition - in the North Gallery at the Mall Galleries - was opened on Thursday afternoon by Dame Patricia Routledge. It closes on 1st October at 1pm.

The exhibition comprises 534 pieces of miniature paintings, sculptures and fine art prints displayed in customised display cabinets which provide an excellent view of the work.

I was supposed to be going but have been suffering from a bad case of laryngitis all week and was exhausted after my trip to the Galleries the previous day. I'm hoping to get to see it next week.

I did however get to meet up with the RMS President Ros Pierson PRMS CFA(Oxon) PPHS MAA MASF on Wednesday and I gather the exhibition had got off to a very good start in terms of sales.

I guess being on at the same time as the Sunday Times Watercolour exhibition might have helped as a lot of the miniaturists work in watercolour.

So - below are some
  • details of the exhibition 
  • notes about who won what - and I've borrowed from the RSMP's twitter stream for some of the pics and details of the prizes
  • notes about the remaining demonstrations


[UPDATE: The RMS website subsequently published the FULL LIST OF PRIZEWINNERS 2017 - not all of whom are highlighted below]

The RMS Gold Memorial Bowl (Best in Show) - Raoof Haghighi for  Linda (acrylic on paper, £3,500)

I'm so upset to have missed this presentation! I've followed Raoof at BP Portrait over the years (including this year) and have met him a number of times. He's a really excellent artist - both large and small. Raoof Haghighi is also a self-taught artist whose work has been seen in group and solo shows in the United Kingdom and Iran/Persia.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

10 Best Paintings in the Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition

This year I'm not doing a post that announces the prizewinners in the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2017. That's because
  • the painting which won is in acrylic on canvas board and is actually eligible for acceptance into the annual exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters! 
  • I have rarely felt so disappointed in the conduct of a panel of judges.
this competition aims to celebrate and reward excellence and originality in the genre of watercolour painting.
I'm left wondering when are we ever going to discover the next Leslie Worth if we give this prestigious competition over to people who paint with acrylic on canvas not paper so it looks like an oil painting?

Not only can I find nothing to celebrate about the painting that won £10,000 First Prize I can find nothing to merit it even being hung in the exhibition.

View of part of the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Exhibition at the Mall Galleries
This year's competition is also unique in having the least press coverage in print and social media of any STWC prizewinner I've ever known.

Hardly surprising really - and I'm quite sure that's NOT the aim of the sponsorship!

What the panel of Judges were thinking I really don't know - however to my mind it maybe explains the delay in the announcement of the selected artists.  Incidentally one artist pointed out that Fred Cuming RA (who's an oil painter and whose work I love) disappeared from the list of Judges between the General Info for Artists and the announcement of the prizewinners at the end of August. I wonder why....

The "small works" wall beneath the Mezzanine
Meanwhile, the organisers need to consider whether advertising it as "a watercolour competition" could be a breach of the regulations relating to the advertising standards authority's Non-Broadcast Code and specifically the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing
The central principle for all marketing communications is that they should be legal, decent, honest and truthful. All marketing communications should be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and society and should reflect the spirit, not merely the letter, of the Code
More of the exhibition
Consequently this year I'm not going to focus on the prizewinners - except for one who merits her award.

Instead, yesterday I decided to look for what I thought were the ten best watercolour paintings in the exhibition. By that I mean paintings using a water-based medium recognised by the watercolour societies and used in a way which means you can tell water had been used.
Watercolour or water-soluble mediums, including watercolour, acrylic, ink or gouache (with the exception of water-soluble oils) painted on paper or paper based supportRoyal Institute of Painters in Water Colours
That's because, as I think most people would agree, watercolour is one of the most difficult media to excel in - and this competition is ultimately about excellence over and above innovation (and why anybody would think making acrylic look like an oil painting counts as "innovation" is completely beyond me!)

[Note: My personal view is that media which can be applied using water are not the same as water-based media. Water-based mediums can only be accurately described as such if they can be manipulated by water before and after they have been applied to a support - otherwise they are not water-based.]

More of the exhibition
So below you can find:
  • The ten best watercolour paintings in the exhibition
  • a Reference Archive of posts relating to past years in this competition - which include some amazing watercolour paintings
Plus I'll be back at the weekend with a short video of the exhibition and more comments and observations - including some numbers I'm crunching.

10 Best Paintings in the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition

Below is my selection of the ten best paintings in the competition

I'd love to know what your ten paintings are. Tell me which ones you like best.

You can see the paintings in the competition - but not their relative size - on the competition website. If you click a painting you then get a bigger version and if you click it again you then get a much bigger version.

Some have done a better job than others at representing what they are like in reality. I have issues with the ones which digitally enhanced their pics to get selected because the difference - and the difference between image and reality is very marked - but the judges appear to have been totally oblivious to this. Other exhibitions don't hang paintings where this has happened.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

David Shepherd (1931-2017)

Today the death of David Shepherd CBE FRSA, the conservationist and renowned painter of planes, trains and wildlife, was announced by his family via his Foundation website. He died yesterday, on 19th September 2017, age 86.

I remember thinking how frail he looked at the end of June at the splendid Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition at the Mall Galleries.  Moving more slowly, a little more bowed and a little less weight than I remembered - and I was used to seeing at the preview at the exhibition which he started to raise funds for conservation.

However there was still the twinkle in the eye and the interest in what artists had painted and what people had done and were planning to do next in the world of wildlife art.

My last photo of David Shepherd - on 27 June 2017
at the preview of the exhibition for the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2017
David Shepherd taking a tour of the exhibition before the PV got properly underway

I won't attempt any sort of recap of his career. His website has an admirable one which draws out both the story of his life and his very many achievements and awards.
he became a conservationist overnight when he came across 255 dead zebra at a poisoned waterhole in Tanzania. Throughout his career David tried to do all he could to repay the enormous debt he felt he owed to the elephants, tigers and other animals that gave him so much success as an artist. ‘Tiger Fire’ was one of his first major fund-raising successes, raising £127,000 (equivalent to £1.4 million in today’s money) for Indira Gandhi’s Operation Tiger in 1973.
He set up the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) and has helped to protect endangered wildlife for over 30 years. The Foundation has now given away over £8.5 million to help save wildlife. Not bad for an artist - helped by more than a few other artists and other conservation enthusiasts

I'm sure very many wildlife artists will want to remember him best in terms of what he meant to them.  Please feel free to add a comment below. Messages of condolence can also be emailed to mandy(DOT)gale(AT)

I know that when he started the Wildlife Artist of the Year competition, as well as raising a huge amount of money for conservation he also enabled very many wildlife artists to show their art in a world-class exhibition.

I was always amazed at the number of international artists I met at the exhibition and whose work I saw. It's an exhibition which enjoys a very special kudos in the world of wildlife art - particularly for those who were concerned about the conservation of wild animals threatened with extinction.

Below I'll share just a few of my memories of David at the exhibitions over the years.

(left to right) David Shepherd CBE, Adam Binder - Wildlife Artist of the Year 2010,
David Gower and Robert Lindsay
David Shepherd at WAOY 2016 with his personal choice for a prize
The Sentinel by Laurence Saunois (Figeac, France)

Alan Woollett at the Awards Ceremony with David Shepherd
- he had no idea he'd won his category!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rachel Whiteread on Drawing

Following on from yesterday's Jerwood Drawing Prize post, this is another post about 'drawing'.

This is Rachel Whiteread talking about drawing - in a very normal, accessible, everyday way in a video by Tate Britain. It was filmed for her exhibition of her drawings at Tate Britain in 2010

Another exhibition opened last week at Tate Britain - simply called Rachel Whiteread
Celebrating over 25 years of Rachel Whiteread’s internationally acclaimed sculpture
The exhibition is on until 21 January 2018.

Rachel Whiteread's Drawings

The show that can overturn one's attitude to an artist is as rare as hen's teeth. The show that can achieve this solely through drawings – unless the artist is a draughtsman – is even less common.
This first-ever museum exhibition of her drawings shows Whiteread doodling (her word) on paper, using pencil, gouache, ink, correcting fluid (to build texture). She calls these drawings her working diary, but they are in no way personal or confessional. They don't throw back at us any kind of image of the sculptor. They feel coolly constructed, painstakingly analytical. They remind us of work by the minimalists – paintings by Frank Stella from the 1960s, or stacked units by Donald Judd. They are cerebrally set apart from us.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Gary Lawrence wins Jerwood Drawing Prize - for the second time

Gary Lawrence has won the £8,000 First Prize in the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2017. It's the second time he's won First Prize. He also won in 2011

Last time he won with a very complex 6ft by 4ft drawing called Homage to Anonymous - as a tribute to unknown artists. He produced a simple view of Pothea reflecting on his holiday to the principal town on the Greek island of Kalymnos
using a packet of ten Tesco Value budget pens which he used to ink his images onto the reverse side of old Woolworths advertising posters.Hard-up artist bags £6,000 prize after using 3p biro to create stunning landscape | Daily Mail
This time he's won by producing an equally large drawing - also of the town of Pothea on Kalymnos. This time he's used poster paint (I assume that's the yellow background) and felt pens.

The fridge magnet reference relates to the two boards of bridge magnets with "scenes from Greece" on them which are then reproduced in little 'thought' bubbles on the edge of the paper. Each is accompanied by a comment from the artist – ‘Athens – never been here’, ‘Cyprus ‘08 ok-ish’, ‘Zante Town – Euro Spar’.

It reminds me of some of the drawings produced in the past which used to illustrate a journey with small drawings around the edge showing scenes from the route.  Quite why it should be yellow is not explained.

Winner of the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2017
Gary Lawrence, Yellow Kalymnos with Fridge Magnets, 2017.
Felt pen and poster paint on canvas, 250 x 249cm. Photo: Colin Mills
The artist is from Wethersfield, Essex and was also shortlisted for the Derwent Art Prize 2015.

One of the panel of selectors, Michael Simpson, comments on the drawing as follows
“a brilliant evocation of a time capsule; of time squashed in on itself as a topographical romance in retrospect.”
While the drawing is an undoubted complex piece of work, I'm not quite sure how awarding the First Prize to somebody for the second time when the aim the Jerwood Drawing Prize is
promoting and celebrating the breadth of contemporary drawing practice
On the whole I prefer prestigious prizes which you're allowed to win once. My reasons are as follows:
  • Such a rule means that the benefit of the prize, not to mention the prize money, is spread amongst the widest pool of deserving artists. Ultimately that means it has the scope to enhance the careers of more artists - and that's no bad thing.
  • If you allow a prize to be won for a second time, then you begin to entertain scope for 
    • the "Ant & Dec" problem (entertainers who have won the "most popular entertainment programme in the National Television Awards every year but one going back to 2003)
    • accusations of favouritism
Nothing to stop other artists winning the other prizes more than once - but for me the rule of "win and that's it" for First Prize has a cogent rationale in the context of competitions generally and the aims of this one in particular.

Other Prizewinners

Evelyn Williams Drawing Award (£10,000) 

The final selection was made by
  • Elizabeth Gilmore, Director, Jerwood Gallery, Hastings; 
  • Anita Taylor, founding Director, Jerwood Drawing Prize, and 
  • Nicholas Usherwood, Art Critic and Curator and trustee of the Evelyn Williams Trust.

Barbara Walker won this new prize - which incidentally has the most prize money.  (Is this the new name of next year's drawing award given this is the last year of Jerwood Sponsorship?)

She's a very impressive artist with an outstanding portfolio of 'proper' drawings. 

Her figurative drawings explore race identity, belonging, class and power.  This drawing comes from her Shock and Awe series of drawings about the contribution of Black servicemen and women to the British Armed Forces and war efforts from 1914 to the present day. It includes embossed lines to represent the non-Black service personnel.

She's currently exhibiting in the Diaspora Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. (see my blog post
Khadija Saye and 'The Venice Biennale: Britain's New Voices' on BBC2 which includes my comments on her drawings for this exhibition.)

Winner of the £10,000 Evelyn Williams Drawing Award
Barbara Walker, Exotic Detail In The Margin#2,

Graphite on embossed paper, 52 x 61cm. Photo: Colin Mills

Other Jerwood Drawing Prize Awards

Thursday, September 14, 2017

£25,000 John Moores Painting Prize 2018 - Call for Entries

The John Moores Painting Prize is celebrating its 60th anniversary and holding its 30th exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool in 2018.  The anniversary of this prestigious painting is being celebrated with two additional prizes for the first prizewinner (see below for further details).

During the last 60 years it has championed contemporary British painting for over two decades longer than any other art prize of similar size.
"[The John Moores Painting Prize is] the Oscar of the British painting world"
- Sir Norman Rosenthal, curator and former exhibitions secretary at the Royal Academy.
Registration for the call for entries for the John Moores Painting Prize 2018 opened today at 12 midday today, 14 September 2017.

Below is an overview of the call for entries and links to relevant webpages.

About the John Moores Painting Prize

This art competition is a PAINTING competition and is open to all UK-based artists working with paint. It culminates in an exhibition at the Walker Art Exhibition in Liverpool which is held at the same time as the Liverpool Biennial.

Its named after the sponsor of the prize, Sir John Moores (1896 – 1993) and was originally intended as a one-off!

It's now a biennial event and this will be the 30th exhibition in 60 years - since its launch in 1957.

You can view the previous winners of the John Moores Painting Prize on the website (1980-2016 and 1957-1978) . They include:

The Walker Art Gallery has an ongoing display of a selection of previous winning works John Moores Prizewinners 1957 - 2006 and notes that
The exhibition has consistently helped to raise the profile of the artists and in particular to further the careers of its winners

Criteria for assessment - and how anonymity is maintained

The original aims of John Moores were:
'To give Merseyside the chance to see an exhibition of painting and sculpture embracing the best and most vital work being done today throughout the country'
'To encourage contemporary artists, particularly the young and progressive'

Hence the competition aims to support artists who paint. There are two important criteria:
  • all entries are judged anonymously
  • to bring to Liverpool the best contemporary painting from across the UK
and after that it's whatever the members of the jury care to place an emphasis on.

In terms of "anonymous entry and judging" this competition is much more thorough than most
  • all artists are allocated a unique entry number
  • jurors are not given the names of the artists 
  • jurors are only provided with information about the title, size and medium of the painting

The Jury

The Jury changes with every exhibition. They are selected and appointed by the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust and National Museums Liverpool.

As usual I've looked up the profiles of the jury members for the John Moores Painting Prize 2018 which are summarised below
  • Prof. Lubaina Himid MBEProfessor of Contemporary Art. School of Art, Design and Fashion at the University of Central Lancashire. She has been recognised for her services to Black Womens Art - see Making Histories Visible
  • Marvin Gaye Chetwynd - a performance artist given to changing her name. She trained as a painter at training as a painter at UCL's Slade School of Fine Art and the Royal College of Art and was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2012. See What do artists do all day
  • Jenni Lomax -  Ex-director of Camden Arts Centre (1990-July 2017) where she gave early shows to artists like Martin Creed and Yinka Shonibare. Awarded the Chevalier dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2007 and an OBE for her services to the Visual Arts in 2009. This is a Christies interview with her
  • Bruce McLean - a Scottish sculptor, performance artist and painter who studied at Glasgow School of Art and St. Martin's School of Art. He taught at numerous art schools including The Slade School of Fine Art, where he became Head of Graduate Painting (2002-2010). You can see his work here. In 1985, he won the John Moores Painting Prize.
  • Liu Xiaodong - a contemporary Chinese artist who studied at and graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. He now has tenure as professor in the painting department at CAFA. You can see his work here


All paintings included in the exhibition are eligible for a prize.

The jury will select a final shortlist of five paintings and award the prizes.
  • First Prize - £25,000 plus an additional award (to mark the 60th year): 
    • a three month fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University 
    • an in-focus solo display at the Walker Art Gallery in 2019.

    • In addition, the prize is NOT a purchase prize, but the Walker Art Gallery may also purchase the painting which means another 'win' for the First Prizewinner.
  • four prizes for the other shortlisted artists of £2,500

There is also a Visitors’ Choice prize of £2,018, voted for by visitors to the exhibition at the Walker and awarded towards the end of the exhibition period.

Call for Entries

These are the Terms and Conditions and FAQS and Commercial Agreement on which I have based this summary. I do NOT warrant that I've covered every detail you might need to know - it's up to you to read all of these documents thoroughly and make sure you can comply with them when you send in your entry and painting.

Who can enter?

Artists who MUST
  • be aged 18 years or over on the day of registration
  • living or professionally based in the UK
I suggest if you're not sure whether your paintings are suitable for this exhibition you take a look at my blog posts at the end of this post which
  • list those artists shortlisted and selected for recent biennial exhibitions
  • with links to their websites and images of some of the shortlisted works

Eligible to exhibit

You can submit only one entry per artist.
Multiple entries under the same or under different names are not allowed. Artists found to have done this will be deemed in breach of the Prize’s conditions of entry and will have all their entries disqualified.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Should artists use prize money to protest against the sponsor of an art competition?

Here's an ethical conundrum for artists.
  • Can you protest against those sponsoring art competitions - after you've taken the prize money? 
  • Or should you not enter in the first place if you object to the sponsor?

Henry Christian-Slane collecting his award and his cheque for £7,000 from Bob Dudley, CEO of BP
In June, Henry Christian-Slane won the BP Young Artist Award and received a cheque for £7,000.

Last Friday The Guardian:
These follow on from a Greenpeace interview with him This artist is donating part of his BP prize money to fight climate change that includes very specific criticism of a number of issues including a new proposal by BP to drill near to a newly discovered coral reef.
Last month, at London’s National Portrait Gallery, I was presented with the BP Young Artist Award, by BP’s CEO, Bob Dudley. It’s a prestigious award, and I was happy to receive it, but I’m not happy about being part of BP’s PR strategy. And so as a symbolic act I am donating £1000 of their prize money directly to Greenpeace projects that aim to protest BP’s further extraction of fossil fuels from the Earth. I hope this action will help keep the issue of BP’s role in climate change from being overshadowed by their contribution to the arts.

I think it is an important role of artists to represent and be critical of the context they find themselves in, regardless of where funding comes from. Art should not be a passive PR tool used by corporations to carry their name and logo. I feel it is my responsibility as an artist involved with the portrait award to voice my criticism of BP and I hope the other exhibitors and award winners agree with me.
Apparently he likes having the title of  "Young Artist of the Year", which doubtless will do his career no harm, but he doesn't like the actions of the sponsor of the awards

I was genuinely puzzled when I read this - it seemed to me to be very odd.

I would have thought that anybody who felt that strongly about the actions of BP would never have entered the competition in the first place - on principle.

I came up with a number of explanations
  • Maybe this sentiment only arose after criticism from family and/or friends and/or the public - and that's why he now needs to make this announcement?
  • Maybe it's being photographed next to Bob Dudley with an award with the BP logo on it that caused the change of mind?
  • Maybe it's BP's latest proposal to drill next to the coral reef? (Incidentally, this is the Greenpeace link to Join the campaign to protect the Amazon Reef from BP drilling.)
I did a little bit of digging on his Facebook and Instagram accounts and it turns out there is no question Henry Christian-Slane really is an eco-warrior (see Instagram post below).  His other Instagram posts suggest he cares a very great deal about reef systems - so maybe the last suggested explanation was in fact the trigger for his donation.

The question his actions poses for me is "Do other artists who entered or were selected for the BP Portrait Award agree with him and his actions? "

I don't suppose any of the artists who entered are great proponents of global warming.

If that's the case, why did they enter the competition?

Sponsorship of the Arts - and BP

Demonstration against BP's funding of the BP Portrait Award
outside the National Portrait Gallery 22 June 2010
I've written about BP's sponsorship of the Arts and the various views taken about it on a number of occasions:
The major difference between when I started writing about art funding generally and now is the huge cut in public funding for the arts in general and art in particular over the past few years (it must be at least 25% if not more)

We're now living in an age where sponsorship by major corporate bodies or very rich individuals (and how did they get their money?) is absolutely essential to the well-being of art collections, art galleries and museums and art competitions.

My view is clear - as stated back in 2015.
I'll state my case up front. I really am not in the least bit bothered by BP's sponsorship of art galleries and museums. I'm far more concerned about:
  • fossil fuel companies behaving in a social responsible manner 
  • those trying to repair their reputation paying a fair price to society for the privilege of being associated with a prestigious art gallery or museum which only exists due to generous state support.
Of course I'd rather that energy sources came from renewable sources. However until somebody makes energy consumption from non-fossil fuel a cost effective and efficient proposition for most of the companies and families in the UK (and elsewhere) I don't see much alternative to the continued use of fossil fuels.

That in turn means oil companies will be looking for ways of sanitising their image - and offers a wonderful opportunity for sponsorship - so long as this is at the right price.

What do you think

Are all artists eco-warriors? Should they be?

Do other artists who entered (or thought about entering) or were selected for the BP Portrait Award agree with Henry Christian-Slane and his actions?
I'll also restate the questions I asked back in 2014
here's some questions to ponder on:
  • Should BP be sponsoring the Arts in this country - and why (or why not)?
  • Do you think exhibitions/competitions etc would suffer if BP funding was no longer available?
  • Do you think another company would fill the gap if BP no longer funded art?
  • Do you think any substitute sponsor would be better or worse than BP?
It's worth thinking about what the alternative might be. For example - supposing a Russian Oligarch whose money was generated by the oil industry were to invest in improving his profile in this country, might we be back at where we came in - or worse?
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. I'm really interested - and it's a question which is not going to go away....

This is what Jonathan Jones thinks - after reminding us all that the first sponsor of the Portrait award was John Player - the tobacco company!
It seems it’s always the controversial businesses that spend on the arts – the saintly ones don’t crave the publicity. Today it would be unimaginable for museums to take tobacco money. Perhaps museums need to find the next sponsors who need to clean up a dodgy image – soft drinks giants, maybe?

About Henry Christian-Slane

Monday, September 11, 2017

Training the Eye - Teaching to Look

I came across this video on training the eye and teaching people how to look last week.

It's about the clarity that comes from real perception.
“Training the eye is very, very important. You can’t come up with ideas if you don’t see — first.”
Inge Druckrey
Teaching to See has been described as
  •  a 40-minute crash course in Design Thinking
  • a document of the long and successful teaching career, and .... a teaching tool for generations to come.
  • deneficial to all visual students whether designers or artists.
  • a 2012 educational documentary film about graphic design and the teaching of Inge Druckrey and some of her students and colleagues.
Just watch it....

Still from Inge Druckrey: Teaching to See


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Linda Blondheim paints the Florida landscape and trees

Most of the time Linda Blondheim paints the fields, woods, swamps and trees of rural agricultural lands on farms in north Florida - when she's not offering smart business tips.

Linda Blondheim - Landscape Paintings of Florida
Right now she's evacuated from her field home and is hunkering down in her Paddiwhack town studio in Gainsville with her dog Henry, painting small bird paintings and hoping for the best.

So I thought I'd write this post highlighting her work and her great art tips.
If you feel moved to support a fellow artist and comment on Linda's blog or her Facebook Page can you PLEASE READ THE NOTES AT THE END first about Guidelines when discussing the hurricane with Floridians

More about Linda Blondheim

This is her website Linda Blondheim - Florida Landscape and Tree PaintingsI recommend you take a look at her landscape and trees on her website?
Florida is my home, and I have painted and roamed the fields and woods here all of my life. I grew up around horses, cattle and dogs. Growing up in north rural Florida has given me a deep appreciation for agricultural land and trees. These subjects are the focus of my work. As our rural areas of Florida fall to development, I feel it is urgent to preserve these beautiful lands and scenes on canvas. Future generations will know how lovely natural Florida was during my tenure. I have a trail on my own land where my dog Henry and I walk every day. We enjoy the wild creatures who share the land with us. I’ve been a country painter most of my life and I love the culture and cuisine of this region. Many artists in Florida paint the tourist areas of Florida, offering massive numbers of reproductions. I only paint original paintings in oils and acrylics. My paintings are one of a kind and unique. I paint the natural world where my roots grow deep.
This is her Facebook Page Linda Blondheim Art Studio

Linda Blondheim in her studio
She also delivers Classes, Workshops and Digital Tutorials

This is her Linda Blondheim Art Notes blog - where you can enjoy reading about the reality of an artist's life.
  • She talks about creating paintings and selling art. Lots of great stuff in there by a very experienced artist who has been making her living from making and selling art for a long time. 
  • Linda tells it like it is. I especially recommend reading her notes for all those who have romantic ideas about being an artist - Linda will provide you with the reality of what an artist's life is really like.
Here's a few recent notes worth reading (plus you often get a free recipe at the end!).
Why not subscribe to her blog if you like what you read....
One of the hardest concepts to understand is how to really see. Objects do not look like we think they do. In my mind, I know what an elephant looks like but in reality, I have no idea.
  • Swell Fall - about the routines an artist needs to follow to generate sales - lots of great tips
Think about ways that you can be unique among artists. What makes you just a bit different or makes you stand out from the pack. That is not necessarily about your art. It could be about the extra level of service you provide. Gift wrapping and shipping services for paintings, delivery and installation, framing consultation are all little extras which will impress future collectors. The easier you make life for them, the more likely they will be to choose you instead of your competitor.
It is important to figure out what you will sell and how you will attract buyers. You must find a good location for your shop. Life is not like the film Field of Dreams. If you build it, they will NOT come unless you work very hard and market endlessly to get them there. You will need to either have a large marketing budget or be in a dandy location. If you must choose one, go with the great location if you can.
  • Life Artist - about the reality of being a professional artist. It's tough talk and Linda doesn't pull her punchy points. However she has ridden the economic storms in the past and present and continues to be positive
I will continue to study and offer the best work that I can do. I am very willing to face the challenges of life as an artist because I know there are enough people who do value art to keep my career moving forward.

Guidelines when discussing the hurricane with Floridians

Linda posted this post which is circulating amongst those living in Florida on her Facebook Personal page.